Category Archives: UK

Holiday destinations in the UK reviewed by luxury leisure reviews blogger

A most relaxing spa break at Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire

There are some hotels with spas and there are some hotels which ARE spas. Ragdale Hall health spa in Leicestershire most definitely falls into the latter camp, making a spa break at Ragdale Hall a must for any spa fans. The moment you arrive you are greeted by the sight of guests walking around dressed in white fluffy dressing gowns (people wear these even at mealtimes) and the whole set-up is spa spa spa break all the way.

Aerial shot of Ragdale Hall
A spa break at Ragdale Hall is set in acres of beautiful countryside

If you are a spa lover you will love Ragdale Hall – it’s one of the best spas in Leicestershire and will certainly make the list of best spas in the country – and if you are not a spa fan then, well, what on earth are you doing here?

Exterior of Ragdale Hall spa
Ragdale Hall spa and hotel is an award-winning spa in Leicestershire
Continue reading A most relaxing spa break at Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire

Trying out Park House hotel’s new Germaine de Capuccini spa treatments

Fans of Germaine de Capuccini who are wondering where to get Germaine de Capuccini spa treatments in the UK, will be delighted to hear that award-winning hotel Park House hotel and spa in West Sussex is the latest hotel to offer the skin care specialist products.

Park House hotel West Sussex
Park House hotel is a charming country house hotel set in the West Sussex countryside

Founded in Spain in 1964, Germaine de Capuccini offers beauty and spa treatments suitable for cancer patients and people on intensive medication – which might lead to skin-related side effects – as well as anyone in need of a de-stressing spa experience.

indoor swimming pool Park House hotel and spa
The award-winning spa at Park House hotel has two swimming pools – one indoor, one outdoor – as well as a hot tub and plenty of places in which to relax
Germaine de Capuccini treatments in the UK

Continue reading Trying out Park House hotel’s new Germaine de Capuccini spa treatments

Luxury on a grand scale at the five star Corinthia Hotel London

The first thing that struck me about the five-star Corinthia Hotel in London when I stayed there was how utterly huge everything is. From the vast central lobby lounge with its soaring dome and chandelier made of 1,001 crystal baubles, to the high-ceilinged pillared restaurant, to the  enormous breakfast room, huge ballroom, conference rooms and outside courtyard, everything at the Corinthia is super-sized. Continue reading Luxury on a grand scale at the five star Corinthia Hotel London

Medieval magic with a modern twist at The Swan hotel and spa in Lavenham, Suffolk

Returning to The Swan hotel at Lavenham in Suffolk several years after my original stay, I was relieved to find that it was just as lovely as I remembered it. This time it also had the added attraction of its new (to me) Weavers’ House Spa which had been seamlessly added to the original hotel and included an outdoor hot tub and treatment rooms as well as a steam room, sauna and relaxing conservatory. Continue reading Medieval magic with a modern twist at The Swan hotel and spa in Lavenham, Suffolk

Curry, bagels, fish and chips and bacon butties on a food tour of London’s East End

In just four hours I ate curry, fish and chips, stilton cheese, salt beef bagels, bread and butter pudding, salted caramel cheesecake and a bacon sandwich. With ketchup. Why? You might well ask. It was because I had decided to be a tourist in London for the day. And my day was all the better for it.

Continue reading Curry, bagels, fish and chips and bacon butties on a food tour of London’s East End

A spookily moving 48 hours in Derry Northern Ireland

If it’s ghouls, ghosts and goblins you’re after, then you have to visit to Derry in Northern Ireland at the end of October for its epic Halloween festival. Derry was voted ‘Best Halloween destination in the world’ by American newspaper USA Today and the entire town goes Halloween-crazy for an entire week leading up to the big day itself.

Continue reading A spookily moving 48 hours in Derry Northern Ireland

A festive round-up of the best luxury country house hotels for Christmas

Luxury hotels could be made for Christmas.  Think of the best luxury country house hotels for Christmas and instantly you can picture the festive scene: comfy sofas, roaring fires, beautiful decorations and acres of grounds for the Boxing Day walk (or a top spa for some serious pampering). A country house Christmas break is a real treat and even though it’s only August, people are already starting to book their Christmas hotel stays.

