Autumn is the season for hunkering down and snuggling up, nesting and resting, but that doesn’t mean that your wanderlust gets automatically switched off the minute the clocks change. England can look at its very best this season, whether resplendent in the mists and mellow fruitfulness of autumn colours or crisp and clean on a frosty morning. We pick the best British boltholes for an autumnal getaway.
Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall
Set in the rugged Cornish countryside, on 66 acres of meadows and woodland, Coombeshead Farm is the brainchild of chefs Tom Adams and April Bloomfield. And it’s the food you come for here – the owners chose the site because of its wealth of foraging opportunities, local suppliers and regional produce. Dinner is in a delightful converted barn, and features sustainable dishes cooked with love – think sourdough made at the onsite bakery, fresh veg and herbs from the garden and local, free-range sausages. When you’re thoroughly stuffed you can stumble back to the sumptuous honesty bar and collapse on a scuffed leather sofa, before walking it all off the next day.
The Pig, Hampshire
The Pig group of hotels has quietly been taking over the English country scene, spreading its ethos of shabby-chic interiors, warm welcomes and excellent food. The original – there are now seven properties, with more opening every year – is in the New Forest, and is the perfect place to sample that piggy magic. The original formula of a 25 mile food-sourcing radius (much from the kitchen garden), absurdly comfy beds, cosy-luxe bar and laid-back vibe is showcased here with care and passion. So desirable is it, in fact, that owner Robin Hutson has written a book – The Pig: Tales and Recipes from the Kitchen Garden and Beyond – so devoted guests can recreate some of the sparkle at home.
Thyme, The Cotswolds
The Cotswolds are divine in summer, even better in autumn: think pearly mist low on the ground in river-valleys, smoke snaking from the chimneys of chocolate-box cottages and plenty of pubs to curl up in after a stomp through the fields. Thyme, which describes itself as ‘an English Countryside Destination’, burst onto the scene earlier this year with its village-with-a-village sprawl of buildings and delectable interior design. But although the palette of sage greens and chalky pinks, the outdoor swimming pool and the tennis courts seem to scream ‘spring’, Thyme is just as suited to an autumn getaway – in fact, in November they are offering warming winter cocktails, fireside suppers in their own pub and a complimentary treatment in the spa.
Linthwaite House Hotel, The Lake District
Autumn is the perfect time to visit the Lakes – think of those red and gold autumn leaves reflected in the endless waters, or the drama of a thunderstorm chasing over the mountains. Linthwaite House Hotel commands the quintessential Lake District view across Lake Windermere, one of the most romantic sights these isles has to offer. The hotel is near some of the best walks in the area, with The Old Man of Coniston a short drive away for experienced hikers and plenty of lakeside ambles for lazier guests. And when you get back you can sink into a plush velvet sofa and enjoy an excellent G&T. This October, Michelin starred chef Simon Rogan – of L’Enclume fame – will open HenRock restaurant at the hotel.
The Gunton Arms, Norfolk
Art dealer Ivor Braka’s trendy Norfolk hotel is an aesthete’s paradise – if the Damien Hirsts, Tracey Emins and Lucian Freuds lining the walls don’t rock your boat then the neighboring 1,000-acre deer park is sure to. The focus here is on the pub – locals still pop in for drinks – while the rooms are characterful and individual: think roll-top baths, Chinese lamps and antique furnishings. The nearby beaches are perfect for a long, brisk walk in the autumn sun, or if it’s rainy there are tons of lovely statelies to explore: the halls of Holkam, Hougthon and Bickling are all within reach.