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Our little black book of enchanting places


6 great pools for summer by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

The sun is shining, the loungers are out, it’s time to hit the outdoor pool. And yes, we are talking about British hotels – but on a fine day the best of them really can hold their own against anything on offer in the Med. And to prove it, here are six of our favourites.

Luckham Park, Wiltshire

A treatment in the hotel’s spa will get you access to this lovely salt-water plunge pool, surrounded by grass and mature trees. Though beautifully formed, it's rather small, so if you prefer more of a workout, take a dip in the 20m indoor pool first.The Grove, Hertfordshire

The reason we love The Grove’s pool is because in summer part of the walled garden behind it is transformed into an urban beach – one of the first in the UK – with real sand, a volleyball court and a gazebo selling ice-lollies and cold drinks. Oh, and it’s a favourite with the England football squad …Tylney Hall, Hampshire

The gardens at Tylney Hall were laid out at the turn of the century by Selden Wornum, with planting advice by Gertrude Jekyll. The large outdoor pool is a later addition, and lies in a walled courtyard that was once Wornum’s Dutch Garden. A very popular spot in summer when the surrounding grass terrace becomes a sun trap. Cowley Manor, Gloucestershire

Cowley Manor’s beautiful slate-lined indoor pool is so enticing that many guests never make it to the 15m pool just outside – which leaves more room for those of us who prefer to be outdoors. I’ve even swum here during the winter (though to be fair, it is heated year-round). Cliveden House, Berkshire

This gorgeous garden pool was where, one sultry summer’s day in 1961, Christine Keeler and John Profumo met for the first time. It didn’t end well, of course, but the pool can hardly be blamed for that. Set within a secluded walled garden, it’s now part of the hotel’s luxurious spa and open to non-residents as part of a spa package. The Berkeley, London

A number of London hotels have pools but The Berkeley is the only one with a pool on the roof. Reminiscent of an elegant Thirties’ liner, the white-and-gold pool has a retractable roof which slides back when the weather allows. And the hula-hoops? They’re part of a new poolside fitness class which The Berkeley is launching next week (contact the hotel for details).

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