A truly unique spot with a wood-burner that chucks out cheer in the winter months. Climb open-tread stairs to the galleried bedroom and seriously sexy bathroom complete with spa bath for two. Its brother – Douglas's Barn – is more funky, with a glass dining table and perspex chairs in the groovy kitchen. A spiral iron staircase leads to a huge bed with the fattest mattress you've ever clapped eyes on. Hunker down and lock the door or strike out and discover the treasures on the doorstep.
Ffynnon Townhouse would be a lovely place to stay wherever it was located. As it happens its location in Dolgellau, at the foot of the Cader Idris mountain and not far from the sea, makes it extra-special. Its six bedrooms are thoughtfully decorated in a manner that's designed to be both in keeping with the Victorian property but are well-equipped too, with free wifi, IPod docks, DVD players and play stations. Located on Love Lane, it's about a romantic a hideaway as you could wish for – and they're currently running a great offer on 'winter warmer' stays:
Hot Deal: 20% off one night; 25% off two nights and 30% off three+ night breaks for two. Expires 19/03/2016. See listing for details.
Under the enlightened new management of Hugh and Emma Asher, this has long been one of our favourite Norfolk places to stay – a boutique bolt-hole that was a favourite with Agatha Christie and makes a perfect base for the northern Norfolk Broads and north Norfolk coast. The rooms are the comfy side of luxurious, and there’s a cosy. deliberately traditional bar and a really excellent restaurant, whose chef has been here for two decades and cooks high-quality food on a menu that changes daily and is all based on locally-sourced produce – they're famous for their 'ten-mile dinner' (the furthest away chef likes to get his ingredients). They're currently offering an extra night for free if you book a two-night weekday winter break.
We reckon there is perhaps no better place for a lazy weekend away than this pub with rooms deep in heart of central Wales. It's a proper pub, and serves well-priced local ales that you can enjoy in front of a roaring fire in winter, often in the company of a dozing dog or two. Well-behaved hounds are also welcome in the rooms upstairs, which are all different in size and style but – like the owners' other properties, the Gurnard's Head and Old Coastguard – they all have big comfortable beds, Roberts Radios, homemade biscuits and fresh flowers, posh toiletries and plenty of reading matter if all you want to do is slob about.
Hot Deal: Dinner + B&B for two people from just £165, Sun–Thurs only. Expires 24/03/2016. See listing for details.
Perfectly poised for lovers for those who simply want to explore the western highlands, Huntingtower Lodge is a contemporary B&B with a cosy atmosphere. Guests' arrival is met with tea and homemade cakes, something that encapsulates the welcoming feel of the place under the helm of Chris and Jackie Clifford, your amiable hosts. The five rooms are all individually designed and share a large comfortable lounge on the ground floor and staggering views across the Loch to the Ardgour Hills and the hamlet of Stronchreggan on the far shore: perfect for enjoying the scenery in inclement weather.
Hot Deal: 20% off all stays from 8th Jan 2016–29th April 2016. See listing for details.
Low Mill is a chic affair all round, from polished wood floors and exposed stone walls to cheeky fabrics and designer bathrooms, and it's Ipod-docked, wi-fi-ed, flat-screen-TV-ed and fluffy-bath-robed up to its eyeballs. If you think you're been-there-done-that as far as boutique goes, be prepared to swoon at "The Workshop" – an absolutely massive space running the length of the building, complete with winding gear and pulleys, wood-burner and free-standing copper bath. They just won Yorkshire 'Guest Accommodation of the Year' for the umpteenth time and they're also offering a fab winter deal:
Hot Deal: 50% off the third night on a three-night stay or 35% off the second night on two night stays. Expires end of Feb 2016. See listing for details.
