Flight free travel: The best English country hotels that are just a train ride away

There's nowhere quite like Seaham Hall to explore the north-east.
There's nowhere quite like Seaham Hall to explore the north-east. Copyright Seaham Hall
By Marthe de Ferrer
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You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Downton with a stay at one of these truly English properties.


International travel might be a lot easier this year but that doesn’t mean you’re obliged to go back to far-flung destinations. Some travellers are choosing not to go back to their pre-pandemic travel habits, whether due to environmental concerns, the soaring cost of living or other factors like fear of flying.

But staying in the UK or Europe doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on style.

England is full of beautiful historic towns that are home to gorgeous hotels, some big, some more intimate.

So read on for the best hotels for a weekend away.

The best hotel for Shakespeare lovers

Matthew D. Shaw/The Arden, Stratford
The Arden Hotel in Stratford-Upon-AvonMatthew D. Shaw/The Arden, Stratford

If you’re a fan of the Bard, Stratford-Upon-Avon has to be on your travel agenda. The Arden Hotel, named after the forest in ‘As You Like It’, is an ideal spot for exploring the area.

There’s an award-winning restaurant, No.44 Brasserie, as well as a beautiful lounge for enjoying afternoon tea.

Whether you’re seeing a production at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), visiting Shakespeare’s Birthplace, or taking a leisurely stroll along the River Avon - there’s plenty to do in Stratford.

The best hotel for Romantics

Linthwaite House
The beautiful Linthwaite House overlooks Lake Windemere.Linthwaite House

Okay, we’re sticking with the literary theme here - because who appreciated the English countryside better than the Romantic poets?

Stay at Linthwaite House, with stunning views over Lake Windemere - mere minutes from William Wordsworth’s home in Grasmere.

For outdoorsy types, there’s a wealth of hiking trails on your doorstep, along with all the usual watersports offered on Windemere.

And for people less inclined to physical exertion, Linthwaite House has an excellent restaurant with renowned chef Simon Rogan at the helm.

The best hotel for spa visits

Seaham Hall
Seaham Hall is where Lord Byron married in 1815. It's worth staying in the stunning Ada Lovelace suite (named after Byron's daughter).Seaham Hall

If you’re looking for a wellness retreat in a classic country house hotel, Seaham Hall in County Durham is definitely for you.

But Seaham is far from stuffy. It feels uniquely modern and deeply stylish, with exceptional views from its clifftop location.

It’s won multiple awards for its spa, but there’s so much more to this place than just wellness. From high-end cuisine to stunning suites, Seaham has a lot to offer visitors looking to explore the beautiful Durham coastline.

Plus, for an extra dose of literary history, Seaham Hall is where Lord Byron got married in 1815.

The best hotel for swimmers

New Bath Hotel & Spa
The New Bath Hotel & Spa is home to an exceptional geothermal pool.New Bath Hotel & Spa

When you think of geothermal waters, your mind likely goes to Iceland. But did you know there’s a spring-fed pool in the UK?

It’s at the New Bath Hotel in Matlock Bath, on the edge of the Peak District, and it’s well worth a visit.

With the awe-inspiring Peak District on your doorstep, there are plenty of trails and forests to be explored nearby - as well as the popular town of Matlock.


The best hotel for a coastal retreat

The Talland Bay Hotel
With tropical forests as its backdrop, The Talland Bay Hotel is a must-stay in Cornwall.The Talland Bay Hotel

While England is blessed with an enormous, beautiful coastline - there really is nowhere quite like Cornwall.

The Talland Bay Hotel near Looe is an absolute must-visit for anyone who wants sea views.

Located in an uncharacteriscally quiet spot on the Cornish coast, there’s an unspoilt beach at the foot of the hotel.

Plus, for those of us with canine companions, Talland Bay is dog-friendly - rare for a luxury spot.

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