February 22, 2018 | Pride of Britain Hotels
The Words by the Water Festival (9-18 March 2018) at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, Cumbria, is the north-west of England’s premier festival of words and ideas. The programme includes authors and public figures including politician Sir Vince Cable, TV reporter Martin Bell, poet and novelist Ben Okri and former hostage Terry Waite. There are lectures, discussions, workshops, book launches and special exhibitions; tickets from just £9 pp. Stay nearby at Armathwaite Hall from £210 per room/£110 pp (two sharing), including breakfast and use of the spa.
Galloway Forest Park in Scotland is home to one of the UK’s Dark Sky Parks due to its clear, inky-blue night skies showcasing over 7,000 stars on a clear night. Stay to the west of the park at Glenapp Castle, a family-owned baronial castle hotel set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, complete with fairy-tale turrets and oak-panelled rooms. The hotel offers an evening of stargazing in their Victorian walled garden below the expansive night skies with an expert personal astronomer to hand, plus night binoculars, cosy blankets and hot chocolate laced with local whisky. Prices start from £500 per room/£250 pp (two sharing), including an overnight stay, three-course dinner including canapés, coffee and petit fours, full Scottish breakfast and stargazing evening.
The Fish on the Farncombe Estate, near Broadway, is having a makeover, with a new seafood-inspired restaurant Hook by Martin Burge, refurbished bedrooms and three brand-new treehouses that are scheduled for completion in May 2018. The treehouses will be based in a bucolic woodland setting and each sleeps up to four guests and one child in a cot. Expect open-plan living areas with underfloor heating, en-suite facilities, Nespresso coffee machines and decked areas with outdoor seating wrapped around the tree. Stay overnight from £360 (sleeps four plus one cot), £72 pp including breakfast.
Nestling in 1,000 acres of verdant Sussex countryside, Gravetye Manor in Sussex will re-open in May when its new restaurant will be completed. Designed by architect Sir Charles Knowles in collaboration with interior designer Claire Nelson, the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows will blend seamlessly with the hotel’s much revered flower gardens, created by William Robinson in 1884, arguably one of England’s greatest gardeners. The restaurant holds a Michelin star under Head Chef George Blogg’s creative eye and many of the ingredients are sourced from the hotel’s Victorian walled kitchen garden. Stay overnight from £275 per room/£138 pp (two sharing) including breakfast.
London is hosting several world-class art exhibitions during 2018 including the Monet & Architecture Exhibition at The National Gallery (9 April-29 July: tickets from £17 pp) – the first purely Monet exhibition to be held in the UK for almost 20 years. Similarly exciting is the Tate Modern’s Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy (8 March-9 September: tickets from £22 per adult /children under 12 free) which looks at a single year in which artistic, personal and political problems were held in potentially explosive balance by the revered artist. Stay at one of three London-based Pride of Britain Hotels: The Arch London near Marylebone (from £246 per room on a room only basis); The Capital in Knightsbridge (from £300 per room on a room only basis) or The Goring in Belgravia (from £505 per room on a room only basis).
Situated on the edge of the Ribble Valley in Lancashire, Northcote has 26 individually-designed bedrooms and a Michelin-starred restaurant that is renowned for its seasonal, British cuisine. Northcote’s prestigious cookery school offers a range of courses from premium masterclasses to full and half-day courses. Choose from Northcote’s Modern Desserts (£210 pp – 10/11/12 April), which includes making a Bakewell Soufflé and an Apple Cheesecake, or Luxury Dinner Party Secrets (£350 pp – 24 & 27 April): impress your guests with a decadent three-course menu consisting of caviar, truffle and langoustine with canapés and an amuse-bouche. Alternatively, for something more relaxed, Ceramic and Pizza Oven cooking (£210 pp – various dates in July & August) will pass on the skills to make fool-proof dough, sourdough pizzas plus salmon burgers and pork belly. Make a night of it and stay overnight for an additional £130 per room/£65 pp (two sharing; Mon-Thurs), including breakfast.
The Hebridean Princess – a small luxury cruise ship carrying just 50 guests and 38 crew – celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. This little gem is a firm favourite of HM The Queen, who has commissioned it twice for family holidays including her milestone 80th birthday celebrations. Tours for 2018 include Classical Inspiration (3-10 July), a seven-night cruise of Scotland’s West coast which follows in the footsteps of musicians, composers and artists across islands including Mull, Colonsay and Islay, visiting local distilleries, castles and caves. Prices from £4,095 pp (two sharing) on an all-inclusive basis including two gala dinners. A more active alternative is Cycling over The Minch (9-16 October), which will be accompanied by Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman, suiting cyclists of all levels and taking in the beautiful scenery of the Scottish Hebrides. Prices from £4,950 pp (two sharing) on an all-inclusive basis.
A new spa at South Lodge in Sussex is due to open in late summer 2018. The standalone building is over 44,000 square feet and will extend over two floors, with a third level of extensive outside terracing facing South over the rolling Sussex countryside. Facilities include the UK’s first heated natural swimming pond, indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, a thermal suite, treatment rooms, state-of-the-art gym and spin studio, holistic studio, nail bar and a male grooming area. Stay overnight from £265 per room/£133 pp (two sharing), including breakfast and full use of the spa.
November 2018 marks 50 years since Enid Blyton’s passing. Much of her work was inspired by the beautiful Dorset coastline – in particular the Isle of Purbeck – with Corfe Castle featuring as “Kirrin Castle” in her novels and the spectacular Blue Pool near Wareham described by her as “the enormous blue lake that glittered in the August sunshine”. Stay at the gateway to the Purbeck Hills at The Priory, a characterful, expertly-run 16th- century hotel in the pretty market town of Wareham, which boasts a smart new oak-framed Garden restaurant directly overlooking the River Frome. Stay overnight from £220 per room/£110 pp (two sharing), including breakfast.
To book any of these interesting breaks please call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).