Fifteen of The Greatest Boutique Hotels in Britain
by Fitzroy of London
Britain is home to some of the most alluring boutique hotels, each boasting their individuality. The architecture and interior design of a boutique hotel is unique as its operations, sometime combining historic details with chic elegance.
Here we’ve rounded up some of the very best boutique hotels in the United Kingdom. From Cornwall to Scotland, if you’re looking to stay somewhere small, stylish and individual, then this selection won’t disappoint.
- Artist Residence, Oxfordshire
The 16th-century farmhouse, complete with thatched roof, stone mullion windows and inglenook fireplaces, is now a unique country pub with a bohemian twist and arty vibe. Andy Doig neon creations add zest to William Morris floral wallpapers and quirky Lucy Sparrow soft sculptures stand proud in the bar. Unconventional and fun, it has the atmosphere of an eccentric family home.
- The Zetter Townhouse, Clerkenwell, London
The 13-room Zetter Townhouse lies just across the cobbles of St John’s Square from its much larger sister hotel, The Zetter. Formed from two Georgian buildings that once housed solicitors, it offers a friendly escape amid the village-like streets of Clerkenwell, one of London’s most pleasant neighbourhoods.
- Barnsley House, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire
This gracious 17th-century manor house is tucked into the heart of Barnsley village – which lies in the particularly lovely, rolling landscape. With its golden stone, gables and mullion windows, this is a dreamily romantic house. But for all that, the building is magnificently upstaged by its garden. There are four acres of formal gardens including a knot garden and a potager.
- Askham Hall, Lake District
With hefty walls, battlemented parapets, leaded windows, stone griffins at the entrance and topiary in the gardens. The once family home of the Earls of Lonsdale is now a two AA Rosette restaurant and fifteen ‘comfortably country’ rooms; calm and uncluttered, a mix of family antiques and quirky vintage pieces and some with marble wash basins and roll top baths.
- Timbrell’s Yard, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire
On the cusp of the Cotswolds, and beside the winding River Avon in the market town Bradford on Avon (a quainter alternative to Bath), Trimbell’s Yard showcases contemporary rusticity, whether in the lost suites with mezzanine bedrooms and window seats looking over the river and church spires, or rooms in the hotel’s older wing where you find wonderfully low beams and freestanding cast iron baths.
- The Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland, Country Durham
The Lord Crewe Arms, in the honeyed estate village of Blanchland, oozes atmosphere at every stone-flagged turn. The Abbot’s lodging of a 12th-century priory has been blended with a 21st-century country-manor look; it’s big yet cosy, with quirky corners and unexpected flights of stairs.
- Penally Abbey, Tendby, Pembrokeshire
A delightful family-owned small hotel on the Pembrokeshire Coast, close to the attractive harbour town of Tendy. It’s a late 18th-century Strawberry Hill Gothic house, not an Abbey (although there is a ruined chapel adjoining it.). Boasting the period details, not least the characteristic ogee head doors and windows, you enter a welcoming and stylish hallway with wood-burning stove. The eleven bedrooms are lovely.
- Old Bank Hotel, Oxford
Troves of character from three interconnecting buildings, to which, in some parts, date back to the 14th century. Interiors are painted in a combination of soft pastels and bolder colours, and hung with striking modern art throughout, while the building boasts older features including Georgian alcoves, wood-panelled walls and large sash windows.
- Brimstone at Langdale, Lake District
This hotel in the Langdale Estate; a part of one of the Lake District’s most picturesque valleys – brings something different to the region’s luxury market and allows easy access to some of the country’s finest walking routes. Standing boldly among the conifers and pines, Brimstone is intentionally reminiscent of a large ski chalet, constructed using beautiful local blue-grey Lakeland stone. The boutique offers the greatest spa experience: an indoor and outdoor rooftop pool where you can float under the stars, surrounded by trees.
- King Street Townhouse, Manchester
You’ll instantly feel relaxed here, with its rooftop spa-pool and stylish interiors. Everything from the furniture to locally commissioned artwork throughout the property has been sourced by the owner, and no two bedrooms are quite the same. The comfortable beds have crisp, white bedding sourced from South Africa, and thoughtful extras just as luxury bathrooms, Nespresso coffee machine and Temple Spa toiletries make the boutique difficult to leave. From lights with exposed filaments to hand-picked books on shelves, the attention to detail is excellent.
- The Rectory, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
A lovely low-key country house hotel with a beautiful English garden, where the Georgian proportions are left to speak for themselves and stylish interiors make it an elegant home from home. Soothing bedrooms are unfussy spaces and good value, enhanced by quality but contemporary art, headboards in striking colours and unusual bathroom tiles. An added bonus is the heated outdoor swimming pool. Meals are served in the simple, stylish dining room, conservatory or the garden, with menu of traditional, yet modern dishes presented.
- The Cary Arms, Babbacombe, Devon
This delightful seaside hotel on Devon’s south coast is a setting from a Mills and Boon romance. There are ten bedrooms and three self-catering cottages, all delightful with retro red leather bed-heads, pretty wardrobes, sticks of rocks on snow white pillows and walls adorned by old posters advertising the delights of the Devon. For dinner in the stone walled, state floored bar, locally sourced dishes include Brixham fish and chips battered with local Otter Ale and West Country lamb.
- Crab Manor Hotel, Thirsk, North Yorkshire
Eccentric, electric, mad; it’s all of these but styled with such confidence that it charms rather than shrieks bad-taste kitsch. The ten-foot-high yeti halfway up the stairs and life-size Russian doll in the sea-blue sitting room are clues that this place is not necessarily the demure, Georgian manor house that it looks from the outside. Individually themed rooms – representing twenty of the world’s most eccentric hotels – has been done to exacting standards: Bird Island (Seychelles) has a thatched roof and a tent-shaped ceiling, while Sharrow Bay (Lake District) is inspired by a traditional English country house feel with blowsy floral wallpaper and pink velvet sofas.
- Number 38 Clifton, Bristol
A luxury b&b in Bristol, in a 19th-century Georgian merchant’s house, offering beautifully designed rooms and a choice of park or city views. Handy for exploring the genteel streets of Clifton and the restaurants along Whiteladies Road. Billed as a ‘boutique and breakfast’, it’s all clean lines, muted colours and minimal clutter. Sculptures and artworks are dotted around the house, and there’s a roof garden for when the sun shines. The ten bedrooms, all different and with a view, have a designer touch.
- The Parisi Hotel, York
A real find in a city well served by independent hotels and b&bs, here are eleven individually designed rooms that are filled with an eclectic mix of artwork and ornaments, as well as period, vintage and retro furniture. The exterior of the building, all mellow red bricks and gables, is virtually unchanged since it was built in 1880. Floor-to-ceiling windows with wooden shutters look out on St. Denys Church and a wood burning stove adds a homely glow on cold, wintery days.