Many luxury hotels, especially the best British country house hotels, offer two- or three-night festive breaks which wraps up the whole of Christmas in a Christmassy package, often starting with welcome drinks, carol-singing and dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by a Champagne cocktail and Christmas Day breakfast, the all-important Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings, and then a Boxing Day buffet. Sprinkled among all this festivity will be  Christmas films, time for presents and the Queen’s Speech (Christmas at a luxury hotel is nothing if not traditional).

Added to this might be a luxury hotel spa, activities such as falconry, wine-tasting, treasure hunts, black tie dances, cocktail classes, Christmas games and quizzes (Father Christmas could even make an appearance) and probably the best thing of all: absolutely no washing up. You will be looked after, pampered, indulged and thoroughly cosseted and while all this comes at a price, well, it’s only once a year after all. However each hotel chooses to celebrate Christmas, you can be sure of three things: it will be memorable, it won’t be cheap, and there’ll be a massive Christmas tree. Feeling festive yet?

Below is a round-up of the best hotels for Christmas in the UK and what the best hotels are offering for Christmas 2019. [The prices are a guide only as Christmas offers vary, but it will give you an idea based on 2018 Christmas prices]. If any take your fancy then be quick as many of these will sell out  fast. Good tidings to all!

Cliveden House, Berkshire

best luxury country house hotels for Christmas
Cliveden House

The hotel: A 350-year old country house set in 376 acres of magnificent formal gardens and woodland, Cliveden is one of Britain’s grandest country houses and fittingly promises an ‘iconic’ Christmas house party. The hotel where Meghan Markle spent the night before marrying Prince Harry is a Grade 1-listed stately home complete with antique furniture and a thoroughly modern spa and guests can expect a Christmas celebration worthy of Downton Abbey.
The Christmas package: Christmas Eve starts with mulled wine and mince pies and a champagne reception with carol singers followed by a three-course gourmet dinner with wines, while there’s a three-course Christmas lunch with wines on the big day itself. On Boxing Day there’s a brunch buffet followed by a ‘butler’s tour’ of the stunning building, then dinner with wines and dancing.
Cost: Prices start from £3,585 per room based on two sharing.
Read what it’s like to stay at Cliveden here

Bovey Castle, Dartmoor National Park

best luxury country house hotels for Christmas
Bovey Castle

The hotel: A stunning but welcoming grand historic hotel in the heart of Dartmoor
The Christmas package:
Arrive on Christmas Eve for lunch and a host of festive activities including cider and sloe gin making, plus afternoon tea with carol singing.  The evening includes welcome drinks, a candlelit dinner and the opportunity to attend Midnight Mass at the local church. On Christmas Day take part in Bovey Castle’s scavenger hunt, then enjoy the beautiful scenery with a guided walk followed by a drinks reception and Christmas Day lunch.  A buffet will be served in the Great Western that evening, then a nightcap while a storyteller weaves tales in front of the fire. After brunch on Boxing Day, sign up for the golf tournament or a guided walk, enjoy ferret racing or nearest the pin golf competition, with hot chocolate and mulled wine. The day finishes with a five-course black tie dinner and entertainment in the Great Western Restaurant.
Costs: From £2,730 per person for a three-night stay based on two sharing
Read what it’s like to stay at Bovey Castle here

Ockenden Manor, West Sussex

best luxury country houses hotels for Christmas
Ockenden Manor

The hotel: In the pretty village of Cuckfield, 28-room Ockenden Manor combines the history of an Elizabethan manor house with a first-class modern spa
The Christmas package: Start off with an indulgent afternoon tea, a Sussex sparkling wine reception with carols around the tree then dinner in the elegant restaurant on shared party tables, Midnight mass followed by mulled wine and home-made mince pies. For Christmas Day there’s a continental breakfast, sparkling wine reception with canapés followed by a six course lunch, tea and Christmas cake, light buffet supper with harpist accompaniment in the evening. Boxing Day: Full English breakfast with Sussex sparkling wine, full afternoon tea with Christmas Cake and cocktails  before a gourmet dinner – plus full use of its award-winning spa and swimming pools
Costs: From £1,025 per person based on two sharing
Read my review of Ockenden Manor here Continue reading A festive round-up of the best luxury country house hotels for Christmas