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Mauricio Pochettino masterclass: How Tottenham manager set side up perfectly for Real Madrid draw

Tottenham have been accused of lacking squad depth, but on Tuesday night they went to the home of the European champions without a host of first-team players and picked up a deserved point against Real Madrid.  So how did Mauricio Pochettino set up his side so astutely and make light of the absence of Dele Alli, Victor Wanyama, Ben Davies, Danny Rose (fit enough only to be a substitute) and Mousa Dembele?   Two up top It's a sign of a confident manager when he is willing to take big gambles for the most important matches. Sir Alex Ferguson used to do it for European knockout matches, Pep Guardiola first experimented with Lionel Messi as a 'false nine' for a decisive Clasico at the Bernabeu in 2009, Pochettino himself switched to a 3-4-3 for last November's north London derby.  On Tuesday night, Pochettino again rolled the dice. Where most managers would have set up more defensively at the home of the reigning European champions, Spurs lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with two up front for the first time this season. Fernando Llorente's only other start since joining Tottenham in the summer had been in the League Cup against Barnsley, yet here he was partnering Harry Kane at the Bernabeu.   It's unlikely that Pochettino was influenced by Llorente's record of having scored more goals against Real than any other opponents, but in any case the striker instantly looked at home in such a rarefied atmosphere. Harry Kane's touch map against Real Madrid. Having a strike partner meant he could largely stay up front and was not forced to often drop into midfield His touch was assured and vitally he gave Tottenham an out ball when they needed to go a little bit more direct. Against a team as relentlessly attacking and athletic as Real, it was critical that Spurs had a striker who could protect the ball and bring others into play to give the team's defenders some respite.  Kane has the ability to play that role as well, but by giving him a strike partner meant he could play further up and stretch Raphael Varane rather than having to worry too much about playing with his back to goal.  Llorente put in plenty of selfless graft, but he also showed moments of real quality as well. He could have won a penalty in the first half when tripped in the box by Casemiro, and in the final 20 minutes set up excellent chances for Kane and then Christian Eriksen.  Playing with two strikers risked Spurs being overrun in midfield, but thanks to the sterling work of the likes of Harry Winks they were able to contain Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Isco, while at the same time carrying a threat on the counter-attack.  Fernando Llorente impressed for Tottenham Winks comes of age With Eric Dier dropping back into defence, Harry Winks was tasked with containing Real's star-studded midfield.  Crucially, the presence of the three defenders behind him gave Winks the confidence not to sit too deep and invite pressure from the likes of Modric and Kroos.  Instead he was able to push further on and get tighter to Real's deep-lying midfielders who are so critical to the way they quickly build attacks through the middle of the pitch.  When Tottenham had the ball, Winks was happy to come deep to get it off the centre-backs and start attacks, thus allowing Moussa Sissoko to use his pace to get forward, and giving Christian Eriksen the license to roam and try and find pockets of space. Winks also pushed forward himself on plenty of occasions, and won the ball back before passing to Sissoko in the build-up to Varane's own goal.  It was a huge gamble by Pochettino to give the 21-year-old Winks such responsibility, especially in a system that had initially made him look so isolated. As it was, the solidity of a back five - helped by having the defensively minded Jan Vertonghen on the left - meant Spurs could soak up Real's pressure and quickly find Winks in space when they won back possession.  Harry Winks' heat map against Real Madrid. The midfielder was able to get forward and not invite Real pressure  A flatter back five A key tenet of Spurs's success over the last year has been the width and attacking thrust provided by the team's two wing-backs.  On Tuesday though, Tottenham 's wing-backs were far more disciplined, with Vertonghen playing more as a conventional left-back, and making eight tackles in the process - the most of any player in the Champions League on Tuesday. Aurier on the other side was more attacking, but even he was willing to sit in and focus primarily on defending. It was a more defensive Tottenham than we have become used to, but it was precisely what was needed on the night.  The massed back five created a big problem for Real, with Isco struggling to locate space between the lines and Benzema finding himself isolated before being replaced by Marco Asensio.  Jan Vertonghen (L) helped keep the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (R) at bay When the Tottenham defenders did get the ball they were then able to quickly stretch Real by finding Sissoko and Eriksen, or one of the two strikers.  It was a tactic out of the Sir Alex playbook. Often in high-profile matches, Ferguson would set Manchester United up with a flat defence and central midfield, which would give his front three the license to more or less stay high and not worry too much about their defensive duties.  Against Real, Eriksen and the two Spurs strikers had similar freedom, which prevented Real from piling forward with no fear of a Tottenham threat in behind.  The match was a big test of Tottenham and Pochettino's big-match temperament, and it was one they passed with flying colours. 

Mauricio Pochettino masterclass: How Tottenham manager set side up perfectly for Real Madrid draw

