Top 5 Places to Stay in the British Isles
For a couple of relatively small islands, Great Britain and Ireland offer an awful lot to discover. They’re the perfect size for a driving holiday, whether it’s a long weekend in just one area or a few weeks taking in as much as possible. The scenery is diverse and beautiful, from the glens and peaks of northern Scotland to the rolling hills of southern England and the overwhelming greenness of Wales and Ireland. And these days a good pub meal and glass of craft beer is never far away. Here are five of the most special places to stay in the British isles.
Palé Hall Bala (Wales)
This grand Victorian mansion is a great base for exploring beautiful Snowdonia and the Dee Valley (where much of the restaurant’s produce is grown). High ornate ceilings, carved fireplaces, luxurious fabrics, charming staff and beautifully manicured grounds combine seamlessly with wireless internet and TVs disguised as mirrors.
The Balmoral Edinburgh (Scotland)
Edinburgh’s most exclusive address, built as a railway hotel in 1901, has a simultaneously grand yet utilitarian feel. From the maroon and burnished gold of Number One restaurant to iconic views of the Castle and Scott Monument, its understated elegance is typical of Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular.
The Royal Crescent Bath (England)
The imposing Royal Crescent is a beautifully symmetrical semi-circular sweep of Georgian townhouses at the very top of the town of Bath, and right in the centre sits this lovely hotel. There’s lush parkland out front and a sunny garden behind. See No1.Royal Crescent museum too.
Number 31 Dublin (Ireland)
Dublin is a charming city full of beautiful townhouses, or at least it seems so when staying at this Georgian terrace less than 10 minutes’ walk from the city centre with its coach-house mews through a pretty courtyard garden. Breakfast is a treat, especially the cranberry & walnut bread!
Blessingbourne Estate County Tyrone (Northern Ireland)
The old stables and historic gate lodge on this working cattle farm are comfortable, spacious self-catering apartments. There’s a menagerie of peacocks, goats, llamas and horses, plus fishing, woodland trails, tennis court and a wonderful old Victorian manor. And good pub fare nearby at Fivemiletown’s Valley Hotel.
And if you’d like to explore some parts of the British Isles in more detail. Have a look at my city guides to London and Glasgow, regional guides to the Scottish Highlands and Ireland’s East and Top 5 Places to Stay in Scotland for the breakfasts alone!