The town choice: The Kings Head Hotel
Why go? This 45-room hotel is in the heart of Cirencester town and offers great dining and sumptuous rooms. Open fires, cosy snugs, literary festivals on your doorstep and the Cotswold countryside a ramble away. Pootle off to Cheltenham for more shopping and return for a romantic candle lit bath for two.
We love The style and furnishings. There are exposed beams, Cotswold stone, little snugs and lofty suites. The hotel’s location makes it perfect for visitors who want to enjoy the nearby theatre, races, festivals and markets or you can just slink into the copper tub at the end of your bed.
Location It’s perfectly located for a spa, shop and sleep escape and with the Cotswolds, Cheltenham and Bath nearby you can really have it all.
The easy inn: The Plough, Kelmscott
Why go? The Plough has been gorgeously refurbished and is a rustic rural hideaway set in a 17th-century Grade II listed Cotswold stone house. Upcycled vintage furniture complements the recycled oak beams and restored flagstone floors for a English country feel.
We love The Hideaway Bar is situated inside the renovated stable block, serving craft ales and lagers overlooking the garden. The Plough prides itself on using locally sourced Cotswold produce. This is an easy, relaxed escape with great dining on offer.
Location It’s hidden along the Thames Path in the village of Kelmscott and there are beautiful villages nearby to explore.
The best baths: Barnsley House
Why go? For rest, relaxation and the type of cooking that makes you feel good about the world! Barnsley House sits in its idyllic gardens (used by the kitchen) and the suites are some of the most romantic we’ve seen. Choose from twin baths, four-poster beds and even a room with a rather romantic mirrorball. The whole place makes you just heave a sigh of relief.
We love? Wellington boots lined up to borrow, the potager garden to wander and the beautiful country views from the main house. The dining is first-rate and makes the most of its local and garden produce. There is a private cinema room in the gardens and a very cool outdoor spa pool.
Location Surrounded by chocolate box villages, Barnsley House has the perfect countryside location. Cheltenham is an easy drive away but trust us, once you arrive you won’t want to leave the hotel.
The quick getaway: Spread Eagle, Midhurst
Why go? Midhurst’s Spread Eagle hotel is a 15-minute drive from Haslemere station (50 minutes from Waterloo) and a great little historic bolthole. An ideal spot for those with little time to escape. Guests should make the most of the charming conservatory and the historic bar area with its open fires and low beams.
We love The small spa has been recently renovated and offers a great list of treatments using beautiful Temple Spa products.
Location The building dates back to 1430 and is said to be one of the oldest coaching inns in the UK. The antiques shops and tea rooms of Midhurst are a stone’s throw from the hotel’s front door and the South Downs are a short drive away for avid walkers.
The quirky weekender: Oxford Malmaison
Why go? Located in a converted prison in a medieval castle and less than two hours from London by train, Malmaison Oxford is one of the quirkiest boutique hotels in the country.
We love Ask for one of the prison cells rooms of A Wing, which have the original iron cell doors and vaulted ceilings. For urbanites looking for a trendy spot, there are few better places in Oxford. The Malmaison restaurant offers reasonably priced dishes and a good Malbec with more atmospheric lighting and rich fabrics.
Location Oxford Castle Quarter is one of the buzziest and coolest parts of Oxford and the central location is great for exploring the city.
The spoil yourself: Belmond’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Why go? It’s widely regarded as one of the finest gastronomic experiences in the world. Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir lies just outside Oxford and is the ultimate foodie getaway. The hotel received two Michelin stars in 1984, the first year of its opening, and has held them ever since.
We love Well, what’s not to love, but the setting is so quintessentially English you’re bound to fall in love. Each room is individually designed inspired by Raymond Blanc’s travels, such as the Bluebell, with classic French floor-to-ceiling wallpaper.
Location Catch the train to Oxford and your manor awaits you, 20 minutes by taxi from Oxford station.
The one with a cookery school: Thyme, Cotswolds
Why go? For cooking lessons in a British boutique country house. Thyme has eight bedrooms in the main house and two beautiful cottages available, and is a haven away from hectic London.
We love Seasonality and artisan skills are the order of the day at Thyme’s state-of-the-art cookery school. With workshops, demonstrations and tastings, you can truly embrace British produce and sharpen up your kitchen abilities.
Or, for the more lively, Thyme will organise walks and cycles across the Cotswold hills, to be rewarded afterwards with a herb garden-inspired botanical cocktail at The Baa bar.
Location Embrace English country life in England’s largest Area of Natural Beauty. Thyme can be reached in an hour by train to Charlbury or Swindon, both a 30-minute taxi ride from the hotel.
The Bath feast: Bailbrook House, Bath
Why go? Recent refurbishment on this Grade II-listed mansion makes the four-star Bailbrook House in Bath the perfect location for a relaxing weekend away.
We love Bath’s events and the hotel’s special offers. Bath has an almost endless list of events and festivals running year round and Bailbrook usually has great offers or hosts special dinners to coincide with literary, music or festive entertainment in the city. During spring and summer look out for night rooftop spa events at the city’s ancient baths, plus the Great Bath Feast runs from 1-31 October.
Location Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is two hours from London Paddington.
Chantal Borciani is travel editor High50, responsible for food, travel and lifestyle content and reports on travel trends and destinations. Twitter: @ChantalBorch