Winning tip: Angel Hotel, Brecon Beacons
The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny is a former coaching inn on the edge of the Brecon Beacons national park, with the Black Mountains close by. We found the bar’s old-world feel of warm lighting and wood-panelled walls a welcome hiding place when the weather took a turn for the worse. To fully enjoy the wonderful colours of the local foliage at this time of year I’d recommend joining one of the leaf peeping trips the hotel runs. Last year we also took part in a foraging expedition, identifying wild plants and coming up with dishes using ingredients found a short walk from the hotel.
• Doubles from £109 B&B, angelabergavenny.com
Waddington Arms, Lancashire
The beautiful Ribble Valley is home to the attractive, historic village of Waddington on the edge of the Forest of Bowland. One of its oldest buildings, Waddington Old Hall, gave refuge to King Henry VI in 1465. The Waddington Arms, an old coaching inn, is not quite as ancient, but with a roaring log fire, cosy bedrooms and hearty food, was a wonderful refuge for our short winter break. Numerous walks can be taken from the village: either gentle, following the path of the pretty stream, or more strenuous, such as a climb to the site of the old Moorcock Inn.
• Doubles from £70 B&B, waddingtonarms.co.uk
Readers’ tips competition: send a tip for a chance to win a £200 voucher
Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print, and the best entry each week (as chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet) wins a £200 voucher from hotels.com. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage
Cley Windmill, Norfolk
With atmospheric wintry views across reed beds and bird-rich salt marshes to the North Sea, this converted windmill, a landmark on the north Norfolk coast, offered us an enjoyable stay. We had a warm, lived-in circular sitting room with open fire and comfortable sofas with books and magazines, and enjoyed breakfast and a three-course dinner in the 1713-built beamed warehouse. There are several circular bedrooms in the tower itself, and other rooms in older parts of the building.
• Doubles from £159 B&B, cleywindmill.co.uk
Two Bridges Hotel, Dartmoor
Winter wanders: 21 UK walks with a wow factor
Living as we do in Devon, our go-to bolthole is wild and wonderful Dartmoor, especially in the winter when the snow-covered tors feel like another world. Our favourite hideaway is the cosy Two Bridges Hotel near Princetown, a historic inn with huge log fires, comfy sofas and welcoming rooms to snuggle down in after a bracing day on the moor. The food and local ales (including Princetown’s own Jail Ale) are superb, the staff are friendly and attentive (resourceful too – in last year’s blizzard they improvised overnight accommodation for stranded motorists). For added entertainment, there’s a resident flock of geese.
• Doubles from £90 B&B, twobridges.co.uk
Northumberland Arms, Felton
We went into this pub in the village of Felton for a drink, welcomed by friendly staff and a woodburning stove. Soon we found ourselves charmed in to staying for dinner (my hake and mussels was seriously good) – and then decided to break our journey and stay the night. Our room was comfortable, in modern country style, and it’s dog-friendly, too. It’s in a gorgeous area, with great walks from the front door and a 15-minute drive to some of the best beaches in the UK, like Warkworth, for bracing walks.
• Doubles from £130 B&B, northumberlandarms-felton.co.uk
The Royal at Heysham, Lancashire
When the new owners of our village pub announced a multimillion-pound refurbishment, we were apprehensive. But the revamped pub has kept the best of the old and brought back in to use rooms that were disused (and semi-derelict). Guest bedrooms were created, along with an outside seating area (with heaters and blankets provided). Although enlarged, the Royal is still cosy, with open fires in bar areas. Heysham village is one of Lancashire’s hidden gems, with views over Morecambe Bay to the Lake District peaks from the nearby headland (in the care of the National Trust).
• Doubles from £90 B&B, theroyalheysham.co.uk
Romney Bay House Hotel, Kent
This is an ideal retreat after a day walking on the blustery expanses of Dungeness’s shingle and around the local RSPB reserve’s lagoons. After dark, settle into the cosy bar with local beers and a cheeseboard, or eat in the restaurant. We found it fascinating watching the ships in the Channel by night and enjoyed the huge skies and colours of dusk. Breakfast is in the conservatory, sheltered from the wind on the marshes, and dinners by chef Clinton Lovell centre on locally caught fish. With looks that reminded me of an ocean liner, this hotel is one of the few accommodation options on a lonely bit of coastline – and we found it was the perfect place to moor up on a crisp winter weekend.
• Doubles from £95 B&B, romneybayhousehotel.co.uk
Kilcamb Lodge Hotel, Highlands
10 great winter walks in the UK: readers’ tips
Bedrooms at this secluded hotel overlook one of the Highland’s longest sea lochs, Sunart, where otters and dolphins play in the water and pine martens and red squirrels inhabit the forests. The Ardnamurchan peninsula is one of the wildest parts of the UK, with exhilarating walks everywhere you turn. We enjoyed trips to the Ardnamurchan distillery and the singing sands of Kentra Bay and, at sunset, one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen: the ruins of Castle Tioram at Loch Moidart. On returning to Kilcamb, there’s roast venison from the hills behind, lobsters, scallops and langoustines from the loch in front and a roaring fire.
• Doubles from £185 B&B, kilcamblodge.co.uk
Widbrook Grange, Wiltshire
Close to the idyllic town of Bradford-on-Avon, we found this the perfect place for a winter break. The rooms in this boutique hotel, in an old farmhouse, are classy but cosy and are influenced in style by the surrounding rolling countryside. The food is superb, there is an amazing gin bar complete with log fire, and the grounds are full of reminders of its agricultural past. The hotel welcomes dogs, which can also enjoy afternoon tea! We treated ourselves to countryside walks and a mooch around Bradford-in Avon. We also popped into beautiful Bath – 10 miles away – for a meal. The hotel has a swimming pool and gym and there are massages and beauty treatments on offer.
• Doubles from £113 B&B, widbrookgrange.co.uk
Lord Poulett Arms, Somerset
Nothing murmurs “cosy winter retreat” more than sinking into a deep armchair by a real fire nursing a glass of mulled wine. You can then retire, after a delicious meal and a soak in a rolltop bath, to a bed dressed with vintage Welsh blankets … heaven! You can find this luxury in the honey-stoned, thatched Lord Poulett Arms, dating from 1680, in the gorgeous Somerset village of Hinton St George. It’s a few miles west of Yeovil, 40 minutes’ drive from Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, and well positioned to visit the NT’s Montacute House and Barrington Court – though there are also plenty of scenic local walks too. Remarkable value.
• Doubles from £85 B&B, lordpoulettarms.com
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