Keep on track with Fine Individual Hotels best UK walks
With milder weather and the British countryside reawakening with spring flowers and wildlife, what better time to dust off those walking boots and book a stay away to explore by foot some of the UK’s most scenic areas; secure in the knowledge that after an invigorating days walk a sumptuous dinner and a comfortable night’s sleep awaits.
Fine Individual Hotels’ (fihotels.com) offers a collection of privately owned and operated luxury hotels across the UK. There are now over 60 hotels in the group with many of the properties situated in areas of outstanding natural beauty and in with varied landscapes which makes them the ideal retreat for walking holidays throughout the year. From the moorland and stunning coastline of Devon to the Lake District Fells, the varied terrain of Lancashire or the Pennines and Malvern Hills.
Here is a round-up of some of Fine Individual Hotels’ most scenic places to stay and enjoy the great outdoors:
Linthwaite House Hotel, Lake Windermere is an elegant award winning Edwardian house situated in over 14 acres of wooded hilltop gardens, 400 feet above Lake Windermere. With award winning dining to enjoy there is a plethora of scenic walks on its doorstep to help you build up a hearty appetite or to burn off some calories. Try, for example, the spectacular ramble along the shore of Lake Windermere covering countryside made famous by Beatrix Potter or a meander along the delightful ‘Winster Valley’, a quiet and secluded walk through the wonderful Cumbrian countryside. Short break rates start from £161 per person per night based on two sharing a standard room with full English breakfast and a four course dinner.
Alternatively on the southern end of Lake Windermere, Lakeside Hotel & Spa is situated on the water’s edge of the lake with breath-taking views to the forests and fells beyond. There are a variety of walks to choose from, but dominating the view across the lake from the hotel is Gummers How. A half day walk to the top of the Fell starts with a short ferry ride on Lake Windermere to Fell Foot and a hike up the precipitous ‘Gummers How’ to the famous old Beacon Point where walkers are richly rewarded with magnificent views. A one night stay costs from £179 per room per night with breakfast and relaxing spa treatments cost from £30.
The third choice for a walk in the Lakes is from the Tufton Arms Hotel a charming, family-run hotel located in the centre of a picturesque market town, Appleby-in-Westmorland, in the tranquil Eden Valley. Year round guests can enjoy a full day’s circular route from Dufton Village to Great Rundale and the lead mines in the North Pennines, across Dufton Fell and the open grouse moors and up High Cup Nick, a stunning glacial valley. Prices start from £127 B&B for two sharing a double/twin room per night.
On the eastern edge of the northern Pennines Teesdale offers the perfect countryside for rambling to explore the valley of the River Tees. Starting in Romaldkirk, one of northern England’s prettiest villages, stay at The Rose & Crown, a classic 18th century English coaching inn and from the village with its three greens and a splendid water pump cross over fields to Cotherstone village, renowned for its cheese and then drop down to follow the banks of the River Tees. The best of time of year to enjoy this walk is late spring when the bluebells and rhododendrons are in flower, though the friendly dippers keep walkers company along the river throughout the year. Prices for a one night stay at the Rose & Crown costs from £140 B&B for two sharing a double/ twin per night.
The Gibbon Bridge Hotel is located in the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, the heart of a special part of England, known for the ‘Pendle Witches Trail.’ Designated an area of outstanding natural beauty, with its rolling pastures, working farmland and dense forestry, there is a plethora of walks to enjoy that go through the Ribble Valley, as well as charming villages and mystical landscapes that inspired Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’. With all of this on its doorstep, this is a great area to enjoy a walking break, whilst discovering more about this historical area. Prices start from £140 B&B for two sharing a double/ twin room per night.
Another trail worth considering is ‘The Sandstone Trail’. Regarded as one of England’s finest middle distance trails it follows a spine of woodland red sandstone hills, running roughly north to south across Cheshire and northern Shropshire and covering 34 miles of varied terrain. Stay at the Green Bough Hotel, in Chester for a base from which to take a series of two or three half day walks along the trail with its stunning views over the Cheshire plain to the Welsh Hills in the west and The Pennines in the east. Prices at this beautiful Victorian town house hotel, start from £195 B&B including a much deserved, tea and scones in the lounge or roof terrace and a la carte dinner.
Further south the Malvern Hills famously inspired Edward Elgar to pen some of his most best known pieces, such as the Pomp and Circumstance marches, and set to this rousing soundtrack music lovers can explore the 40 mile ‘Elgar Trail’ that takes in many of the places associated with the famous composer. Colwall Park Hotel and Restaurant, in the centre of peaceful Colwall village, provides a perfect resting place for weary walkers and the hotel can also suggest other half and full day walks that cater for all levels of fitness covering terrain from the Black Mountain of Wales to the Bristol Channel with free maps of the area. Prices start from £130 B&B for two sharing a double/ twin per night.
For a walking holiday along the south coast the Royal Castle Hotel in Dartmouth is the ideal haven for guests to enjoy a short coastal break. The award winning 17th Century hotel is perfectly located in the heart of Dartmouth overlooking the spectacular inner harbour and Dart estuary. With its mild climate, salt air and rich bird-life, it is a great base in which to enjoy walks that explore the surrounding marshlands and natural beauty. Information is provided by the hotel on local walks that are for all levels of fitness. After an invigorating walk, guests can look forward to relaxing with a West Country beer at the hotel before enjoying dinner. Prices start from £140 B&B for two sharing a double/twin room per night.
For further information on Fine Individual Hotels go to: fihotels.com