The Best Hidden Gems In The UK, According To A Travel Expert

Founding a travel business at the start of a pandemic might not seem like the obvious thing to do, but Cecci Robertson of Robertson & Co would beg to differ. She saw a logical gap in the market for a UK-based bespoke travel company. We asked Cecci to reveal some of her favourite hidden gems, right here on home territory.
 The Best Hidden Gems In The UK, According To A Travel Expert

Bovey Castle, Devon

This grand hotel located on Dartmoor National Park caters for every whim, with never-ending facilities for those of all ages and interests. Spend a day exploring the grounds and surrounding park, before relaxing at the on-site spa. The hotel has 60 stylish bedrooms with modern en-suites and breath-taking views, and having the rolling countryside on your doorstep is pretty special. 

Visit BoveyCastle.com

What To Do:

Within the grounds of the hotel, there’s a golf course, tennis courts, a croquet pitch, archery and rifle range, a putting green and beautiful lakeside walks. Every morning there’s a falconry display on the balustraded garden terrace. You can also try your hand at fishing, horse riding, hot air balloon rides and making sloe gin. 

Where To Eat & Drink:

If you want to explore the area, North Bovey is a 20-minute walk along the river from the hotel, where you’ll find a charming local pub – The Ring of Bells. Chagford, another place worth visiting, is a 15-minute drive from Bovey Castle where there are endless choices for food lovers.

The Ebrington Arms, Cotswolds

This charming Cotswolds pub is the heart of the village, bursting with local spirit and atmosphere. Built in the traditional mellow Cotswold stone with low beams and roaring fireplaces, it’s a great place to settle after a lovely walk exploring the surrounding countryside. The bedrooms are simple yet stylish and feel cosy and homely. Ebrington brew their own ale and serve delicious, locally-sourced produce in the restaurant, too – expect pigs in blankets, parmesan arancini and Welsh rarebit crumpets from their moreish bar snack menu. 

Visit TheEbringtonArms.co.uk

What To Do:

Ebrington is a great spot for exploring the Cotswolds and nearby villages. There are so many wonderful walking routes to try, with plenty of cafés and local shops along the way, too. Chipping Campden is close to the pub, but the historic Stratford upon Avon is a must-see for those looking to soak up some Shakespearian culture.

Where To Eat & Drink:

The Ebrington Arms is first on the list – all of their menus feature locally sourced food and are Michelin recommended. The Churchill Arms in Chipping Campden, a 30-minute walk from hotel, is another top spot for local ale and traditional pub grub. 

Fife Arms, Scotland 

If you’re looking for some serious escapism, look no further than the beautiful Fife Arms in Scotland. This stunning hotel is nestled in the majestic mountains of Cairngorms National Park and is just a two-hour drive from Edinburgh. The property feels incredibly romantic, so it’s a great choice for a couple’s holiday. Inside, the interiors are traditional and some of the rooms have amazing views of the mountains. The hotel also offers a huge range of activities, including foraging for your own dinner, fishing and whisky tasting. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also an impressive on-site spa which is definitely worth a visit. 

Visit TheFifeArms.com

What To Do:

Take a guided tour around the forest and explore the history of the area. A fantastic guide from the hotel can help you explore the ruins of a remote village, and teach you about the fascinating lives of its inhabitants and how they survived in extreme weather conditions. Balmoral Castle is also nearby and hopefully open to the public from April to July. 

Where To Eat & Drink:

The hotel has so much to offer, you almost don’t need to leave to eat or drink, but of course, there are some lovely spots nearby. The Bothy is top of my list for a coffee and a bite to eat. 

Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath

Famous for its Roman baths and magnificent architecture, Bath is the jewel in north east Somerset’s crown. The Royal Crescent Hotel is a luxurious staycation spot, and it’s easily one of my favourites on this list. The bedrooms are all beautiful, with lush four-poster beds and decadent interiors. At the hotel, you can make use of the spa and bath house to have the full Roman experience – a lovely way to unwind and relax during the weekend or a spoiling mid-week break. 

