Stay in a castle by the coast! Boutique hotels in remote locations…

Sometimes you just want to get away from it all. But it’s even better if the place you get away to has a few luxuries and home comforts to aid your enjoyment while you’re there. We’ve combed the UK for the best boutique hotels in remote locations – from isle to valley, these are places that will really help you switch off, unwind and leave everyday life far behind.

Our first two suggestions take us to the Isles of Scilly. What could be further away from real life than staying in a castle?  The Star Castle (****), pictured top, on St Mary’s island. There are 38 bedrooms split between the 16th-century castle (and, yes, it is shaped like a star) and the cottage garden rooms. If you opt for the former, expect bags of historical charm, from wooden beams to the antique furnishings, while the garden rooms are more spacious, some with private verandas overlooking the sea. The nooks and crannies of the castle plenty of secrets to reveal, such as the two award-winning restaurants – look out for lobster and crab caught that day – indoor swimming pool, tennis court and complimentary golf. Oh, and did we mention the dungeon bar?!

Our second Scilly suggestion is Hell Bay Hotel on the island of Bryher – an island so remote, it’s almost traffic free. The hotel takes the inspiration for its 25 suites from its stunning Atlantic-facing location, with New England style Lloyd Loom furniture and Malabar fabrics and an easygoing vibe. Some have balconies; most have sea views. There’s plenty to keep you well fed and watered while you are there, from dining in the three AA rosettes restaurant to enjoying a drink on the sunset deck. Aside from that, there’s a spa treatment room to rid you of any remaining tensions, along with a heated outdoor swimming pool and tennis court. But the most pleasure you’ll have will probably come from simply exploring the beautiful and deserted sandy beaches.

We’ve another castle up our sleeves with Augill Castle, found in Upper Eden Valley, at the foot of the North Pennines. The 15 rooms (six of which are in the main castle) offer a decadent mix of antiques and contemporary style, from mahogany 6-foot beds to claw-foot baths. All have squishy sofas and armchairs, and modern luxuries such as flat-screen TV with DVD player, hairdryer and tea and coffee facilities. One extra special suite is The Gatehouse, described as their “ultimate couple’s castle retreat”, which occupies the whole of the second tower. Although there’s no restaurant, at the weekend and other special occasions all guests are invited to enjoy the legendary dinner party, sitting together at the long dining tables. Explore the castle and 20 acres of grounds to unearth hidden treasures, from tree houses to a cinema tucked away in a shed. If you want to venture even further, beautiful countryside awaits – Augill Castle is midway between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.

Augill Castle

It’s easy to track down some peace and quiet in Scotland – check out our guide to some Highlands hideaways. Another hotel that will really help you feel you’re away from it all is the Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island, also in Argyll. For starters, it’s situated on a private island between lochs Linnhe and Creran. Some of the 25 bedrooms are located in the 19th-century mansion, but you’ll also find suites and cottages within the 300 acres of grounds. The Garden cottage suites, for examples, each have a private garden complete with hot tub. The hotel is stuffed full of gorgeous details, from the soft, luxurious decor to the original Art Deco fireplace in the library. You’ll be eating well, as it’s home to a Michelin starred restaurant, and guests are known to be very partial to the 40-strong cheese trolley. Want to burn off a couple of slice’s worth? You can also enjoy a nine-hole golf course, a heated pool, a croquet lawn and a spa, not mentioning the natural attractions, hosting creatures such as otters, red deer and badgers, of the beautiful grounds.

You’ll find the five-star accommodation of Penbontbren, down a country lane in Ceredigion in rural west Wales. Once you get there, any long journeys are all made worthwhile for the wonderful location, with views towards Preseli Mountains and the coast only two miles away. This former livestock farm is unrecognisable from its original purpose, converted into five luxurious suites, each with their own sitting areas and private gardens. The garden room, in the middle of the grounds, even has its own terrace with a covered pergola. It’s the kind of place where you’re encouraged to sit back and relax, with the suites stocked with iPod docks, flat screen TV and King-sized beds, and lovely White Company toiletries.

For more options that are really out of the ordinary, we’ve also tracked down some slightly more unusual options. Check out Chewton Glen treehouses in the New Forest and the Solent Forts off the coast of Portsmouth – you can find more about them both in our piece on hotels offering brilliant experiences. A recent addition to that category is the bubble domes at Finn Lough Lodge in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Situated in the forest by Lough Erne, they’ll help you lose yourself in nature without having to sacrifice on any home comforts. Each dome comes equipped with a bespoke four-poster bed, Nespresso coffee machine and even fluffy robes and slippers. They’ve even got an ensuite bathroom, breakfast is delivered to your door each morning, and there are 360-degree views of the night skies. Little wonder the rooms also come equipped with a telescope!

