Escape with a loved one to a remote retreat, whether it be a design-led bothy, a chic cottage or a windswept clifftop cabin. Time slows down, freeing you to focus on each other, while absorbing the beauty of nature all around you.
1. The Great Arch at Fonthill, in Wiltshire
Gracefully framing the entrance to the Fonthill Estate, The Victory Arch was built in 1755. Last year, its intimate rooms were refurbished in Farrow & Ball’s newest shades and The Great Arch was transformed into striking accommodation for anyone wanting to hang their hats inside a Grade-I-listed landmark. Patterned fabrics blend harmoniously with antique furniture over three floors, and every space feels stylishly snug. The bedroom has a roll-top bath that looks towards Fonthill’s lake, there’s a log burner in the sitting room and a quaint, eat-in kitchen. Not far from the well-to-do village of Tisbury, Fonthill offers lakeside walks past stone grottos and it’s only 20 minutes to The Beckford Arms, where hearty food and log fires await.
One night from £295 or from £325 on a B&B basis, with breakfast either at The Beckford Arms or available to prepare yourself.→ beckfordarms.com
2. Doxie, The Wilderness Reserve, Suffolk
Doxie is a traditional Suffolk-pink cottage with a thatched roof, wooden beams and a full country kitchen. Sitting beside a private swimming pond with its own rowboat, the luxury abode is the latest addition to 8,000-acre The Wilderness Reserve, a collection of revitalised period buildings on the Sibton Park estate. Pashley bikes are available for couples who fancy a pedal around the rewilded countryside. Take a dip in the natural pond afterwards, try the sunken hot tub or retreat to the cottage’s private sauna and steam rooms. Massages and private spa treatments can be arranged on the covered pond-side terrace, where there is also a barbecue and an outdoor kitchen, making alfresco dining a breeze.
→ One night from £673, wildernessreserve.com
3. Sitheil, Inverlonan, Oban
You won’t be disturbed at Sitheil, a new eco-bothy with a pared-back aesthetic on the shore of Loch Nell. Guests can cook over fire, order in select delicacies or have a chef whip up an eight-course dinner in the wild. Expect board games, canoes and a sauna cabin but the idea is to rediscover simple pleasures, like grinding coffee and heating water. Stone circles and ancient dwellings are scattered about the glen, while the skies are a haven for hen harriers and white-tailed sea eagles.
→ Three nights from £525, inverlonan.com
4. Treehouse, Another Place, Ullswater
Accessed via a walkway between oak, ash and yew trees, Treehouse is an architectdesigned property in the grounds of contemporary country hotel Another Place. With floor-to-ceiling windows that look towards Ullswater, its ample space allows guests to breathe, with two bedrooms and a vast outdoor deck featuring a freestanding bathtub. Furnishings were built by local artisans, the floors are reclaimed oak and there is a log burner to snuggle up beside. There are three restaurants on-site as well as a fantastic indoor swimming pool facing the lake. Make a stay extra special by joining a guided, full-moon night swim in Ullswater. A cold-water swimming expert brings light-up tow floats and glowstick to lead a dip from the hotel’s private jetty.
→ One night from £675, another.place
5. Bosavallam, Cornwall
Set in an orchard, Bosavallam has impressive green credentials. The handfinished panels behind the bed were originally salvaged from a church and much of the furniture is reclaimed or refurbished. The onebedroom refuge has a low-impact design, with smart features like an on-site borehole from which water is filtered, electric car charging and a water source heat pump. The owners ensure the house is stocked with Cornish treats, wildflowers from the meadow and homemade honey. Popular beaches nearby include Daymer Bay, Watergate and Rock. Remember to watch out for visiting wildlife when using the BBQ and kitchen on the terrace. As night draws in, the skies above St Kew become magically bright, making the outdoor nickel bath ideal for stargazing.