Tottenham have been accused of lacking squad depth, but on Tuesday night they went to the home of the European champions without a host of first-team players and picked up a deserved point against Real Madrid.  So how did Mauricio Pochettino set up his side so astutely and make light of the absence of Dele Alli, Victor Wanyama, Ben Davies, Danny Rose (fit enough only to be a substitute) and Mousa Dembele?   Two up top It's a sign of a confident manager when he is willing to take big gambles for the most important matches. Sir Alex Ferguson used to do it for European knockout matches, Pep Guardiola first experimented with Lionel Messi as a 'false nine' for a decisive Clasico at the Bernabeu in 2009, Pochettino himself switched to a 3-4-3 for last November's north London derby.  On Tuesday night, Pochettino again rolled the dice. Where most managers would have set up more defensively at the home of the reigning European champions, Spurs lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with two up front for the first time this season. Fernando Llorente's only other start since joining Tottenham in the summer had been in the League Cup against Barnsley, yet here he was partnering Harry Kane at the Bernabeu.   It's unlikely that Pochettino was influenced by Llorente's record of having scored more goals against Real than any other opponents, but in any case the striker instantly looked at home in such a rarefied atmosphere. Harry Kane's touch map against Real Madrid. Having a strike partner meant he could largely stay up front and was not forced to often drop into midfield His touch was assured and vitally he gave Tottenham an out ball when they needed to go a little bit more direct. Against a team as relentlessly attacking and athletic as Real, it was critical that Spurs had a striker who could protect the ball and bring others into play to give the team's defenders some respite.  Kane has the ability to play that role as well, but by giving him a strike partner meant he could play further up and stretch Raphael Varane rather than having to worry too much about playing with his back to goal.  Llorente put in plenty of selfless graft, but he also showed moments of real quality as well. He could have won a penalty in the first half when tripped in the box by Casemiro, and in the final 20 minutes set up excellent chances for Kane and then Christian Eriksen.  Playing with two strikers risked Spurs being overrun in midfield, but thanks to the sterling work of the likes of Harry Winks they were able to contain Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Isco, while at the same time carrying a threat on the counter-attack.  Fernando Llorente impressed for Tottenham Winks comes of age With Eric Dier dropping back into defence, Harry Winks was tasked with containing Real's star-studded midfield.  Crucially, the presence of the three defenders behind him gave Winks the confidence not to sit too deep and invite pressure from the likes of Modric and Kroos.  Instead he was able to push further on and get tighter to Real's deep-lying midfielders who are so critical to the way they quickly build attacks through the middle of the pitch.  When Tottenham had the ball, Winks was happy to come deep to get it off the centre-backs and start attacks, thus allowing Moussa Sissoko to use his pace to get forward, and giving Christian Eriksen the license to roam and try and find pockets of space. Winks also pushed forward himself on plenty of occasions, and won the ball back before passing to Sissoko in the build-up to Varane's own goal.  It was a huge gamble by Pochettino to give the 21-year-old Winks such responsibility, especially in a system that had initially made him look so isolated. As it was, the solidity of a back five - helped by having the defensively minded Jan Vertonghen on the left - meant Spurs could soak up Real's pressure and quickly find Winks in space when they won back possession.  Harry Winks' heat map against Real Madrid. The midfielder was able to get forward and not invite Real pressure  A flatter back five A key tenet of Spurs's success over the last year has been the width and attacking thrust provided by the team's two wing-backs.  On Tuesday though, Tottenham 's wing-backs were far more disciplined, with Vertonghen playing more as a conventional left-back, and making eight tackles in the process - the most of any player in the Champions League on Tuesday. Aurier on the other side was more attacking, but even he was willing to sit in and focus primarily on defending. It was a more defensive Tottenham than we have become used to, but it was precisely what was needed on the night.  The massed back five created a big problem for Real, with Isco struggling to locate space between the lines and Benzema finding himself isolated before being replaced by Marco Asensio.  Jan Vertonghen (L) helped keep the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (R) at bay When the Tottenham defenders did get the ball they were then able to quickly stretch Real by finding Sissoko and Eriksen, or one of the two strikers.  It was a tactic out of the Sir Alex playbook. Often in high-profile matches, Ferguson would set Manchester United up with a flat defence and central midfield, which would give his front three the license to more or less stay high and not worry too much about their defensive duties.  Against Real, Eriksen and the two Spurs strikers had similar freedom, which prevented Real from piling forward with no fear of a Tottenham threat in behind.  The match was a big test of Tottenham and Pochettino's big-match temperament, and it was one they passed with flying colours. 

Mauricio Pochettino masterclass: How Tottenham manager set side up perfectly for Real Madrid draw

Tottenham have been accused of lacking squad depth, but on Tuesday night they went to the home of the European champions without a host of first-team players and picked up a deserved point against Real Madrid.  So how did Mauricio Pochettino set up his side so astutely and make light of the absence of Dele Alli, Victor Wanyama, Ben Davies, Danny Rose (fit enough only to be a substitute) and Mousa Dembele?   Two up top It's a sign of a confident manager when he is willing to take big gambles for the most important matches. Sir Alex Ferguson used to do it for European knockout matches, Pep Guardiola first experimented with Lionel Messi as a 'false nine' for a decisive Clasico at the Bernabeu in 2009, Pochettino himself switched to a 3-4-3 for last November's north London derby.  On Tuesday night, Pochettino again rolled the dice. Where most managers would have set up more defensively at the home of the reigning European champions, Spurs lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with two up front for the first time this season. Fernando Llorente's only other start since joining Tottenham in the summer had been in the League Cup against Barnsley, yet here he was partnering Harry Kane at the Bernabeu.   It's unlikely that Pochettino was influenced by Llorente's record of having scored more goals against Real than any other opponents, but in any case the striker instantly looked at home in such a rarefied atmosphere. Harry Kane's touch map against Real Madrid. Having a strike partner meant he could largely stay up front and was not forced to often drop into midfield His touch was assured and vitally he gave Tottenham an out ball when they needed to go a little bit more direct. Against a team as relentlessly attacking and athletic as Real, it was critical that Spurs had a striker who could protect the ball and bring others into play to give the team's defenders some respite.  Kane has the ability to play that role as well, but by giving him a strike partner meant he could play further up and stretch Raphael Varane rather than having to worry too much about playing with his back to goal.  Llorente put in plenty of selfless graft, but he also showed moments of real quality as well. He could have won a penalty in the first half when tripped in the box by Casemiro, and in the final 20 minutes set up excellent chances for Kane and then Christian Eriksen.  Playing with two strikers risked Spurs being overrun in midfield, but thanks to the sterling work of the likes of Harry Winks they were able to contain Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Isco, while at the same time carrying a threat on the counter-attack.  Fernando Llorente impressed for Tottenham Winks comes of age With Eric Dier dropping back into defence, Harry Winks was tasked with containing Real's star-studded midfield.  Crucially, the presence of the three defenders behind him gave Winks the confidence not to sit too deep and invite pressure from the likes of Modric and Kroos.  Instead he was able to push further on and get tighter to Real's deep-lying midfielders who are so critical to the way they quickly build attacks through the middle of the pitch.  When Tottenham had the ball, Winks was happy to come deep to get it off the centre-backs and start attacks, thus allowing Moussa Sissoko to use his pace to get forward, and giving Christian Eriksen the license to roam and try and find pockets of space. Winks also pushed forward himself on plenty of occasions, and won the ball back before passing to Sissoko in the build-up to Varane's own goal.  It was a huge gamble by Pochettino to give the 21-year-old Winks such responsibility, especially in a system that had initially made him look so isolated. As it was, the solidity of a back five - helped by having the defensively minded Jan Vertonghen on the left - meant Spurs could soak up Real's pressure and quickly find Winks in space when they won back possession.  Harry Winks' heat map against Real Madrid. The midfielder was able to get forward and not invite Real pressure  A flatter back five A key tenet of Spurs's success over the last year has been the width and attacking thrust provided by the team's two wing-backs.  On Tuesday though, Tottenham 's wing-backs were far more disciplined, with Vertonghen playing more as a conventional left-back, and making eight tackles in the process - the most of any player in the Champions League on Tuesday. Aurier on the other side was more attacking, but even he was willing to sit in and focus primarily on defending. It was a more defensive Tottenham than we have become used to, but it was precisely what was needed on the night.  The massed back five created a big problem for Real, with Isco struggling to locate space between the lines and Benzema finding himself isolated before being replaced by Marco Asensio.  Jan Vertonghen (L) helped keep the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (R) at bay When the Tottenham defenders did get the ball they were then able to quickly stretch Real by finding Sissoko and Eriksen, or one of the two strikers.  It was a tactic out of the Sir Alex playbook. Often in high-profile matches, Ferguson would set Manchester United up with a flat defence and central midfield, which would give his front three the license to more or less stay high and not worry too much about their defensive duties.  Against Real, Eriksen and the two Spurs strikers had similar freedom, which prevented Real from piling forward with no fear of a Tottenham threat in behind.  The match was a big test of Tottenham and Pochettino's big-match temperament, and it was one they passed with flying colours. 