Author: Frances Ambler

Boutique themed hotels offering brilliant experiences

At, we’ve looked at boutique hotels with great sea views and hotels that are just perfect for foodies, but if they sound a little – dare we say it – tame, here is a selection of hotels that are not about indulging your quieter side. It’s safe to say, whatever your passion or pursuit, there’s a British hotel that will cater for it. From ghosts to gorillas and ménage à trois to tree houses, here are some of the most decadent, indulgent and downright crazy hotel experiences on offer. Continue reading “Boutique themed hotels offering brilliant experiences” »

Five brilliant boutique hotels for foodies

Perhaps one of the most pleasurable things about a boutique hotel stay is the promise of tasty meals and getting to enjoy a few drinks in the hotel bar. We’ve picked out some boutique hotels that deliver on that promise, and more. From the delights of cosy coaching inns to impressive gourmet menus, here are five boutique hotels that will leave you inner foodie well and truly satisfied.

The Pig Hotel, New Forest: Eat like a local

The Pig has several locations around the south of England – but we’re highlighting The Pig in the New Forest for its amazing walled garden. As they describe the place for themselves: “it’s really a restaurant with rooms”.

Eating here is a real local affair – the food grown in the garden inspires the menus and everything else that goes on your plate is sourced from within a 25-mile radius, meaning that the menu changes by the minute. A meal could include the likes of pulled slow cooked pork croquette salad or Dorset coast Pollock fillet and Hampshire chorizo. And, as each room looks onto either the forest or the garden, you can see where your food is coming from (there’s also a webcam, if you’re not lucky enough to visit in person).


If you’re interested in finding out more, you can also go on an outing with their forager. Alternatively relax in your room, which includes a guest ‘larder’ as well as comfortable beds and monsoon showers.

The Blue Lion, Yorkshire: A perfect 21st-century take on a traditional coaching inn

With fifteen English country style rooms, a menu that helped this place be named the Good Pub Guide Inn of the Year in 2014, and an unforgettable location in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, The Blue Lion will be a dream destination for many. Run by Paul and Heidi Klein for over twenty years, this is English hospitality at its finest.

Imagine seasonal, simple but delicious flavours, such as Loca beef and Black Sheep suet pudding with creamed potatoes and buttered kale to be accompanied by hand-pulled ales and the requisite roaring log fire. Each room has its own unique design – including some housed in the converted stables of the inn – with many promising gorgeous views across the Dales.

The Church Street Hotel, London: A foodie stay with some foreign flavours

Perhaps south London isn’t necessarily where you’d immediately head for some Spanish flavour, but that’s what’s offered by Church Street Hotel, encompassing everything from its décor to the plate. The colourful and characteristic rooms of this boutique hotel are situated above the award winning Angels and Gypsies tapas restaurant where breakfast is also served each morning. Think Monmouth coffee, organic sourdough bread that’s been baked on the premises and dishes such as Huevos Rancheros or their interpretation of the “Full English”, with halloumi, stewed tomatoes and homemade beans served alongside dry cured streaky bacon and Cumberland sausage.

There’s even a cocktail bar in the basement, while guests also get to take advantage of an extensive range of rums and tequilas in the hotel’s honesty bar. Adventurous eaters will find themselves perfectly situated to venture slightly further afield to enjoy the buzz of the food scene in neighbouring Peckham and Brixton.

Holbeck Ghyll, Lake District: Gourmet food in a stunning location

This hotel’s reputation grew in foodie circles thanks to its menu being showcased on the TV show The Trip. There are plenty of reasons to follow in the footsteps of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Its location is almost excuse enough, situated high on the hills overlooking Lake Windermere in a former coaching lodge. This offers the perfect backdrop for their sought-after afternoon tea or the seven-course gourmet dinner including the likes of roast lion of Lakeland venison with celeriac and juniper or Cumbrian lamb with puy lentils, swede purée and Haggis beignets. Every dish can be accompanied from offerings from their wine cellar – one of the most extensive in the region.

Sign-up for Holbeck Ghyll’s ‘food lovers gourmet break’ and you’ll get the pleasure of indulging in all the meals they offer. The luxurious bedrooms are typified by their attention to the finest details, with fresh flowers and Egyptian cotton bed linen. And who could resist the ‘Welcome Decanter’ filled with locally distilled Damson gin?

The Beckford Arms, Wiltshire: The Perfect Pub stay

If your idea of good eating is hearty pub food, book yourself in for a stay at The Beckford Arms. As well as the delicious options on offer from breakfast to supper, they’ve got every craving sampled for, with the likes of freshly made pork scratching, sausage rolls and wild boar Dorset salami all available as bar snacks. They make their own chutneys and jams, do their own home smoking and many of the cocktails on offer use locally sourced ingredients. Not a cocktail fan? Try a pint of the Phoenix beer, the pub’s very own brew.


Once you are full to the brim with all good things, it’s not far to go to reach the Beckford Arms’ eight bedrooms, each stocked with handmade natural toiletries and lovely touches like vintage Welsh blankets on the bed. If you can bear to leave this spot of heavenly hospitality, it’s ideally placed for sightseeing too: Stonehenge and Salisbury are both a short drive away.


What’s your favourite foodie boutique getaway?

The Best Boutique Hotels By The Sea

There’s nothing better than waking up in a huge comfy bed with sun streaming through the curtains and seagulls crowing (quietly) in the distance. Then throwing your windows open and being greeted with a gorgeous sea view. It makes for the perfect relaxation. Here are some of the best boutique hotels with sea views.