→ Three nights from £1,143, cornishgems.com
6. Aurora, Cornwall
Sheltering on a cliff ledge, Aurora is dwarfed by miles of plunging rock and endless beach beyond her. Wake to the sounds of breaking waves in this light-filled cabin that offers utter seclusion above Freathy Beach, in Cornwall’s Whitsand Bay. One-bedroomed Aurora is wrapped in weatherboard to protect her from the elements. A hot tub and patio furniture are set out so guests can relax while watching the sea at play. The indoors feels fresh, with whitewashed walls and a bright kitchen but there is cosiness too, on sheepskins beside the log burner. Come prepared for a digital detox and note that the path down to the cabin is steep, ensuring real privacy. Awe-inspiring views along the rugged South West Coast Path are a stroll away and reveal hidden coves, perfect for two.
→ Four nights from £1,295, uniquehomestays.com
7. Marley Suite, Lakes by Yoo, The Cotswolds
If the sparkly expanses of water at Lakes by Yoo don’t make you want to drop everything and just sit, soaking up your surroundings, the pretty villages of the Cotswolds are close enough for a romantic wander. Lakes by Yoo is a purpose-built retreat that offers great design, top-quality facilities and activities on tap, from pizza nights to nature walks, water sports and ziplining. Accommodation in The Marley Suites proves that intimacy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing space. The suites sleep two but have super-king beds, open-plan kitchens, sophisticated living areas and generous waterside decking. The bathrooms are sleek and luxurious, with modern freestanding tubs. The retreat’s spa – for a swim, sauna, steam or even a yoga session in a yurt – is just a short walk away.
→ One night from £500, thelakesbyyoo.com
8. Leopard Creek, Port Lympne, Kent
In the wild, leopards are notoriously hard to spot, making the wigwams at Port Lympne’s Leopard Creek a particularly thrilling place to stay. The design of the reserve’s newest accommodation is remarkable enough. Wake to shafts of sunlight streaming through the top of a cone of raw timber and farreaching countryside views through panoramic windows. Underfloor heating keeps everything toasty and breakfast is provided. The private viewing terrace is the place to sit and spot big cats over a morning coffee, though a complimentary golf buggy is also provided, letting couples explore the reserve. A 24-hour concierge is on hand, a safari experience is included and there are on-site restaurants to choose from, including one at the Port Lympne hotel. Back at the wigwam, who better to say goodnight to (your partner aside), than a pair of critically endangered Amur leopards?
→ One night from £499, aspinallfoundation.org
9. Kai, Eden Valley, Cumbria
Kai is a red-brick hideaway set on a 1,500acre estate deep in Cumbria’s Eden Valley. Just under four miles from Penrith, it is easily accessible but secluded and couples will feel instantly relaxed as they admire the surrounding Lakeland pastures dotted with sheep. The cottage has original stone walls, a dining room with a log fire and a lounge with expansive windows. The bedroom is a calm space, with some wood panelling and a king-size bed dressed in fine linens. Out by the patio area, guests can soak in a wooden hot tub while gazing at the distant fells. The fire pit, meanwhile, is somewhere to sit and plot the next day’s adventures in the Lake District National Park.
→ Four nights from £641, boutique-retreats.co.uk
10. The View, Dylan Coastal Resort, Laugharne
With a hot tub overlooking the sweeping sands of the Taf estuary, The View has an enviable position and all the ingredients needed for a quietly romantic evening under the stars. The roomy lodge, one of many properties at the resort, has more to offer besides. A smart, open-plan living area shares the same outlook through glass doors onto the terrace, and the bedroom also has fine views.
The lodge is well-equipped with modern amenities, it also has a dining table, a kitchen and everything required for a self-catered break. The Dylan Thomas Boathouse and Laugharne Castle are close by, plus there are bucolic walks on the doorstep. Time it right and you could visit during The Laugharne Weekend (24–26 March), a comedy festival that takes place down the road.
→ One night from £525, luxurylodges.com
Text by Natalie Paris