As Britain prepares for the nuptials of one of its most well-known families, a lot of hotels in the UK are offering packages for travellers who want to join the celebrations. The UK offers a massive variety of accommodation and there are also plenty of bolt-holes for loving couples looking for an intimate getaway of their own. Sue Petrie, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for Southern Africa, offers some quirky, luxurious and achingly romantic spots:
Supernova is a converted chapel on the Isle of Skye in Scottish Highlands overlooking Loch Harport, with the majestic Cullin Mountains as a backdrop. The self-catering cottage has its living-room upstairs to capitalise on the views and there’s a telescope for stargazing. Petrie suggests a day out that includes exploring 80kms of serene water, walking to the Rubh’ an Dùnain outcrop in the primal, snow-capped, 60-million-year-old mountains where you can see fossils and dinosaur footprints, and a visit to the famous Talisker Distillery. Then return to Supernova with Scotch and some of the famous Isle of Skye fudge, and warm up in the sauna and the double-ended bath for two. See www.uniquehomestays.com/self-catering/uk/scotland/isle-of-skye/supernova/
The Abbey Gatehouse has guarded the entrance to the Tewkesbury Abbey since 1500, but the little apartment over the gate welcomes guests with a fireplace and a double-bed in the small gallery above. Nearby are the rolling Cotswolds, picturesque, historic villages built with honey-coloured local stone and countless walking-trails. For starters, take a stroll between the villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter, the name derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for mud, rather than anything bloodier. Further afield, the village of Broadway looks like it belongs on a biscuit-tin and its Crown and Trumpet pub is famed for locally produced, seasonal food and its own beer, like the award-winning Wizard Brew. The Cotswolds’ agrarian heritage shines through in its food, from Gloucester cheese to Gloucestershire Old Spot pork, trout and fresh produce, and The Feathered Nest Inn offers both pub grub and fine dining, with a view.
The Lookout at the Pig on the Beach Hotel in Devon is a double-storey dovecote overlooking the hotel’s vast kitchen garden and the coast. The room has a double bed, free-standing bath and monsoon shower. The restaurant takes pride in local, “microseasonal” food with a menu that includes haunch of Purbeck venison, crispy Jurassic Coast gurnard and braised pork cheek, and chocolate gingerbread and smoked chilli chocolate sauce. There’s an impressive wine-list too. www.thepighotel.com/on-the-beach/dorset-hotel/
Love in the Round is a copper-roofed roundhouse on the edge of a vast meadow of wild flowers in a Cornwall forest of ancient oaks. Nearby is a shepherd’s hut with a shower for two, a firepit for barbeques, and a stream for cooling wine from the honesty basket. If you’re looking for simplicity and seclusion, you have 11 acres of flora and fauna as company, along with your plus-one, with glowworms and stars instead of bright city lights at night. If it all feels like the rural idyll of the Hobbits’ Shire, it’s because the hut was designed by of the set crew from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and built on the base of a 100-year-old Roma Gypsy wagon. www.canopyandstars.co.uk/britain/england/cornwall/love-in-the-round/love-in-the-round
Finally, if you want escape England’s green and pleasant land for one of the world’s great cities, book into the One Aldwych hotel in Covent Garden, London. It’s close to London’s theatre district, the Victoria Embankment and Waterloo Bridge, just right for strolls or evenings at the theatre with your Significant Other. The hotel has more than 300 contemporary artworks, several restaurants and the Lobby Bar celebrates the hotel’s coveted location in the West End with a cocktail menu divided into comedies, musicals, satire, dramas and backstage. Compared to some other hotels in London, it offers value for money and fairly large rooms, which keep décor to a tasteful minimum that estate agents would describe as sumptuous restraint. www.onealdwych.com
British Airways has launched a seat-sale this week, with Johannesburg to Heathrow World Traveller fares from R9396.68 return and Johannesburg to Heathrow CW Club World return from R39731.68.