Top 10 Rural Hotels 3 Hours From London

Let’s face it, we’re all bored with our immediate surroundings right now. But at the same time, we don’t want to travel too far for a break because 1) you might accidentally break the tier rules and 2) you still only get two days off at the weekend. That’s why, to help all you lucky folks out, we’ve drummed up our top 10 picks of hotels that are just a drive (or a short train ride away) from London. Enjoy…

1. Burley Manor (New Forest – approx 2 hours drive)

This boutique beauty has some fierce competitors in its surroundings, but we think it could be Nemo’s New Forest number one. Best known for its delicious Mediterranean themed restaurant filled with tapas creativity and locally sourced produce. On a summers day, head out to the pool or visit the cosy Temple Spa and bask in true relaxation in the New Forest. A very strong 4* option.

2. Number 1 Bruton (Somerset – approx 2.5 hours drive)

History seeps out of every nook and cranny at Number One Bruton, but on the inside, it’s modern, trendy and sunny. Once a Georgian townhouse and medieval forge, it’s now a twelve-bedroom hotel that attracts the creative types Bruton is famous for, and for good reason. Every room looks like it’s been torn from Architectural Digest, with local art, antiques and books from local authors. If that wasn’t enough, the restaurant is run by Michelin-starred chef Merlin Labron-Johnson.

3. Elmley Nature Reserve (Kent – approx 2 hours drive)

With it’s vast expanse of wilderness and beautiful array of rooms, you’d be hard pressed not to fall in love with Elmley Nature Reserve. Situated just an hour outside of London, you couldn’t feel further from the city when you arrive at Elmley Nature Reserve. With 3,300 acres of vast landscape, the nature reserve is home to one of the largest bird reserves in England, and with it’s show-stopping sunsets, you’ll be enveloped in nature at this wonderful eco-friendly hideaway.

4. Artist Residence Oxfordshire (New Forest – approx 2 hours drive)

Housed in an exquisite 16th Century farmhouse that boasts an immaculate thatched roof, it doesn’t get more quintessentially British than Artist Residence Oxfordshire. Marrying British charm with a bohemian twist, the interiors utilise original farmhouse features, marvellously paired with eclectic flourishes, including William Morris wallpaper and contemporary artworks, providing intrigue at every turn. With a wonderful on-site pub and restaurant, it’s the perfect place to relax and explore the beautiful English countryside.

5. The Crab and Lobster (West Sussex – approx 2 hours drive)

This quaint 16th-century inn on the West Sussex coast has a classic rustic feel and an excellent location overlooking Pagham Harbour. With only four rooms, the Crab & Lobster is cosy, warm and welcoming, with everything you need for the perfect British pub stay: flagstone floors and fireplaces, deep leather sofas, fantastic grub, and ridiculously comfortable rooms. Also, with an RSPB nature reserve nearby, it’s a bird-watchers paradise. Seafood lovers rejoice, there’s fish a-plenty on the menu.

6. At The Chapel (Somerset – approx 3 hours drive)

Sitting proudly in the heart of the village, At The Chapel is a meeting point for creatives and locals alike. With a fantastic bakery and restaurant, the place is bustling from breakfast to dinner – it’s the place to be, which seems fitting considering it started life as a 12th-century congregational chapel. Elements of its history are still there, though the altar is now the bar, naturally. With only 8 rooms it feels very homely, though the rooms are the kind you wish you had at home.

7. The Swan Inn (Cotswolds – approx 2 hours drive)

Housed in an exquisite 16th Century farmhouse that boasts an immaculate thatched roof, it doesn’t get more quintessentially British than Artist Residence Oxfordshire. Marrying British charm with a bohemian twist, the interiors utilise original farmhouse features, marvellously paired with eclectic flourishes, including William Morris wallpaper and contemporary artworks, providing intrigue at every turn. With a wonderful on-site pub and restaurant, it’s the perfect place to relax and explore the beautiful English countryside.

8. The Gallivant (East Sussex – approx 2.5 hours drive)

Sandcastles, buckets and spades, and a crisp English cuvée; this is the grown-up version of the Great British summer holiday. Just across the way from Camber Sands, The Gallivant is a motel conversion turned sophisticated seaside stay: it’s like a blend of Hampton’s cool and quirky British seaside. The superb award-winning restaurant is a destination in its own right. Fresh catches are cooked to perfection, and 90 per cent of ingredients are sourced within 10 miles of the hotel.

9. The Rose (Kent – approx 2.5 hours drive) 

If walls could talk… once one of the most notorious pubs in Deal, The Rose is now a charming, warm and friendly seaside inn thanks to a complete and total renovation by a former design editor and her landlord husband (the great-grandson of the brewers that had once owned the pub). It still has heaps of character; the modern British restaurant is full of mid-century finds and the bar is decorated with art from Kent. From breakfast through to dinner, the food is scrummy and thoroughly British.

10. Tuddenham Mill (Suffolk – approx 2 hours drive)

This gorgeous 17th-century converted watermill sits in 12 acres of glorious Suffolk countryside, perfect for walking off the hearty dinner you’re bound to have here. The award-winning restaurant won a Good Food Guide award in 2018, and for good reason – the menu showcases fantastic locally sourced produce and seasonal ingredients. There’s plenty to do in the hotels grounds: borrow a bike, a spot of boules or go for a ramble. Or, just prop up the beautiful bar with something authoritative.