Love is in the air! The best local Valentine’s Day stays
Grab your fanciest pants and pack your overnight bag - we've rustled up some romantic Valentine's Day stays in Berkshire and beyond to get you in the mood for love.
In the mood for love? Of course, you are! We’ve rounded up the best stays in Berkshire for the annual romance fest. Dig out the silky undies, practice your come-hither eyes and enjoy the most exciting five minutes of your month.
Cliveden House, Taplow
If you have chandelier swinging in mind, make a beeline for the place where this level of sauciness was practically invented. Cliveden oozes sexiness and romance from every brick. It’s got the views, the history, a frisson of scandal and oodles of five-star luxury. There are 38 rooms and suites, each named after a figure from the house’s past and furnished to match. We recommend grabbing the keys to either the Lady Astor or Prince of Wales suite and settling in for 24 hours of uninterrupted decadence. Everyone’s stayed here from princesses to pop stars, so walk in the footsteps of the rich and famous around the gardens and woodland before settling in for fine dining supper in The Cliveden Dining Room. Go all out and book the Valentine’s Day 7-course taster menu that includes oysters, lobster, and a chocolate and orange cigar.
Coworth Park, Ascot
Located on the edge of Windsor Great Park, is a classic, modern country house hotel that’s in the mood for love. The grounds are worth a wander – the gardens are full of pools, lit with lanterns at night, benches and sculptures of women set among the foliage. Expect high thread count bed linen, a stunning brass roll-top bath that’ll fit two, and if you’re really lucky a four-poster bed. The spa sits in Jetsons-style timber and glass building, topped with a ‘living roof’ of thyme and lavender and set into the side of a hill. Facilities include a blue-lit pool with underwater music, steam rooms, mood showers, and eight light-filled treatment rooms. Coworth has a romantic break offer running right now that includes room, brekkie, 3-course dinner, champers, chocolates and your room showered in rose petals (Prices from £741)
The Vineyard, Stockcross
Nothing like a well-stocked cellar to get your heart all of a flutter. Thow in a boutique spa, fine dining, and a four-poster bed and god only knows what shenanigans might happen. The Vineyard Hotel in Stockcross is one of the best wine hotels in the UK, with 30,000 bottles in the cellar and 200 available by the glass. New chef Tom Scade (formerly of The Ritz) is off to a flying start with a new menu and the whole place is an unpretentious luxury crash pad for anyone wanting to step off the hamster wheel of life. Take advantage of the current romantic offer – room, 7-course candlelit dinner, a bottle of Tattinger and brekkie – from £449.
Royal Oak, Yattendon
If you’re looking for those Four Weddings country pub vibes, then the Royal Oak in Yattendon is the place to hunker down and fan the flames of passion. This is boutique Berkshire bliss with roaring fires, low beams, country cosiness, and sleeping dogs. Basically, it’s the perfect place to sink a couple of bottles of Malbec, stuff your face and stagger to bed. You’re surrounded by country walks, there are market towns to explore, antique shops to rummage in or simply stay put and enjoy life in the slow lane. Rooms from £130.
Church House, Reading
Looking for a getaway that’s sexier than a hot priest? Take a pew and drink in the splendour of Church House Berkshire in Grazeley, near Reading. It’s a stunning former Victorian church, full of original features, glam interiors and has had a starring role in Made In Chelsea. Totes amazing. This ecclesiastical gem has been fitted with state-of-the-art home tech; it has an open-plan lounge with wood burner, a cinema room, plus a hot tub, large garden and the original pulpit is perfect for party preachers. You don’t even have to lift a finger – the concierge team can organise anything from catering and cocktails to a murder mystery and vodka luges. Muddy will hear your confession now.
Bray Cottages, Bray
A naughty break always manages to inject a bit humour and harmony back in a relationship – especially when it involves lots of food and drink in a bucolic paradise. It doesn’t get more idyllic than Bray, so look no further for your bolthole than Bray Cottages. There are three properties to choose from, each one unique, beautifully styled and within staggering distance of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and The Hind’s Head, the Roux’s Waterside Inn and Caldesi de Campagna. My personal favourite is Christmas Cottage for its funky interiors, Missoni bed and courtyard garden. A concierge service is available too, so reservations to the culinary crown jewels can be made, boat trips down the Thames, spa treatments and picnic baskets. Dogs welcome.
