Winnie the Pooh once said, “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.
” With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best hotels with woodland walks so you can explore windswept woods and enchanting ancient forests, including the place that inspired A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood itself. These are some of Britain’s best re-tree-ts, in locations including Dalby Forest, Ashdown Forest, the New Forest, Leanachan Forest, the Brecon Beacons, Galloway Forest, the Lake District and the Forest of Dean (so lush, you won’t want to leaf).
Inverlochy Castle Hotel
Fort William, Highlands, Scotland
9 Telegraph expert ratingEven Queen Victoria once said she ‘never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot’ than Inverlochy Castle, an unashamedly country house-style pile situated at the foot of Ben Nevis. The River Lundie walk is a good leg-stretcher, mainly through the trees of Leanachan Forest and a short section of riverside. You can take an Albert and Michel Roux-designed picnic on a wildlife photography tour, mountain-biking or walking; and once you’re back, the valet will clean and dry your boots and jacket. The hotel offers many other outdoorsy activities, including off-road driving, stalking or fishing.
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Chewton Glen Hotel
New Forest, Hampshire, England
Solarmovie 8 Telegraph expert ratingLocated in the New Forest, there are a number of walks that guests can follow through the glorious Hampshire countryside – most notably following the stream through the woods which brings you to Naish Beach. If you’d rather enjoy the trees in from the luxury of your own accommodation, make sure you opt for one of Chewton Glen’s highly renowned treehouses, a unique option (why look at the trees when you can stay in them?). They overlook the Jurassic-style canopy of the forest; a forest so enchanting, Captain Marriott wrote his novel Children of the New Forest here in 1847.
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Brockenhurst, New Forest, England
8 Telegraph expert ratingThe original of the shabby-chic Pig hotels, revered for its earthy, rustic charm and kitchen-garden-to-table dining ethos. The huge walled garden is the hotel’s main feature, and the restaurant’s daily menu depends on what’s available along with findings from the resident forager. It sits in a clearing, just outside of Brockenhurst, amid acres of the New Forest, so a lovely choice if you’re looking for a woodland walk. Brockenhurst is popular with walkers and there are lots of routes that take you through Roydon Woods, Brockenhurst Park, disused railway lines and Lymington River.
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Ashdown Park Hotel
Forest Row, East Grinstead, England
7 Telegraph expert ratingThis sprawling neo-Gothic country house built in 1820 is set in the heart of Ashdown Forest, the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood. The hotel is a seven-minute walk from the Ashdown Forest Centre, a launch point for dozens of walking routes, and 10 minutes by car from Pooh Sticks Bridge in Hartfield. Although no bears, you can meet the forest’s resident alpacas, llamas and reindeer at the Llama Park, a five-minute drive from the hotel. A big draw is the country club’s 18-hole par three golf course, of which the last nine holes meander through the forest.
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The Langdale Hotel
Great Langdale, Lake District, England
8 Telegraph expert ratingThe hotel enjoys a superb location, in a forested estate in the heart of Langdale Valley, mid-way between the villages of Elterwater and Chapel Stile. The setting is stunning, surrounded by fells and bordered by Great Langdale Beck. Buildings are low-lying, built of local slate and blending into the natural environs of trees, grassy hillocks and streams but by contrast interiors have a cool, metropolitan feel. Not only is the posh property close to many woodland walks, there are activities to explore the forest further – GoApe! and Tree Top Treks (big trampoline nets strung up between trees) among them.