The rooms at this amiable pub with rooms not far form the North Norfolk Coast are on the welcoming side of posh, and filled with all the things you need – big sprung beds with high quality linen, flatscreen TVs, DVD players (and a library of discs to choose from), lots to read, stylish shower rooms with REN aromatherapy toiletries – and, an added bonus, your own private entrance and outdoor sitting area. Ditch the car while you're here and just soak it up – walking (there are lots of footpaths nearby), cycling and of course eating at the Bell's fabulous restaurant.
This re-furbished old Broadland pub is home to a great nice bar and restaurant, with two large rooms and comfy chairs by the fire if all you want is to eat or drink, but waking up here is the best way to enjoy the Boathouse's perfect position by tranquil Ormesby Broad – and its six rooms are funkily furnished, cosy and well-priced, and four have views or partial views over the water. All are decorated to a very high standard, with free wifi throughout, tea and coffee-making facilities in each room and beautifully decked-out bathrooms. And, when you've made yourself at home you can just drift downstairs for a pint and a glance at the menu.
We have always been keen on the Plough's sister pub, the excellent Five Alls at Filkins near Burford, and this is just as good – chic but also eminently comfortable, with comfy kingsize beds, walk-in showers or baths and great views over the surrounding countryside and the village. Downstairs is a proper pub, where plenty of people come just to have a pint or two but which also serves excellent foos. You're a hop, skip and a jump away from William Morris's country house at Kelmscott Manor, and Blenheim Palace and the Cotswold Wildlife Park are just a short drive away. All in all, not a bad place for a romantic weekend escape from London – or indeed anywhere!
Hot Deal: 2-nights + 3-course dinner + breakfast for two people just £300. Sun–Thur only. Expires end of Feb 2016. See listing for details.
The flagship hotel of one of our favourite local hotel chains. What we like about Milsoms is the fact that their places are comfortable yet relaxed, and that they tend to have a good restaurant and buzzy bar on site too, and this one is no exception, a small 15-room property with a vibrant bar and brasserie that has just reopened after a major refurbishment and stylish guest rooms that range from 'Standard' through 'Superior' to 'Deluxe', but which all have satellite TV and free wifi and lovely indulgent en-suite bathrooms with nice toiletries.
Fingals is quirky, well-equipped boutique hotel with plenty to do in all weathers at any time of year, with a games room, heated indoor pool and sauna, and any number of walks and visitor attractions in the vicinity of the beautiful village of Dittisham, on the estuary of the river Dart. The hotel's four rooms are individually styled – one has a four-poster bed, another is large and open plan with a sunken bath and a balcony overlooking the wild stream, and winter rates are keen.They also have a self-catering barn.
An extraordinary building with an extraordinary history. which dominates the impeccably preserved village of Blanchland, tucked under the local moors on the Durham/Northumberland border. Rooms are classed as 'Cosy' (the smallest), 'Canny' or 'Champion' (the best), though all feature king-sized beds, robes and aromatherapy toiletries; the Champion rooms and the two suites also boast Nespresso machines, and the Blackdene suite is a cottage duplex with an open log fire. The restaurant is is home to a fireplace that's big enough to stand a rugby team in – though happily you're more likely to see a row of chickens turning on a spit, indeed the menu is a real delight of roasting, smoking and grilling, with robust English flavours and ingredients balanced by seasonal produce from the hotel kitchen garden.
A good family alternative, this one, despite being a country house hotel par excellence – because its aim is to make you, your kids, even your pets, feel as at ease and as at home as possible, and thus make everyone feel to-the-manor born at least for a few days. A beautiful building, gorgeous grounds, spa and swimming pool guest and 27 rooms that are all equally open to couples, families and their dogs make it a perfect choice if all you want to do is dump the car and not leave until it's time to go home.
Outside the Lake District is breathtaking, and the Brimstone is the ideal place to enjoy it from, with 16 large contemporary rooms, some of which have their own open fires. Breakfasts are as hearty as you need for a spot of fell-walking, and urban folk who don't have their own kit can rent borrow waterproof clothing and rucksacks with OS maps. And when you come back, cold and hungry, they can have scones and tea or sizzling steak sandwiches waiting for you in the cosy lounge and reading room, and there's also a pool, sauna and steam room for a different kind of relaxation.