Mauricio Pochettino masterclass: How Tottenham manager set side up perfectly for Real Madrid draw

Tottenham have been accused of lacking squad depth, but on Tuesday night they went to the home of the European champions without a host of first-team players and picked up a deserved point against Real Madrid.  So how did Mauricio Pochettino set up his side so astutely and make light of the absence of Dele Alli, Victor Wanyama, Ben Davies, Danny Rose (fit enough only to be a substitute) and Mousa Dembele?   Two up top It's a sign of a confident manager when he is willing to take big gambles for the most important matches. Sir Alex Ferguson used to do it for European knockout matches, Pep Guardiola first experimented with Lionel Messi as a 'false nine' for a decisive Clasico at the Bernabeu in 2009, Pochettino himself switched to a 3-4-3 for last November's north London derby.  On Tuesday night, Pochettino again rolled the dice. Where most managers would have set up more defensively at the home of the reigning European champions, Spurs lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with two up front for the first time this season. Fernando Llorente's only other start since joining Tottenham in the summer had been in the League Cup against Barnsley, yet here he was partnering Harry Kane at the Bernabeu.   It's unlikely that Pochettino was influenced by Llorente's record of having scored more goals against Real than any other opponents, but in any case the striker instantly looked at home in such a rarefied atmosphere. Harry Kane's touch map against Real Madrid. Having a strike partner meant he could largely stay up front and was not forced to often drop into midfield His touch was assured and vitally he gave Tottenham an out ball when they needed to go a little bit more direct. Against a team as relentlessly attacking and athletic as Real, it was critical that Spurs had a striker who could protect the ball and bring others into play to give the team's defenders some respite.  Kane has the ability to play that role as well, but by giving him a strike partner meant he could play further up and stretch Raphael Varane rather than having to worry too much about playing with his back to goal.  Llorente put in plenty of selfless graft, but he also showed moments of real quality as well. He could have won a penalty in the first half when tripped in the box by Casemiro, and in the final 20 minutes set up excellent chances for Kane and then Christian Eriksen.  Playing with two strikers risked Spurs being overrun in midfield, but thanks to the sterling work of the likes of Harry Winks they were able to contain Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Isco, while at the same time carrying a threat on the counter-attack.  Fernando Llorente impressed for Tottenham Winks comes of age With Eric Dier dropping back into defence, Harry Winks was tasked with containing Real's star-studded midfield.  Crucially, the presence of the three defenders behind him gave Winks the confidence not to sit too deep and invite pressure from the likes of Modric and Kroos.  Instead he was able to push further on and get tighter to Real's deep-lying midfielders who are so critical to the way they quickly build attacks through the middle of the pitch.  When Tottenham had the ball, Winks was happy to come deep to get it off the centre-backs and start attacks, thus allowing Moussa Sissoko to use his pace to get forward, and giving Christian Eriksen the license to roam and try and find pockets of space. Winks also pushed forward himself on plenty of occasions, and won the ball back before passing to Sissoko in the build-up to Varane's own goal.  It was a huge gamble by Pochettino to give the 21-year-old Winks such responsibility, especially in a system that had initially made him look so isolated. As it was, the solidity of a back five - helped by having the defensively minded Jan Vertonghen on the left - meant Spurs could soak up Real's pressure and quickly find Winks in space when they won back possession.  Harry Winks' heat map against Real Madrid. The midfielder was able to get forward and not invite Real pressure  A flatter back five A key tenet of Spurs's success over the last year has been the width and attacking thrust provided by the team's two wing-backs.  On Tuesday though, Tottenham 's wing-backs were far more disciplined, with Vertonghen playing more as a conventional left-back, and making eight tackles in the process - the most of any player in the Champions League on Tuesday. Aurier on the other side was more attacking, but even he was willing to sit in and focus primarily on defending. It was a more defensive Tottenham than we have become used to, but it was precisely what was needed on the night.  The massed back five created a big problem for Real, with Isco struggling to locate space between the lines and Benzema finding himself isolated before being replaced by Marco Asensio.  Jan Vertonghen (L) helped keep the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (R) at bay When the Tottenham defenders did get the ball they were then able to quickly stretch Real by finding Sissoko and Eriksen, or one of the two strikers.  It was a tactic out of the Sir Alex playbook. Often in high-profile matches, Ferguson would set Manchester United up with a flat defence and central midfield, which would give his front three the license to more or less stay high and not worry too much about their defensive duties.  Against Real, Eriksen and the two Spurs strikers had similar freedom, which prevented Real from piling forward with no fear of a Tottenham threat in behind.  The match was a big test of Tottenham and Pochettino's big-match temperament, and it was one they passed with flying colours. 

