With it being the week of Valentine’s Day, love is in the air. From Highland castles reached by Rolls Royce, to Dartmoor thatched pavilions; listed here are some of the most seductive boltholes round the UK and Ireland for a shock getaway with the one you love.

Thyme Hotel, Gloucestershire

Easily reachable from London however a world away, Thyme is as English and aromatic as the title evokes – as recent as a jug of home made lemonade. A group of honey-hued cottages, a farmhouse and an idyllic nation pub, The Swan, this property is one you’ll by no means need to depart. The emphasis is on nature and each component, from the heated springwater pool to the Meadow Spa, sings a love track to its setting on the doorstep of the Leach Valley. Breakfast, with bacon from pigs reared on the property, takes place in opposition to the medieval backdrop of Tithe Barn and dinners of seasonal home-farmed produce (the Partridge Pudding is a should) are served at The Swan beneath proficient head chef, Charlie Hibbert. Evening cocktails, infused with herbs from the backyard, are discovered in the Baa Bar earlier than retiring with a Damson Vodka nightcap. Activities embody a mini charcuterie course with an area curer adopted by lunch.

Gidleigh Park, Devon

A Dartmoor treasure hidden deep in woodland on the financial institution of the River Teign, Gidleigh Park is a 24-room bolthole with the feeling of a personal house. Pastel-hued panelled bedrooms are prettily adorned with high-quality antiques and the softest beds in the county. For a really romantic retreat, take over The Pavilion, a thatched folly cottage perched on the tumbling river. Michelin starred meals is overseen by chef Chris Simpson and foodies flock from round the nation to take pleasure in seasonal dishes comparable to Salcombe Crab and Cornish Turbot. The service is famend for its heat and memorable touches (tea and shortbread served Downton Abbey-style in mattress every morning). A spot to savour and linger in.

Fine Dining

Barnsley House, Gloucestershire

Thanks to the visionary planting of late proprietor, the famed designer Rosemary Verey, the gardens of Gloucestershire’s 17th-century Barnsley House are stunning in any season. The manor has a vibrant historical past – Henry VIII, that outdated romantic, bequeathed it to every of his six wives in flip! The quintessential Cotswolds spa hideaway is a rambling golden-stone home surrounded by towering yew hedges and grounds dotted with Grecian temples and secret corners for a clinch. A recent inside is a shock and the suites are dreamily snug with monumental bathtubs and large home windows. Sneak into the non-public cinema for a screening with drinks. The Potager restaurant serves up recreation and seasonal deliciousness with a superb wine cellar.


Fox Hall, West Sussex

A wild card entry however completely pure Lady Chatterley romance set on the edge of the Duke of Richmond’s rolling Goodwood Estate in West Sussex. This diminutive 18th century Palladian ‘hunting box’ looks like a magical discovery at first sight. Managed by The Landmark Trust, Fox Hall sports activities astonishing luxurious interiors on a tiny scale. Gilded rooms, stone fireplaces and acres of woodland make for a pure nation fantasy. Pub lunches are a should after wandering round the rolling meadows and quaint villages surrounding this hidden gem.


Inverlochy Castle, Fort William

Have a Highland fling at the lakeside idyll of Inverlochy Castle. An award-winning 19th century pile on the shores of a glowing non-public loch. It is a gloriously dreamy set-up laced with interval allure – even Queen Victoria remarked that she ‘never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot’. Set like a jewel in a hoop of peaks (cloaked in snow at the moment of 12 months), courtiers to the majesty of Ben Nevis, Inverlochy Castle is the final getaway. Arrive in close by Fort William by steam prepare on the West Highland Line and the resort’s Rolls Royce will gather you. Legendary cooks Albert & Michael Roux Jr oversee the kitchens and the meals is lavish with a definite Highland infusion. Sip whisky in the Billiards room, row on the Loch or just share the magic of a roaring hearth and a timeless second collectively distant from the actual world. An Ampersand favorite!


The Merrion Hotel, Dublin

An elegant Georgian townhouse in the coronary heart of trendy Dublin, The Merrion is seduction on a grand scale. Drifting up the plasterwork and chandelier staircase to your suite after nightcaps in the library? It doesn’t get any extra romantic. The breakfasts are a factor of legend greatest served in your room beneath a silver dome adopted by crisp morning walks throughout the lakes of close by St Stephen’s Green and pints of Guinness in buzzing Temple Bar. A Dublin delight!

Table Decor

Blakes, London

You don’t have to go away London to flee right into a cocoon of luxurious retreat. Blakes, Anouska Hempel’s Kensington boutique resort, is an artfully-designed warren of seductive chambers with all the romantic notes wanted. We love the deep-red Cardinal Suite – replete with four-poster mattress, botanical illustrations and sensuous textiles. Fittingly, for maybe the sexiest resort in the capital, Blakes provide a ‘Love Package’, select between Naughty (therapeutic massage oil, Kiki de Montparnasse intimacy package and Karma Sutra guide) or Nice (Love Letters of Great Men, Amelia Rope Chocolate Hearts and scatterings of rose petals). A delicious breakfast in mattress is produced with champagne the following morning. Blakes is the embodiment of discretion and a decadent selection for a metropolis escape.


James Jayasundera is Founder and Managing Director of Ampersand Travel. Ampersand Travel create bespoke and luxurious journey experiences to Asia, the British Isles and Southern Africa.

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