7 Staycation Experiences To Book This Weekend

From fine dining in Devon and star gazing in Gloucestershire to grape escapes in Kent and gin tastings in York, discover a unique UK adventure this autumn with one of these new staycation experiences

1 Head to Huntsham Court’s pop-up hotel, Devon

Escape to Devon for a limited-edition rendezvous. The UK’s largest private-hire country home, Huntsham Court and its baronial splendour has relaunched – for a limited time only – as a pop-up hotel and private dining venue.

Situated in the beautiful rolling countryside close to Exmoor National Park and less than 2 hours from London, Huntsham Court Hotel Pop-Up is an incredible 33,000 square foot Victorian mansion featuring incredible lavish interiors.

Covid’s adverse domino effect is the reason behind the metamorphosis. Transforming from a wedding and corporate private hire business into a sleek foodie hotel in the space of two short weeks, diners can dig into either a three-course menu with choices (£39.50 per person), or a 7-course seasonal tasting menu (£55 per person).

Meals will be served in two specially-created dining rooms to ensure spacious dining, and guests will enjoy menus created from scratch that put the emphasis on high quality, locally-sourced ingredients. After dinner, relax in front of the open fire in the oak-panelled drawing room where table service is available for drinks, or take a late stroll around the gardens before retiring for a blissful night’s sleep in one of the manor house’s 40 bedrooms. 

Start the adventure
The Fine Print: Overnight guests can opt for one or two night stays, with a delicious Devon breakfast to look forward to in the morning. The venue will also be accepting separate ‘dining club’ bookings. Only available to guests aged 11+.
Cost: Priced from £150 per person per night.
How: For further information and bookings, visit huntshamcourt.co.uk/hotel.
Where: Huntsham, Tiverton EX16 7NA
When: Now until February 2021

2 Book the The Bedroom Book Club with MGallery, UK locations

Avid readers, combine your love of the written word with historic hotels and delicious cocktails this autumn. MGallery, a collection of stylish, boutique hotels, has collaborated with the UK’s leading non-fiction book club community, Rebel Book Club, for a new, inspiring and multi-sensory in-room guest experience, named ‘Bedroom Book Club.’ 

Created in partnership with Rebel Book Club and featuring some of the most inspiring names in modern literature the ‘Bedroom Book Club’ is an invitation to become immersed in contemporary non-fiction inspired by the historical story of the hotel you’re staying in. Wash it down with a bespoke cocktail, designed to reflect the read. There is also a specially recorded podcast from the author of the book to contextualise the subject. 

Each MGallery Hotel has its own distinct story, with many known for hosting historic figures and iconic poets and authors. The collection includes Castle Hotel, Windsor; Francis Hotel, Bath; and Queens Hotel, Cheltenham, all three locations are rich in culture, heritage, and storytelling.

Understanding that guests may prefer to spend more time in their own rooms, the collaboration will provide a unique opportunity for guests to delve into the inspirations and stories of three exciting authors and their must-read, critically acclaimed books. 

Start the adventure
How: Find out more and make a booking via mgallery.accor.com/united-kingdom/index.en.shtml
Where: The collection includes Castle Hotel, Windsor; Francis Hotel, Bath; and Queens Hotel, Cheltenham.

3 Go stargazing with Tudor Farmhouse, Gloucestershire

An award-winning boutique hotel, the Forest of Dean’s Tudor Farmhouse is embracing the colder change in season with the launch of a new and unique outdoors experience – a stargazing safari led by ‘star storyteller’ Jim Bell which runs directly from the hotel’s grounds.

Join him on a fascinating two hour star journey to explore the dark skies above the village of Clearwell, home to the hotel. From the hilltop vantage point guests will enjoy observing stars, constellations and planets as the fascinating science and stories behind them are explained. 

The experience can be booked on one of a series of small group dates which are running throughout the winter months starting on the 31st October* and generally start at 20.00. Alternatively, Jim can be booked on a private basis for hotel guests.

Those looking to combine exploring the night sky as part of a short break can book a Stargazing Staycation from £325 per person. Enjoy a double room on a B&B basis for three nights, including dinner on one night and a private stargazing experience with Jim exploring the skies on one evening and a pocket guide to the stars to keep.

Start the adventure
The fine print: Hot drinks, snacks and binoculars will be provided and guests are advised to wrap up in warm layers and wear robust shoes. The experience lasts approximately two hours.
When: Launching 31 October 2020.
How: Tickets can be purchased online and are available from £30 per person (£20 for under 12s), with a minimum age for participants of 8 years old. For more information or to book, please visit tudorfarmhousehotel.co.uk or call 01594 833046.
Where: High St, Clearwell, Coleford GL16 8JS

4 Become a Sea Gardener with Cliff Beach House, Ireland

Irish escapes await. A new private house rental on Ireland’s Ancient East Coast, this modern, architect-designed home is located in scenic, sleepy Ardmore Bay on the southeast coast, set above rolling Atlantic waters. The striking six-bedroom villa is finished to the highest level, with spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the Irish skies, village and cliffside views. Facilities include a gym, sauna, outdoor hot tub and cinema room. 

The dedicated team at Cliff Beach House have recently launched an exciting, immersive experience – offering visitors the chance to learn how to become a Sea Gardener on the beach found just steps away. 

