Short breaks for two…close to home and further afield
Sometimes couples just need to get away from it all. The stresses and strains of everyday life have to be put to one side and some recharging needs to take place. For parents, that break can often be needed in the late summertime – the school holidays will have been going for weeks by this point (with still a fair way to go!) so taking a quick break can be the ideal way to rejuvenate and keep everyone happy. Kent has some excellent getaways for couples and there are plenty more further afield if you have a little extra time to spend away.
Close To Home…
A Secret Garden // Whitstable // www.kentcottageholidays.com
Kent Cottage Holidays presents an amazing small space for a true glamping experience with a difference – stay in a fun, quirky small-space hideaway. You can truly escape from everything at A Secret Garden. You will sleep on a comfy and cosy king-size pocket-sprung mattress, tucked up into the framework of a pod which has amazing views from its glass roof and sides. Complete with a wood burner and underfloor heating, you will stay warm and cosy. A stable door opens from the side so you can take a quick dash in luxury towelling robes to the wooden two-person hot tub and sit, gazing up at the stars while enjoying a glass of bubbles.
Chilston Park // Lenham // www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/chilstonpark
Reached by a sweeping drive and set within 22 acres of parkland, Chilston Park has been home to eminent politicians, writers, lords and viscounts. Today, it is a classic British country house hotel in Lenham with style and charm to spare. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this four-red-star hotel, however, is its unique styling, which is enhanced by antiques – some as old as the 17th-century manor house.
The four-red-star hotel offers the ideal setting for an intimate break, a romantic getaway or time to unwind. Two AA Rosette restaurant, Culpeper’s, offers guests the opportunity to experience seasonal dishes finished with the creative flair of head chef Ross Pilcher. Many of the ingredients used are sourced locally from selected producers and farmers to create food of the highest quality and deliver an authentic dining experience.
Frasers // Egerton // www.frasersegerton.co.uk
Located deep in the Kent countryside, Frasers is a unique and romantic spot for couples to spend time alone together. Each of the rooms is named after a variety of apple – a fruit associated with the Kent countryside – and is decorated in a contemporary countryside style. Each has a luxury ensuite bathroom with bath or shower, bathrobes and slippers. Four-poster beds and Jacuzzi baths and hot tubs feature in some suites too. The accommodation is situated in three beautiful period buildings: a Kentish ragstone oast house, a converted former stable block and a former cart barn.
Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa // Fawkham // www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/brandshatchplace
This AA four-star Georgian country house hotel is set across 12 acres within the Garden of England. The hotel offers 38 beautifully furnished rooms equipped with all the latest modern amenities. There are interconnecting bedrooms, stylish executive bedrooms and, for those very special occasions, romantic feature bedrooms.
The hotel offers some relaxing time together to properly unwind and has an exquisite health club and spa; all guests have access to gym facilities, seven treatment rooms, an indoor swimming pool, spa pool, sauna and steam rooms, as well as relaxation rooms. Treat you and your partner to various spa treatments using leading brands like Elemis and Jessica Nails. This a beautiful setting for couples to enjoy a relaxing spa break together.
The Nutshell // Pluckley // www.kentandsussexcottages.co.uk/rural-kent/pluckley-cottages/as265-the-nutshell
The Nutshell offers luxurious country living and is located just outside the pretty village of Pluckley with two good pubs within a mile away (one of which is renowned for its seafood) and a lovely farm shop nearby. This property has been carefully restored to a high standard and has been furnished with flair giving a contemporary edge to the open plan living area. The property has retained its original beams and is spacious and light while being warm and cosy with a wood burning stove and a majestic centre piece copper bath. There is a covered loggia seating area by the entrance as well as a courtyard garden where you can sit and enjoy a glass of something refreshing while taking in the glorious views.
Hever Castle B&B // Hever // www.hevercastle.co.uk
At the incredible Hever Castle B&B there are 28 luxury bedrooms to enjoy. You will stay in either the Astor Wing or the Anne Boleyn Wing, both of which are Edwardian additions to the castle although designed entirely in the Tudor style – you’ll feel as though you are sleeping in centuries-old rooms.
In the Astor Wing, you’ll find a gorgeous lounge lined with panelling, as well as a particularly splendid billiards room if you want some extra space to relax in. The Anne Boleyn Wing has a lovely breakfast room which is bathed in natural sunlight in the mornings and offers a view across the orchard and to the castle itself. Plus, when you stay you will receive complimentary entry to the castle and grounds.
