Best winter weekend getaways

    Great food, cosy interiors, roaring fires and comfy beds make these pubs and restaurants with rooms perfect winter weekend getaway destinations

    When it starts getting colder, all we want to do is curl up in front of a fire, digesting a magnificent meal and cosying up in snug surroundings.

    The George Townhouse, Shipston-on-Stour
    Best for... Modern country living, distillery devotees

    The George Townhouse
     
    This charming townhouse sits front and centre on the small town high street of Shipston-on-Stour. Take a leisurely wander around the centre and visit Mrs Brown's Tea Room, or the Black Horse Inn if you're in the mood for a pint. You could even treat yourself to a play at the home of the RSC, 20 minutes away in Stratford-upon-Avon. 
     
    Then you can retire to your cosy Cotswold bolthole; The George Townhouse. The modern farm-house style parlour serves up locally reared meats, countryside produce and hearty seasonal dishes. The menu is a mix of robust staples with a modern twist. With starters, such as a wild mushroom risotto with an indulgent truffled egg, (starters from £6.50) and a rump steak main course from Todenham Manor Farm (£18) you won't go hungry. For dessert, try the treacle tart with clotted cream or local cheese board. 

    Where to eat & drink nearby

    Visit the Cotswolds Distillery for a dram of whisky or a tour of their gin production area. If beer is more your thing, visit the Wychwood Brewery, home of Hobgoblin. Dip into the local delicatessen, Taste of the Country, for local treats. 

    How to do it

    Deluxe rooms from £140-£160 per night, breakfast included (thegeorgeshipston.co.uk)

    Corner house, Canterbury, Kent
    Best for... Historic setting, local drinks

    Corner House

    When it comes to British food to warm the heart and soul, savvy foodies step just beyond Canterbury’s old city walls to a 16th-century pub that was once Charles Dickens’ stomping ground. Lately revamped by the father-son team from the award-winning Corner House in nearby Minster, this delightfully crooked, Grade-II-listed coach house now has three smart rooms, where centuries-old wood floors and beams contrast with modish Scandinavian greys and blues, and industrial light fittings.

    Each has lavishly proportioned bathrooms, most notably the attic room – the best bet for light sleepers, set furthest from the ring road below (all rooms are double glazed). Downstairs are great-value menus drawn from Kentish farms and breweries, with leading local gin, vodka, cider, beer and wine makers all impressively well represented. Sharing plates (£17) are the thing here, including Romney Marsh shoulder of lamb, and an indulgent starter board of pork scratchings, slivers of sausage roll, creamy chicken liver parfait and homemade terrines (£6pp). Delicate suet puddings, including Stour Valley rabbit, are a winter must-eat, as is the homemade bread ice cream: comfort food par excellence.

    Where to eat & drink nearby

    The Goods Shed, a railway-adjacent food market-cum-butchers-and-bakers, has standout spiced chutneys, Kentish lamb and cider, plus festive lunch/dinner in a shabby-chic café setting. Eat superb pulled pork rolls at Pork & Co, hipster annex to landmark British bistro Deeson’s. Just around the corner, the ornate gates of Canterbury Cathedral await, with the pretty canals but minutes away.

    How to do it

    Double rooms from £69 per night; £10pp extra for a hearty English breakfast (cornerhouserestaurants.co.uk).

    The Howard Arms, Ilmington, Warwickshire
    Best for... Comfort food & laid-back charm

    The Howard Arms

    Take a stroll around this smart, sleepy village, with pretty restored stone cottages, 11th century church, the delightful post office and stores, and two pubs. Then relax: you’re in Ilmington and there isn’t much else to do. Unlike some of the Cotswolds’ newly refurbished pubs, all pale wood and heritage green paint, The Howard Arms is delightfully dark and cosy. There’s an open fire, the hearth often home to a dozing dog, plus battered leather armchairs, dark wooden furniture and lots of paintings depicting country pursuits.

    The food also has comfort in mind, with classic starters such as prawn cocktail and potted crab & crayfish (from £6.50), lamb kofta starter and Moroccan spiced tagine main adding a hint of spice for the more adventurous (from £9.50). There’s sticky toffee pudding, of course (from £6.50), and British cheeses are served with celery, chutney and quince (from £6).

    Where to eat & drink nearby

    Nearby Mabels Farm sells fresh milk and eggs; for seasonal local beer, visit North Cotswold Brewery; and go to Chipping Campden for the excellent The Chef’s Dozen restaurant.

    How to do it

    Rooms from £110-£130, based on two sharing, including three-course breakfast (howardarms.com). 

    The Kilberry Inn, Kilberry, Argyll
    Best for... A festive, foodie Scottish escape

    The Bilberry Inn

    The journey along the coastline of Scotland’s Knapdale peninsula (with views of Jura if you’re lucky) is part of the fun of a trip to Kilberry – as is the surprise when you arrive. This single-storey, whitewashed inn with its red tin roof looks more like a fisherman’s cottage than a gourmet bolthole. But don’t be deceived: this is just the snug bar-restaurant, and tucked behind it are five elegant rooms, each named after a local island. The coast dictates much of what chef Clare Johnson offers in the restaurant: queenie scallops from nearby Loch Fyne (£9), Gigha halibut and locally caught mussels (mains from £15).

    The inn is famed too for its Tayvallich Estate lamb tagine and top-notch desserts (from £5): try the treacle tart with homemade lemon ice cream. But it’s not just the food that satisfies here: Clare’s partner David Wilson is wonderfully welcoming as front of house, and only too happy to fix you a negroni or acquaint you with the local whiskies. The perfect antidote to the frenetic Christmas season.

    Where to eat & drink nearby

    Head to Tarbert’s Starfish Seafood Restaurant, or join whisky tours at the Glen Scotia (tours from £5) and Springbank (tours from £7) distilleries in Campbeltown.

    How to do it

    Rooms from £215, including dinner and breakfast for two. Open Friday/Saturday only in December (Kilberryinn.com). 

    Where's your favourite winter getaway destination? Let us know in the comments below...

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