Hotels for summer far from the madding crowd

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3 minutes

By Rose Shepherd

If you’re tempted by the idea of a UK summer break (no airport queues, no passport, no pet paperwork, jetlag or currency exchange), but want to avoid the teeming visitor hotspots, the Guide lists hundreds of hotels that offer an escape from the selfie-snapping crowds and purveyors of tourist tat. Here are just a few favourites to tempt you to holiday on these islands.

The Old Rectory Hotel, Martinhoe, Devon
Escapees from the corporate treadmill, Huw and Sam Rees-Prosser were living their dream when they opened this welcoming hotel in an isolated hamlet on the edge of Exmoor national park. The coastal path, a stroll away, traverses towering hog-backed cliffs above the Bristol Channel. This is wild, rugged coast, with sandy beaches a drive away, and hidden gems such as sylvan Woody Bay worth seeking out.

Driftwood Hotel, Port Scatho, Cornwall
On the Roseland Peninsula, at the heart of the Cornish riviera, in seven-acre grounds overlooking Gerrans Bay, this hotel has the rare benefit of its own private beach. Local attractions include the Lost Gardens of Heligan, The Eden Project, and the Tate in the honeypot of St Ives, but once you arrive it can be hard to leave, with everything you could want onsite for a blissed-out break.

Hillside, Ventnor, Isle of Wight
One of the UK’s sunniest destinations, the Isle of Wight has 57 miles of coastline, so you can always find some space. Sitting in gardens above town, under St Boniface Down, this thatched country house is chocolate-box pretty, with Scandi chic interiors. From Ventnor’s Botanic Gardens, you can make your way on foot to Steephill Cove, to find clear waters, rock pools, a beach café, and eateries round about.

The Gallivant, Camber, Sussex
When the beaches of Bournemouth and Brighton are heaving, why not head east to this cool hotel, in a coastal garden with views to the magnificent dunes of Camber, where mindful beach walks on miles of golden sand are a realistic offering? Interiors have a hip, stripped-back style. Close by are medieval Rye, golf courses, the evocative expanses of Romney Marsh and bleakly beautiful Dungeness.

The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk
The big sky and luminous wetlands of the North Norfolk coast create a wonderful sense of freedom and space, at the Nye family’s hotel, with views across tidal marshes to Scolt Head Island. Dog-friendly bedrooms in a sedum-roofed annexe have a private terrace. The Norfolk Coast Path runs past the bottom of the garden; a boardwalk leads to Brancaster Beach, a paradise for dog-walkers, kite-flyers, sandcastle-builders and shell-seekers.

New House Farm, Lorton, Cumbria
In the lush Vale of Lorton, in the northern lakes, this beamed Georgian farmhouse B&B is surrounded by spectacular scenery. While visitors throng the shores of Ullswater and Windermere, here you find peace, fell views, with walks around Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater. William Wordsworth’s birthplace, Cockermouth, with its shops and restaurants, is just six miles away.

Eddrachilles Hotel, Scourie, Highland
Much loved by readers, this small hotel and former manse sits in three acres of wooded grounds and gardens, in the North-West Highlands Geopark, with staggeringly beautiful views over island-studded Badcall Bay. Visitors come for climbing, kayaking, hill walks and wildlife-watching. Look for red- and black-throated divers, Highland cattle and – thanks to the Gulf Stream – the world’s most northerly palm tree.

Scarista House, Scarista, Isle of Harris
Few hotels are more remote than this Georgian manse between heather-clad mountains and a long, sandy beach. Days can be spent rock climbing, mountain-biking, surfing, sailing, but you’re free simply to take it easy. Almost everything, from bread to ice cream, is made in the kitchen, for a nightly-changing imaginative set dinner – so you’re spared even the stress of menu dilemmas.

Penally Abbey, Penally, Pembrokeshire
There are sweeping views over Carmarthen Bay from this charming Gothic-style Georgian house with a ruined chapel in the garden. Bedrooms are beautifully styled and restful. Walkers follow the Pembrokeshire Coast Path; sunbathers hit sand-and-shingly Penally Beach. Officially one of the sunniest places in Wales, the harbour town of Tenby, with its pastel-painted houses, restaurants, cafés, bars and chippies, is two miles away,

See more of our UK hotels for summer staycations.