The Winning Post, Winkfield
Saddle up and canter to The Winning Post in Winkfield a classic country pub surrounded by polo fields, riding schools and within trotting distance of Windsor and Ascot Racecourses. It’s an idyllic spot that would be right at home in Jilly Cooper novel – just add good-looking outdoorsy types, wearing jodhpurs and carrying a riding crop. Back in the real world, this 18th-century red brick inn has all the essentials – open fires, well-worn wooden tables, tweed and a hearty menu of great pub classics. There are 10 en-suite B&B rooms (eight doubles and two twins) to choose from, some with doors onto cute guests’ garden. Make sure you save room for the Full English…
The Great House, Sonning
Why do we keep coming back to The Great House in Sonning? Aside from the interior porn, riverside location and relaxed vibes, er, George Clooney, obviously. Yup gorgeous George is its most famous resident and you can dip your toe into Sonning’s waters and enjoy this Berkshire boutique hotel with all the luxury of Clooney’s pad. This is a big hotel for such a small village, with 49 rooms, including larger suites and a 2-bedroom apartment. It’s hour’s drive from London, 30 mins on the train, and 5 miles from Reading and Henley – a cheeky escape to the country, without spending hours on the M4 – perfect for a naughty night away. Kick back, go slow and graze and glug in the Coppa Club restaurant. Rooms from £115, but we’re loving the Deluxe River View for £170 for a game of peek-a-boo with the Gorgeous George.
River Arts Club, Maidenhead
A quirky, riverside escape, the River Arts Club is ranked among the top 10 most beautiful estates in the UK, and makes cinematic cameos in Being Julia, starring Annette Benning, and Ballet Shoes with Emma Watson. Nestled on the banks of the Thames, this Grade II listed Victorian mansion is an aristocratic B&B-come-gallery space. Its 13 rooms are an eclectic mix of colour, pattern, antique furniture and quality art with works by Latin American artists Felix Perdomo, Roberto Valentin and Aisar Jalil hanging from the walls. Within throwing distance of Berkshire’s mighty Michelin star restaurants and just 30 mins from London, you can do as much or as little as you want here. Or simply lie back with a glass of fizz in Ophelia, the River Art Club’s a private launch, and drift downstream in a tipsy haze. It’s a gem.
Hurley House Hotel, Hurley
I know some of you love nothing more than a bit of smug me time with a double dose of romance, so this one’s for you. Head off to the luxe boutique hotel Hurley House Hotel for 24 hours of eating, sleeping and drinking on repeat. Enjoy a loved-up dinner a deux – Champagne, canapés and 3 delicious courses (including a sharing pud). Scoff the lot, then get a room. No seriously, get a room. There are 10 boutique bedrooms available, so spare the staff their blushes and starfish in the monogrammed bed linens and double-ended baths. The special Valentine’s dinner is £65pp. Rooms from, £140.
Manor Courtyard Cottages, Pear Tree, Hampstead Norreys
Low key loveliness in a converted stable and dairy. But you won’t be sharing your space with any livestock. Manor Courtyard Cottages is boutique all the way, baby. Set in the West Berkshire village of Hampstead Norreys you can choose from two 2-bedroom properties, but Pear Tree is pretty special with its exposed beams, luxury bathroom, and a Victorian walled garden. You’re perfectly placed for walks on The Ridgeway or a day at Newbury races and the White Hart pub is just across the road. Pear Tree Cottage is available from £110 per night (2-night min) or from £650 per week. No pets.
Heckfield Place, Heckfield
OK, so we’re a toe over in Hants, but it’s so close to the Berkshire border I think we can claim Heckfield Place as our own. It’s catnip for the cool crowd and for good reason – super-stylish interiors, sustainability credentials and the organic, bio-dynamic food offering, courtesy of ex Petersham Nurseries chef Sky Gyngell. There’s a flop-down homeliness that’s artistic, literary and artisanal. A small spa with three treatment rooms will be joined by a larger spa and infinity pool. While you wait for the pool to open, the super brave can try wild swimming in the lakes or stay oon dry land and mooch around the 400-acres on foot or bike. Or reenact scenes from Pride & Prejudice or Jilly Cooper (your call) and head out on a romantic hack – Wellington Riding Centre is practically next door. This kind of fabulosity doesn’t come cheap, but once you settle in, you’ll never want to leave. Rooms from £350.
