Every good short break should feature a little luxury – whether you’re planning a VIP-style night out, a relaxing getaway in a plush hotel room or a glimpse of the treasures of the past.
In this article, we explore some of the most opulent and beautiful sights and establishments in the UK – to help you find a little inspiration for your next staycation experience.
1. The Jewel House, The Tower of London, London
Take a look at some of the most precious items in UK history as part of an exciting trip to the most famous city in England.
The Tower of London is located in Tower Hamlets within the English capital. This ancient complex has boasted numerous titled residents within its more than 900 years of history, though not all of them visited of their free will!
Located within the Waterloo Block, the British collection of Crown Jewels on display in the Jewel House consists of a jaw-dropping 23,578 gemstones and remains under heavy guard at all times.
2. Chatsworth Estate, Derbyshire
Chatsworth House in Bakewell has existed in some form on the same site since 1555. It sits in 1,000 acres of beautiful garden – including water features, follies and astonishing tropical plants.
Most famously, the house and grounds were used as a key location for both the 1995 series and the 2005 film of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Chatsworth’s interior is resplendent with baroque design and opulent works of art and sculpture. Visitors can enjoy a beautifully prepared seasonal menu at the on-site Cavendish Restaurant, and the estate boasts a full calendar of exclusive events.
3. The Merchant Hotel, Belfast
If you find yourself in the ancient and bustling Cathedral Quarter in Belfast, a visit to the incredible Merchant Hotel is not to be missed.
The building features a stunning combination of high Victorian architecture along with stylish art deco interior touches.
Even if you’re not staying the night in one of the establishment’s luxury Victoran suites, you can still enjoy the peak of fine dining in the Great Room Restaurant or grab some refreshments in Bert’s Jazz Bar, The Cloth Bar, The Cocktail Bar or the hotel’s champagne lounge.
The Merchant also has a uber-modern luxury spa and gym, including an eight-person rooftop hot tub with panoramic views of Belfast.
4. Hampton Court Palace, Surrey
No one knew how to revel in opulence like Henry VIII of England. The Tudor king’s favourite residence was Hampton Court Palace, with its stunning red facade, looming turrets and gothic architecture.
The Great Hall features an astonishing hammerbeam roof and tapestries most likely commissioned by the king himself.
You can even pay a visit to the original Tudor kitchens, attempt to solve the oldest hedge maze in the British Isles, take in the stunning rose garden or dine in the Fountain Court Cafe.
“There are a number of great AirBnB and quaint hotels closeby, which is a great way to enjoy this part of the country,” comments Ruban Selvanayagam of home sales group, Property Solvers.
5. Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Lake District
The Gilpin Hotel can be found less than ten minutes’ drive away from the shores of Lake Windermere. There is also a stunning lake house owned by the same organisation just a mile away.
The hotel boasts gorgeous garden suites and spa lodges, where residents can enjoy steam rooms, saunas, hydrotherapy hot tubs and huge circular stone baths. There is a champagne lounge and a croquet lawn, and even a herd of llamas and alpacas!
The lake house is set in 100 acres of land, accessible exclusively to the eight guests that stay there. With a private lake, boat house and swimming pool, residents can enjoy a full complement of meals served wherever they like!
6. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London
The famous Kew Gardens are resplendent in breathtaking plant life of all varieties. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site, featuring one of the most diverse collections of plants in the world.
With 300 acres dedicated to the study of plant life and fungi, Kew features picturesque glass houses, a lake, follies and even a pagoda.
Kew Palace sits between the gardens and the River Thames and dates back to 1631. With so much to see and five different options for dining and refreshments, it’s easy to spend a full day at Kew Gardens.
7. Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire
The Queen’s Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle, is open to the public between April and July each year. Featuring sprawling gardens and surrounded by acres of rich pine forest, a visit to this incredible property is always an unforgettable experience.
Built as a hunting lodge way back in the late 14th Century, the castle was extended and renovated in Victorian style between 1853 and 1855.
Visit for the day or stay in a beautiful holiday cottage on the grounds.
You can even dine in the Balmoral Restaurant to enjoy sumptuous afternoon tea and fresh Scottish produce, or enjoy a luxury Landrover safari of the whole estate to feel like royalty.
8. Quod Restaurant and Bar, Oxford
If you’re keen to enjoy a little fine dining or luxury nightlife in the south of England, the Quod Restaurant and Bar in Oxford is truly one of a kind. It’s easy to locate – with its many beautiful Georgian windows looking out over the busy High Street.
Quod offers opulent dining experiences in its main restaurant and Mediterranean style heated garden terrace. Here, you can enjoy wonderful afternoon teas or lunches and suppers featuring delicious European fare created from quality British produce.
There are separate rooms available for elegant private events, and the onyx bar serves expertly crafted cocktails and cold champagne way into the night.
9. Portmeirion, Gwynedd
Portmeirion, a town on the banks of Glaslyn in northwest Wales, is famously beautiful. It was built in colourful Italian style in the mid-20th Century and remains a firm favourite of visitors from all around the world.
The town boasts sub-tropical gardens, spas and restaurants – and you can even stay in the atmospheric Castell Deudraeth, a breathtaking 19th century castle hotel decorated in elegant modern style.
10. The Ritz Hotel, London
With a reputation spanning more than a century, The Ritz has become synonymous with style, elegance and luxury.
With beautifully appointed suites, a Michelin-starred restaurant and dining terrace, world famous afternoon teas and even the option of super-exclusive private dining, you can enjoy the movie star treatment in Mayfair, right in the heart of London.
Relax in the Ritz Garden with champagne or cocktails, or enjoy astonishing, bejewelled art deco surroundings in the Rivoli Bar. Why not indulge in hair, beauty and massage treatments and hire a Rolls-Royce Phantom for your airport transfer too?
These are just a few of the most opulent experiences you can have in the UK – and there are plenty more to explore! Why not create a wishlist of luxury locations to tick off as and when you visit them?