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The best UK staycations for summer 2021

From riverside picnics close to home to cycling around Somerset, here are five staycation options from Small Luxury Hotels of the World to make the most of this summer in the UK, says Chloe Frost-Smith

To keep your post-lockdown plans as simple as possible for what we’re hoping will be a great British summer, we asked Small Luxury Hotels of the World – an independently minded collection of more than 500 boutique hotels – about their recommendations for enjoying life’s simple pleasures in the British sunshine.

Here are there top five picks for Summer 2021:

A riverside picnic at Hampton Court

Londoners looking to escape the city heat should head to The Mitre Hotel, a riverside retreat originally built to host visitors at nearby Hampton Court Palace.

While away a lazy summer’s day on the banks of the Thames, with a personalised picnic prepared by the hotel’s kitchen complete with a hand-woven wicker basket and comfy rug.

Alternatively, The Mitre’s waterfront terrace is made for champagne-quaffing while watching boats glide by.

Dog walking in the Cotswolds

An eclectic village-style assortment of houses, huts and hideaways set within the picturesque grounds of the Farncombe Estate, The Fish Hotel barks up all the right trees (and treehouses).

Medium sized, well-behaved pooches are welcome to a cosy selection of dog-friendly rooms, which have wooden floors and easy access to your car along with 400 acres of Cotswold countryside for those all-important dog walks.

Every doggy desire has been catered for, including dog hydration stations, a ‘dunk your dog’ bath tub, a dedicated dog agility course, and doggy afternoon tea.

Cycling around Somerset

The rolling hills of Somerset form a glorious backdrop to the honey-coloured Georgian house that is Homewood.

The hotel’s complimentary bicycles can take you from town to country, with a scenic six mile cycle to Bath’s cobblestoned city centre in one direction, and the Somerset Lavender Farm just down the road for a Provençal day out.

After working up an appetite on two wheels, soak up the sun on the patio of Homewood’s Olio restaurant, with an outdoor kitchen, pizza oven, and Mediterranean-inspired menu.

Sampling shortbread and scones in Edinburgh

It might be an English tradition, but afternoon tea at The Dunstane Houses, a relaxed Victorian townhouse pair in the heart of Scotland’s capital, is given a singularly Scottish spin.

Served in either the cosy lounge or the garden, the spread includes treats such as Scottish preserves, Orkney cheddar finger sandwiches and fine whole-leaf teas from a St Andrews-based tea company.

For ultimate indulgence, pick a gin from the bar’s vast artisan selection or whiskey cabinet to pair with your cakes – not forgetting the homemade shortbread which welcomes you on arrival.

Taking to the waters in beautiful Bath Spa

There’s the simple satisfaction of drawing a long, hot bath in a free-standing tub, and then there’s soaking in the mineral-rich waters of Roman thermal pools – both of which you can indulge in at The Gainsborough Bath Spa, an elegant Georgian townhouse which oozes period elegance without the period drama.

Bath Spa Rooms come with roll tops, scented candles and direct access to the thermal waters, while the two-poster beds are made for sinking into.

To book, visit SLH.com or contact the SLH Voice Reservations Team for personalised trip planning.

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