Mauricio Pochettino masterclass: How Tottenham manager set side up perfectly for Real Madrid draw

Tottenham have been accused of lacking squad depth, but on Tuesday night they went to the home of the European champions without a host of first-team players and picked up a deserved point against Real Madrid.  So how did Mauricio Pochettino set up his side so astutely and make light of the absence of Dele Alli, Victor Wanyama, Ben Davies, Danny Rose (fit enough only to be a substitute) and Mousa Dembele?   Two up top It's a sign of a confident manager when he is willing to take big gambles for the most important matches. Sir Alex Ferguson used to do it for European knockout matches, Pep Guardiola first experimented with Lionel Messi as a 'false nine' for a decisive Clasico at the Bernabeu in 2009, Pochettino himself switched to a 3-4-3 for last November's north London derby.  On Tuesday night, Pochettino again rolled the dice. Where most managers would have set up more defensively at the home of the reigning European champions, Spurs lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with two up front for the first time this season. Fernando Llorente's only other start since joining Tottenham in the summer had been in the League Cup against Barnsley, yet here he was partnering Harry Kane at the Bernabeu.   It's unlikely that Pochettino was influenced by Llorente's record of having scored more goals against Real than any other opponents, but in any case the striker instantly looked at home in such a rarefied atmosphere. Harry Kane's touch map against Real Madrid. Having a strike partner meant he could largely stay up front and was not forced to often drop into midfield His touch was assured and vitally he gave Tottenham an out ball when they needed to go a little bit more direct. Against a team as relentlessly attacking and athletic as Real, it was critical that Spurs had a striker who could protect the ball and bring others into play to give the team's defenders some respite.  Kane has the ability to play that role as well, but by giving him a strike partner meant he could play further up and stretch Raphael Varane rather than having to worry too much about playing with his back to goal.  Llorente put in plenty of selfless graft, but he also showed moments of real quality as well. He could have won a penalty in the first half when tripped in the box by Casemiro, and in the final 20 minutes set up excellent chances for Kane and then Christian Eriksen.  Playing with two strikers risked Spurs being overrun in midfield, but thanks to the sterling work of the likes of Harry Winks they were able to contain Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Isco, while at the same time carrying a threat on the counter-attack.  Fernando Llorente impressed for Tottenham Winks comes of age With Eric Dier dropping back into defence, Harry Winks was tasked with containing Real's star-studded midfield.  Crucially, the presence of the three defenders behind him gave Winks the confidence not to sit too deep and invite pressure from the likes of Modric and Kroos.  Instead he was able to push further on and get tighter to Real's deep-lying midfielders who are so critical to the way they quickly build attacks through the middle of the pitch.  When Tottenham had the ball, Winks was happy to come deep to get it off the centre-backs and start attacks, thus allowing Moussa Sissoko to use his pace to get forward, and giving Christian Eriksen the license to roam and try and find pockets of space. Winks also pushed forward himself on plenty of occasions, and won the ball back before passing to Sissoko in the build-up to Varane's own goal.  It was a huge gamble by Pochettino to give the 21-year-old Winks such responsibility, especially in a system that had initially made him look so isolated. As it was, the solidity of a back five - helped by having the defensively minded Jan Vertonghen on the left - meant Spurs could soak up Real's pressure and quickly find Winks in space when they won back possession.  Harry Winks' heat map against Real Madrid. The midfielder was able to get forward and not invite Real pressure  A flatter back five A key tenet of Spurs's success over the last year has been the width and attacking thrust provided by the team's two wing-backs.  On Tuesday though, Tottenham 's wing-backs were far more disciplined, with Vertonghen playing more as a conventional left-back, and making eight tackles in the process - the most of any player in the Champions League on Tuesday. Aurier on the other side was more attacking, but even he was willing to sit in and focus primarily on defending. It was a more defensive Tottenham than we have become used to, but it was precisely what was needed on the night.  The massed back five created a big problem for Real, with Isco struggling to locate space between the lines and Benzema finding himself isolated before being replaced by Marco Asensio.  Jan Vertonghen (L) helped keep the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo (R) at bay When the Tottenham defenders did get the ball they were then able to quickly stretch Real by finding Sissoko and Eriksen, or one of the two strikers.  It was a tactic out of the Sir Alex playbook. Often in high-profile matches, Ferguson would set Manchester United up with a flat defence and central midfield, which would give his front three the license to more or less stay high and not worry too much about their defensive duties.  Against Real, Eriksen and the two Spurs strikers had similar freedom, which prevented Real from piling forward with no fear of a Tottenham threat in behind.  The match was a big test of Tottenham and Pochettino's big-match temperament, and it was one they passed with flying colours. 

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The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Linthwaite HouseWindermere, Lake District, England 9Telegraph expert rating A sprawling, handsome Edwardian house of slate, whitewashed walls and black-and-white timbered gables, inside, it’s retained a private-house feel. No two rooms have the same shape, decoration or view but all share the same light, understated, country-luxury style. Shimmery wallpapers, cream carpets and clean-lined wood furnishings are spiced up with large headboards, woollen throws and splashes of aubergine, citrus or duck-egg blue. Guests can explore 12 acres of gardens and woodlands and there’s a tarn for swimming or fishing. Read expert review From £134per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best country house hotels in Britain