The Scarlet – Bedruthan, Cornwall

The Scarlet has one of the most perfect sea views in the UK (pictured top). Based in Bedruthan, Cornwall, the hotel is built into a cliff and is just a short (slightly precarious)l walk down to a secluded bay. Your sea view (best enjoyed from one of the spa’s outdoors hot tubs) is idyllic. The hotel is also eco-friendly so you’re doing your bit for the planet while you relax your stresses away. Prices for a spa break start at £325 per person.
Tredragon Rd, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall TR8 4DQ / 01637 861800 – visit website

Villa Rothsay – Cowes, Isle of Wight

Where better to enjoy a view of the sea than in Cowes, famed as the yachting capital of the world. Charming Villa Rothsay enjoys spectacular views across the Solent – a view that is filled with yachts during Cowes Week, the annual regatta held early in August with up to a thousand boats taking part. But the nautical outlook doesn’t stop at the view from the window: this is a property steeped in yachting history and is the favoured place to stay of many top yachtsmen who are following in the footsteps of Queen Victoria’s oldest son who was a regular visitor as Duke of Rothesay (hence the name) before ascending to the throne as Edward VII. The hotel itself is a quirky, charming hotel which will transport you back in time with its attentive service and elegant, stylish interiors adorned with maritime memorabilia.
29 Baring Rd, Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO31 8DF / 44 (0)1983 295178 – visit website

The Crab & Lobster, Chichester

The Crab & Lobster doesn’t actually have a coastal view. Instead, the boutique Chichester hotel has a view of Pagham Harbour – a protected coastal wetland that spans 1500 acres. This is as close as you can get to having the countryside and coast in one lovely package. And amazingly, it’s just two hours from London. There are only four rooms in this small but oh-so-perfectly formed hotel, make sure you get the room in the eaves. Prices start at £145 per night.
Mill Ln, Sidlesham, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 7NB / 01243 641233

Pebble House – Mevagissey, Cornwall

Pebble House, Mevagissey

Located in the delightful Cornish fishing village of Mevagissey is Pebble House (pictured above), offering luxurious adults-only bed and breakfast. This stylish guesthouse combines five star comfort with some breathtaking views out to the sea. The guestrooms are all named after types of fishing boat and four of them have wonderful floor to ceiling windows from which to enjoy the stunning vistas which include Chapel Point and Eddystone Lighthouse.
Polkirt Hill, Mevagissey, Cornwall PL26 6UX/ 01726 844466 – visit website

Amhuinnsuidhe – Isle of Harris

A castle with a sea view? That’s just showing off. But that’s exactly what you get when you book a room at Amhuinnsuidhe on the Isle of Harris. Yep, this beautiful hotel is in the secluded and unspoilt Outer Hebrides. As well as the sea view, you’re surrounded by hidden lochs, waterfalls and beautiful scenery no matter which window you’re looking out of. A double suite with a sea view is  £119.50 per person per night.
Amhuinnsuidhe Castle Estate Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides, HS3 3AS / 01859 560 200 – visit website

Salt House – St Ives, Cornwall

This isn’t your average B&B. St Ives’ Salt House has just 2 rooms, each with huge glass windows so you get the perfect view. You can even have a soak in your bathtub and look out at beautiful view (don’t stay there for hours, you will go wrinkly). Salt House is the ideal coastal retreat for those of you who like mod-cons and don’t really do ‘countryside chic’. And it’s more affordable than you’d think – prices for the slightly smaller room start at £180 per night.
Venton Rd, St Ives TR26 2AQ / 01736 791857

Drakes – Brighton

It’s really not hard to find a hotel in Brighton. It’s not even hard to find a hotel in Brighton with a sea view. But with such a bustling tourist turnover, it is surprisingly hard to find a boutique hotel on the coast that’s worthy of the inevitably high room price. But there is one that stands out from the rest. Drakes, a beautiful Georgian townhouse, has just 20 rooms, each one with a contemporary design. Sea view rooms start at £145.
43-44 Marine Parade, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 1PE / 01273 696934 – visit website

The Gallivant – Camber Sands, Kent

The only hotel that’s right on the Camber Sands beach, The Gallivant is a perfect weekend retreat. It’s a beautiful hotel with 20 bright and fresh coastal-inspired rooms. They’re famed for their seafood and the Beach Bistro. But the best thing? Their dog Camber. You can borrow him for walks on the beach! Prices start at £115 per night.
New Lydd Road, Camber, East Sussex TN31 7RB / 01797 225057 – visit website

The Tide House – St Ives, Cornwall

Another St Ive’s gem, The Tide House overlooks Godfrey Lighthouse – the location that inspired Virginia Woolf’s classic To The Lighthouse. But it’s not the lighthouse view that keep people coming back to The Tide House. It’s actually the stunning views of the harbour. Rooms with a sea view start at £155 in low season, but even in high season, the Godrevy penthouse is just £240 a night.
Skidden Hill, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 2DU / 01736 791803

Did we miss  a boutique hotel with a great sea view? Tell us your tips for the best stays with the nicest coastal views.

Article updated February 2017.