The Torridon in the Highlands

    The finest festive bolt-holes in Britain

    23 November 2017

    If your idea of hell at Christmas is packed shopping streets, office parties or family get-togethers, then treat yourself to an early present and book yourself a stay at one of these magnificent bolt-holes. Peace and quiet, log-fires and wonderful food and drink will help get you in the festive mood very nicely indeed…

    Beaverbrook, Surrey

    It was this year’s hottest country house opening: the £90m refurb of the historic home of Lord Beaverbrook; the ‘First Baron of Fleet Street’. The 18 room Victorian mansion boasts interiors by Susie Atkinson, an Art Deco cinema and a Roaring 20s bar, as well as some super snug fire and blanket combos for the ideal winter weekend. Perfect for those seeking a luxurious, cool country Christmas; Beaverbrook offers festive afternoon tea, a visit from Father Christmas (probably the real one, these guys have friends in high places) and even a screening of the Queen’s speech at 3pm on Christmas Day.

    Bear of Rodborough, Cotswolds

    Picturesque England is what the Cotswolds does best, so if it’s a cosy, traditional festive bolthole you’re after, look no further. Set on Rodborough Common in acres of National Trust parkland, Bear feels like a country pub that’s outgrown its humble origins; now with a luxurious touch that doesn’t diminish its down to earth cosiness. This is the place to snuggle up with a decent bottle of red, a log fire and a good book. Christmas here is also an unrivalled delight: packed full of the usual trimmings as well as charming extra touches- like hot chocolate and cookies on return from Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

    The Grove, Pembrokeshire

    This little white privately-owned country house is a hidden gem by the rolling Preseli hills in Pembrokeshire. It’s a tree-hugged luxury retreat- with walled gardens, breath taking views and, come the winter season, some seriously cosy offerings. Its three night Christmas package offers endless roaring fires, festive fare and a self-proclaimed ‘Christmas dinner to remember’ and its New Year’s Eve celebration will welcome in 2018 with fireworks and hot toddies on the terrace. You could even head down on the  December 9 for a black-tie Christmas Ball, featuring a three-course meal and a live swing band (tickets cost £75 per person).

    The Torridon, The Highlands

    There’s something inherently Christmassy about Scotland in winter. Maybe it’s the whisky, the proclivity for comfort food or the fact that it might just actually snow there. The Torridon, a gothic castle-like country house set in 58 acres of parkland, by the edge of a sea loch, is every bit the dreamy Highlands festive retreat you are picturing in your head. Roaring fires, antlers, leather armchairs. The works, in other words, and its ‘ll embraced by stunning Scottish landscape. Stealing away for a pre-Christmas weekend is a must, or buckle up for the Torridon’s legendary Hogmanay house party; a black-tie dinner with dancing and drams well into the wee hours, all followed by a restorative Highlands walk on January 1. Hurry now, as tickets are selling fast.

    Cubitt House, London

    Want a city break that feels like a country escape? Cubitt House is just the ticket. The company’s pubs and restaurants, from The Alfred Tennyson to the Thomas Cubbitt which are peppered throughout London, are like upmarket village taverns and offer up eye-wateringly good food. Two of their establishments, The Orange (Pimlico, see above) and The Grazing Goat (Marylebone), are also boutique hotels, with beautifully designed rooms that are the epitome of comfortable chic. They are both dream festive getaways, with sumptuous Christmas menus packed with traditional dishes and inventive cocktails. Imagine a hectic day of Christmas shopping in Bond Street followed by a cosy night at The Orange. I’ll race you there.