BY TIM HEDGLEY, GROUP TRAVEL EDITOR
WITH Britain set to have a bumper summer, why not celebrate the art of great British hospitality with Pride of Britain Hotels? The 50-strong collection of luxury properties boasts many tempting ideas for summertime fun across Britain – from a pop-up Shetland pony in central London and plentiful gourmet dining experiences, to private afternoon tea parties, watercolour painting, Scottish fiddle lessons and e-bike tours.
Built in the Edwardian era by Otto Goring, The Goring in London is the only hotel in the world to have been granted a Royal Warrant from HM The Queen, and the property is still run by the Goring family today. This summer, the hotel will launch its first ‘stable-cation’, when family member Teddy the Shetland pony, owned by CEO Jeremy Goring’s cousins, comes to stay in The Goring’s huge central London garden from 16th – 31st August in his own pop-up stable. A delicious limited-edition Teddy the Shetland-themed tea will be served on the terrace, or on picnic blankets in the garden, with the menu featuring Teddy’s favourite carrot cake, Polo-mint-infused scones and mini apple tarts. There will also be the chance to meet Teddy in the garden. The Teddy the Shetland overnight package starts from £585 per room (two sharing), including afternoon tea, full English breakfast, and a Teddy the Shetland memento. Alternatively, the Teddy the Shetland Afternoon tea can be booked separately from £50 pp. Enjoy the film of Teddy’s first visit to The Goring here: https://www.thegoring.com/the-goring/teddy/ (his overnight case features an impressive array of carrots, apples and hairbrushes!).https://www.youtube.com/embed/BTJjUufadd4?autoplay=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ni-travel.com%2Fa-scintillating-summer-with-pride-of-britain-hotels%2F
Five-red-star Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, in Bath, has teamed up with celebrated local artist Catherine Beale to deliver a special Watercolours in the garden painting package which includes two hours of private tuition with Catherine in the hotel’s one-acre garden, with all painting materials required included. The price is from £475 pp (two sharing; weekend supplement applies) including a night’s accommodation, afternoon tea, two hours’ painting tuition, full English breakfast, use of the hotel’s excellent spa and pool, and valet parking. Valid 17th May until 30th September.
Enjoy the best of Sussex on a top-of-the-range e-bike. The Cycle Electric Sussex tour, put together with cycling specialists Cycling for Softies, includes stays at three characterful Sussex hotels. Spend the first night at Ockenden Manor Hotel and Spa in Cuckfield – perhaps enjoying the spa before a three-course dinner – with the cycling adventure beginning the next morning, after breakfast. The 40-mile route will wind through the Sussex countryside, passing Bramber Castle and the South Downs National Park (which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year) to reach Bailiffscourt, nestled above Climping Beach. On arrival, relax in the indoor – or heated outdoor – infinity pool, perhaps take a dip in the sea and enjoy a well-earned three-course dinner and overnight stay. After breakfast on day three, follow a 25-mile cross-country route to The Spread Eagle, one of the oldest inns in England, in the pretty market town of Midhurst, where use of the spa, and dinner and breakfast, is included. The price is from £979 per person (two sharing), including three nights’ half-board accommodation, e-bike hire with GPS maps, luggage transfers between the hotels and taxi transfer from The Spread Eagle to Ockenden Manor if needed.
Gravetye Manor, in Sussex, is a Grade I-listed Elizabethan stone mansion set in 1,000 acres of parkland. There are 17 bedrooms furnished with fine antiques and rich floral-themed fabrics, and a Michelin-starred restaurant run by talented Head Chef George Blogg. During summertime, the hotel comes into its own; its much-revered gardens were created in 1885 by William Robinson, one of England’s most celebrated gardeners, and they are now in the expert hands of Head Gardener Tom Coward and his team. For an unforgettable summer experience, book the hotel’s enclosed oak gazebo for Afternoon Tea, and savour saffron egg mayonnaise sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam, pistachio and rhubarb Battenburg and a selection of teas and coffees in glorious surroundings. The price is from £50 pp and includes a glass of Sussex sparkling wine on arrival at 3.30pm followed by Afternoon Tea. Available May-September for parties of six to 12 guests. Lunch and Afternoon Tea may also be enjoyed outdoors from 12th April until 14th May, amidst the huge herbaceous borders – and the dining room, with its large glass windows, also delivers the feeling of dining in the garden itself.
For a state-of-the-art spa look no further than Sopwell House, an 18th century Georgian manor house hotel located in St Albans, which is home to Cottonmill, a three-storey spa. It is the first UK spa to introduce treatments on an Amber & Rose Quartz Crystal Bed; other facilities include an indoor swimming pool with two whirlpools, steam and sauna rooms, Vichy shower bed, a beauty salon, fitness studio and 16 treatment rooms. The spa provides a range of soothing treatments, after which guests can unwind in the Rose Relaxation Room with its rose-tinted screens and acoustic ‘petals’, relax with a drink in the Sitting Room or try the Pantry’s fresh seasonal cuisine. The Midweek Escape is from £135 pp (two sharing) and includes a three-course dinner in the Brasserie, use of the Cottonmill spa and full English breakfast. Available Sunday to Thursday.
