Ah, the old country manor. Perhaps one of the most quintessentially British sights you’ll see, for nothing says timeless Britain like an ancient country manor perched upon the rolling, immaculately mown green hills of the idyllic countryside. Shrouded in ivy, hidden by ancient oaks, wreathed in the fine morning mist, it has formed a somewhat iconic image enjoyed by people across the globe.
Many of these former stately homes have been turned over to public access, largely as museums or venues for hire. Others, meanwhile, have opened themselves up to the hospitality trade and now function as luxury hotels for folk looking to experience their own taste of high bred opulence.
There are hundreds of such hotels scattered across the British Isles, but we’ve narrowed the list down to six of our most highly recommended country manor hotels to satisfy all your romantic Jane Austen fantasies.
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Cotswolds, the Buckland Manor is a relaxing retreat away from it all and located within a handsome building that’s seemingly untouched by the passing of ages. With ten acres of land to explore and the historic village of Buckland nearby, from which the manor takes its name, it offers a quiet and idyllic retreat in the heart of England.
The Cotswolds offers a heady mixture of nature and history, boasting some of the finest rambling country in Britain and villages that have stood the test of time. The Buckland Manor itself is located just next to ancient St Michael’s Church, containing the oldest rectory in England and finely preserved 15th c. stain glass windows.
Fifteen unique bedrooms await you, each finely appointed and providing the highest degrees of comfort. The food, meanwhile, is all locally sourced and professionally prepared.
A cosy yet grand country house located within the sleepier parts of Northern Ireland, the Newforge House is unique in being a family run country manor home. Having held Newforge House for six generations, the Mathers family offer a warm and welcoming reprieve for travellers in any one of their six rooms, each named after the maiden name of the previous six generations.
The Hanna Room is the most prestigious, an en-suite bedroom with an antique four-poster bed, an original fireplace, and romantic views across the hotel grounds. Wide windows offer plenty of afternoon sunshine, while the bathroom offers marble floors, a generously sized bath and separate shower.
The local orchard and chicken farms provides the Newforge House kitchens with plenty of fresh produce, with all other ingredients being sourced by local providers. All meals are made to order, and served with a wide range of beverages offered on their drinks menu.
A former hunting lodge for the Duke of Bedford, the Hotel Endsleigh is located upon the banks of the tranquil River Tamar which runs through the grounds. It’s one of the most beautiful spots of English countryside to be found, swathed in tranquil woodland and rural farmland. Nineteen rooms are open to guests, each one individually furnished to provide a unique and rustic charm.
Food is served within the original dining room, with large open windows offering unparalleled views of the gardens and the landscape beyond. Private dinners are also offered for those wishing to celebrate a special occasion within the renovated former stables, and afternoon tea is served daily within the library.
One of the younger entries on this list, the Torridon was built by the Earl of Lovelace in 1887 to serve as a country retreat and hunting lodge. It’s most noteworthy resident was Ada Lovelace, who is noted as the first computer programmer in history and a visionary for computer science. It’s nestled within the stunning Highlands of Scotland, overlooking Loch Torridon and dominated by the nearby hills and valleys.
Undoubtedly the main feature of the Torridon, as well as its Victorian elegance and charm, is the breathtaking scenery it offers. Demonstrating some of the most dramatic parts of the Scottish Highlands, it’s a delight for all sorts of outdoor activities, from hiking, to canoeing, to shooting.
The Torridon is a fine example of a hotel that’s more than just a place to stay overnight but an experience. As well as its richly appointed rooms and high quality dining, the Torridon also offers a wealth of activities for people of all ages and abilities. It’s easily a holiday in itself, and worth visiting for anyone looking to get the most from a holiday to Scotland.
In contrast to Torridon, the history of Soulton Hall is old indeed. The site has been occupied in some form or another since the Bronze Age, with the manor first becoming established during the Anglo-Saxon period. It has been occupied ever since, with the current distinctive brick structure first erected in 1556 by the Sir Rowland Hill, the first Protestant Mayor of London.
As well as a hotel, Soulton Hall also has a functioning farm on its grounds and some of the foods eaten in its restaurant are grown there.
As well as the rooms located within the Hall itself, Soulton also features numerous rustic cottages on its property as well. Formerly the homes of families working the land, many have been renovated into self-service accommodations available for hire. Each has its own garden, kitchen, a dining/living space, and parking for cars. Located on the edges of the hall, they offer quick access to the surrounding countryside for walks or cycling.
Few of the listed hotels quite catch the stately majesty of the English country manor as Cliveden, which was first established in 1666 by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham as a hunting lodge and expanded gradually over the centuries. It was turned into a luxury hotel in 1985 and has operated as such ever since.
Covering 376 acres of tranquil woodland and ornate gardens, Cliveden House truly lives up to its history and reputation as a stately home associated with the great figures of history, whether dukes and duchess, kings and queens, or presidents and first ladies. Actors and celebrities have a long association with Cliveden House, and a quick stay in its luxurious rooms will show why.
As well as its long walks through the grounds, fine dining, and comfortable accommodations, Cliveden House also offers a spa, state of the art technogym, fitness studios and tennis courts, and its own brand of beauty products.
We may be in lockdown right now but it won't last forever - which of these gorgeous country manor houses will you play Lord and Lady for on your next vacation in the English countryside?