Across England, you’ll find idyllic country houses where you can live like a lord of the manor in luxurious accommodation, looking out over postcard perfect English landscapes. Here, we take a look at some of our favourite English country houses to stay in, as well as some other historic gems that fit the mould around the world – including a colonial island getaway on Mustique, a charming country estancia in Argentina and an exquisite French chateau.
Belmond Le Manoir aux’Quat Saisons, UK
In the heart of the Cotswolds, not far from Oxford and London yet set in serene countryside, Belmond Le Manoir aux’Quat Saisons is a quintessential English retreat. Luxuriate in beautiful suites and enjoy Michelin-starred dining courtesy of French chef Raymond Blanc, who creates delicious dishes using seasonal produce from the hotel’s pretty gardens (just ask for a tour).
If you can drag yourself away, visit the designer boutiques at Bicester Village, and explore the historic university city of Oxford.
Babington House, UK
Babington House is a beautiful manor house sitting in 18 green acres in Somerset, near the charming market town of Frome and the Georgian splendours of Bath.
The Baroque-style rooms, with features such as exposed brickwork and free-standing bathtubs, are in the main house and around the grounds in stylish lodges, looking out over the gardens and the lake. Enjoy dinner in the romantic Orangery, and relax in the pool or head to the spa for a blissful mud soak or massage - or take in a movie at the plush private cinema.
The Cotton House, Mustique
For an idyllic, secluded island getaway, head to The Cotton House on the island of Mustique, a favourite of the A-list.
Accessible only by private plane, Mustique is one of the most exclusive private islands in the world. The Cotton House, created from a historic cotton warehouse, is nestled in 13 acres of lush tropical gardens, leading down to the sands of Endeavour Bay.
The villas, suites and cottages come with muslin-draped four-poster beds and private verandas with plunge pools, overlooking the Caribbean and neighbouring islands. At the Residence, enjoy a private swimming pool and the services of your very own butler. Tuck into fresh seafood under the palm trees or take a picnic down to the beach, and sip on a tropical cocktail as the sun sets over the sea.
La Candelaria del Monte, Argentina
La Candelaria del Monte, which dates back to the 1850s, is a traditional Argentinian country estancia, surrounded by landscaped gardens, with the plains of the Pampas stretching far beyond - this has been the natural stomping ground of gauchos (cowboys) for centuries.
The colourful interiors are warm and inviting, with antique furnishings and local artworks. There are no TVs, creating a relaxing, get-away-from-it-all atmosphere. After a day experiencing life as a gaucho by horse riding around the Pampas, enjoy home-grown Argentinean dishes from the barbecue (asado) and cosy up by the fireplace under the vast starry skies - all just 60 miles from Buenos Aires.
Chateau de Bagnols, France
France is dotted with grand, historic chateaus, and Chateau de Bagnols, in the Beaujolais countryside near Lyon, is one of the finest chateau hotels not just in France, but the world. Dating from the 13th century, it has been painstakingly restored to its former glory, retaining original features throughout.
incredible inside and out, enter its honey-coloured stone towers across a drawbridge to reach truly unique and decadent guest rooms: sleep in ornate four-poster beds beneath curved walls adorned with Renaissance tapestries and hand-painted frescoes. Dine on Michelin-starred cuisine and enjoy a glass or two of local Beaujolais wine – discover more by hopping on a bike along a scenic wine trail.