The Top Ten British Island Mini Breaks
by Amanda Statham (March 2013)
Britain is ringed by beautiful islands, many of which make an ideal spot for a relaxing mini break: there’s nothing like crossing a stretch of water to make you feel like you’ve really got away, but there’s also nothing like hassle-free travel (no time difference, even the plug sockets are the same!). So, the next time you’re booking a long weekend break don’t feel you have to fly to the continent, consider instead one of these beautiful escapes, which are just far enough away to make you feel adventurous. Genius!
Showing below are all 5 records in "The Top Ten British Island Mini Breaks"
Hambrough Road, Ventnor
The first time I visited this hotel for a mini break, I couldn’t believe how cool the rooms were (think London boutique hotel rather than floral bedspread B&B), which just goes to show how wrong preconceptions about the Isle of Wight can be. IoW is enjoying a renaissance, with hip hotels like The Hambrough leading the way. Chef Robert Thompson serves up a tasting menu (seven courses, mine included pigeon!) to rival any Michelin-starred eatery. And if you stroll down the road Ventnor’s seaside promenade there’s another gourmet treat in store - Minghella’s ice-cream parlour, which sells more than a hundred handmade flavours (the ginger and honey is ah-maze-ing).
Isle Ornsay, Sleat, Isle of Skye
After a rousing chorus of ‘Over the sea to Skye’ on the ferry from the Scottish mainland, head to the tip of the island and you’ll discover this remote hideaway. A former hunting lodge built in the 1860s, it lies on the coast in 35 acres of gorgeous grounds and is the sort of place you expect to bump into Prince Charles in a kilt or Kate and Wills on a babymoon. Cuddle by the open fire in the conservatory after a hearty game supper in the two AA rosettes fine dining restaurant and be sure to book a room with a four-poster if you’re on a romantic mini. My top tip? Enjoy a day sailing around Skye on the hotels’ private luxury yacht (available to hire from April to September).
Capel Coch, Llangefni
Wales’ wind-swept island is simply stunning. Years ago I ventured over the bridge in a campervan and spent my time surfing and having campfires on the expansive beaches. While a camper is still great fun, if I want mini break luxury, Tre-Ysgawen Hall Hotel is a far better option. I get to dress up to have dinner in its fine dining restaurant Noëlle's then sleep off the gourmet cuisine in a four-poster. And it’s possible to lose a whole day in the huge spa, which has recently added a thermal suite with salt inhalation therapy room, herbal essences sauna and ice fountain – you’re going to glow at the end of this mini break, even if you don’t go on a bracing beach walk.
Rozel Bay, St Martin, Jersey
I hummed ‘Da, da, da, da, da, da, daaaaaaaaaaa’ along the country roads as I sped to beautiful Chateau La Chaire and, pulling up at the swish entrance, it really did look like it might have starred in Bergerac (I could imagine Jim enjoying drinks with Charlie Hungerford on the sun-drenched terrace). But this isn’t the 80s and le Chateau has much more to offer mini breakers in the OOs, such as its oak-panelled dining room, bedrooms with four-posters and a standalone tub at the foot of the bed and, best of all, five acres of terraced gardens with breathtaking views of Rozel Bay.
You can arrive here by car (it’s a tidal island at the mouth of Loch Creran) or helicopter, if you’re feeling time-short and wealthy. It’s a fabulous spot, with sweeping views of the mountains and water and the hotel is a destination in its own right thanks to the three AA rosette restaurant (don’t leave without indulging in the farmhouse cheese trolley, though you may have to be helped to your room afterwards) and ESPA spa. Rooms are Scottish-sumptuous with warm colour schemes and rich fabrics, like soft tartan throws and satin cushions, and some cottages in the grounds even have their own private gardens with hot tubs.
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