I think it’s fair to say we’re all in need of a good holiday. With hotels and other destinations in the UK reopening, we thought this would be a terrific opportunity to highlight the top UK destinations that accommodate electric car charging. While there are public charging stations across the country, there’s great peace of mind in having a charging station in the hotel where you’re staying. This list is by no means exhaustive - if you’re looking for more locations a quick online search should yield results.
Oxford Road, Aylesbury
The Grade I listed, part Jacobean, part Georgian building, filled with original antiques and paintings, was restored by Historic House Hotels and given to the National Trust in 2008. Grand but ‘relaxing’ public rooms, with damask-covered walls and ornate stuccoed ceilings, are perfect for ‘tea and cakes on arrival. The ‘sumptuous’ bedrooms and suites are mostly in the main house. The first-floor ‘Royal Suites’ (the exiled King Louis XVIII of France lived here from 1809 to 1814) have a spacious bathroom, a sitting room and south-facing views. ‘Royal’ rooms are equally plush; some have a four-poster bed. ‘Classic rooms’ have a sofa, writing desk and king-size bed, but one older reader was ‘unable to use the over-bath shower’. Dinner in the formal but unstuffy dining room might be crab and courgette cannelloni followed by a pan-roasted fillet of cod, cooked to perfection by chef Daniel Richardson and his team. ‘An awesome place to stay.’ (Geoffrey Bignell, and others). Hartwell House is a member of Pride of Britain Hotels.
Hambleton, Oakham, Rutland
From the landscaped gardens with ‘a five-star view’ over Rutland Water to the Michelin-starred dining, Tim and Stefa Hart’s acclaimed hotel nails English country house excellence. ‘Courtesy, helpfulness and a constant search for perfection remain the standards here,’ sighs one regular. ‘Baggage was in our room in a trice, followed by a nice tray of tea and biscuits.’ The handsome Victorian mansion has a sweep of public rooms with panelled walls, deep sofas and open fires. Bedrooms are classic country house: rich fabrics and wallpapers, antiques, a roll-top bath, fresh flowers and homemade treats. In the Michelin-starred restaurant, Aaron Patterson creates meals ‘magnificent in style and quality, brilliance and richness’. Menus might include poached fillet of halibut, mushroom tortellini, lemon verbena sauce, or startling combinations such as rabbit in a liquorice sauce. One quibble: residents find it is ‘not always possible to find seating in the lounge’ before dinner. With ‘outstanding service’, this Relais & Châteaux hotel inspires loyalty: ‘When we go there it is like returning to old friends.’ (Anthony Bradbury, CF, and others). This hotel is a member of Pride of Britain.
The Rose & Crown
Romaldkirk, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
‘I would love to keep this place secret – but that would be selfish.’ Readers who have stayed at this ‘quintessential village inn’, beside a Saxon church and overlooking the green, understand this sentiment. With flagged floors, open fires, a cosy bar and panelled dining room, it offers ‘a lovely blend of Old English atmosphere with modern accommodation’. Rooms are ‘beautifully decorated, cosy and comfortable’ and divided between more characterful ones in the main building (with window seats and exposed stone) and more contemporary, dog-friendly affairs with patio. ‘Attention to detail was impressive with fresh tea and coffee delivered to the room.’ Food is a highlight: Thomas Robinson, co-owner with his wife, Cheryl, comes from a long-established local farming family. Candle-lit dinners feature ‘unfussy, innovative and excellent’ dishes such as venison bourguignon or hake and pea fishcakes, all ‘first rate, plentiful and beautifully presented’. ‘Local’ staff were ‘dedicated to making our stay memorable’ in a ‘beautiful village with lots of country walks’. (David Birnie, Steven Hunter, Linda McLeod, and others)
Soar Mill Cove Hotel
It’s all about the sublime seaside setting at Keith Makepeace’s family-centric, dog-friendly hotel with ‘amazing views to take your breath away’. A trail leads to ‘a beautiful, uncrowded beach with splendid rocks’, and there is easy access to the South West Coast Path. Simple but stylish bedrooms look out to sea or over rolling National Trust countryside, from floor-to-ceiling glass doors and a private patio. It is small wonder, then, that the low-slung hotel is ‘a favourite place’ for many returning guests. ‘I love everything about it,’ writes a reader who has been going for 30 years and finds it ‘like a second home’. Guide insiders with a house nearby drop in often. ‘On fine days we eat our bar lunch or cream tea on a sunny terrace. Service is always good, the food original and delicious, including lovely risotto with asparagus.’ In the light-filled, sea-facing dining room, Ian MacDonald’s menus are big on local fish and shellfish – lobster, crab, Exe mussels – and include a vegan option. ‘What more could you ask for?’ ‘Can’t wait to go again.’ (Gerald Taylor, Harriet Morris, Louisa Walker, and others)