The Enchanted Faraway Tree // Blean // www.quirkyaccom.com/the-enchanted-faraway-tree
If the idea of a wooden treehouse pod with a glass domed roof that gives you the perfect view of the night sky as you lie beneath it appeals, then The Enchanted Faraway Tree, a romantic getaway for two near to Canterbury, will be your perfect break. There is even a secluded wood-heated hot tub and an outdoor shower as well as a fire pit and space to eat al fresco should you desire. To make things even better – and allow you to concentrate on one another and forget the outside world – there is no TV and no WiFi. Bliss.
Thurnham Keep // near Leeds Castle // www.thurnhamkeep.co.uk
Thurnham Keep is situated close to Leeds Castle amongst some of Kent’s finest scenery. What you might not know is that it is set within seven acres of grand landscaped gardens and that the house itself is Edwardian. In a house like this, guests would be forgiven for expecting period features, and that is what they will get in either the Hever, Leeds, or Sissinghurst rooms, but there are contemporary touches too, enabling everyone to enjoy some romantic time away from home with all the mod cons.
De Vere Selsdon Estate // South Croydon // www.devere.com/selsdon-estate
Located in South Croydon, De Vere Selsdon Estate has recently unveiled the results of a multi-million pound refurbishment. The renovation has seen refurbishments of its luxury guestrooms, lounge areas, the Orangery – an ideal spot for afternoon tea – and the 1042 Restaurant & Bar area, which serves a range of beverages alongside a delicious menu including gourmet burgers and wood-fired pizzas.
The estate boasts 200 acres of impressive parkland where guests can explore the property’s nature walks with a pair of Hunter wellies – available to hire for free at reception – where they’ll find perfectly manicured lawns, secret gardens, superb outdoor lounge areas, a 13th-century arch that was formerly part of the Blackfriars monastery of London and a renowned 18-hole championship golf course.
Dogs are also welcome with De Vere Selsdon Estate ensuring there’s a dog bowl, bed and special treats at the ready for four-legged family members. Standard bedroom double room rates start at £89 with breakfast, whereas suites start from £169 with breakfast included.
Gothic Temple // Stowe // www.landmarktrust.org.uk/search-and-book/properties/gothic-temple-8075#Overview
This stunning temple was added to the gardens at Stowe, near Buckingham in 1741 and is set in a Capability Brown landscape. The rooms in this folly are circular and within the central staircase you’ll find gilded heraldry to really set the tone. If you’ve ever wanted to stay somewhere that might have come directly from a fairytale, this is the place for you – romance is everywhere.
The Herringbone // Mousehole // www.uniquehomestays.com/self-catering/uk/cornwall/mousehole/the-herringbone
Perfectly placed right on the water’s edge in the quintessential harbour of Mousehole (famously called ‘the prettiest village in England’ by Dylan Thomas), The Herringbone cottage is perfect for romantic breaks by the sea in West Cornwall. This luxury fisherman’s cottage started life as a net loft and oozes rustic coastal style.
Image credit: Unique Home Stays
Bath House // Stratford-upon-Avon // www.landmarktrust.org.uk
Located deep in the woods, The Bath House offers a unique and truly secluded getaway. The ceiling and walls of the main room and bedroom are festooned with shells and dripping icicles. The home has a living room downstairs and a full-floor bedroom on the second floor boasting an open fire and high ceilings. The main attraction is a plunge pool in the basement though, which is apparently a medical essential from the 18th century when the house was built.
The Harbour Houseboat // Isle of Wight // www.theharbourhouseboat.co.uk
Originally a 72-ft Thames lighter, the spacious Harbour Houseboat (reassuringly named ‘Sturdy’) is now moored in a corner of the bustling Bembridge Harbour. At low tide she rests on the sand, rising slowly up as the tide comes in. Owner Georgina and her partner James live on a similar boat on the Thames itself, so they know exactly how to make life on the water supremely comfortable, and with two modern bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and even WiFi on board, you’ll want for nothing.
Finn Lough // Fermanagh // www.finnlough.com
This top-rated glamping bubble offers a really unique take on a romantic getaway. Tucked away in the forest of Fermanagh in the Northern Irish Lakelands, the 180-degree transparent dome is perfect for stargazing. Snuggle up in bed in fluffy bathrobes and just enjoy. Spend the days walking the grounds and relax at the nearby spa.
