Just a short hop from London, the open countryside of Hertfordshire offers sophistication, serenity and plenty of activities for all ages. The county has been home to many aristocrats, with a range of stunning mansions-turned-hotels. Here are some of the high-end staycations we recommend in Hertfordshire.
This was once the country seat of Lord Mountbatten. Now the Georgian mansion is a modern hotel with 112 rooms and a sleek spa (The Cottonmill). For an ultra-exclusive stay, book a Mews Suite, accessed via private gates, and set in gardens designed by the RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Gold award winner, Ann-Marie Powell. Drink and dine in The Brasserie, Outdoor Terrace, Cocktail Lounge and Conservatory.
Just 18 miles from London, The Grove was the ancestral home of the Earls of Clarendon. Perfect for a golf break close to the city, it has a championship course, fine dining options and an award-winning spa. Its outdoor pool is a superb spot to catch some rays as you recline on a lounger with a cocktail in hand – and there’s an activities programme to keep younger guests occupied, so the adults can relax and enjoy a romantic picnic in the grounds.
St Michael’s Manor Hotel
This refined manor hotel with its own private lake, is set in five acres of land on the edge of the commuter town of St Albans. St Michael’s backs onto the Roman Verulamium Park and is a short stroll from the cathedral. It has 30 classically designed rooms in muted colours and plenty of idyllic spots to unwind in the garden among gazebos and benches. The Orangery restaurant is a highlight, with two AA Rosettes and unique lakeside views.
Down Hall has 98 grand and elegant rooms decorated in theatrical rich fabrics and sporting freestanding mirrored tubs. Close to Stansted Airport, it’s ideal for those seeking a base before jetting abroad, or vacationers from the far end of the UK seeking a break just a short domestic flight away. The hotel is very family-friendly and treatments at the Eden Spa can be booked ahead of your stay. Walk, play tennis or have a game of giant chess in the 120 acres surrounding the property and dine at the Grill Room Restaurant with its excellent daily changing menu.