Book yourself a great base via Culture Trip – and explore the beauty of this historic, photogenic corner of Surrey in England.
The peaceful riverside setting is what makes Runnymede on Thames, in Surrey, such a treat for weekenders. You can picnic, cycle and walk your pooch in its green expanses. The countryside all around is a blend of fields and rolling hills, and of course Runnymede itself is steeped in history – Magna Carta was signed here by King John in 1215, enshrining human rights in law and ushering in the democracy we enjoy today. Reflect on it all at one of the best hotels in the area.
This restful manor house, a suitcase’s toss from Gatwick Airport, is full-on traditional, with mullioned windows, manicured mazes, a moat and acres of gardens. Celebrating? Book the romantic Italian Suite for its romantic damask-finished walls or perhaps one of the rooms with traditional four-poster beds. History buffs will love the Historic Suites, with period detail including 17th-century Flemish tapestries and Jacobean furniture. A more recent addition is the art deco outdoor pool – put in a few laps before tucking into breakfast eggs on toast and a cup of reviving breakfast tea.
Like a thickly iced wedding cake, this public-school-turned hotel in Old Windsor has a magnificent white-stucco facade. A 15-minute walk from historic Runnymede, it shines out over the velvety lawns as you pull up: part of a 40-acre (16ha) estate that includes a 14th-century chapel. Revamped rooms range from creamy classics with soft-blue bed throws and curtains, to suites with caramel-leather headboards and cute bedside Roberts’ radios. One of the highlights in breakfast: either in the new 1705 Restaurant & Bar – all parquet flooring and painted panelling – or in the thickly carpeted Beaumont, an elegant backdrop for your tomatoes on toast.
There’s no danger you’ll tire of the dishes crafted at this fine Chertsey high-street restaurant-with-rooms. Taste buds are tickled repeatedly, thanks to the menu of much-loved Indian dishes, from tandoori to biryani, as well as traditional Sunday roasts. The rooms are simple and unfussy, with pale walls and dashes of pine, leaving the food to do the talking. Stay here, and you’re a convenient 10-minute walk from Chertsey station – close, too, to Chertsey Abbey: the picturesque remains of a Benedictine monastery on the banks of the Abbey River.
Racegoers love the location of this four-star favourite, a quick canter – or a five-minute drive – from Ascot Racecourse. You’re also close to Legoland, Thorpe Park, Windsor Castle and Wentworth Golf Course. Settle in among rooms rich with velvet, tartan and soft neutral shades. There are stately four-poster beds in the super-deluxe category – or book a roomy turret suite big enough for all the family. Wellness devotees can nip to the spa for a massage, do a few lengths in the pool and have a healthy blast in the rock and infrared saunas. Ready to be fed and watered? Graze on artfully constructed afternoon tea on the Royal Enclosure garden terrace, or sip Pimm’s in one of the hotel’s various bars.
Green-fingered guests make a beeline for this 18th-century hotel. It’s close to RHS Garden Wisley – 8mi (13km) away – and its own acres of grounds, once home to a Tudor palace, are a delight to wander in. With tones of pistachio, orange and soft greys, rooms are as restful as the leafy Surrey countryside all around. The lobby, under its dome of glass, is also serene, dotted with olive trees. If you’re here on a Sunday, indulge in the excellent carveries. And don’t skip breakfast: a hot buffet selection of omelettes or haddock as you gaze out at lake waters. Then potter over to the village of Oatlands, which has friendly cafes, shops and pub.
Eco-travellers book this 1830s boutique beauty as much for its location as for its looks: it’s a minute’s walk from Weybridge station, and an easy 1.2mi (2km) from the motorsports exhibits at Brooklands Museum, with its electric-vehicle demos. At the Hand and Spear, Victoriana and vintage reign supreme, with lashings of floral wallpaper, period knick-knacks and plant-filled terrariums. You even get a complimentary port nightcap. Breakfast is a suitably elegant affair, served among palms and more period styling – order avocados on toast to add a contemporary flavour.
This glass-fronted modernist hotel has many charms – not least its setting, overlooking the racetrack at Mercedes-Benz World, a 15-minute walk from the aircraft and motorsports exhibits at Brooklands Museum. Rooms are chic, with floor-to-ceiling windows and posh bathrooms with monsoon showers. Some have balconies with views of the racetrack. Decor nods to the sport, too, with car-headlight lamps and leather bed heads in art deco style. Eat your chocolate croissants in the 1907 restaurant, named after the year Brooklands racetrack opened, then hit the high-tech spa to soak up the rays in the sunlight therapy room. Still need a boost? There’s a hydrotherapy hot tub with deep-tissue-massage jets.
Thorpe Park is close by to Runnymede – why not opt for one of the best hotels near the thrilling theme park. For more options, discover our guide on the best hotels near Ascot Racecourse and book now on Culture Trip.
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