The British country house hotel was born in 1949, brought to us in the pink and frilly shape of Sharrow Bay, overlooking Ullswater in the Lake District. Presided over by a splendid couple, Francis Coulson and his partner Brian Sack, it came complete with a gargantuan afternoon tea, and Sack’s famous Icky Sticky Toffee Pudding and Coulson’s bedtime poems on the pillow. People adored it. There had been leisure hotels in Britain before, of course, but this was the first where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings, with a committed owner at the helm offering a warm welcome, decent food, peace and quiet. Hundreds of characterful country house hotels have followed, and today there’s a bewildering amount from which to choose. Here we present the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them. While some continue to offer no more than the pleasures of a beautiful old house, a roaring fire and a cup of tea, others cater to our increased demands: for spas, cookery courses and activities such as foraging for mushrooms, a perfect autumnal outing. All these hotels share in common comfort, excellent food and the joys of the English countryside, resplendent in its red and gold autumn livery. England Lime WoodNew Forest, Hampshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating It’s the attention to detail throughout Lime Wood that makes it special. The oak doors are thick and stylised sitting rooms melt one into the other, pale lemon into lilac into mint green, each with an open fire. As for the food, that most grounded of all celebrity chefs, Angela Hartnett, has joined forces with existing Lime Wood chef Luke Holder and to produce Italian inspired dishes that are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Read expert review From £245per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Gravetye ManorEast Grinstead, West Sussex, England 9Telegraph expert rating An authentic Elizabethan edifice, all mullioned windows and red-brick chimney stacks. Its mottled stone façade is like a proud scar — a testament to a history that spans four centuries. Inside, the past doesn’t echo; it booms. Instead of chairs expect 16th-century-style thrones, carved from oak; instead of radiators, gigantic fireplaces, engraved with Tudor flowers and coats of arms. The restaurant has a Michelin star and is one of the most pleasurable places to dine in the country. Read expert review From £208per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in West Sussex • Find exclusive UK hotel and restaurant offers from Telegraph Travel Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'SaisonsOxfordshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The style is a happy marriage between stately Oxfordshire and eccentric French fancy. The honey-coloured Manor house creates an attractive focus around which an eclectic mix of 15th-century ponds, Provençal lavender rows, a Japanese garden, kitsch sculptures and a wild mushroom patch can all co-exist. Seasonality is king in its two-Michelin starred restaurant. A 1930s-style bar serves comforting cocktails and the wine cellar stocks a French dominated list of more than 1,000 different wines. Read expert review From £556per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best country house hotels in Britain Lympstone ManorExmouth, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Britain's most exciting new country house hotel in decades, with double-Michelin-starred BBC Great British Menu icon Michael Caines MBE at the helm. The man himself takes the time to greet guests and can often be spied striding through the halls in his white chef overalls. Don't miss the eight-course tasting menu dinner. Many chefs get bogged down in zany experiments with foams and moleculars. Michael prefers to bravely poke at the booby-trapped boundary between sumptuous and sickly. Book a room with an outdoor bath overlooking the golden syrup sunsets of the Exe estuary. Read expert review From £290per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com The best hotels in Oxfordshire Save up to 70% on hotel deals via our partner Secret Escapes ClivedenTaplow, Berkshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating This has to be one of the loveliest spots for a hotel, overlooking a spectacular 19th-century parterre and surrounded by acres of ancient woodland running down to the Thames. Contrary to its appearance, Cliveden is not in the least bit stuck up and doesn’t mind whether you turn up in a Ferrari or a Fiat. The house has witnessed much intrigue over the years – it was the setting for the infamous Profumo affair – and a hint of naughtiness remains. Read expert review From £340per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Berkshire Chewton Glen HotelNew Forest, Hampshire, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel has lovely grounds and guests can follow the stream through the woods to emerge at Naish Beach, with a view of the Needles rising from the sea. Facilities are legion: a lavish spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis centre, nine-hole golf course and many activities, from archery and buggy riding to duck herding. Bedrooms and suites, in many different styles, display astonishing attention to detail, down to the stamped postcards on each desk. Read expert review From £315per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire Hambleton HallRutland, East Midlands, England 9Telegraph expert rating Beautifully decorated by Stefa Hart, who with her husband Tim has owned and run Hambleton Hall since 1979, the house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. The flowing country house good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower filled terrace. The cooking of Aaron Patterson, who began here as a 16-year-old sous chef, easily deserves its long held Michelin star and is rooted in local and seasonal produce, charmingly presented and always delicious. Read expert review From £265per night • The best hotels in Rutland Gidleigh ParkChagford, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Perched atop a bank overlooking private woodlands traced by a boulder-strewn river, Gidleigh’s location is wild and dramatic. The décor is stylish if a little straight-laced, with everything you’d expect in an English country house hotel: antique furniture, wood panelling, stone fireplaces and elegant bouquets of flowers. The 24 bedrooms are decorated individually in a classic English country style, with supersized beds, roll-top baths, televisions, L’Occitane toiletries, spring water from the Gidleigh Estate, bowls of fresh fruit and complimentary decanters of Madeira. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon Askham HallPenrith, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating A mixture of family furniture and paintings have been combined with more modern, or quirky pieces to create something both charming and unusual. The whole place feels part stately home, part private club, but mostly unique. Richard Swale is a gifted chef who draws his influences from, amongst others, Magnus Nilsson of Faviken restaurant in Sweden and Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree, in Wales. Richard’s food is locally grown, or personally preserved and tastes correspondingly fresh and interesting. Read expert review From £150per night • The best hotels in Cumbria Calcot ManorTetbury, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating A weathered stone manor house and farm building that’s grown to house 35 guest rooms, a gorgeous spa, a function centre in a converted barn, an Ofsted-registered crèche in the kids’ Playzone and two restaurants. Double rooms are in the manor; family rooms overlook the outdoor pool. There’s something incredibly relaxing about this hotel, with 'country modern’ bedrooms that manage to be both cosy and elegant, soothing and spoiling, natural and sophisticated. When it was time to go home, we refused to leave, cancelled everything and booked for another night. It’s honestly that good. Read expert review From £204per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Augill CastleKirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England 9Telegraph expert rating Augill Castle stands in 20 acres of grounds in the beautiful upper Eden Valley, within striking distance of both the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. The owners have created a highly individual hotel with minimal rules, a great sense of relaxation and welcome to all – unusual and imaginative with a 'family friends’ feel. The 15 bedrooms are eclectic and slightly eccentric with a mix of antique and contemporary pieces and an array of unusual and pretty bedsteads. Dining is a social occasion. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cumbria Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & SpaEvershot, Dorset, England 9Telegraph expert rating Decoration and style tends towards the feminine and the flouncy with fabric covered ceilings and padded fabric walls, pictures of dogs, plenty of cushions and so on but they add up, in general, to a feeling of spoiling indulgence and do not, mercifully, overwhelm. The drawing room, designed by the poet and author Thomas Hardy, is admirably classic in style, now painted a pretty blue, and the bedrooms are divinely pretty and comfortable. