Winter’s looking cosy thanks to the Danes: Crackling fires AND outdoor spas… from the South Downs to the Isle of Skye, the traditional British hotels embracing Denmark’s ‘hygge’ lifestyle
- The spa at Brimstone in the Langdale Valley has an indoor/outdoor vitality pool and thermal cabins
- Lime Wood, with its open fires and snug library, makes a superb base for exploring the New Forest
- Choose between a cabin in the woods or a treehouse-style room with lake views at The Tawny, Staffordshire
They’re the hotels that make for a well-earned mid-winter break – where you can hunker down after a walk in the crisp outdoors and enjoy that Danish cosy ‘hygge’ feeling.
Better still, rates are rock bottom for the rest of January and most of February. A warm welcome awaits…
Chalet chic in the Lake District
It feels as if you’re in a hip ski chalet at Brimstone in the Langdale Valley, which features an indoor/outdoor vitality pool (pictured)
The Yan, pictured, is a bistro with beds just a stroll from Grasmere – and you can climb Helvellyn right from the door
Pictured is The Chalet, the new slate and wood dining space at The Yan, which serves up ski classics such as cheese fondue and tartiflette
It feels as if you’re in a hip ski chalet at Brimstone in the Langdale Valley, with its contemporary furnishings amid acres of wood, and fires in most rooms. Borrow wellies and waterproofs from the kit room for a scenic stroll before relaxing in the spa, with its indoor/outdoor vitality pool and thermal cabins. Be sure to plunder the complimentary drinks and snacks in the reading room as well as walking to the resort’s Wainwrights’ Inn for its speciality of slow-cooked lamb with mash and veg. If you stay in a spa suite, end the evening in a huge bath in front of the fire, with your terrace doors open to the night skies. B&B doubles from £332 a night (brimstonehotel.co.uk).
Also channelling a ski chalet vibe is The Yan, a bistro with beds just a stroll from Grasmere. Chef Will Manley spent years managing chalets in France, and his new slate and wood dining space that looks on to Helm Crag is called The Chalet, with ski classics cheese fondue and tartiflette on the menu. You can climb Helvellyn right from the door, then return to sit by the wood-burner before spending the night in one of seven pared-back, affordable rooms, from £130, room-only (theyan.co.uk).
Stripped-back style in Yorkshire
Beam me down: An inviting bedroom in a wooden cabin at The Alice Hawthorn Inn
The Coniston: Take in the magnificent views from the property’s two outdoor infinity pools – one of which is pictured
There’s plenty of Scandi-chic at The Alice Hawthorn Inn, with four stripped-back stylish rooms above the pub, and eight in modern timber buildings outside. Found in the village of Nun Monkton between Harrogate and York, the hotel has superb walks from the door, including an eight-mile yomp through fields that takes in the Monk’s House, where Anne Bronte and her artist brother Branwell lived. After that, you will have earned a pint and a slap-up meal featuring local game or fish in front of a roaring fire. B&B doubles from £120 a night (thealicehawthorn.com).
For more winter walking, this time in the Yorkshire Dales, head to The Coniston, which has hiking and biking on offer as well as four-wheel-drive off-roading. Take in the magnificent views from the two outdoor infinity pools at the spa, which also has an indoor pool and thermal experience, before huddling around the fire pits and covered outdoor bar. B&B doubles from £139 a night (theconistonhotel.com).
Star-gazing in the Midlands… from your bath
Pictured are the treehouse-style rooms with lakeside views and outdoor tubs big enough for the whole family at The Tawny in Staffordshire
Borrow boots to explore the stunning grounds of The Tawny and take a dip in the outdoor heated pool, pictured
Pictured is the interior of one of The Tawny’s boathouse suites. B&B huts for two cost from £230 per night
It’s hard to choose between the cabins in the woods with star-watching skylight, sofa by the wood-burner and outdoor artisan tin bath, or the treehouse-style rooms with lakeside views and outdoor tubs big enough for the whole family at The Tawny in Staffordshire. Borrow boots to explore the stunning grounds, take a dip in the outdoor heated pool, then warm up in the Plumicorn restaurant, which has amazing food, a bar and a selection of games to play. B&B huts for two from £230 per night (thetawny.co.uk).
For a traditional pub with views over Dovedale in Derbyshire, look no further than The Duncombe Arms.
With candles and cushions, sheepskins and solid wood tables, it’s the perfect pitstop for exploring the Peak Disrict. As well as low ceilings and open fires, it offers smart dining and country-chic bedrooms. B&B doubles from £195 a night (duncombearms.co.uk).
A place to warm your soul in Wales
Brown’s Hotel in Laugharne features Welsh wool beds and chic rooms with exposed brickwork
Pictured is the bar at Brown’s Hotel, which was once frequented by the poet Dylan Thomas
The Welsh answer to hygge is cwtch (pronounced ‘kutch’), whose meaning roughly translates as a warming hug for the soul. A special guide entitled Cwtch Up In Carmarthenshire (discovercarmarthenshire.com) features warming winter breaks, including one at Brown’s Hotel in Laugharne, with its Welsh wool beds, chic rooms beneath beams with exposed brickwork, and a bar once frequented by Dylan Thomas.
While staying there, take a coastal foraging course with Craig Evans and hunt for clams, cockles and sea vegetables, then head for a cave where Craig will cook up your finds over a hand-made candle stove. B&B doubles from £130 a night (browns.wales), foraging courses from £80pp (coastalforaging.co.uk). If you prefer to try your hand at fly-fishing in winter, The Bear Hotel at Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons has a resident ghillie. Join him or the resident walking guide to explore the hills before returning to the old coaching inn with roaring fire and local ales. B&B doubles cost from £130 a night (bearhotel.co.uk).
