The best shopping around the world
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With the Australian dollar currently strong against the British Pound, it’s a great time to book a holiday to the United Kingdom. So now your dollar is stretching further, you may just be able to book into some of the greatest hotels across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Here we highlight some of the best stays, from country manors to hip urban hotels and coastal townhouses for a memorable trip to the British Isles.
This multi-award winning hotel in Belfast, indeed the only AA 5 star rated hotel in the city, is located in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, right on the doorstep of the best bars and restaurants in Northern Ireland. The Merchant Hotel‘s Grade A listed building includes the opulent hotel, the Victorian-designed Great Room Restaurant, Belfast’s only jazz bar, a cocktail bar, champagne lounge, and – for when you have reached peak consumption of all the aforementioned delicious indulgences – a luxury spa and gym for some added health and wellness.
For the hippest stay in London, make a beeline for trendy Shoreditch in the East End and check in to the Ace Hotel, where both local and international creatives come to work and play. The lobby doubles as a bustling shared work space, café and cocktail bar, and the rooms have more cutting-edge features than you could dream up – from guitars, vinyl players and vintage digital radios (with tailored bedtime stories to help you drift off to sleep) to denim bed spreads, window seats and craft beer in the minibar. A host of other local gems also inhabit the complex including Hoi Palloi restaurant, East London Juice Co, That Flower Shop and Sister Ray Records. Monocle exclaimed the hotel is “true to its location”, and there’s no hotter spot in London right now than Shoreditch.
The vast beauty of the Lake District, with its charming villages, ancient shepherding culture and sweeping hills evokes the England of Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. If you want to go where the locals head to unwind, a stay at the Haweswater Hotel makes for a welcomed short break. This stately, vine covered hotel overlooks the secluded Haweswater nature reserve and is at the doorstep of a number of great walks in the area. This beautifully restored art deco gem, with its book-clad sitting room, tended gardens and resident squirrels will fill you with delight.
Restaurateur, food writer and cookbook author Mark Hix is one of the powerhouse names in British gastronomy. After opening multiple acclaimed restaurants (and a bar!) in London he turned his sights on his native Dorset and opened HIX Townhouse in the charming Lyme Regis. This centrally located eight room Georgian townhouse has themed rooms like The Reading Room, The Fishing Room and the Mad Hatters Room, all within a stone’s throw from the coast. A stay here also entitles you to a discount at his nearby restaurant HIX Oyster and Fish House, and you’ll also love the breakfast hamper prepared at the restaurant that features local Dorset produce.
For true indulgence of the “impeccably English” kind, why not stay where Kate Middleton chose to spend her last evening before becoming a princess, by checking in to The Goring. Located in exclusive Belgravia, this grand garden filled property will have you sipping on high tea and being waited on by uniformed footman. Travel and Leisure ranked it number one for the world’s best hotel service in 2015, so you know you’ll be treated like royalty.
This estate, set over 850 acres in the Perthshire countryside, is much more than merely a hotel. Gleneagles features four restaurants, one with two Michelin stars, one of the world’s best golf courses and a host of unique activities such as falconry, equestrian and wildlife photography workshops to name a few. Add to that the onsite Spa at Gleneagles by ESPA, that has won Scotland’s Best Hotel Spa at the World Spa Awards in 2015, and you are in for a truly indulgent and memorable stay.
Recent winner of the Gold Award for Best Hotel and Restaurant in the National Tourism Awards Wales, this picturesque white country hotel also houses a Michelin star restaurant and sits at the southern end of Snowdonia National Park, home of Wales’ highest peak Mt Snowdon. Ynyshir Hall’s elegant bedrooms are named after famous painters such as Renoir, Monet and Vermeer and the walls feature original works by the hotel owner Rob Reen.
There’s much more to Liverpool than it being home of the Beatles, with a vibrant art scene which includes a Tate Museum, the urban cool of Bold Street filled with great restaurants and cafes, a still-exciting music scene and some wonderful architecture along the Mersey River. The pick of the places to stay is the chic Hope Street Hotel, frequent winner of the Hotel of the Year category in the Liverpool City Region Annual Tourism Awards. After checking in to your modern room (at the right price), head to the hotel restaurant The London Carriage Works for delicious British fare using locally sourced ingredients.