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Our little black book of enchanting places

Season of mists and crumpets

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

It’s autumn. A season of mists, mellow fruitfulness and, to misquote Keats, nice long country walks followed by tea and crumpets in front of an open fire. Here’s where we’ve got in mind.

Set in 200 acres of parkland and formal gardens in North Wales, Bodysgallen Hall, above, is my favourite of the three properties run by Historic House Hotels. Parts of the hotel date from the Elizabethan era, including the drawing room, which features an original fireplace bearing the 17th-century coats of arms of the Mostyns, Wynns and Vaughans. Traditional Afternoon Tea in front of the fire cost £24 per person. 

Great Hall, Lord Crewe ArmsThe medieval fireplace at the Lord Crewe Arms, hugged by the North Pennine moors, is one of the largest I’ve ever seen: so large, in fact, that 'General' Tom Forster is said to have hidden up it during the 1715 Jacobite rising, making the room impressive rather than cosy. Afternoon tea is such good value at £10.95 per person, it would be rude not to add the extra £9.05 for a glass of champagne. The Great Hall, Cliveden HouseCliveden House is one of England’s most famous, not to say, notorious 17th-century stately homes, set in 376 acres of magnificent Grade I listed formal gardens and woodlands in Berkshire. Aternoon tea is served in front of a truly massive ornate fireplace in the Great Hall. The fireplace is flanked by John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Nancy Astor, so you'll be in excellent company. From £37 per person.Cedar Bar, Lainston House17th-century Lainston House is surrounded by 63 acres of idyllic Hampshire parkland and famous for its beautiful avenue of lime trees. My favourite room is the Cedar Bar, partly because it boasts panelling carved by Grinling Gibbons from a cedar tree that fell in the Great Storm of 1930. Have tea by the open fire next to the bar. From £29.50 per person.

Hotel Endsleigh is Olga Polizzi’s charming Grade I listed historic house hotel, set in 100 acres of woodland on the edge of Dartmoor. Afternoon tea is laid out in the wood-panelled library which in winter is warmed a roaring fire. From £20 per person.


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