We all know the feeling. Sometimes a car journey with your loved one is just too long. Sometimes you just need to, er, get a room. So with that in mind – and the impending Valentine's Day celebrations looming – we've done a round-up of our favourite places to stay within a few miles of a major road. Just be sure call ahead to avoid disappointment!
We wouldn't blame you for thinking somewhere as sleek and urban cool as Cotswold 88 wouldn't exist just off the M5 in the middle of rural Gloucestershire. But it does, and in fact it's the perfect place for you and your partner to pull over, stop over, and treat yourselves to a bit of luxury. There's seventeen individually styled rooms decorated with sumptuous wallpaper and faux-antique furnishings, plus they serve great cocktails in the bar downstairs.
If your ultimate roadside-quickie fantasy involves opulence and bling, then you'll love the Crazy Bear, conveniently situated just off the A40 at Beaconsfield. An outpost of the London Crazy Bear member's club, it has a, well, crazy range of high-calibre rooms, all housed in a stunning 15th century building with assorted outhouses. It's dark and erotic, and perfect for hiding away with your loved one.
It's a bit of a schlep from the M4, but Fairyhill is well worth the delayed gratification, not only for its brilliant position on the beautiful Gower Peninsula but also for the perfect peace that envelopes you on arrival. There is really not much to do here, apart from concentrating on the lovely grounds (24 acres of lakes, waterfalls, orchards, woodland) the fab rooms, complete with crisp Egyptian cotton sheets – and of course each other.
Trudging along the M8 is a bit of a mood-breaker at the best of times, so it's nice that there is a romantic roadside stop-off in this neck of the woods - Houston House, with decadent four-poster beds, a cosy vaulted bar, spa and swimming pool, and views out onto the surrounding woodlands.
This beautiful Georgian rectory is as elegant as it gets, and will have you and your partner acting like Mr Darcy & Elizabeth Bennett in no time. Situated just off the busy A12 in the Suffolk village of Campsea Ashe, you'll undoubtedly be inclined to stay for a few days, and together you can roam the impressive gardens, drink tea, converse about modern literature and whatever else you can think of.
Heading towards the M6 for a romantic break at the Lakes, it's easy to take a break at the Plough, a widely renowned roadside inn where the rooms are intimate and cosy, with bathrooms and baths (large roll tops with posh toiletries) that are perfect for sharing.
Perfectly poised between the M4 and M40, in the nether regions of the London stockbroker belt, Stoke Park is a perfect place for a spontaneous – and glamorous – overnighter. In part it's a fairly traditional country house hotel, with all the frills and swags you expect, but it also has a large modern annexe where the rooms are decked out in 1960s pop art and racy film posters – appropriate given its appearance in multiple films from Goldfinger to Bridget Jones' Diary.
It's only 6 miles off the M5, yet once here you feel transported back to Tudor times, in a sixteenth-century castle set in beautiful countryside a little way inland from the Bristol Channel. We're not sure if it's a passion-killer or not, but you can stay in a bedchamber that was once occupied by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, or just go for the sumptuous Tower Suite, which among other things boasts Britain's largest bed.