Visit RoyalCrescent.co.uk

What To Do:

The shopping in Bath is great. Stroll around the city and discover the numerous independent boutiques or visit Frome, a boho town a short drive away, with amazing vintage and antique shops. Get your walking boots on and stride up to Solsbury hill, a scenic two-hour walk from the hotel. The famous Thermae Bath Spa is also a must-see for its natural warm springs and stylish rooftop pool. Meanwhile, art enthusiasts should head to The Holborne Museum to catch one of their must-see exhibitions. 

Where To Eat & Drink:

Walcot House is a great place for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you can even party downstairs to a live band. If you’re looking for Asian fusion delights, head to Budo Ba, Bath’s only izakaya (a pub in Japan offering savoury, salty, umami dishes that go perfectly with a good beer, sake or Japanese whisky). For a hearty Sunday lunch, The White Hart is one of the best gastropubs in the city, while lightly further afield, The Wheatsheaf Inn in Combe Hay always has a delicious seasonal menu. 

Lygon Arms, Cotswolds

This lovely, old English pub in Broadway is one of my favourite staycation spots in the Cotswolds. With a delicious seasonal menu and roaring log fires in the winter months, it's the perfect place for a cosy weekend away. The bedrooms are traditional, but lavishly furnished and it has all the extra details you might expect from a luxury hotel. It’s also dog-friendly too, so you can take your four-legged friend away for the weekend – there’s even a ‘post walkies’ pamper session after a day exploring the countryside. 

Visit LygonArmsHotel.co.uk

What To Do:

Broadway is a great base for exploring the Cotswolds. There are endless walking routes and lovely pubs within walking distance, but Broadway Tower – the second highest place in the Cotswolds – is not to be missed. 

Where To Eat & Drink:

The Swan, further down the road from the hotel, is a great spot. It may not look fancy on the outside, but the food is excellent. The Plough in Kingham is another favourite for a tasty bite to eat. 

The Duncombe Arms, Peak District

The Duncombe Arms, on the edge of the Peak District, is a fabulous hub from which to explore the surrounding area. The property is surrounded by stunning scenery, while beautiful interiors await inside. Combined with an excellent fine-dining menu, it’s one of my top staycation spots for a mixture of fresh air and tranquillity. A wild windy walk followed by a hot bath and a glass of bubbles by the fire makes for a pretty dreamy escape. The hotel stocks Bamford products too, so you can relax and unwind in a fluffy towelling robe after a long day of exploring.

Visit DuncombeArms.co.uk

What To Do:

Spend a day walking the long winding trails of the Peak District, followed by a hot toddy by the fire back at the pub. The nearest town is Ashbourne, which is very pretty and has some fascinating architecture and lovely shops and pubs. During the warmer months, the nearby Carsington Reservoir is a great place for water sports like sailing and kayaking.

Where To Eat & Drink:

The Lighthouse restaurant does a delicious tasting menu, while The Duncombe Arms serves their own fabulous food. Further afield, Fischer's Baslow Hall has some seriously excellent British produce on offer. 

Thorganby Hall, Lincolnshire

Thorganby Hall is a collection of beautiful cottages set on a farm in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. There’s a beach cottage on the grounds which has stunning rural views and lovely interiors. The food here is delicious – guests can have meals delivered to their door, which is all fresh and locally sourced and enjoy al fresco meals during the summer, too. You can even request a pop-up hot tub during your stay, and feel free to bring your dog along, too. 

Visit ThorganbyHall.co.uk

What To Do:

The Lincolnshire Wolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with rolling green hills, hidden valleys with picturesque walking routes, as well as historic market towns and quaint villages. Donna Nook, just a 30-minute drive away from the property, covers more than 10km of beach, sand dunes, saltmarsh and open lagoons. Every November and December, grey seals visit to Donna Nook to give birth to their pups near the sand dunes – it’s a wildlife lover’s dream.  

Where To Eat & Drink:

When in Lincolnshire, you must try classic fish and chips, as well as some Lincolnshire sausages and a traditional plum loaf. Alfred Enderby in Grimsby is a great traditional smokehouse which also offers guided tours and serves the most amazing smoked salmon and haddock. 

 
For more travel tips and bespoke advice from Cecci, visit RobertsonAndCo.co.uk

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