October is in full swing, and whilst it has admittedly been hard to keep up with where we can and can’t travel this year, there are plenty of weekends away to be had in the UK, if your area isn't yet subject to Tier 3 restrictions. So, we're going to be packing one of our new Chelsea weekenders and booking a stay at one of these beautiful boutique hotels within easy reach of the capital.
If you don’t have a car, there are a whole host of options just a short train and taxi ride away, but to really travel in style (and stay safely in your bubble) we recommend trying THE OUT—the seriously convenient car hire service.
You can hire a range rover or land rover online or via their app, and they’ll drop it directly at your door in London, within zones 1-5 (or at Gatwick and Heathrow airports) as well as pick it up when you arrive home. We recently teamed up with THE OUT for a photo shoot for our new Chelsea weekender bag, so we can confirm it’s a service worth shouting about.
Ready for some inspiration on where to go next? Here are five places we’re most keen to head to, just a short drive from the city.
The Mitre Hampton Court, Surrey
Newly opened just last month, we think that’s already a hotel triumph worth rewarding given that it’s well, 2020. A luxury boutique hotel in Surrey, The Mitre sits on the bank of the River Thames next to Hampton Court Palace—the grade II listed property dates back to 1665 and was originally used as ancillary accommodation for guests of King Charles II.
There are several elevated dining options including an all-day riverside restaurant, 1665, plus 36-bedrooms to choose from, each designed with quirky British elegance and authentic luxury.
The hipster way to experience the countryside, we are all for this place, which describes itself as a “funfair for adults”. Thirty-minutes north of London and just outside the M25, Birch has an ever-evolving events calendar featuring workshops from candle making to a soda bread masterclass, and have we mentioned the three bars, wellness space, and work hub? Check in here and you’ll keep your productivity levels high, whether you’re working remotely or trying out some brand-new skills.
This extraordinary mansion, recently reinvented as a playfully glamorous country house hotel, has played host to Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, Rudyard Kipling and Sir Winston Churchill. Now with interiors that are just the right blend of traditional with contemporary—think textured wallpaper, pastel furnishings and patterned fabrics—this really is the ultimate country retreat.
Choose to stay in The Main House or The Garden House and don’t miss Sir Frank’s Bar for a pre-dinner drink. Naturally, there are several exquisite dining options, and at just an hour’s drive from central London, you’ll be able to spend even more of your weekend enjoying the hotel’s highlights. What's more, from 1 December they're opening an ice rink in the grounds, with a rink-side cabin serving mulled cider. Genius.
Heckfield Place, Hampshire
A lovingly restored Georgian family home, Heckfield place sits on 400 acres of grounds in Hampshire. Interiors are as sophisticated as they come—this is a country haven, sculpted over centuries and with interiors brought to life by English oak furniture, natural materials and local craftsmanship. With a home farm, kitchen gardens and orchards, the restaurant is overseen by none other than Skye Gyngell. Settle in here, and you’ll find it very hard to leave.
The Pig near Bath, Somerset
Okay so this is a little more of a drive at around two-and-a-half hours from London, but when you’ve got your car from The Out, there’s reason to make good use of it, plus no UK boutique hotel round up would be complete without mention of The Pigs.
On arrival in the Mendip Hills, you’ll be rewarded with everything you could possibly want from a countryside stay—herb-infused cocktails created in a cosy panelled bar, a conservatory restaurant, characterful bedrooms, and a kitchen garden that boasts beehives, a smoke house, a wild flower orchard and fruit cages. See you there.