Anglophiles in the Isles
Discovering the mystery, beauty and romance of the United Kingdom beyond London
Lovers of the United Kingdom there’s a name for you; you are an Anglophile. Truth be told, we heart Great Britain as much as you do. Spellbound by its kings, queens, knights and castles; enthralled by its quaint thatched-roofed villages, mysterious forests, lighthouses, great houses and moldering monasteries, we see the United Kingdom as a storybook landscape. From Mr. Darcy to Harry Potter, Miss Marple to James Bond and Sherlock Holmes to Robin Hood, this island nation has characters that seduce us in literature, films, myths and legends. We love the eccentric denizens and their lilting accents. The country’s heaths, hamlets, lakes, mountains, moors and cliff-fringed beaches beguile us too. Its diverse realms of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, brim with folklore and history. Pirates trod here, Vikings conquered its shores, Romans built walled cities, poets took inspiration from reflective lakes and King Arthur ruled from a round table. Add in scones and clotted cream, tea in china cups and pints sipped in colorful pubs and Great Britain is an Anglophile’s ultimate honeymoon haven.
Tree House Living
Hampshire’s New Forest is best known for its native breed of ponies. On its edge, Chewton Glen, a classic country house has added a coterie of treehouse suites, which meld into the forest landscape. Sleep among the branches, after a soak beneath the stars in the Treehouse Hideaway Suite. Restore at the stellar restaurant, take a cooking class, lounge in the spa — and trek the fairytale forest.
Hole in One
You met on the green — and now you want to tee off together on the ultimate golf course. Check into the Old Course Hotel, located on the edges of the world’s most famous golf course — St. Andrew’s Links. With views of the sea, this classic spot, complete with a pub and a Kohler-designed spa, also gets kudos as Scotland’s best wedding venue. oldcoursehotel.co.uk
Would Queen Elizabeth steer you wrong? She’s a fan of Inverlochy Castle — and little wonder. Looming above a loch, in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Scotland’s greatest mountain, this turreted and crenellated fortress in the Scottish Highlands treats every guest as royalty. Intimate, with elegant interiors, Inverlochy has wellies and raincoats stored near the front door, fires burning in every room, and a destination restaurant. Expect activities from horseback riding, to whiskey tasting to clay pigeon shooting.
Discover Britain on foot with REI Adventure’s all encompassing England Coast to Coast hike, a trek which traces the myriad highlights of Alfred Wainwright’s iconic 192-mile hike, from the west side’s Irish Sea to the North Sea in the east. A guided trip, this tour wends through three distinct National Parks, the poetic Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York moors — replete with heather-rimmed ridges and haunting, moody terrain. Lilliputian shops, teahouses, pubs, vicarages, farmland, old world inns, and picturesque villages complete the vision.
Home to Hadrian’s Wall, historic Northumberland, in northeast England, abounds in natural beauty. On the grounds of centuries-old Middleton Hall, on a country estate that stretches across 30-acres, the airy boathouse stands on stilts above a small lake. With panoramic windows that embrace wildlife (such as otters and birds), this tucked-in-the-woods cottage includes a nostalgic, flat-bottomed rowboat. Don ribboned straw hats and paddle across the lake for a picnic on the property.
One of the Celtic homelands, Cornwall in southwest England, is rimmed by unbridled sea. Here, lie the remains of Tintagel Castle, the supposed birthplace of King Arthur. Novels galore, including many by Daphne Du Maurier, take place in the stormy region. Enjoy its vibe from a cliff-top jacuzzi at The Scarlet Hotel, an eco-lodge with sustainable features throughout. Luxurious and coddling, the hotel vaunts an Ayurvedic spa (Book the four hour Rediscover treatment for two), and a restaurant well-versed in seasonal cookery.
You’ll feel part of a fairy tale with a stay in Helen’s Tower, a granite edifice that rises above the bucolic terrain in County Down, Northern Ireland. Named for Selina Blackwood, honored in poetry by Tennyson, Rudyard Kipling and Robert Browning, the Rapunzel-worthy building, used as film location for Game of Thrones, stands in the woods of the Clandeboye Estate. With a large bedroom, a rooftop terrace, small kitchen and cozy library (bedecked with time-worn tomes), it’s the stuff of fantasy.
Sheep pepper the pastures of the postcard-perfect Cotswolds in west England. One way to explore the amber-hued villages and catawampus-walled rural lanes is by classic car. Take the wheel of a Jaguar E-type convertible, Rolls Royce Silver Shadow or MGB Roadster and cruise those turns. In Malvern you can even hire an open top Morgan sports car direct from the nearby factory. Where to roost? Check into The Slaughters Manor, in heartwarming Lower Slaughter, a refurbished, historic mansion sure to please.
Wales’ Snowdonia National Park, rife with mystery, mountains and ancient standing stones, will take your breath away — and make you hungry. Nurture that inner gourmet at Michelin-starred Ynyshir, a hotel so food-centric, it touts itself as a restaurant with “rooms.” Stay for a few nights, set amid gardens, in this contemporary country house hotel. Here, Chef Gareth Ward will create a tasting menu designed just for you to celebrate the beginning of your new life together. Room to book? The Vermeer, where Richard Gere stayed during the filming of “First Knight.”