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Dorset Cowley ManorCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating One of the first of the new breed of contemporary country house hotels to put their spa, C-side, at the heart of their offering. The glass-fronted building is a beautiful piece of modern design, sunk into a hill to one side. The treatments in the four rooms use the hotel’s own Green & Spring products, employing local natural products. There are indoor and outdoor pools and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area, gym, steam room and sauna. Read expert review From £195per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Gloucestershire Gilpin Hotel & Lake HouseLake Windermere, Lake District, England 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is a characterful Georgian house, built in 1901 and owned by three generations of the Cunliffe family. That’s not to say it’s a creaking relic — the décor is glamorous boutique meets country pile. Life at the Gilpin is all about kicking back — and that’s helped by the service, about which it’s hard to say anything negative. Everyone smiles, everyone says hello — yet it’s not overbearing. Fishing, shooting, horse riding, mountain biking, paintballing and treasure hunts can also be organised on-site. Read expert review From £215per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Four Seasons Hotel HampshireWinchfield 8Telegraph expert rating Built in the 18th century as a manor house, the hotel is set amid 500 acres of green fields and paddocks full of grazing horses. Inside, it’s all slick and stylish, a blend of traditional and contemporary, as befits a metropolitan, cosmopolitan Four Seasons hotel set in English countryside. Bedrooms are sophisticated and elegant, traditional in style but with high-tech amenities and large marble bathrooms, and flexible sleeping options for families. The fine dining restaurant, Seasons, is very elegant, and there is a more casual bistro, a bar with open fire and library for afternoon tea. Read expert review From £255per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Hampshire The Pig at CombeGittisham, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Sexy and fun as well as romantic. The 27 rooms are some of the most charming, traditional yet stylish (larders and minibars cleverly hidden inside antique cupboards; some televisions disguised as antique mirrors), comfortable, practical, quirky and soothing of any hotel bedrooms in the land. Head chef Dan Gavriilidis is responsible for the Devon version of the Pigs’ informal '25 Mile’ menu, featuring the produce of the kitchen gardens and poly tunnels and the best locally-sourced ingredients. Read expert review From £170per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best hotels in Devon Barnsley HouseCirencester, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating What a beauty. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager. Cream furnishings in the rooms enhance engaging artworks, all based on the theme of nature – a row of bird houses; a chandelier cleverly created out of flower pots. Everything about the restaurant has been calibrated to convey a sense of pleasing simplicity – although of course that requires much painstaking effort. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds Ellenborough ParkCheltenham, Gloucestershire, England 8Telegraph expert rating A group of honeystone buildings is set around a historic Cotswold manor house that was embellished with castle-like towers in the mid-19th century. The 60 generously sized bedrooms are a world away from the shabby-chic looks or the pared back minimalism that are now the norm in other rural retreats. With stripy wallpaper and sprucely comfy armchairs, and with swathes of linen chintz in some rooms, panelling in others, the interiors are a contemporary take on traditional British country style. Read expert review From £169per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Lake District Lucknam ParkWiltshire, England 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel sits within a 500-acre estate that encompasses meadows, paddocks and woodland. The main building is a beautiful, symmetrical, creeper-covered Palladian mansion dating from 1720. Its public rooms are opulent and elegant, with a traditional country house feel. They include a panelled library, a drawing room with a corniced ceiling, an ornate fireplace as well as tassled curtains and sofas, and The Park Restaurant, laid out with white-clothed tables under a sky-painted ceiling. Read expert review From £230per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wiltshire Lords Of The ManorUpper Slaughter, Cotswolds, England 8Telegraph expert rating The oldest parts of this mellow-stone manor house date from around 1649, with gables, wings and bay windows added in later centuries. Traditional rather than style-conscious, the public rooms are furnished with antiques. The 26 rooms in total split into five categories, comfortably furnished with embroidered silk throws on beds and soft lighting. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a key reason for staying at this hotel. The £69 three-course dinner menu may include starters of squab pigeon or foie gras with smoked eel and mains of Gloucestershire Old Spot suckling pig with rhubarb or local venison. Read expert review From £150per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Cotswolds   Wales Gliffaes Country House HotelBrecon Beacons, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £110per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Bodysgallen Hall and SpaLlandudno, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The medieval core of a fine 16th-century mansion, the tower was built as a lookout for Conwy Castle. The higher you climb, the older its spiralling staircase becomes: Victorian at the bottom, 13th-century at the top. The encircling view is enthralling. As you turn, first Conwy Castle, then Snowdonia, then the sea and Anglesey, then Great Orme, catching the golden light, and lastly Llandudno, with the promise of its marvellous 19th-century promenade, come into view. Read expert review From £185per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The most romantic hotels in Wales Llangoed HallPowys, Wales 9Telegraph expert rating The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th-century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review From £99per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales Hotel EndsleighTavistock, Devon, England 9Telegraph expert rating Built in 1812 as the holiday home for the Duchess of Bedford, Georgiana Russell, this wildly romantic, chintz-free country estate, run by Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, is steeped in royal history. It’s a verdantly gardened, Grade 1-listed Eden between Dartmoor and Exmoor, with shell houses and hidden glades for romantic tête-à-têtes. The cream teas are worth the journey alone: a help-yourself affair of just-baked scones accompanied by massive urns of clotted cream and fruit-laden strawberry jam. Breakfasts, too, are a cut above the rivals. Read expert review From £198per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Devon The GroveNarberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales 8Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set in 26 acres of grounds amid deep countryside, with distant views of the Preseli Hills. The main building is a handsome three-storey residence with Georgian proportions and distinctive Arts and Crafts panelling and fireplaces. The lounges – cosy yet elegant, with real fires, window seats, plush sofas and modern prints and paintings of coastal Pembrokeshire – set the tone of the whole property. There are 26 rooms in total. Expect treats such as the softest of sheets, posh toiletries, thick towels and house-made biscotti. Read expert review From £145per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Wales   Scotland The Gleneagles HotelAuchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating Built in the 1920s as a railway resort hotel, the design is Scottish Baronial meets French chateau, with all the opulent comfort of a grand country house on steroids. (A dull-looking modern addition to one side is easily ignored). It’s so big you need the map provided when you arrive, but this five-star formality comes with a splendid sense of ease: time seems to slow from the moment the kilted doorman welcomes you to the hotel. Read expert review From £265per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Scotland Inverlochy Castle HotelFort William, Highlands, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating No bows to passing fashions here. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamedly country house style - all swags, gilt, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervading sense of time suspended, remains. Nowhere else makes grandeur so cosy, combining Jacobite rose wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers and French Empire-style ceiling frescos with perfectly judged élan. Dinner begins with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a delightfully light-handed five-course menu with a distinctly Highland accent. Read expert review From £295per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • Top 10: the best Scottish castle hotels Isle of Eriska HotelArgyll & Bute, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating Calm and solitude are assured in a haven of herons and badgers, where the loudest sound is likely to be a fishing boat puttering over tranquil water. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege pervade drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. Elegant and comfortable without being stuffy, the ambiance is warm and welcoming, with soft, bright furnishings and piles of wellingtons by the front door of the oak-panelled hall. Carry on, Jeeves. Read expert review From £330per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels for spa breaks in Scotland Killiecrankie HotelPerth and Kinross, Perthshire, Scotland 9Telegraph expert rating With direct access to the beautiful Pass of Killiecrankie, the deep river gorge formed by the River Garry, the whitewashed 1840s house has been a hotel since 1939. There are 10 pretty and homely rooms, with antique pieces, thick curtains and very comfortable beds. No two are the same: they are all shapes and sizes and some of the bathrooms are very small. You’ll find a vase of fresh flowers and the Egyptian cotton sheets will be turned down while you are at dinner. Read expert review From £220per night • Scotland hotels: the best places to stay on Scottish lochs The Roxburghe Hotel And Golf CourseKelso, Scottish Borders, Scotland 8Telegraph expert rating The drawing room at The Roxburghe feels like a private house, with its family portraits and photographs, books and ornaments, and its welcoming groups of sofas and armchairs. Elsewhere there are tartan carpets, collections of whiskey and gin, plentiful open fires and the homely smell of woodsmoke. Bedrooms, some of which were designed by the Duchess of Roxburghe, are all different and decorated in traditional country house style. Three rooms have open fires, with coal and logs provided - the greatest luxury in a country hotel bedroom. Read expert review From £125per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