Located in the heart of Helmsley, North Yorkshire, Feversham Arms Hotel and Verbena Spa has the perfect Food Lovers Break lined up for guests this summer. Arrive at the hotel and indulge in a delicious sweet or savoury afternoon tea, perhaps spending some time in the outdoor heated pool. In the evening, indulge in a seasonal five-course tasting menu, with the option to add a tailored wine flight or a glass of bubbly. The following morning, browse in Helmsley’s charming independent shops and delis, visit Rievaulx Abbey, once one of the wealthiest monasteries in England, or go walking on the North York Moors, which are just moments from the hotel. The price is from £339 per room / £170 per person (two sharing), including afternoon tea, five-course dinner and full Yorkshire breakfast.
Overlooking Durham’s Heritage Coast, Seaham Hall is a spacious five-star boutique hotel set in 37 acres of grounds. The hotel has just 21 luxuriously-appointed suites, a two-AA Rosette restaurant, The Dining Room, plus a Pan-Asian eatery, Ozone. Dining on its spacious terrace on locally-sourced seafood is another foodie option. Its award-winning Serenity Spa features a 20-metre pool, outdoor hot tubs and Zen Garden, plus a hydrotherapy pool. Seaham Hall’s new Swap Four Walls for Sweeping Coastlines break includes accommodation in a junior suite with king-sized Hypnos bed, breakfast (available in The Dining Room or served in your suite), dinner (a choice between The Dining Room or Ozone), complimentary daily spa use, plus a 60-minute Temple Spa or ishga spa treatment each, and a mud rasul experience for two. The price is from £1,615 total/ £808 pp (two sharing), including four nights’ half-board accommodation and the treatments listed.
The Vineyard, near Newbury, Berkshire, is a luxury five-red-star hotel and spa with an award-winning restaurant and a 30,000-bottle wine cellar. On selected Sundays this summer, the hotel is running Champagne Sundays, when guests will enjoy unlimited Champagne during their stay and a bottle of Taittinger Champagne to take home. The price is from £175 pp (based on two sharing), including overnight accommodation, three-course à la carte dinner, unlimited Champagne during their stay (served by the glass), full English breakfast and a bottle of Champagne to take home. Available until 30th June and 1st to 26th September. Excludes July, August, and Bank Holidays.
Standing high above the dramatic Ayrshire coast in SW Scotland, Glenapp Castle is a 17-bedroom luxury five-star hotel with fairy-tale turrets, spacious oak-panelled suites and The Endeavour, a vast new penthouse apartment, launching in May. Of the 65-plus activities offered by the hotel, the new Scottish Fiddle Experience provides one-to-one tuition with local fiddle expert Mark Mitchel, who will teach guests the difference between reels, jigs, and strathspeys. The price is from £420 pp and includes two nights’ accommodation (two sharing a Garden View Suite) with full Scottish breakfast, 6-8 hours’ private fiddle tuition with equipment, a fiddle certificate, and refreshments during lessons. Available until 31st October, 2021, pre-payment only, with a flexible cancellation policy. The castle’s capacious grounds and gardens, with dining options in glorious restored Victorian greenhouses, ensure that social distancing is easy to maintain, and boat trips to the nearby islands – with overnight Glamping an exciting option! – ensure that the fresh sea air can be enjoyed to the full.
Set in Pembrokeshire’s rolling countryside, 25-bedroom boutique bolthole Grove of Narberth is a relaxed retreat, lovingly restored with thoughtful touches such as Welsh blankets, antiques and arts and crafts. The hotel’s Exceptional Gourmet Escape will be a welcome treat and a much-relished change from endless home cooking! – and it includes a tantalising five-course tasting menu created by Executive Head Chef Douglas Balish in The Fernery restaurant. The hotel is just a few miles from the world-renowned Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, plus stunning sandy beaches and Welsh harbour villages. The hotel is soon to launch six newly refurbished rooms within the original 15th century stone cottages including three fabulous garden suites. Designed by Martin Hulbert, the garden suites feature lounges in glass boxes in the garden, bringing the ‘inside out’. The price is from £400 per room/£200 pp (two sharing), including overnight accommodation, a five-course dinner and full Welsh breakfast.
Go in search of the elusive Loch Ness Monster this summer while staying at Ness Walk, a five-star hotel in Inverness, just ten minutes’ drive from Loch Ness. Book a two-night stay and the hotel will arrange a two-hour boat tour of Loch Ness with Jacobite Cruises where you will follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria and visit via Thomas Telford’s impressive Caledonian Canal. Take in the sights, sounds and stories of the Great Glen, Bona Lighthouse and Urquhart Castle before returning to the hotel for some post-lockdown pampering. The price is from £390 pp (two sharing) and includes two nights’ accommodation with breakfast, a glass of Champagne on arrival, à la carte dinner on the first night, Strawberry Afternoon Tea and the boat trip to Loch Ness. Available until 10th October, 2021.
We are all craving some much-needed ‘me-time’, and Ellenborough Park’s All About Me stay is perfect for those needing to recharge their batteries and escape the routine with a night away. The historic 61-bedroom Cotswold manor house overlooks Cheltenham Racecourse and features alfresco dining with new dining carriages, a relaxing spa and its very own country pub, The Horse Box. The All About Me break is from £220 pp (two sharing), including dinner, bed & breakfast, a Mimosa cocktail, 55-minute de-stress Elemis treatment (bespoke facial, back and shoulder massage) and use of robes, slippers and fluffy towels. Valid on selected dates throughout the summer.
To book a stay at the collection of 50 member properties, please call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).