Britain gets unfairly overlooked for winter breaks, despite boasting the sort of architecture and scenery that exudes cosiness, says Abigail Chandler in the Metro. Take Ston Easton Park, for example. A short drive from the Mendip Hills in Somerset, this hotel, opened in 1982, has stayed true to its 18th-century roots. You will feel “like you’re staying in the home of some grand noble, taking tea in the library (with its original bookshelves) and admiring the antique furniture and paintings”.
The hotel “feels lived-in and cosy”, and you’re free to explore the “downstairs” rooms, such as the original kitchen, at your leisure. Landscape architect Humphry Repton laid out the grounds in the 1700s. They are in the process of being restored to their former glory and have a “picturesque” river running through them and private woodland.
• From £129 – StonEaston.co.uk
A bracing walk in the Lakes
The area around Ullswater in Cumbria is practically deserted in winter, says Alessia Horwich in The Sunday Times. “Snow-topped peaks surround the glassy lake and the mountains blush pink as the sun sets.” For a brisk walk, head to the Ullswater Way at Pooley Bridge.
Stop off at the Pooley Bridge Inn, then hike to Maiden Castle, and then on to the “powerful” Aira Force waterfall. Afterwards, retreat back to the nearby and newly opened Another Place, with its “snug” four-poster beds, waffles for breakfast and a sauna to “chase out the cold”. There’s also a 65-foot swimming pool with views of the countryside.
• Doubles from £160 – Another.Place
A romantic cottage near the sea
You may recognise Keats Cottage on the Isle of Wight, say Jane Dunford and Rachel Dixon in The Guardian, from Channel 4’s Four in a Bed, the television show where B&B owners vie to be crowned best-value establishment (it fared well, but didn’t win). The five-room B&B and restaurant, named after the Romantic poet who stayed and even penned poems here, is located five minutes from the sea at Shanklin.
It is “a true labour of love”: the owners David and Ewa Woodward have worked for the likes of Terence Conran, the produce is local, and “the atmosphere is laid back and fun”. The New Year’s Eve special four-course menu features Polish pierogi (dumplings) and duck breast.
• Doubles from £125 (two-night minimum stay) – KeatsCottage.co.uk