This expertly-guided experience includes a 2-hour Sea Gardening talk and walk and beach picnic. Forage with seaweed tasting, learn how to identify edible seaweeds, pick up cookery and gardening tips as well as learn about skin-care uses of seaweed.

Plus, keep eyes peeled for some of the creatures who live on the rocky shore like sea otters, dolphins, seals and even whales. After everyone has worked up an appetite on the walk, delve into anIrish picnic lovingly prepared by the Cliff kitchen team. 

If that doesn’t ‘float your boat’ guests can arrange lots of engaging, adventurous things to do: foraging, sea otter spotting, sea kayaking, whale walks and wild hiking.

Start the adventure
How: Cliff Beach House sleeps up to 12 in six double bedrooms from €2,500 a night. SeaGardener experience – €80 a person. Visit www.cliffbeachhouse.ie to book.
Where: Middle Road, Dysert, Ardmore, Co. Waterford, P36 DK38, Ireland

5 Make a night of it with The Kensington, West London

Set amongst the leafy squares of the Royal Borough of Kensington and comprising four townhouses, The Kensington promises a home-away-from-home feeling during a city adventure.

To celebrate its re-opening, local flower experts Lavender Green have created a stunning seasonal installation adorning the entrance. The hotel has launched a new all- day dining menu, London Landmarks Afternoon Tea and an exciting ‘Make A Night Of It’ package…

Perfect for a sleek London staycation, guests can now book the new package, which includes a stay in a beautifully appointed room or suite, dinner and delicious a la carte breakfast. Guests can also make the most of their stay with early check in and late check out. Those booking one of the hotel’s sumptuous suites will receive complimentary car parking for the duration of their stay.

To ensure peace of mind, The Kensington will offer all guests a wellbeing amenity pack on arrival and has launched its ‘Rest Assured Programme’, which clearly outlines the thorough health and safety protocols implemented in each hotel, in line with best international practice and Government guidelines. 

Start the adventure
Cost: Rates at The Kensington start from £270 on a room only basis. Rates for the ‘Make A Night Of It’ package starts from £365, including an overnight stay, dinner and breakfast.
How: Visit www.doylecollection.com/kensington to make a booking.

6 Enjoy The Grape Escape with The Stratford, East London

Calling all vinophiles, The Stratford has launched the ultimate wine tour and tasting experience for the curious and connoisseurs alike who want a wine-themed stay away (with no need to cross the channel).

Leave luggage at the hotel and catch a train to Ashford from Stratford International station, just steps away. Upon arriving in Kent, meet a private tour guide and designated driver before spending the day exploring three of the county’s best and most beautiful vineyards and wineries to sample their delicious wines, followed by a picturesque country pub lunch.

Return to The Stratford for an evening at Allegra, the hotel’s destination restaurant on the 7th floor, with a heated sky terrace and views across the London skyline. Enjoy a sensational three-course dinner from head chef Patrick Powell who uses ingredients from a local, organic farm. Finish the day with a nightcap in one of the hotel’s stylish bars and terraces, before settling in for the night in a contemporary and elegant bedroom.

Start the adventure
Cost: Rates for the Grape Escape package start from £698, based on two people sharing.
How: To book call on +44 203 961 3333. Please note that this offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion.
Where: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 20 International Way, London E20 1FD

7 Cosy up this autumn with brand new classes at The Grange Hotel, York

Gin masterclasses and creative pastimes await at The Grange Hotel, York. Join them for a number of new autumn experiences, including gin tasting masterclasses, calligraphy classes, flower arranging, Prosecco tasting, and live music and jazz nights at the Ivy Brasserie.

Housed in a Grade II listed building in the quiet residential area of Bootham, the hotel promises an intimate escape this autumn with roaring fires in the Tapestry Bar, 41 individually-designed rooms, Regency style décor, antique paintings, and its atmospheric two AA rosette restaurant situated in the historic vaulted cellars.

Throughout October and November local gin experts, Still & Heart, will be on hand to offer bespoke experiences for the ‘gin curious’, educating guests all about the nation’s favourite distilled drink. With a gin cocktail in hand, guests will be guided through a number of different gins, garnishes and mixers.

They will experiment with up to four different gins before ending the masterclass with a large G&T of their choice to have alongside a two-course lunch served at the hotel’s two AA Rosette restaurant, The Ivy Brasserie..

Adding to the boozy fun, the hotel will also be giving Prosecco lovers the chance to experience a delicious four course dinner accompanied by four matched Prosecco Ecco wines on Friday 1st November.

Priced from £59 per person, highlights from the menu include roast loin of pork with pancetta crushed potatoes and honey glazed carrots partnered with Adami Col Credas Brut Prosecco known for its impressive intensity and floral notes. In addition to four glasses of prosecco served at dinner, guests will receive a Prosecco cocktail upon arrival and a coffee & Prosecco truffle to end the meal. Hic.

Start the adventure
The small print: Tickets for the Gin Tasting Masterclass cost £55 per person and include a welcome drink, three tasting gins and one final G&T. The Gin Tasting Masterclasses is available to book on 11th October, as well as 14th, 15th and 29th November.
Cost: Rates at The Grange Hotel start from £210 staying in a double room on a B&B basis.
How: To book visit http://www.grangehotel.co.uk or call 01904 644744.
Where: 1 Clifton, York YO30 6AA

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