The Gannet, St Ives, Cornwall
Take the overnight train from Paddington to arrive at Carbis Bay station in time for breakfast and a stroll along the sands, before checking into the Gannet – a chic inn with a cosy fire-lit bar, and sleek, cream-walled rooms (book a “Spot the Gannet” room for gorgeous sea views). Families are welcome, with cots and roll-away beds available. St Ives is a spectacular 30-minute walk along the coast and the C Spa at the neighbouring Carbis Bay Hotel offers an array of treatments.
Doubles from £265 B&B; gannetstives.co.uk
The Balmoral, Edinburgh
Splash the cash on a weekend at Rocco Forte’s gorgeous Scottish outpost, just a stone’s throw from Edinburgh’s Waverley station. Originally constructed as a station hotel, the building features sweeping staircases, intricate plasterwork and classical columns, which give the communal spaces an elegant Renaissance feel, in spite of being Victorian throughout. Rooms are characterised by Olga Polizzi’s vibrant classicism, making it ideal for restful nights after dipping into the 500-variety Whisky Bar or Simon Lannon’s classic brasserie dishes.
Doubles from £353 B&B; roccofortehotels.com
The Angel, Abergavenny
As the southern gateway to the Brecon Beacons, Abergavenny makes an ideal base for exploring the national park, with walks, cycle and bridle routes from the town. A classic coaching inn, the Angel is close to the station, and offers a cosy base with a bustling bar and restaurant – and one of Wales’s finest afternoon teas. Rooms are luxurious, with pocket-sprung mattresses and Lewis & Wood fabrics.
Doubles from £160 room-only; angelabergavenny.com
Hampton Manor, Hampton in Arden, Solihull
This 19th-century country manor set in 45 wooded acres is a five-minute stroll from Hampton-in-Arden station and 15 minutes from Birmingham by train. A family-run hotel, it is also foodie heaven, with an in-house baker and nutritionist among its charming staff. Rooms are elegant, with William Morris wallpaper and antique furniture, but the restaurants are the ultimate treat, whether the Michelin-starred tasting menu in Peel, or hearty meat dishes grilled over coals in Smoke.
Doubles from £215 B&B; hamptonmanor.com
The Grand, York
Five minutes’ walk from York station, this grand Edwardian building was the former headquarters of the North Eastern Railway, and is now the city’s most luxurious address. Service is everything here; a veritable army of concierges, doormen and waiters are on hand, with fine dining on offer at Legacy – a glorious room with original oak panelling and blueprint murals – or more informal brasserie fare in the Rise. Rooms are vast and supremely comfortable.
Doubles from £152 B&B; thegrandyork.co.uk
The Manor House, Moreton-in-Marsh, the Cotswolds
One of the few Cotswold towns with a train station, Moreton is just 90 minutes from Paddington, with the delightful Manor House hotel a few minutes’ stroll through town. Dating back to the 16th century, it oozes country-house chic without a hint of chintz, while the Beagle Brasserie and more formal Mulberry restaurant offer indulgent suppers after a day’s exploring. Dogs are welcome and the walled garden is a blissful retreat.
Doubles from £200 B&B; cotswold-inns-hotels.co.uk
The Northcote, Langho, Lancashire
Many visitors to the Northcote come for the Michelin-starred dining room, set in a cosy manor house, eight minutes’ walk from Langho station. Room rates include a five-course dinner (and a vegetarian equivalent), with wine pairings available. The spectacular landscapes of the Forest of Bowland lie just outside the door, crisscrossed with walking trails, ideal for walking off the wickedly indulgent meals.
Doubles from £410 dinner, B&B; northcote.com
The Grand, Brighton
Living up to its name since a glitzy refurbishment a few years ago, Brighton’s grand dame has plum position on the seafront, only a 15-minute stroll from the railway station and with all of the town’s neighbourhoods – Kemptown, the Lanes and the bohemian North Laine area – right on the doorstep. Bedrooms have a pleasing art deco feel, while afternoon tea on the Victoria Terrace is a must – often best on blustery days, when you can watch the waves crashing from your seat.
Doubles from £215 B&B; grandbrighton.co.uk
Colwall Park Hotel, Malvern, Worcestershire
A classic country house surrounded by the rolling peaks of the Malvern Hills, Colwall is ideal for those looking for a car-free walking weekend, with Colwall station just moments away. The hotel can provide walking maps and picnic lunches, with a path through the hotel gardens leading directly up on to the hills. Back at base, the 22 rooms are comfortable, with dogs welcome in some. The fire-lit bar and buzzy restaurant offers hearty pub dishes.
Doubles from £85 B&B; colwall.co.uk
Carey’s Manor, Brockenhurst, Hampshire
Step off the train at Brockenhurst station and you will find yourself in the heart of the New Forest, with ponies ambling past and great swathes of woodland on all sides. Carey’s Manor is just a few minutes’ stroll: a classic manor house which has a first-rate spa, complete with full hydrotherapy suite and a Thai restaurant, Zen Garden, alongside contemporary British dishes in Cambium. The hotel has one of the country’s widest collections of English wines, and there are lovely forest walks straight from the door.
Doubles from £180 B&B; careysmanor.com