To The Manor Reborn
Travel+Leisure|March 2017

Traditional English country-house hotels are trading their stiffness for an increasingly informal vibe.

Clive Aslet

With its thatched roof and a portico with wooden columns made from actual knobbly tree trunks, the charmingly humble Hex Cottage, on the edge of a forest in Suffolk, would have appealed to Hansel and Gretel. Inside, the décor is appropriately rustic, with rough-hewn tables and chairs, unpainted plaster walls, brick floors, and a wood-fired range that you have to keep lit if you want to have hot water. When I arrived, I felt beside the door for a light switch, only to realize that there wasn’t one. I fought a moment of panic when I realized there would also be no power supply for my laptop or cell phone.

Welcome to the new breed of English country-house hotel. In the 1980s, both Britain and the U.S. fell hard for the rural-aristocratic look, following the successes of Brideshead Revisited on television and the “Treasure Houses of Britain” exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. In response, owners of traditional English estates—many of which, like the fictional one in Downton Abbey, had been battered by history—began restoring their properties to their former splendor and opening them to guests. That trend has shown no sign of subsiding in the decades since, but properties like Hex Cottage—part of Wilderness Reserve, a collection of cottages, farmhouses, and manor houses on 5,000 pristine acres— reflect a shift toward quirky, laid-back country-house experiences. At the new Soho Farmhouse in Great Tew, in the Cotswolds, guests stay in a group of 40 cozy cabins by a stream. Likewise, the effortlessly cool Pig hotels have turned historic buildings throughout southern England into rustically stylish inns centered around hyper-local, often foraged food. In Cornwall, Sir Ferrers Vyvyan has turned a cluster of old cottages on Trelowarren, his family’s 15th-century estate, into eco-friendly lodgings. In Yorkshire, Lord Masham has reimagined Swinton Park, his ancestral castle, as a hotel and cooking school, with luxury camping in yurts and tree houses on the grounds.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TRAVEL+LEISUREView All

Bright Side of the Road

Stranded on a Mexican highway, an American couple gets a lesson in true hospitality.

4 mins read
Travel+Leisure
December 2016

History On A Hill

The holy village of Moulay Idriss only recently opened to non-Muslim visitors, which is why it is one of Morocco’s most authentic and untrammeled outposts. Anna Heyward takes a look around.

5 mins read
Travel+Leisure
January 2017

Coming Into Focus

After finding a following for her stunning travel images, chef turned photographer Lauren Bath traded her apron for a new life exploring the world one shot at a time.

3 mins read
Travel+Leisure
January 2017

King Of The Mountains

Austria’s Most Famous Alpine Villages— St.Anton, Zürs, Lech—are About to Become One Massive, 87-lift Ski Area, One of the Largest and Most Diverse in the World. Tom Robbins Schusses Through the Arlberg and Discovers That Though Bigger Will Indeed Be Better, These Story Book Hamlets Haven’t Lost Their Small-town Charms.

10+ mins read
Travel+Leisure
January 2017

Among The Whales

In the Waters of the South Pacific, Maggie Shipstead Enters the Domain of Some of the World’s Largest Creatures and Discovers That, Sometimes, Beauty Can Conquer Fear.

10+ mins read
Travel+Leisure
January 2017

To The Manor Reborn

Traditional English country-house hotels are trading their stiffness for an increasingly informal vibe.

5 mins read
Travel+Leisure
March 2017

The Possibilities Of An Island

Obonjan, a summer resort on a tiny speck off the coast of Croatia, is part of a wave of seasonal retreats that mix rowdy good times with fervent self-improvement. Irina Aleksander tries her hand at both.

7 mins read
Travel+Leisure
March 2017

Return Of The Crillon

After a four-year closure and lavish renovation, Paris’s storied hotel unveils a daringly modern new look.

3 mins read
Travel+Leisure
October 2017

My City, My Self

In a new portrait project, photographer Joshua Rashaad McFadden explores how places in Atlanta and across America have shaped the lives and worldviews of their black residents.

1 min read
Travel+Leisure
October 2017

A Day In The Life

Photographer Stephen Wilkes—who shot this month’s cover—documents the passage of time at landmarks around the world in his series “Day to Night,” currently on view.

1 min read
Travel+Leisure
October 2017
RELATED STORIES

B&B SHOCKER: DEACON'S BACK — AND TEAMS UP WITH SHEILA!

After spending four years in prison for taking shots at Quinn, Deacon is released and heads home to see his daughter, Hope.

3 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
October 18, 2021

General hospital

GOING PLACES? Nikolas hopes news of Sonny’s return will convince Ava not to leave; she shoots him down. As part of Trina, Cameron, and Josslyn’s plan to unmask Spencer and Esme, Cam fibs to Spencer that Ava and Nikolas are taking a trip together to celebrate calling off their divorce. Joss tails Esme and sees her with Sonny. Esme catches Joss trying to eavesdrop and they trade veiled threats.

3 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
October 18, 2021

It's All Coming Back To Me Now, GENERAL HOSPITAL

Aside from portrayer Maurice Benard’s 1997-98 break from playing Sonny, daytime’s most beloved mobster has been a fixture in Port Charles since his debut in 1993 — that is, until he was presumed dead last December, and spent the lion’s share of 2021 carving out a simpler life as amnesiac “Mike” in folksy Nixon Falls.

3 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
October 18, 2021

Be Our Guest

As she celebrates the 30th anniversary of her soap debut, Laura Wright (Carly) reflected on the path that led her to GH as a guest on Digest’s podcast, Dishing With Digest.

9 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
October 18, 2021

DAYS: THE DEVIL WANTS BEN AND CIARA'S BABY

Ben is still on the fence about having a child, so he turns to Marlena for guidance. “He’s got mixed feelings about it because of his genetics and his family,” explains Robert Scott Wilson (Ben).

2 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
October 18, 2021

Catching Up With…Darcy Rose Byrnes (ex-Abby Newman, Y&R, 2003-08)

If you’ve ever caught the YouTube video of a very young Darcy Rose Byrnes singing “The Wizard And I” from her all-time favorite musical, Wicked, she respectfully requests that you disregard that it’s Elphaba’s song.

7 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
October 18, 2021

SOUND OFF

What's on your mind?

4 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
October 18, 2021

Y&R: ASHLAND HAS DOUBTS ABOUT THE WEDDING

At the Newman palazzo, Victoria finalizes wedding details with Ashland, who is having trouble keeping his mind on the preparations. He finally asks his bride if she truly wants to go through with the wedding after learning the truth about his past.

2 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
October 18, 2021

Y&R'S MICHAEL MEALOR AND HUNTER KING ON “SKYLE” RETURN

Michael Mealor and Hunter King have similar sentiments about reprising their roles as Y&R’s popular Kyle and Summer.

5 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
October 18, 2021

2022 MOTORTREND SUV OF THE YEAR

THE BEST GENESIS VEHICLE EVER PUTS AN ENTIRE LUXURY SUV SEGMENT ON NOTICE GENESIS GV70

8 mins read
Motor Trend
December 2021