Break for the border…
Beaverbrook, near Leatherhead
This is an eye-poppingly glamorous, boldly luxurious retreat. The former home of press baron Lord Beaverbrook, it’s like stepping into a bygone era of English high society – and indeed past guests include world leaders, Hollywood royalty and literary greats. Set on 470 acres of private unspoiled countryside there are gorgeous gardens, tennis courts, a spa, as well as indoor and outdoor pools, plus plenty of walks. There are two restaurants and 35 boutique rooms spread across The House, the Garden House and the Coach House. Pre-book a table at The Garden House Restaurant for their decadent six-course Valentine’s meal, complete with a glass of Beaverbrook Albury Blanc de Blanc. beaverbrook.co.uk
The Langley, Iver
If you’re going to swing on any chandeliers this Valentine’s Day, do it at The Langley a smidge over the border in South Bucks – they have whoppers in almost every room. This five-star country pile, opened just last year, is a total knock-out, the 18th-century former estate of the Duke of Marlborough spilling over with original features in a renovation that’s taken five years. With incredible views at every turn (no surprise there, it’s set in 150 acres of Capability Brown-designed grounds), there are 41 super-plush bedrooms to choose from, complete with frankly enormous in-room TVs, if you’re taking ‘Netflix and chill’ literally. Foodies will be in their element, the dining space is very cool, and it’s sacrilege to not visit the mammoth subterranean spa, particularly the hammam, amethyst crystal steam room and infinity-edge pool. Treat yourself to a couple’s massage and forget about the outside world for a bit. marriott.com
Artist Residence, Witney
As quirky and quintessentially British as a bulldog wearing a natty bowtie, Artist Residence hotels are some of our favourites for a romantic getaway in the UK, but Oxfordshire has to take top spot (not that we’re biased – much). Their take on a traditional English inn set in the bucolic Oxfordshire Cotswolds near Witney, The Mason Arms has all the makings of a classic pub (eight comfy bedrooms, a hearty menu packed with all the favourites) with a whole load of extra AR flair. Neon signs and eccentric sculptures sit perfectly alongside the William Morris wallpapers, and you’ll want to nab the Farmhouse Suite for the cool copper bathtub. Downstairs in the restaurant, the food is hyper-locally sourced, with some ingredients plucked straight from the hotel’s herb and vegetable garden. Can’t face the trip all the way downstairs? Have your dinner delivered to your love pad instead.
The Runnymede on Thames, Egham
A boutique hotel and spa without pretension on the banks of the River Thames in Egham. There are two riverside restaurants as well as private riverside dining in pretty glass domes, an award-winning spa with an outdoor pool, and tennis courts. You can also hire a boat and take to the river. Book a deluxe double room and treat yourselves to a luxury treatment in the spa. After relaxing by the pool, head for a Valentine’s dinner at the Leftbank Restaurant for three courses of heaven and a few bottles of something fizzy. Or if you’re feeling flush, book one of the domes for a decadent dinner for two overlooking the river.
Stoke Park, Stoke Poges
What better place for a V-day stay than the very spot where Daniel Cleaver whisked Bridget away for a dirty weekend in Bridget Jones’s Diary? Pack your least grannyish pants for a romp at this plush five-star haunt just 20 minutes away from Beaconsfield, which also boasts a 3AA rosette fine dining restaurant, Humphry’s. The vibe here is luxe yet relaxed, and if you can tear yourself away from the award-winning spa long enough to change out of your robe, you could hit the 27-hole championship golf course or one of the whopping 13 tennis courts. Best of all, there’s a great Valentine’s Romantic Getaway on offer for 14-15 Feb this year, with prices starting at £684. You’ll get upgraded accommodation, a 55-minute spa treatment, 4-course gourmet dinner and late check out – all the better to enjoy that rose-petal-scattered four-poster.