10 hotels for walking in remote corners of the UK

We’re all chomping at the bit to get outside and explore the countryside. After lockdown, it will be wonderful to stretch our legs and discover all the beautiful corners of the UK. To make the most of it, find somewhere lovely to stay and book a mini-break.

Here, Bonnie Friend of the Good Hotel Guide recommends 10 of the best hotels for walkers, from the Peak District to the Welsh borders, the Norfolk coast to Dartmoor.

The Peacock at Rowsley, Peak District

This four-star Peak District hotel is an elegant manor house close to the market town of Bakewell. The Peacock at Rowsley has made a name for itself over the years as a reliably luxurious place to stay. Owned by Lord and Lady Edward Manners, it is in the grounds of the Haddon Estate. A Grade-2 listed building, it’s all about excellent service and individual style, with each room offering its own character and unique features. The restaurant has been awarded three AA rosettes, and there’s an atmospheric bar for drinks. The grounds and surrounding countryside meanwhile are an attraction in themselves. This is an area that’s known for its hiking, as well as country pursuits such as fly fishing on the Derbyshire Wye and River Derwent.

Pen-y-Dyffryn, Shropshire

This understated country retreat near Oswestry and Shrewsbury is the perfect place for a short countryside escape. A 14-bedroom family-run country hotel, it’s an easy place to relax and unwind. There’s a homeliness that instantly puts you at ease, but everything is done to exceptionally high standards. For example, they have held the AA Two Rosette Good Food Award for over 20 years continuously. The surrounding gardens and countryside views also offer wow-factor. The carefully tended grounds overflow with flowers in the summer, while the rolling fields invite you to get out and explore on foot.

The White Horse, Norfolk

Beautifully located on the marshland coastline of North Norfolk at Brancaster Staithe, guests at The White Horse wake to salty sea air and unwind to spectacular sunsets in the evening. In an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s little wonder this is a location that attracts ardent walkers. The tidal marshes and endless sandy beaches make for a unique wildlife spotting experience, while the award-winning restaurant makes the most of shellfish from village fishermen. The inn has 15 comfortable bedrooms and includes thoughtful seasonal details as part of the service throughout the year. For example, they have gin cocktail evenings and lobster BBQs in the summer, and also bring out baskets of blankets so that guests can enjoy the terrace into the evening on cooler nights when the weather permits.

The Bell at Skenfrith, Monmouthshire

This former 17th-Century coaching inn is one of Wales’ best-known boutique hotels. Having been thoughtfully updated after floods last year, the bar and restaurant have a warm atmosphere that celebrates its heritage with oak beams and antique furniture. Fresh flowers adorn the space, while comfy sofas make it an easy place to unwind. There are 11 individually styled rooms, and the inn welcomes families. The surrounding countryside invites you to explore, so The Bell has created six of its own circular walks that guide you around the area.

Moor of Rannoch, Pitlochry

This remote inn is the perfect antidote to modern life. For those who have had enough of Zoom calls and Facetime, this is the place to escape to. The Moor of Rannoch is an award-winning, five-bedroom inn in the remote village of Rannoch Station and surrounded by 130km of uninhabited moor. Guests wake to views across Rannoch Moor and delight in fresh coffee and homemade shortbread. Days can be spent roaming the surrounding area and spotting local wildlife – you can even take a packed lunch with you, made by the hotel. Return to peace and quiet for a leisurely dinner, before enjoying a Scottish gin, reading a book, playing a game of Scrabble or doing a jigsaw. The only thing you won’t be treated to is any WiFi or phone signal.

The Rock Inn, Newton Abbot

At Haytor Vale in the heart of Dartmoor National Park, The Rock Inn dates back to the 1820s. A modest looking property, it’s warm and welcoming, complete with pub-style food and drink as well as cosy rooms to stay in. Dartmoor is renowned for its dramatic walking territory, and this places you in the perfect location to get out and explore. It is even possible for walkers to trace the route of a historic granite tramway that played a key role in the area’s local industry and was built by one of the former owners to mine granite (some of which was used to build London Bridge).

Blue Hayes, St. Ives

Perched on a hilltop looking down over St. Ives and the coastline beyond, when staying at Blue Hayes you could almost be forgiven for thinking you were in the Mediterranean (weather permitting). An elegant hotel surrounded by landscaped gardens and stylish terraces, it is contemporary but homely and a tonic for those of us who have been stuck in the city. The award-winning hotel has six suites to choose from, each with modern amenities including luxury toiletries and body jet showers. Walking here can mean a stroll into town or a hike towards the South West Coast Path. Of course, a South West walk would only be complete with a generous serving of tea and cake along the way, and fortunately St. Ives’ coffee shops are more than happy to oblige.

Ael y Bryn, Pembrokeshire

A five-star bed and breakfast in Pembrokeshire, Ael y Bryn is a spacious retreat where guests can’t help but unwind. Individually named and decorated rooms have been given a gold award from Visit Wales for their exemplary quality. All four are on the ground floor, have lots of space with garden views, and one has a charming private terrace. Not simply a place to rest your head, there are lots of facilities at the B&B including a lounge/music room, a conservatory, a library and extensive gardens. Meanwhile, the location makes it ideal for exploring Pembrokeshire, Cardigan Bay and West Wales. Water sports, bird watching and local crafts are all popular in the surrounding area. However, walking is the main attraction, whether it’s along the Ceredigion Coast Path, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail or the Millennium Coastal Park.

Forest Side, Lake District

This fairytale gothic mansion in Grasmere offers a blissfully romantic escape in the Lake District. From its award-winning restaurant serving locally-sourced seasonal produce as well as biodynamic wines, to its range of sumptuous rooms and suites including six that are dog-friendly. The hotel sits in 43 acres of woodland and gardens, which are the perfect starting point for outdoor exploration. However, that’s only the beginning. The surrounding area invites you to explore rugged fells, scenic lakes and the hosts of golden daffodils that inspired William Wordsworth.

Tudor Farmhouse, Gloucestershire

This award-winning rural retreat sits at the meeting point of the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley and dates back to the 13th Century. The former working farm has 20 chic rooms and makes the most of its grounds to create superb food for the restaurant, sourced from within a 20-mile radius of the hotel as well as its own kitchen garden. The whole place is an exercise in laid-back luxury, while the surrounding grounds and countryside inspire guests to return time and again. They offer enchanting seasonal breaks such as a winter ‘Stargazing’ staycation or a Soul Soother Break that includes a spot of ‘forest bathing’. Even without a themed retreat however, a stay here is a chance to explore ancient woodland, join a foraging trip, go on a wildlife safari or simply stroll.