From a Roman-inspired spa to show-stopping places to stay, be bang on trend with our insightful guide to English holidays in 2015.
Living Architecture, the non-profit company behind Suffolk’s Balancing Barn and a Room for London has teamed up with Grayson Perry and FAT to create A House for Essex. Nestled in a peaceful pocket of the North Essex countryside, it draws inspiration from rural chapels of yesteryear and just like Perry, is non-conventional in every way possible. With green and white handmade tiles coating the exterior walls, a golden roof that glimmers in the sun light and Perry’s animated tapestries decorating the inside; this is Living Architecture’s boldest design yet. There’s sure to be a waiting list to stay at this extraordinary rural retreat as soon as it opens its doors so make sure you get name down before the secret gets out.
2015 is set to be a vintage year for English wine and the Holy Vale Vineyard on the Isles of Scilly is just the place to sample fine chardonnays and pinot noirs from early next year. It’s no surprise that wine critic, Michael Broadbent, has described it as ‘one of the most beautiful vineyard sites in the world’ – the winery flourishes on the site of a former barn near the 16th century Star Castle Hotel, making the most of the Islands’ microclimate. Join a guided tour and take a seat on the terrace in the heart of 7,000 vines. Better still, book yourself onto Star Castle Hotel’s Wine Weekend and enjoy a wine tasting session, gourmet wine dinner, boat trip and a wander through the Tresco Abbey Gardens.
Pull on your toga and indulge in ancient therapies popular with the Romans at the Gainsborough Bath Spa, the only hotel in the UK to house a natural thermal spa. Set to open in spring 2015, it will be spread across three listed buildings, including the elegant Georgian facades of The Gainsborough and Bellotts and Hetling House, the only remaining Elizabethan building in the heart of Bath. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the hotel sits on top of the sealed remains of a spa complex dating back to the 4th century which is replicated above in the brand new Spa Village. Held up by ionic columns and shimmering with mosaic tiles, the spa taps into the original Roman Bath springs with three mineral-rich thermal pools to dip into, each a few degrees warmer or cooler than the next.
Never one to disappoint, the Landmark Trust is opening two more unique properties next year. Belmont, a Grade-II listed seaside villa in Lyme Regis will open in the summer for groups of up to eight people and in the autumn, St Edward’s Presbytery, a Grade-I listed Gothic Revival priest’s house in Ramsgate will open its doors. Designed by the famous Victorian architect Augustus Pugin, this will be the second of his properties in Ramsgate to be restored by the Landmark Trust. You can already book a stay in The Grange, his family home and where he spent many hours creating designs for the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
Built in the Georgian period and expanded in Victorian times, Heckfield Place country house hotel in Hampshire is set to break foodie boundaries when it opens in March 2015. Its hyper-local restaurant will only serve food created using produce that’s grown and reared on-site from the hotel’s 330 acre working farm and historic walled garden teeming with flowers, herbs and fruit trees. Along with the farm-to-fork experience, you can indulge in a variety of other treats you’d expect from a luxurious country house hotel, including health and beauty treatments, a 65-seat subterranean screening room and 60 individually-designed bedrooms.
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