5 Rural English Cottages Perfect for Escaping the City

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5 Rural English Cottages Perfect for Escaping the City
Londoners have perfected the art of the minibreak, and it’s easy to see why: Stylish countryside stays are just a quick drive away. Here, five places worth a detour.
By Jenn Flowers, AFAR Staff
Photo courtesy Soho Farmhouse
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    Soho Farmhouse
    Distance from London75 miles northwest, 2 hours by car
    The Place: Soho House’s latest hideaway in the Cotswolds is a next-gen social club and hotel set on 100 acres, with 40 log cabins, a seven-bedroom farmhouse, and a four-bedroom cottage. Forget that stuffy British manor home aesthetic: Furnishings are a chic mix of vintage pieces, claw-foot tubs, and unfinished wood floors. 
    Check Out: The property’s lakeside Cowshed Spa, with a sauna and steam room tucked away on an island, and the Main Barn restaurant, masterminded by celebrity chef Tom Aikens. From $545.
    Photo courtesy Soho Farmhouse
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    Gilpin Lake House
    Distance from London: 270 miles northwest, 4–5 hours by car
    The Place: With its forested hills and silvery bodies of water, the Lake District is one of England’s most popular getaway destinations. For true peace and quiet, head to Gilpin Lake House, located next to a private four-acre lake on 100 wooded acres that are shared with the Gilpin Hotel. Each of the suites is individually designed, with details such as hand-printed wallpaper, Pierre Frey fabrics, and modern Poliform furniture.
    Check Out: The new Jetty Spa, which commands views of the lake and woodlands through floor-to-ceiling windows. The spa is available only to Gilpin Lake House guests. From $430.
    Photo courtesy Gilpin Lake House
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    The Pig on the Beach
    Distance from London: 130 miles southwest, 3 hours by car
    The Place: Set on a hill along the Dorset coast, this fifth “Pig” inn from Brit hotelier Robin Hutson is a 29-room retreat furnished with freestanding baths, four-poster beds, and framed vintage botanical prints. In keeping with the Pig’s restaurant-with-rooms ethos, items on the daily menu reflect what is growing in the garden or, like the Dorset trout and Purbeck turkey, are sourced within a 25-mile radius. Come June, you’ll be able to pair your visit here with a night at the new Pig at Combe, an Elizabethan-era inn 70 miles west.

    Check Out: The 11th-century ruins of Corfe Castle, built by William the Conqueror, 15 minutes away by car; or Studland Beach, a five-minute walk. From $200.
    Photo courtesy The Pig on the Beach
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    Distance from London: 290 miles southwest, 5–6 hours by car
    The Place: Got a little extra time to spare? The scenic drive from London to coastal Cornwall makes for a perfect road trip. Noteworthy stops include Stonehenge and the college town of Exeter. In designer-hotelier Olga Polizzi’s Tresanton, once a yacht club, all 30 rooms have sea views and nautical flourishes (striped bedding, seashell sculptures).
    Check Out: The Pinuccia, Tresanton’s 26-foot yacht, which can be chartered for the day. When the weather’s nice, the hotel can arrange sailing lessons in the serene waters of Falmouth Bay. From $375.
    Photo courtesy Tresanton
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    Lime Wood
    Distance from London: 85 miles southwest, 1–2 hours by car
    The Place: Once a 13th-century hunting lodge, the Lime Wood, in southern England, has 32 light-filled rooms and a collaboration with celebrity chef Angela Hartnett to launch HH&Co Backstage, a new on-site cooking school. Guests can take classes ranging from preserving and pickling to preparing game.
    Check Out: The surrounding New Forest, populated by wild ponies. Take a walk or bike ride through this former royal hunting ground. From $460.

    >>Next: 5 Reasons to Explore England Outside of London
    Photo courtesy Lime Wood