A hotel for thirty years, and the Horn of Plenty's 16 guest rooms have more than kept pace with the times – and all make the most of the hotel's stunning views. Some are located in the main house and are more traditional in decor, while others, in a converted coach house, are contemporary and boutique and have small balconies overlooking the valley. Some are dog-friendly. Come here above all for the food, though: although the restaurant here may no longer be Michelin-starred, it is still very much the other main attraction at the Horn of Plenty,
Occupying around 200 acres of prime Cotswolds countryside Calcot Manor has 35 airy and spacious, well-equipped rooms, with ultra-comfy beds, satellite TV, fruit and snacks in your room, and with bathrooms with powerful modern showers, fluffy robes and tellies, posh products and sometimes a freestanding bath. At the end of the day there's also an excellent restaurant, The Conservatory, and – a nice touch – a proper in-house pub, The Gumstool, which is cosy and comfy and serves a very decent gastro pub menu, so you never need leave the womblike confines of Calcot Manor at all. Unless it's to visit their nearby sister hotel Barnsley House or northern cousin Lord Crewe Arms
Spacious and well equipped rooms, with Hypnos mattresses and high quality linens, flatscreen TVs and free high-speed wifi along with en-suite wet rooms stuffed full of posh toiletries. Plus they're dog-friendly place to stay, so you can bring your pooch and the food is great – locally supplied, with game from the Windsor Royal Parks and lots of veg from local allotments. They have a great and original wine list and also double as a wine merchant, so if you try something you like you can buy a bottle to take home.
This somewhat breathtaking neo-Gothic Victorian abbey is like nowhere else you have ever stayed before, with rooms that make the most of the building's Victorian heritage, all stained glass and appropriate furniture and fittings – as do the public areas with all the facilities you’d expect from a five star venue such as a swimming pool, spa and a great restaurant. All in all, you can loaf about here for a weekend and barely go further than the sumptuous grounds.
Dee[ in the heart of rural Shropshire, this complex of timbered medieval and Georgian houses and outbuildings has been ingeniously converted to one of the most comfortable rural boltholes you could imagine, with nine guest rooms carved out of stables and barns that have comfy beds, including a couple of four-posters, Freeview TVs, CD and DVD players and well-chosen bits and pieces of furniture that suit the overall clean lines of the place. The location couldn't be better, with glorious walks and countryside right outside the window, and of course the renowned foodie town of Ludlow just a few minutes' away. But you don't need to go anywhere: you can opt to stick around and enjoy the grand Norman hall where chef Karl Martin prepares different tasting 5- and 7-course menus – inventive seasonal affairs using local produce that are well worth staying in for.
Lovely country pub within striking distance of London that has six rooms in all – four in the main building, two in a converted barn out the back with beams, plus a handful of two-bedroom serviced cottages down the lane. Rooms come with smart bathrooms and Temple Spa toiletries, and cheering touches such as fresh milk in the fridge and complimentary newspapers for lazy morning lie-ins. With Chichester just three miles away there are plenty of nearby eating options, though you’ll probably just want to stay put in the inn’s cosy, fire-lit restaurant which serves local venison, fish and Southdown lamb.
The Gunton Ams is the sort of countryside retreat that could have been made with city-jaded Londoners in mind – just a three-hour drive from the capital and featuring cosy rooms above a country pub that couldn't be cosier or more welcoming, with a centrepiece giant open fireplace where they cook giant portions of meat form the estate that surrounds – indeed you could look out of the window during the day and spot the deer you might be eating for dinner, What is great about the menu is that they understand that people get hungry strolling around the countryside, with main courses that pay homage to an earlier time with choices of beef, lamb and venison dishes plus plenty of locally sourced fish from nearby. Oh, and the art dealer owner's collection provides plenty of talking points, with work by Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst and lots of bad boys of British art.