History Meets Modern Luxury: Top Hotels of England, Scotland and Ireland
The British Isles are steeped in centuries of history, culture, and legacy—carried on by their people, and especially their architecture. Travelling to the UK and Ireland offers a chance to turn back the clock, and interact with structures that have been around for, well, a long time.
From castles deep within the undulating countryside to glamorous boutique spaces in city centres, each has a story to tell and reason why they are the top hotels in the eyes of B&R Experts. The following are some of our top accommodations throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland.
The Pig at Harlyn Bay
From the UK’s most beloved hotel groups, The Pig at Harlyn Bay is one of the latest editions to the litter at Home Grown Hotels. This cozy Cornish stay is situated in a historic manor dating back to the 15th c. and offers sweeping views of the rippling sea in a friendly and informal setting. Characterful rooms are spread between the Main House and Stonehouse, all just a stone’s throw away from the beaches at Constantine Bay and Harlyn Bay and just 10 minutes from Padstow.
Bed down at this incredible stay on our Devon & Cornwall Walking trip, where you’ll experience the Pig’s obsessive commitment to sustainability and focus on hyper-local products.
The Kitchen Garden stocks their fabulous “25-mile menu” featuring only local ingredients that are true to micro-seasons. Think fresh seafood, award-winning English wines and spirits, local cheeses, fantastic meats and even saffron!
The Royal Crescent Hotel
The Cotswolds to Bath Biking trip culminates at the Royal Crescent Hotel. Set amongst the terraced townhouses of Bath’s iconic Royal Crescent, anywhere in this historic city is walkable. The guestrooms are a highlight with opulent period details and views across Royal Victoria Park, and the spa and whimsical gardens make this spot supremely tranquil. It’s no surprise that this is one of the most famous hotels in England—it’s delivered with impeccable English charm and manners.
The Royal Crescent building itself is one of the most familiar pieces of architecture in the U.K., whose origins date back to a Roman spa visited by Queen Anne in 1703 and became the fully formed Crescent in 1775. The address quickly became desirable to successful creatives and even royals.
The Hotel’s legacy began in 1950 when No. 15 was turned into a guesthouse, followed by the purchase of No. 16 in 1971–the combination of the two led to the creation of the Royal Crescent Hotel, which has since been updated to its current 5-star opulence.
Extend Your Trip in London:
Once you’ve explored the wonderful architecture and charm of Bath, you may want to experience the endless opportunities of London, where food, shopping, and history abound. There is no place to stay quite like Claridge’s. Home to exquisite suites, top restaurants and moody bars, the experiences within the walls of the hotel are good enough to make a stay in London feel complete.
Situated in Mayfair, one of London’s most posh neighbourhoods, Claridge’s has been a tangible expression of this luxury area for over a century. The hotel quickly became a destination for the famous and royal, and in the 1920s became an art deco landmark loved by celebrities, statesmen, and tastemakers. If these walls could talk is certainly brought to mind when walking through the grand foyer and into the 1930s Fumoir bar.
Rugged landscapes, steadfast tradition, and enthralling music are just some of the reasons Ireland is a place worth visiting. Another reason would be to stay at Ballynahinch Castle one of Ireland’s finest luxury castle hotels. Set on 700 acres of private woodland, the castle overlooks rivers, its salmon fishery, and the stunning 12 Bens Mountains – everything on the estate is lush and inviting, making for the perfect lodging on the Ireland Biking trip.
Exploring the castle, you’ll find 6 open log fireplaces (always stoked and burning) flanked by inviting armchairs and chesterfields, luxury rooms situated in the original castle house, and elevated traditional Irish dining experiences–the breakfast spread is jaw-dropping. Despite its stately appearance, the hotel has a welcoming, laidback air.
Not only will your accommodations take your breath away, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of their amenities such as fishing, meandering their tended walking trails, shooting, and horse riding.
Extend Your Trip in Dublin:
Back in the city, there’s more to explore and The Merrion Hotel is where you should call home for your stay. Situated in Georgian Dublin, the 5-star hotel is surrounded by some of the finest architecture, squares, and streets of decades past – the hotel itself is a restoration of four Georgian townhouses from the 18th c. Adjacent to St Stephen’s Green, just a minutes’ walk from the National Gallery, Trinity College, and the River Liffey, The Merrion is a prime starting point to exploring Dublin.
The hotel is bright and airy, with modern touches that speak to its luxury, with traditional elements that serve as a reminder of the hotel’s legacy. All its rooms and suites are decadently designed, inspired by Irish landscape paintings of Paul Henry.
Quench your thirst and hunger at the Cellar Bar, The Garden Room for traditional Irish fare, or the 2 star Michelin restaurant, Patrick Guilbaud.
The highly anticipated Gleneagles Townhouse marks the Gleneagles brand’s first city expansion in its 96-year history to Scotland’s beautiful capital, Edinburgh. While the original country estate is nestled just outside of Perthshire, the new property will house a private members’ club, a bustling all-day restaurant and a spectacular rooftop bar overlooking the city in the heart of St. Andrew Square.
The 33-room estate is set in an ancient building that was once home to the British Linen Company and the Bank of Scotland. While Gleneagles Townhouse is set to be one of the most coveted accommodations in all of the UK, travellers can experience this incredible stay on our Scotland Bespoke trip after the hotel opens its doors for the first time in spring 2022.
The Fife Arms
The Fife Arms Hotel is a Victorian inn situated within Braemar, a village in the magnificent Cairngorms National Park. It blends Scottish heritage, craftsmanship and culture with eye-catching contemporary art and a strong sense of community. This hotel serves as the well-deserved climax of the Private Scotland Biking trip, where you’ll enjoy luxury service, food, and the environment.
A visit offers a range of unique experiences, whether you want to tour the hotel’s exceptional art collection or explore the dramatic mountains surrounding it – there’s amazing access to some of the Highlands’ finest walks. In addition to the fine dining restaurant, the pub (favoured by locals and visitors alike) houses over 180 whiskeys to try, an art deco cocktail bar, and the drawing-room, which is a feast for the eyes and the perfect place to take your morning coffee.
The Fife Arms is truly a gem set in the Scottish countryside.
Extend Your Trip in Edinburgh:
As you finish your biking trip in Edinburgh, The Balmoral is the ultimate accommodation mixing the old and the new in the heart of the city. Many of the well-designed rooms feature epic castle and Old Town views which serve as a reminder of the beauty and legacy of the capital city, while the hotel itself is a recognized landmark. The location is perfectly situated, walkable from just about anywhere.
Swathed in Balmoral tartan and classic Scottish art, boasting a robust whisky library of 500 malts, The Balmoral is a love letter to Scotland. During your stay, enjoy afternoon tea, a visit to the spa, and savour Michelin-starred dining or casual bistro fare before stepping out to explore the city.