This country of ours is a small one, but never let it be said that there’s not enough to do. Sometimes it takes leaving your home to discover all the reasons it has for staying. From its bright and brisk coasts to its hushed hamlets and bustling city centres steeped in enough history and stories to fill whole libraries, England, as well as throwing up a new accent every couple of hundred miles, keeps between the rough borders of each of its counties something unique; something to write home about; that, come rain or shine, will rekindle something in you: if it’s not a nostalgic sense of wonder and discovery, then it’s simply a reminder that we would do well not to take such gifts for granted.
The Lake District
I’ll say from the off that I have a personal bias towards the Lake District. This is a place like no other: a place to which I was attracted, fresh out of university, with the goal of seeking out the setting of the district’s famous poets. There’s just something about the Lakes, the home and source of inspiration to literary greats like Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, and the enduring idyll to myself and so many others. It’s the sheer size of those lakes; their names: Windermere, Rydal, Coniston, Derwentwater, Ullswater, Ennerdale; it’s the views to Scotland, Ireland and beyond; the mountains and trails that at once welcome, surprise, challenge and delight people from all walks of life. Visit Wordsworth’s first school, homes and his final place of rest. Choose your difficulty levels as you explore the district’s many walks through valleys and villages, over hills and mountains and around stunning lakes.
Houses in the Lake District
The Grotto | Sleeps 18-24 | Penrith
We’re very excited to announce The Grotto – brand new to the kate and tom’s Lake District family. Close to the shores of Ullswater, this house would make a decent cruise liner. The five-star feast includes heated indoor pool, gym and two acres of land. Handcarved oak abounds. Six en-suites are underfloor-heated wet rooms.
Waters Reach | Sleeps 10 | Windermere
Bathe in the lakeside hot tub and bask in the bosom of oak-timbered luxury in a Windermere waterside lodge with home cinema, boathouse and sundecks. At Waters Reach, lake meets mountain and experience exceeds expectation.
Bristowe Hill | Sleeps 16-20 | Keswick
An elegant Edwardian home from home – provided your home comes with 360-degree views of Lakeland’s finest peaks, ten bedrooms and four acres of serene seclusion. Inside, spread out with family and friends among period features and modern touches. Retreat, revitalise and remember what matters in life.
Derwentwater House | Sleeps 16-20 | Derwentwater
Play Swallows and Amazons. Take the launch around the lake. Light the fires and gather round the huge oak table.
The Cotswolds is also a place that knows a thing or two about the enduring idyll. With its lush rolling hills, soft accents of the South-West and its own claim to literary fame, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Oxfordshire and its other counties each hold their own little secrets between limestone-rich countryside, thatched roofs and old spa towns. Walk from Stroud to Slad inspired by the autobiographical stories of Laurie Lee; pay a visit to his old haunt, the Woolpack Inn. Head to Bibury to see the quaint village’s famous Arlington Row. Other top ideas include the spa towns of Cheltenham and Bath, Oxford for its ancient and world-renowned university, the stunning Blenheim Palace and much more.
Houses in the Cotswolds
Pedington Manor | Sleeps 16-20 | Berkeley
Designer chic meets Jane Austen. Fabulous dining room. Home cinema. Playground and games room. All set in rolling Gloucestershire countryside. Loved by The Times Travel Experts and featured in “Fifty Best Cottages to Castles”
Oxleaze House | Sleeps 10 | Near Winchcombe
Entertaining is exciting at Oxleaze House. There’s the Abitalia kitchen, Gaggenau appliances and Teppanyaki plate to play with. Dine inside or out in the Cotswold sunshine. Light the fires, crack open the champers, sleep the sleep of your life in luxury suites. Get together and glow.
The Hyde | Sleeps 20 | Herefordshire
Medieval architecture meets modern living. Glorious spaces, complete seclusion. Gardens galore, a tennis court, lake, summer house and playhouse. And your own private railway.
The heart of the country sees no end of praise for its quintessentially English cobbled streets, tiny houses and character relatively untouched by recent decades. Unsurprisingly at the centre of so much attention is Stratford-upon-Avon, once home to the literary giant, England’s number one bard: Shakespeare. Whether or not you’re interested in the immortal poet’s legacy, ‘Shakespeare Country’ provides something special for every age group, with activities children will love and quality dining, pubs and bars for the grown-ups, as well as the chance around every corner for continued learning and exploration. Visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and family homes and don’t leave the county without catching a performance of one or more of his many plays.
Houses in the Midlands
Elephant & Castle | Sleeps 10-18 | Warwickshire
Full of party promise, glamorous, fabulous Elephant and Castle sits in a one-acre slice of rural Warwickshire close to the buzz of Birmingham and the sophistication of Stratford. Pile into the hot tub or gather in the sitting room for banter and beer.
Park Hall | Sleeps 20-61 | Worcestershire
Indoor pool. Home cinema. Tennis court. Music cellar. 130 acres of parkland. This is the ultimate country house. Bucket loads of wow and all the toys.