How have Manchester United's Class of 92 fared as managers?

The news that Paul Scholes has held talks with Oldham over the vacant manager's job means the potential addition of a new feather in the cap of the Manchester United Class of 92's managerial prowess. But how have Sir Alex Ferguson's fledglings fared in positions of power? Ryan Giggs Having been appointed a player-coach at Manchester United in July 2013, Giggs then became interim manager when David Moyes was sacked the following April. He achieved a record of two wins, a draw and a defeat in the final four games of the 2013–14 season. Giggs was then appointed as Louis van Gaal's assistant manager when the Dutchman took charge for the following season but - despite many suggesting he would be a potential successor at the helm - he left the club when Jose Mourinho was announced as the new manager in July 2016. He has since been linked with a host of managerial roles, but has yet to make his next move. Paul Scholes Scholes held a coaching role at United for six months after his initial retirement in 2011, but he has largely steered clear of the dugout since reversing that decision and calling time on his playing career for a second time in 2013. He held a coaching position at United under Moyes and assisted Giggs during the Welshman's four-game spell as interim manager, but his only managerial stint came in January 2015 when he acted as Salford City caretaker manager alongside Phil Neville for their match against Kendal Town. Salford City won 2-1, giving Scholes a 100 per cent managerial winning record. Scholes been linked with different managerial roles since leaving Manchester United Credit: Action Images Nicky Butt Having retired from playing in 2011, Butt returned to Manchester United the following year as a reserve team coach. He was another Class of 92 alumnus who assisted Giggs during the Welshman's brief tenure as interim United manager in 2014 and has held the role of head of academy since November 2016. Gary Neville The bulk of Gary Neville's coaching experience has come with the England national side. He joined the coaching team in May 2012 and worked under Roy Hodgson for much of the next four years, while balancing his media duties. He was a surprise appointment to take charge as Valencia manager in November 2015, where he worked with his brother Phil. Valencia failed to win their first nine matches and he was eventually sacked the following March, having won just three of his 16 league games in charge and failing to keep a single clean sheet. Phil Neville   The younger Neville brother began his coaching career before he retired from the pitch, working with the England Under-21 squad throughout 2012 and 2013. He is yet to branch out on his own since retiring in 2013, holding a coaching role at Manchester United until 2014, acting as Salford City caretaker manager alongside Scholes for one match in 2015 and assisting his brother Gary at Valencia. The Class of 92 enjoyed considerable success as their careers advanced Credit: getty images David Beckham Don't be silly. He hasn't been a manager. Chris Casper An unfulfilled playing talent, who was forced to retire aged 24 after suffering a double leg fracture while playing for Reading, Casper's only managerial stint came at Bury where he took charge from 2005 to 2008. He then took up coaching roles at Bradford City and Grimsby Town before he was appointed Salford City's sporting director this summer. Simon Davies Wales international Davies failed to make the grade at Manchester United, playing the bulk of his career at lower league level and across the border in the Welsh top flight. He joined the Chester City coaching staff in 2006 and had two stints as caretaker manager over the next couple of years before he was given the role on a permanent basis in March 2008. He failed to last until the end of the year, dropped back down as a youth team manager at Chester and then moved to Manchester City in 2013. He served as Patrick Vieira's assistant with City's Elite Development Squad and has been in charge of the set-up since the Frenchman departed in December 2015. Mark Robins is currently at the Coventry City helm Credit: getty images Mark Robins Not quite fitting into the category of Class of 92 alumni (he came through the youth ranks with the club before leaving in 1992), Robins was one of the most successful of Sir Alex's initial batch of youngsters coined Fergie's Fledglings. He enjoyed a long playing career in the Football League and has managed a number of teams over the past decade, namely: Rotherham United, Barnsley, Coventry City, Huddersfield Town, Scunthorpe United and currently Coventry City. Kevin Pilkington The goalkeeper struggled for opportunities at Manchester United, instead playing the majority of his career at Mansfield Town and Notts County. He moved into his first coaching role as goalkeeping coach at Notts County in 2012, remaining at the club - where he was forced into emergency playing duties on more than one occasion - until September 2017 when he moved to take up the same position at Cambridge United.

How have Manchester United's Class of 92 fared as managers?

