Dinah Hatch

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We lead busy lives, with no escape from the trill of the mobile, the tyranny of the work email arriving on a Sunday and the commuting chaos every Monday. We all deserve a break from this, right? Course we do. So here are my top ten places from which to type “And relax” onto your Facebook page, along with a picture of your feet in the foreground of a photo of serene, people-less landscape. Get booking…
Knoydart Hide

Well, we may as well start with a bit of luxury. This little romantic bolthole for two has been voted one of the top 100 lochside cottages in Scotland and it deserves it. Sitting on the remote Knoydart Peninsula (you have to take the ferry from Mallaig) , the cottage is nestled beside the gentle lapping waters of Loch Nevis and with simply spectacular views, thanks to the glass frontage and mountains. Inside, think roll-top bath, four poster bed and sauna plus family heirlooms and antiques. If you can bear to leave, head for Britain's remotest pub, The Old Forge, which attracts Munro-loving hikers and serves the community's 130 residents.

Knockinaam Lodge

From the deliciously inviting oak bar complete with stag's head, multitude of whiskies and chandelier to the 30 acres of landscaped gardens that sweep down to your own private beach, it's tough not to fall in love with pretty little Knockinaam Lodge. Although it's just a few miles from Stranraer and Portpatrick, the remote feel is there and when you spot the heart-swelling sight of the Irish Sea rising up to meet you as you meander through the gardens, your sense of serenity is complete. Inside, there are ten smartly-decked out suites to snuggle down in after a day's walking – or reward yourself with the nightly four-course dinner with canapes, coffee and petit fours. If you need further solitude, book a pony trek along the beach. It doesn't get much more remote than this.

The Gurnard's Head

Just five minutes from the coastal path which takes in some of west Cornwall's most stunning scenery, the mustard-yellow Gurnard's Head, a former coaching inn dating back to the 1800s, offers up striking views of the exposed Penwith Moorland. Inside, the owners have injected some 21st touches while maintaining its wonderful historic feel. You can still install yourself in the snug or hog the open fire while you watch the daily parade of cows along the lane outside but rest assured the food will be distinctly now-ish, with menus inspired by the seasons and what's available locally. Cornish yoghurt, home-made jams, smoked kippers and freshly baked soda bread set you on your way every morning.

Cley Windmill

This one's especially for bird lovers – because my goodness, the twitching potential here when the migrants arrive is wonderful. Spot the wheatears, the redstarts, the pied flycatchers, the red-backed shrikes and the barred warblers swooping and skirling as they arrive. Cley Windmill's views over Blakeney Harbour and its resident seal community lift the spirits and remind you-you are many miles away from life's stresses and strains. There are three rooms in the tower or opt for the former storerooms and miller's accommodation. You can go for B&B or self-catering, or treat yourself in the gorgeous restaurant which serves up locally-sourced dishes.

The Elms Hotel

This grade II Queen Anne mansion is country-house living with luxury bells on – and is right in the heart of stunning Worcestershire countryside. Noone stands on ceremony here and the hotel is positioned to appeal to couples and young families equally – no one is going to mind your tinies running around the gorgeous ten-acre grounds while you sip a cocktail and admire the views. Inside, pretty rugs and throws, a carved oak fireplace and plenty of leather chairs set the tone – stylish comfort - that the hotel exudes. Close to the hotel, take the Abberley Circular Walk – a lovely five-mile loop with views over the Teme Valley - or go explore lush and serene Wyre Forest, 13 minutes away, or further on Malvern Hills, fabulous for walk-then-pub enthusiasts.

Beggars Reach

A former 13th-century rectory nestled within the Cleddau estuary near the stunning little boating village of Burton, Beggars Reach now has 30 bedrooms within nine acres of landscaped garden close to the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path but still within easy reach of St David's. This is an ideal base for exploring West Wales once you have indulged yourselves over breakfast in Anna's Restaurant – think typical hearty Welsh breakfast - porridge, smoked haddock and the like. History lovers will adore this little spot – only recently, during a wedding at the hotel, the bride's train caught under the stairs cupboard to reveal a piece of wood which uncovered that the stairs had been made of old packing cases, the beautiful calligraphy on them belonging to a former member of the church who lived there in 1771.

Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

Although seemingly in the middle of a lush, green paradise miles from anywhere in the Lake District, actually, Gilpin is just six miles from bustling Bowness and only ten minutes from Beatrix Potter's Hill Top House – both lovely day trips. This characterful Georgian hotel is known for its excellent service (everyone has a smile and a nod hello for you and nothing is too much trouble) and extremely stylish décor – I'd go as far as to say it's rather glamorous. But family photos on the walls, smart lamps, cosy rugs and sitting chairs make you feel at home – if perhaps you were one of the Astors. For absolute tranquillity, book a spa suite on the periphery of the hotel where floor-to-ceiling windows, a Sonos sound system and hot tub, sauna and steam room perfect the get-away-from-it-all feel.

Maison Talbooth

Maison Tolbooth was only established as a hotel in 1969 but this 19th century modernised house feels like it has been around at least as long as some of the country hotels in this piece. Staff have an easy, welcoming manner as they show you to your room (there are 12, uniquely designed and named after poets). Through the lounge, we love the Garden Room which opens out onto a stunning terrace – from there the lawns and (heated) pool beyond look glorious. Want to get away from it all? Pop off to the Pool House which has an open log fire, sofas and copious supplies of champagne. If you can bear to venture outside the grounds, the pretty village of Dedham – known as Constable country as the artist lived and worked here – is picture postcard pretty. So if it feels like you recognise some of this mesmerizingly beautiful countryside – that's why!

Karma St. Martin's

Ok, here's one we bet you hadn't thought of – the Isles of Scilly. Luxury hotel company Karma Group's latest venture is the only hotel on St Martins and sits by white sand beaches, subtropical gardens and crystal clear seas. On first sight, the hotel looks like a collection of traditional stone cottages dotted with palm trees and pleasant seating areas. The waterfront garden is quite simply almost impossible to leave on a hot day with a glass of something cold in your hand – the waves break on the beach and the views across the straits to Teàn and Tresco change as the tides and light alter. Staff are massively passionate about the island they live and work on and are more than happy to suggest walks on this most stunning of islands. Or you can hop on a hotel bike and be in town in ten minutes. Ideal.

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