For us it is the countryside of England that is the draw of this small island with it's facinating history of world domination that is no longer that of territory, but certainly of influence.
Modern city development leaves many of us cold since glass and steel buildings could be anywhere in the world. But the old building styles arose out of the necessities of the region and the building materials at hand. These express so much more poignatly the differences in even regions of the same country that make travel so interesting. Nowhere is this more apparent than in England.
The grey stone cottages of Cornwall, squat and huddled against the Atlantic storms contrast with the red brick of Hampshire. The meandering village streets with multi-paned windows, the wild ponies of the New Forest, the
windswept moors of Devon, the cozy pubs with the walls darkened from centuries of pipe smoke and coal fires, tea rooms with dark furniture and white lace doilies all bring a sense of this island nation's rich past.
Although, there are times that call for staying cities or county seats, and we will cover the best of those such as the newly remodeled St. James's Hotel & Club in a peaceful cul-de-sac off on London's Mayfair district.
The establishments we did cover are going strong today, even 20 years later and are much imporved since then. So we can highly recommend the hotels, restaurants and pubs we list below. It is a falacy to believe that you can't get good food in England. They have some of the finest restaurants in the world.
Formerly restricted to club members, with new owners and compete renovation, the Victorian town house club is now also a hotel. Perfectly remodeled and designed inside (rooms smallish due to structural dictates) the club feel has been retained but updated and without the stuffiness so often the hall mark of such places. Very comfortable, great food, world's best afternoon tea that can set a new bar for such delights. Personal attentions and high tech mod cons in the rooms from WiFi to TV. Set on a quiet cul-de-sac in Mayfair it is close to everything in the West end from theatres to shopping, restaurants to historic wine merchants, bespoke hatters and tailors of Saville Row.
World class service in a five star hotel in the center of London's theater and shopping districts, this luxury establishment is set in two jointed Victorian buildings facing Kensington Park. Fine food, personal attention.
If you do have to pass through LHR, then the brand new and excellent Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 5, as it is called, is a great place to spend the night. Perfect sound proofing, modern interior in great taste, and speaking of taste, they bake their own breads! Outside unprepossessing but the interior excellent. Even swans in the small river in front. Beautiful views of Windsor Castle in the distance.
(Its name is a bit misleading. It is near but not right by Terminal 5. You have to take a Hoppa Shuttle bus to get to it and don't expect help with your luggage.)
It is only 13 miles from the center of London and is freeway close to the entrie south of England, has excellent gym, spa, massage, and computer business center with free wifi.
One of the better airport hotels at the London Heathrow Airport is the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel**** just a few minutes from most terminals by the LHR shuttle known as the "HOPPA". The rooms are comfortable, the public areas pleasant but it is the restaurant, The Orchard Restaurant, that is special with really good food and superb British beers! Pets are accepted too.
Limited free wifi, computer stations, fitness center, cafe for snacks and they offer long term parking packages with their 237 space car park.
If you're looking for a hotel near London Heathrow airport, you could do a lot worse than the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel which sits right on the edge of the airport with a glorious view of the airplanes taking off and landing. This is a very comfortable four-star hotel with a slightly dated exterior that belies an understated but elegant, modern Interior that has been recently fully remodeled.
It is only 13 miles from the center of London and is freeway close to the entrie south of England, has excellent gym, spa, massage, sauna and computer center.
A real charmer in bucolic countryside of Dorset only a couple of hours southwest of London, but worlds away in tranquility, solitude and bucolic charm - and pet friendly.
It is also famous for the world class cuisine of Executive Chef Steven. A member of the Relais & Chateaux group.
This is the real English countryside, the land of Thomas Hardy, the haunts of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, villages with thatched cottages dressed in ivy vines, rivulets of winding lanes, prehistoric ancestry in short one terrific place to visit.
A fine, delux hotel in the country of England near Bath as well as one of the finest examples of Palladian architecture in the country. A very fine chef, Michael Parke, produces excellent, modern British cuisine.
AND they are dog friendly! See at bottom.
Chewton Glen is more than a luxury country hotel - it is a spa and country club with golf and other activities situated between the ancient New Forest and the English Channel just a few minutes walk from the beach. Superb cusine. It is a luxury destination in itself, not to be missed.
NOT dog friendly.
Mrs. Keeple's bread as we knew it was also F.H. Wells General Stores and host to the most wonderful British bakery around for a generation in Camberley, Surrey, England. This is a story of what was but is no more. Enjoy a journey into a nostalgic past of fine country breads by a baker of the old school in a coal fired oven and kneeded by hand - all of them!