The news that Paul Scholes has held talks with Oldham over the vacant manager's job means the potential addition of a new feather in the cap of the Manchester United Class of 92's managerial prowess. But how have Sir Alex Ferguson's fledglings fared in positions of power? Ryan Giggs Having been appointed a player-coach at Manchester United in July 2013, Giggs then became interim manager when David Moyes was sacked the following April. He achieved a record of two wins, a draw and a defeat in the final four games of the 2013–14 season. Giggs was then appointed as Louis van Gaal's assistant manager when the Dutchman took charge for the following season but - despite many suggesting he would be a potential successor at the helm - he left the club when Jose Mourinho was announced as the new manager in July 2016. He has since been linked with a host of managerial roles, but has yet to make his next move. Paul Scholes Scholes held a coaching role at United for six months after his initial retirement in 2011, but he has largely steered clear of the dugout since reversing that decision and calling time on his playing career for a second time in 2013. He held a coaching position at United under Moyes and assisted Giggs during the Welshman's four-game spell as interim manager, but his only managerial stint came in January 2015 when he acted as Salford City caretaker manager alongside Phil Neville for their match against Kendal Town. Salford City won 2-1, giving Scholes a 100 per cent managerial winning record. Scholes been linked with different managerial roles since leaving Manchester United Credit: Action Images Nicky Butt Having retired from playing in 2011, Butt returned to Manchester United the following year as a reserve team coach. He was another Class of 92 alumnus who assisted Giggs during the Welshman's brief tenure as interim United manager in 2014 and has held the role of head of academy since November 2016. Gary Neville The bulk of Gary Neville's coaching experience has come with the England national side. He joined the coaching team in May 2012 and worked under Roy Hodgson for much of the next four years, while balancing his media duties. He was a surprise appointment to take charge as Valencia manager in November 2015, where he worked with his brother Phil. Valencia failed to win their first nine matches and he was eventually sacked the following March, having won just three of his 16 league games in charge and failing to keep a single clean sheet. Phil Neville   The younger Neville brother began his coaching career before he retired from the pitch, working with the England Under-21 squad throughout 2012 and 2013. He is yet to branch out on his own since retiring in 2013, holding a coaching role at Manchester United until 2014, acting as Salford City caretaker manager alongside Scholes for one match in 2015 and assisting his brother Gary at Valencia. The Class of 92 enjoyed considerable success as their careers advanced Credit: getty images David Beckham Don't be silly. He hasn't been a manager. Chris Casper An unfulfilled playing talent, who was forced to retire aged 24 after suffering a double leg fracture while playing for Reading, Casper's only managerial stint came at Bury where he took charge from 2005 to 2008. He then took up coaching roles at Bradford City and Grimsby Town before he was appointed Salford City's sporting director this summer. Simon Davies Wales international Davies failed to make the grade at Manchester United, playing the bulk of his career at lower league level and across the border in the Welsh top flight. He joined the Chester City coaching staff in 2006 and had two stints as caretaker manager over the next couple of years before he was given the role on a permanent basis in March 2008. He failed to last until the end of the year, dropped back down as a youth team manager at Chester and then moved to Manchester City in 2013. He served as Patrick Vieira's assistant with City's Elite Development Squad and has been in charge of the set-up since the Frenchman departed in December 2015. Mark Robins is currently at the Coventry City helm Credit: getty images Mark Robins Not quite fitting into the category of Class of 92 alumni (he came through the youth ranks with the club before leaving in 1992), Robins was one of the most successful of Sir Alex's initial batch of youngsters coined Fergie's Fledglings. He enjoyed a long playing career in the Football League and has managed a number of teams over the past decade, namely: Rotherham United, Barnsley, Coventry City, Huddersfield Town, Scunthorpe United and currently Coventry City. Kevin Pilkington The goalkeeper struggled for opportunities at Manchester United, instead playing the majority of his career at Mansfield Town and Notts County. He moved into his first coaching role as goalkeeping coach at Notts County in 2012, remaining at the club - where he was forced into emergency playing duties on more than one occasion - until September 2017 when he moved to take up the same position at Cambridge United.

How have Manchester United's Class of 92 fared as managers?

The news that Paul Scholes has held talks with Oldham over the vacant manager's job means the potential addition of a new feather in the cap of the Manchester United Class of 92's managerial prowess. But how have Sir Alex Ferguson's fledglings fared in positions of power? Ryan Giggs Having been appointed a player-coach at Manchester United in July 2013, Giggs then became interim manager when David Moyes was sacked the following April. He achieved a record of two wins, a draw and a defeat in the final four games of the 2013–14 season. Giggs was then appointed as Louis van Gaal's assistant manager when the Dutchman took charge for the following season but - despite many suggesting he would be a potential successor at the helm - he left the club when Jose Mourinho was announced as the new manager in July 2016. He has since been linked with a host of managerial roles, but has yet to make his next move. Paul Scholes Scholes held a coaching role at United for six months after his initial retirement in 2011, but he has largely steered clear of the dugout since reversing that decision and calling time on his playing career for a second time in 2013. He held a coaching position at United under Moyes and assisted Giggs during the Welshman's four-game spell as interim manager, but his only managerial stint came in January 2015 when he acted as Salford City caretaker manager alongside Phil Neville for their match against Kendal Town. Salford City won 2-1, giving Scholes a 100 per cent managerial winning record. Scholes been linked with different managerial roles since leaving Manchester United Credit: Action Images Nicky Butt Having retired from playing in 2011, Butt returned to Manchester United the following year as a reserve team coach. He was another Class of 92 alumnus who assisted Giggs during the Welshman's brief tenure as interim United manager in 2014 and has held the role of head of academy since November 2016. Gary Neville The bulk of Gary Neville's coaching experience has come with the England national side. He joined the coaching team in May 2012 and worked under Roy Hodgson for much of the next four years, while balancing his media duties. He was a surprise appointment to take charge as Valencia manager in November 2015, where he worked with his brother Phil. Valencia failed to win their first nine matches and he was eventually sacked the following March, having won just three of his 16 league games in charge and failing to keep a single clean sheet. Phil Neville   The younger Neville brother began his coaching career before he retired from the pitch, working with the England Under-21 squad throughout 2012 and 2013. He is yet to branch out on his own since retiring in 2013, holding a coaching role at Manchester United until 2014, acting as Salford City caretaker manager alongside Scholes for one match in 2015 and assisting his brother Gary at Valencia. The Class of 92 enjoyed considerable success as their careers advanced Credit: getty images David Beckham Don't be silly. He hasn't been a manager. Chris Casper An unfulfilled playing talent, who was forced to retire aged 24 after suffering a double leg fracture while playing for Reading, Casper's only managerial stint came at Bury where he took charge from 2005 to 2008. He then took up coaching roles at Bradford City and Grimsby Town before he was appointed Salford City's sporting director this summer. Simon Davies Wales international Davies failed to make the grade at Manchester United, playing the bulk of his career at lower league level and across the border in the Welsh top flight. He joined the Chester City coaching staff in 2006 and had two stints as caretaker manager over the next couple of years before he was given the role on a permanent basis in March 2008. He failed to last until the end of the year, dropped back down as a youth team manager at Chester and then moved to Manchester City in 2013. He served as Patrick Vieira's assistant with City's Elite Development Squad and has been in charge of the set-up since the Frenchman departed in December 2015. Mark Robins is currently at the Coventry City helm Credit: getty images Mark Robins Not quite fitting into the category of Class of 92 alumni (he came through the youth ranks with the club before leaving in 1992), Robins was one of the most successful of Sir Alex's initial batch of youngsters coined Fergie's Fledglings. He enjoyed a long playing career in the Football League and has managed a number of teams over the past decade, namely: Rotherham United, Barnsley, Coventry City, Huddersfield Town, Scunthorpe United and currently Coventry City. Kevin Pilkington The goalkeeper struggled for opportunities at Manchester United, instead playing the majority of his career at Mansfield Town and Notts County. He moved into his first coaching role as goalkeeping coach at Notts County in 2012, remaining at the club - where he was forced into emergency playing duties on more than one occasion - until September 2017 when he moved to take up the same position at Cambridge United.

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