From a design haven in Bruton to a plush five-star suite, Vishaka Robinson tracks down the best romantic escapes within hitting distance of Bath
1. For: Ramblers
STAY: A glamorous little pub with just eight rooms, The Beckford Arms hits all the right notes. It’s hear-a-penny-drop-peaceful thanks to its location on the edge of the Fonthill Estate (which covers a vast 9,000 acres). The food is divine and supremely easy-going; think suckling pig spit–roasting on the bar’s open fire, game pies with homemade pastry, and spicy Bloody Marys laden with horseradish grown in the garden. Rooms are sunny and stylish, decked with Siberian goose down duvets, vintage Welsh blankets and seagrass floors (number seven comes with a huge roll top bath). The Beckford Arms have also created their own beauty brand, Bramley: a handmade range of bath and body products inspired by the English countryside. So you’ll find stacks to try in your bathroom. Don’t leave without a soak with their signature bath salts, a relaxing hit of lavender flowers, spearmint and geranium. They’re for sale downstairs if you get hooked. There’s no spa, but the in-house masseur, Anouchka is on-hand for Theravada Thai massages and one-to-one yoga lessons.
EXPLORE: This is brilliant walking and cycling country and the hotel is happy to prep you with guided hikes and even lend you a pair of bikes. Further afield Pythouse Kitchen Garden is a dreamy Victorian kitchen garden turned café that’s a great lunch spot. Larmer Tree Gardens – an extraordinary Victorian garden – is a 20 minute drive away as is Stourhead, a world-famous 18th-century landscape garden and Palladian mansion. History buffs will love Old Wardour Castle, 10 minutes away – the lakeside castle dates back to the 14th century and has a reputation for its romantic views.
BOOK: Double rooms including breakfast start at £95