The old-fashioned charms of this former 16th-century priory in beautiful cottage gardens sloping down to the River Frome in the centre of Wareham are not lost on readers, who conclude that ‘the hotel is a delight’. Bedrooms are deliciously different, from one on the ground floor with a walk-in drencher shower to another with river views, up steep stairs in the eaves, full of crooked character. Steps away, a room in the Boathouse was ‘beautifully decorated and appointed. Its location by the river is rather special.’ Ground-floor Boathouse suites also have French doors to a veranda. The drawing room may be ‘rather dated’, but the restaurant is in a light, modern conservatory. Here, Stephan Guinebault’s cooking ‘maintains its high standard’. Typical choices include Portland crab salad, Devon Farm beef fillet or wild mushroom risotto. Background music is ‘gentle and pleasant’, service ‘excellent, friendly and attentive’. ‘Going for a long, bracing walk by the coast after a Priory breakfast, then back for tea, scones and the fire makes for an excellent winter’s day.’ (Max Lickfold, BB, and others). This hotel is a member of Pride of Britain. Website: https://theprioryhotel.co.uk/ Headlam Hall Darlington, Co. Durham This country hotel ticks all the boxes – historic building, beautiful gardens, smart bedrooms, relaxed dining, spa and pool – while retaining a homely feel. ‘The warmth of the welcome by staff continued to impress,’ says one fan; ‘a beautiful hotel in glorious surroundings,’ enthuses another. Surrounded by the Robinson family’s farmland, the hall – dating from Jacobean times – is impressive. Tartan carpets on flagged or polished-wood floors, tweed-covered armchairs, and walls with hunting prints and Victorian watercolours create ‘a comfortable yet informal atmosphere’. There is space to relax, from the elegant drawing room or cosy library bar to the spa and the terraces overlooking the gardens. Bedrooms are ‘modern country house’ in style, and range from the main hall, with original features, to more contemporary spa bedrooms, and rustic mews and coach house rooms. The restaurant wins praise for its ‘quality, value and variety of menus’. Meals include steak and ale pie, bistro dishes such as herb-crusted hake, plus vegetarian choices. ‘All in all a delightful place to stay.’ (Alwyn and Thelma Ellis, Ralph Wilson, HP)
Sanquhar, Dumfries and Galloway
The River Nith ripples past the garden of Jane and Ian McAndrew’s old manse and gastronomic destination, in a rolling landscape with views to the Lowther hills. Bedrooms are ‘kept to a high standard’. A self-contained suite has French doors to a riverside patio. Dual-aspect Grouse has a large four-poster, a spa bath and rainfall shower. All rooms have home-made shortbread, tablet, Scottish mineral water and fresh fruit. ‘Our room was spacious, newly decorated, with a vast, most comfortable bed,’ readers write. ‘The staff are attentive and helpful.’ But it is Ian McAndrew’s cooking that is acclaimed above all. ‘From the salmon-and-cucumber mousse appetiser, it was obvious we were in for an absolute treat.’ A nightly-changing menu, with either/or choices, might include pan-roast cod fillet on smoked haddock chowder; the tasting menu, seared loin of roe deer, eryngii mushroom, duxelles, buttered cabbage and roast shallot. ‘Even the onion ice cream palate-cleanser really hit the mark.’ If you visit, do send us your own report from the world’s oldest post office. (DCM, MA, PK)
Twr y Felin Hotel
St Davids, Pembrokeshire
A Georgian windmill sits at the heart of Wales’s first contemporary arts hotel, on the edge of the UK’s smallest city, a stroll from Caerfai Bay. More than 100 original works by British and international artists are on display. ‘No-expense-spared’ bedrooms showing ‘care and attention to detail’, in the mill and Oriel Wing, have a chocolate-and-cream palette. Some have a terrace or Juliet balcony, a bath and a separate shower. There are panoramic views from the observatory above the showpiece Tower Suite. A 20-room annexe should open any time soon. In the restaurant, chef Sam Owen’s menus include such locally sourced dishes as halibut with cockles and laverbread. No dogs are allowed, as the hotel is hypoallergenic, but even so one reader suffered a severe adverse reaction to ‘paintings with women bleeding from their eyebrows’, the work of street artist Charles Uzzell-Edwards, aka ‘Pure Evil’. Accompanied by less shock value are Marcus Oleniuk’s photographs of the St Davids peninsula and Ann Goodfellow’s beautiful ceramic sculptures. Breakfast has ‘a Welsh flavour’. (MC, and others)
In a ‘lovely position’ by Beauly Firth, this handsome 17th-century mansion stands in large grounds that lead into woodland laced with walking paths – look out for the brown hares and roe deer who like to visit. Within the hotel are traditionally styled bedrooms and suites with period details, each looking over garden or lake; one has its own conservatory. There are two fireplaces in the drawing room, and a fine collection of malt whiskies in the clubby bar; in the wood-panelled restaurant, Scottish dishes at dinner might include roast loin of Highland lamb, spinach and mushroom stuffing. At breakfast, fuel up on a Highland Scottish grill or pancakes with maple-glazed bacon. ‘We had a very pleasant stay.’
Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway
Jan and Adam Moore’s relaxed, pet-friendly country hotel is in an 18th-century sporting lodge surrounded by mature gardens and woodland. There are fire-warmed sitting areas and an oak-panelled staircase; a Finnish sauna cabin and hot tub are on the grounds. Sit in the charming restaurant overlooking the neat lawn: ‘The great strength at this hotel is the food – imaginative without being pretentious. The same menu may be taken in the bar, where dogs are welcomed. Simply decorated in country style, bedrooms have homemade shortbread and fresh coffee; a garden suite has a conservatory and private garden. At breakfast, opt for ‘creamy porridge, just as it should be; plump kippers; sausages full of flavour’.