Boringdon Hall Hotel & Spa // Devon // www.boringdonhall.co.uk
Referred to as ‘the enchanted place on the hill’, Boringdon Hall is a five-star hotel made famous by its rich history that dates back to 956 AD. Its spa – Gaia – is a luxury spa set within the grounds of the hotel. The spa’s interior and exterior encompasses natural materials including wood, stone and glass for natural light. The hotel also hosts two restaurants: Gallery Restaurant and Mayflower Brasserie.
‘Black Moon’ Apartment // St.Ives // www.beachspoke.com/property/black-moon/
This striking one-bedroom property overlooks the bay towards Gwithian lighthouse and has the waves of the Atlantic crashing in beneath it. Featuring rustic masonry, stainless steel and a mixture of black marble and granite, it looks like it’s been carved out of a rock. Definitely a winner for anyone that loves being close to water and taking a dip!
The 25 Boutique B&B // Devon // www.the25.uk
Awarded ‘The World’s Best B&B’ in January 2019 by TripAdvisor’s global algorithm that collates five-star worldwide votes, The 25 is a gorgeous boutique B&B in Torquay – it’s exclusively for adults and has six funky, individual bedrooms to relax in.
Fawsley Hall // Daventry // www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/fawsleyhall
A 16th-century house set in Capability Brown landscaped parkland, Fawsley Hall has 60 special bedrooms which include 11 feature rooms. The Cedar Restaurant on site has two AA rosettes and the award-winning spa has six treatment rooms. For couples, this Tudor-style exclusive hotel really is an extraordinary place to visit.
Gran Hotel Miramar // Malaga // www.granhotelmiramarmalaga.com
While often overlooked as a destination, the ancient maritime city of Malaga is the ideal backdrop for a romantic weekend complete with Moorish majesty and Spanish rustic charm. The city’s multicoloured landscapes, hidden paths and mysterious ruins, and, above all, year-round sunshine and vibrant atmosphere will appeal to all couples.
The iconic Gran Hotel Miramar is now fully established as the coast’s most emblematic luxury city hotel and the perfect base to explore the Old City. The historic landmark building underwent a complete renovation restoring the majestic edifice to its former glory and reopening in 2017 as the only five-star luxury hotel in the city. The renovation preserved or returned many of the hotel’s original features including intricate Moorish carved wooden arches, a beautiful first floor gallery, traditional Andalucían tiling, hand-painted frescoes and ornate stucco ceilings. The hotel now stands amongst beautifully landscapes gardens and features 190 stylish rooms and suites all characterised by their elegance and refinement and offering views over the city or the Mediterranean sea. Couples can dine at one of the hotel’s five dining establishments including a stylish rooftop bar, enjoy a relaxing treatment at the Botanical Spa, or soak up the sunshine by the outdoor pool or beach.
Euphoria Retreat Weekend Escape // Greece // www.healthandfitnesstravel.com/europe/greece/euphoria-retreat/weekend-escape
With a beautiful backdrop of the Peloponnese, this short but sweet weekend away is the perfect kick-start for a new and improved lifestyle together. Designed to enhance your body’s vitality, get lost in nature together or explore your innovative sides with creative talks and workshops. There will be no tension left between you after rejuvenating bodywork and de-stressing aromatherapy massages, and you’ll leave the spa positively glowing after experience showers, an antioxidant facial which improves blood circulation, or a Finnish sauna to pamper and rejuvenate together.
Pulitzer Amsterdam // Holland // www.pulitzeramsterdam.com
The Pulitzer Amsterdam hotel itself is a collection of 25 interlinked Golden Age canal houses right on the canal front which was transformed in 2016 when it received a quintessentially Dutch redesign. Sitting in one of Amsterdam’s chicest neighbourhoods, Pulitzer blends traditional and modern Dutch craftsmanship and service, and offers 225 guest rooms surrounding a tranquil inner garden, as well as an authentic restaurant and bar that showcase local tastes. Overlooking the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals, the hotel is located in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic city centre – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and is the ideal base from which to explore the city by bike, boat or foot. The most romantic space in the hotel is the show-stopping Pulitzer Suite, which features a gorgeous freestanding bath and an eclectic mix of distinctive furniture, historic architectural details and modern features.