In Focus

Four of the best autumnal breaks in Britain

As the nights draw in, it’s time to enjoy countryside walks and evenings in by the fire

A cosy spot by a loch

The 12-bedroom Pierhouse hotel, on the banks of Loch Linnhe in Argyll, Scotland, is worth visiting for the seafood alone, said The Sunday Telegraph. Mussels and oysters are prepared in the restaurant in one of four ways – the buttery grilled version is a favourite – and the people who farmed them are celebrated on the menus. “Bedrooms are snug, decorated with maritime-themed artwork, and pretty blue and white flowers – a soothing place to hide away on rainy autumn nights.” 

There are numerous beaches and walking routes located close to the hotel, “but our favourite spot was the hotel bar, sitting in an armchair, local whisky in hand, gazing out at the pier and its ferry boat”. The ferry makes frequent trips to the Inner Hebridean island of Lismore, which was once an important centre of Christianity and is now “the home of a small population, some hardy sheep and a couple of ruined castles”. From £125; pierhousehotel.co.uk

The Bradley Hare © Martin Morrell/Bradley Hare

© Martin Morrell/Bradley Hare

Getting snug in a pub in Wiltshire

Hunker down this autumn in a snug pub in Wiltshire, says Maria Shollenbarger in the Financial Times. Down at the edge of the Somerset border, just above the “gorgeous stretch of Cranborne Chase on the estate of the Duke of Somerset”, is a new take on the quintessential British village inn, The Bradley Hare in Maiden Bradley. Its interiors were executed by a former Soho House design director – think old antiques and vintage textiles repurposed as pretty headboards, mixing nicely with mid-20th-century paintings. “A proper (if city-polished) pub resides on the ground floor, complete with snug and private dining rooms… [with] a full gastro menu and impressive wine list.” The dozen bedrooms are spread out over the main building and adjacent coach house. There is also a private garden, and “even a cheeky little beauty parlour”. From £130; thebradleyhare.co.uk  

Rothley Lakehouse © Mike Henton/National Trust

© Mike Henton/National Trust

A woodland retreat in Northumberland

“Fiery displays of autumn colour are provided by vibrant acers, and by the red squirrels foraging for winter stores” at the National Trust estate at Wallington in Northumberland, said Gemma Bowes and Lorna Parkes in The Guardian. Walkers on a “heritage tree trail” can explore the woodland that features “exotic conifers and other trees from around the world”, planted by the families that lived on the estate for 300 years. Nearby, the National Trust has a new holiday cottage, called Rothley Lakehouse, surrounded by woodland and wetlands. The property, which sleeps up to 13, overlooks the 250-year-old lake created by Capability Brown, a native of Northumberland. “Bats, badgers and otters frequent the shore.” Bikes can be rented to explore trails to nearby villages such as Wallington, or further afield to Blyth, quaint Morpeth, or to Rothbury for antiques. £1,625 for three nights in November; nationaltrust.org.uk

The Tawney © The Tawney

© The Tawney

Communing with nature in Staffordshire

Be seduced by the fairy-tale beauty of The Tawny – 70 acres of gardens on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorlands, consisting of “lakes dotted with tumbledown follies… wayward borders and dappled woodlands”, said Susan d’Arcy in The Times. The custom-built shepherds’ huts are “Scandi-cute”. They have stargazing skylights, king-size beds, log-burners and decks with plenty of room for a stylish tin bath, filled with water filtered on site. As for the treehouses, they enjoy “the same slick styling and facilities, but with on-trend outdoor showers”. Or guests can opt to stay in one of the boat houses, which are “probably the most romantic, with interiors drenched in bolder colours and slipper baths positioned to make the most of the dreamy views through floor-to-ceiling windows”. On site, there’s a small outdoor heated pool and a “dinky thatched spa”. The focus, however, is on “communing with nature, so wander until you find the perfect spot to stop and read”. From £230; thetawny.co.uk

This article was originally published in MoneyWeek

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