This fairytale-like 700-year-old castle sits within acres of stunning parkland just eight miles south of Edinburgh and is the epitome of Scottish elegance. Imagine peeping through the arrow slits at snowy vistas as you make your way to afternoon tea by a roaring fire, later descending past soaring Christmas trees on the glamorous red-carpet staircase to the ancient barrel-vaulted dungeons for a Hogmanay dinner and knees up to remember. Make sure you bag yourself a bedroom with a four-poster bed in which to sleep off the party. Spend New Year's Day strolling the grounds, trying out some archery or flying a bird of prey in the falconry – or collapse in the tip-top spa for a reviving treatment.
With 43 acres of woodland parkland at your disposal, the Cornwall estate and Spa is a great spot to choose for New Year's Eve celebrations if you have children in tow. The hotel's two-night stay packages give you the option to explore the area so get the kids to do the trail around the grounds with clues while you watch with some afternoon bubbly from the terrace while admiring the Pentewan Valley views. Little ones will also love the infinity pool in the spa which looks over a Victorian walled garden and further to Cornish coastal landscapes. On the big night, enjoy the five course gala dinner, fireworks from the terrace at midnight and dancing until 1am before retiring upstairs. Perfect.
Let the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire take the strain this New Year's Eve and book into one of their most lavish hotels (they own a few), the Devonshire Hotel. Nestling within the 12th century Bolton Abbey estate on the banks of the River Wharfe around six miles from Ilkley on the southern tip of the Dales, the hotel is a little slice of Yorkshire heaven, with twinkling lights, log fires and excellent food setting the tone. Treat yourself to a suite (they all have six-foot four poster beds with steps leading up to them with décor chosen by the fair hand of the duchess herself) in which to prepare for the lavish New Year's Eve Black Tie Gourmet Dinner held in the Burlington restaurant. Dog lovers will prick up their ears at the news that this hotel is also incredibly dog-friendly. They're allowed almost everywhere – although you may have trouble getting them inside as there are 80 miles of public footpaths across 35,000 acres here to explore.
Get a bit of sea air in your lungs this new year with a blissful stopover at Seaham Hall, perched on a cliff top overlooking Durham's heritage coastline. This Georgian confection has been brought bang up to date, its country house feel being maintained whilst fusing with a wonderful modern high-end touch. I love the suites with mezzanine levels and chic freestanding baths overlooking the views. A modern, stylish eye has overseen the gorgeous décor in the rooms and suites and there are all the lovely extras you'd expect from a five star hotel (huge fluffy dressing gowns, Nespresso machines, crisp white cotton sheets ). So what's happening on the big night? A champagne and canapé reception in the courtyard, a five course dinner in the ballroom, big band dancing and fireworks at midnight. Stumble upstairs to sink into that kingsize bed and then revive yourself next day with a slap up breakfast and a bracing walk on the water's edge. Happy New Year!
This is one for the history buffs. Dating back to the 1750s, this historic beauty sitting amidst acres and acres of Buckinghamshire land has played host to the likes of William The Conqueror's illegitimate son Wicked King John, exiled Louis XVIII (who shacked up here for five years) and Gustavus IV of Sweden. Those more in tune with modern celebrity will enjoy knowing that Sir Elton John, Bill Clinton, Sean Connery and Kate Moss have also graced its rooms. This part Jacobean, part Georgian building is everything you could ask for in a grand country home – from the gorgeous panelling in the sumptuous rooms to the ha ha in the Capability-Brown designed landscaping. And my goodness, they know how to throw a New Year's Eve shindig. The package includes a welcome dinner on December 30 and on the big day expect cream tea in the afternoon, a champagne reception followed by a five course dinner with wine pairings. Dancing, if one can possibly move, is optional.
Originally a family home, Linthwaite House retains that cosy, unstuffy feel that some country houses lack and is the perfect getaway for the walkers amongst us (if you can bear to leave such a lovely hillside garden retreat). This gabled Edwardian home with spectacular views over Windermere is located superbly for those who like to blow the cobwebs away from the old year and welcome in the new with a hearty pint and a good old trek. Step out of the house and walk in pretty much any direction for scenery to gladden the heart. Relax over books and newspapers in the conservatory after your walk, pint and luxurious bath and then throw on your gladrags for the party. A classic, no pressure getaway.
Where better to kick off a night's revelry than in a former brewery? This rather stunning Georgian set of townhouses sitting in the heart of the Chilterns in a pretty-as-a-chocolate-box 12th century market town attracts the smart set on the Big Night. Think classic English public rooms, on-point modern style in the bedrooms with contemporary sparkle sprinkled liberally throughout. The hotel is right in the heart of the town with dozens of pubs and restaurants within a bread roll's throw so make a mini-break of it to really feel the Henley love. On December 31, there'll be a black tie four course dinner (with that HdV signature emphasis on top quality menus), champagne and dancing with live music to see in the new year.
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