Shelter from the storm in Cornwall
Darkly delicious: A cosy snug with wood-burner at the atmospheric Pig at Harlyn Bay
Storm-watching doesn’t get much better than in Cornwall, and one of the best places to gaze at 30ft breakers gusting in from the Atlantic is the Headland Hotel in Newquay. As well as its Victorian main building above Fistral Beach, the hotel has clapperboard Storm Watching Cottages with sea views, double-ended baths, and some with wood-burning stoves or four-posters. The Headland also has six indoor and outdoor pools as part of its spa, along with a hot tub with ocean views. Cottages cost from £200 a night for two (headlandhotel.co.uk).
Further along the coast, just minutes from the South West Coast Path, The Pig at Harlyn Bay is a top bolthole for winter thanks to its deliciously dark interiors. The moody magic grabs you as you walk through the door into an inky-blue room with a wood-burner. The rest of the mansion is just as atmospheric, with some rooms looking out to sea, a characterful bar and meals specialising in seasonal produce from a 25-mile radius. Doubles from £155 a night, room only (thepighotel.com/at-harlyn-bay).
Hot chocolate or herbal soaks in the Cotswolds
Grand: Pictured is the Manor House at Castle Combe, where guests can enjoy Michelin-starred dining
The rooms in the Manor House have four-posters and fireplaces. B&B doubles cost from £190 a night
Garden rooms at Thyme in Southrop, Gloucestershire, come with an outdoors fire pit, perfect for toasting marshmallows while you sip a hot chocolate before wallowing in the roll-top bath within. Or book into the new Botanical Bothy in the grounds, with two outdoor baths for herbal soaks by a roaring fireplace. Spend the day at the cookery school learning how to make pasta, rustic French food or tapas, or browse the photographic exhibition of winter gardens in Tithe Barn. End the day with warming food such as confit guinea fowl in the enormous Ox Barn. B&B doubles from £320 a night, garden rooms from £600 (thyme.co.uk).
Further south, Castle Combe is home to the 14th Century Manor House, where the rooms have four-posters and fireplaces. Walk down the driveway to the Castle Inn for traditional pub food, or enjoy Michelin-starred dining in the main hotel. B&B doubles from £190 a night (exclusive.co.uk/the-manor-house/).
Chill out under big skies (or windmill sails) of Norfolk
You can bathe under the stars on the private patios of the new Orchard Cabins at Congham Hall near King’s Lynn
Stay toasty in the Orchard Cabins – each of which comes equipped with underfloor heating and a king-size bed
The wall of windows in each of the five new Orchard Cabins at Congham Hall near King’s Lynn is designed to bring the outside in, while you stay toasty in a room with underfloor heating, king-size bed and a rolltop bath. You can bathe, too, outside on the private patio, enjoying a soak beneath the stars (binoculars are provided). In the main Georgian mansion, relax on the sofa before one of the open fires or head to the Secret Garden Spa to warm up in the indoor pool and outdoor hot tub overlooking the parkland. A night’s dinner with B&B in a cabin from £399 (conghamhallhotel.co.uk).
If you’d rather cuddle up on the coast, the Wheel Room in Cley Windmill is the place to do it. First you need to sign a waiver form to get to the room, which involves climbing up a steep carpeted ladder. Upstairs lies not only a four-poster but four windows, through which you gaze over reed beds out to sea. B&B doubles from £179 a night (cleywindmill.co.uk).
Candlelit nooks and cask ales down south
Lime Wood, pictured, makes a superb base for exploring the New Forest, which surrounds it
Half of the country-style rooms at Lime Wood have open fires or wood-burners. The Forest Cottage master bedroom is pictured above
Pictured is a bunk bed in the Forest Cabin at Lime Wood. Doubles cost from £405 a night
The brick and flint Ram Inn in the South Downs National Park has an open fire in each of its main rooms, where you can wine and dine amid the candlelit nooks.
Try the local cask ale and eat game from the Firle Estate or meat from nearby farms.
The cosiest of the pub’s six rustic-chic bedrooms are under the eaves. B&B doubles from £130 a night (raminn.co.uk).
For those with deeper pockets, Lime Wood, with its open fires and snug library, makes a superb base for exploring the surrounding New Forest.
Cycle to The Pig in the Forest for lunch and return with a glow in your cheeks for a session in the lovely spa.
In the evening, sample some of Angela Hartnett’s renowned truffle dishes before retiring to the country-style rooms, from eaves rooms to forest lodges and cabins, half of which have open fires or wood-burners. Doubles from £405 a night, room only (limewoodhotel.co.uk).
Highland hospitality and Irish wildlife
Foraging and fishing can both be arranged at Kinloch Lodge, pictured, which is set on the Isle of Skye
With a firepit outside and roaring fires inside, Kinloch Lodge – the family home of the Macdonalds of Skye – is big on Highlands hospitality
In March, the Relaxation Burrow in Antrim’s Rabbit Hotel is due to open as a spa with an impressive Roman bath (pictured)
Foraging and fishing can both be arranged at Kinloch Lodge on the Isle of Skye, though you may prefer just to take in the glorious views of Loch Na Dal at the bottom of the garden instead.
With a firepit outside and roaring fires inside, the family home of the Macdonalds of Skye is big on Highlands hospitality. Book a room with a loch view and a romantic roll-top bath, where you can snuggle beneath goose feather duvets. B&B with dinner from £160pp per night (kinloch-lodge.co.uk).
In County Antrim, the Rabbit Hotel is close to Lough Neagh, one of the most important bird habitats in Western Europe. Inside, it’s all Scandi-inspired style, from small attic rooms to larger ones with outdoor bath tubs and wood-burners. In March, the Relaxation Burrow is due to open as a spa with an impressive Roman bath. B&B doubles from £175 a night (rabbithotel.com).
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