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Ballantrae, Ayrshire, Scotland
8 Telegraph expert ratingThis 19th-century Scottish castle is less than an hour away from Galloway Forest Park, the largest forest park in Britain. Dubbed affectionately as the ‘highlands of the lowlands’, it offers a huge variety of trails to suit all levels. The hotel itself is squirrelled away in an enchanting estate of forests with giant redwoods and formal gardens, and views over the Irish Sea to the Isle of Arran. Smart and attentive staff can arrange everything from helicopter transfers to hot water bottles. There’s an all-weather tennis court, a croquet lawn, plus wellies, umbrellas and rain jackets by the front door for exploring the grounds.Read expert reviewFrom£255per nightCheck availabilityRates provided byBooking.com
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The Saracens Head Inn
Symonds Yat, Herefordshire, England
8 Telegraph expert ratingSymonds Yat – named after Robert Symonds the sheriff of Herefordshire in the 17th century and ‘yat’ meaning gate – encompasses endless miles of wilderness. The Saracens Head Inn [sic] is right on the River Wye which is straddled by Symonds Yat East and West in a steeped, wooded gorge. It’s a great base for exploring the Forest of Dean and its abundance of trails, including the 136-mile Wye Valley Walk which takes you through ravine gorge cloaked in woodland to meadows and remote uplands. For something a little shorter, try the Monmouth to Ross section.Read expert reviewFrom£65per nightCheck availabilityRates provided byBooking.com
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Gliffaes Country House Hotel
Brecon Beacons, Wales
9 Telegraph expert ratingGliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. A hill rises steeply beyond it, quilted with patchwork woods, hedges and sheep fields. In the eastern corner of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the hotel has cracking walks right on its doorstep. Mynydd Llangorse, where a circular trail takes in a lake and sweeping views of rounded heights, is just seven miles away, and it’s 10 minutes to Crickhowell: the biscuit-tin pretty village of the Brecons. The grounds itself are plumed with rare and beautiful trees – from frilly Japanese maples to ancient oaks – all showcased on the tree walk.
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Clearwell, Gloucestershire, England
9 Telegraph expert ratingThis immaculate, 20-room boutique hotel is in the middle of Gloucestershire’s beautiful Forest of Dean. It’s a region rich with natural beauty and filled with adventures, including foraging, sculpture trails, long rambles and Puzzlewood, a meandering maze of pathways through enchanting ancient woodland. Legend has it that JRR Tolkien took his inspiration for the fabled forests of Middle Earth from Puzzlewood. This is also a popular set location for television series like Dr Who and films including Star Wars.
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9 Telegraph expert ratingYou don’t come to Nanteos for entertainment, you come for escapism, so facilities are deliberately low-key and the atmosphere redolent of a slower-paced, more graceful age. The hotel is set in glorious wooded grounds, down a tree-lined track in the beautiful Welsh countryside. Days involve muddy country rambles in the meadows and woods, lavish afternoon teas in the salon, perhaps a spin of the manor with resident history buff Chris, followed by pre-dinner G&Ts in the library bar. This harmonious Georgian country manor is a class act – borderline palatial, actually – with tall sash windows framing the view.
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East Grinstead, West Sussex, England
9 Telegraph expert ratingAn award-winning country manor in West Sussex, surrounded by acres of National Trust woodland. In 1884, Gravetye Manor and its one-thousand-acre estate was bought by talented gardener William Robinson. His desire to enhance the natural beauty of the gardens and woods extended to the manor, and one of the most striking features is the interior wood panelling through the house made with wood from the estate. The hotel provides detailed maps with walking routes from 30 minutes to four hours from Gravetye Manor, including ‘The Weir Walk’, ‘The Cat Walk’ and ‘The Wakehurst Walk’ – with wellies available to borrow.
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Ox Pasture Hall Hotel
Scarborough, Yorkshire, England
8 Telegraph expert ratingNestled in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, Ox Pasture Hall is a wonderful destination for exploring the Dales, Moors and Dalby Forest and looks out over layers of mature, natural countryside. The hotel is also close to Forge Valley, a trough in the north east of England formed by rushing glacial meltwater after the last ice age, now embellished with layers of deciduous foliage. Popular walks include the Cleveland Way National Trail, a 110-mile stretch that takes you through woods, moorland and coastline – an ideal choice for dog-walkers.byBooking.com
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The King’s Head Inn
Newton under Roseberry, Yorkshire, England
8 Telegraph expert ratingNorth Yorkshire’s Mr-Whippy-shaped rock, Roseberry Topping, is surrounded by a beautiful patchwork of moorland and clusters of coniferous firs and pines. The trail starts 200 metres from the door of the King’s Head Inn in Newton-Under-Roseberry, and guests can opt for one of their ‘Walk-Inn’ breaks which include an excellent package of laminated walks (to keep), a packed lunch, free pint and a boot-cleaning service, starting from £150 with a shared double room, dinner and breakfast. Dogs are welcome. It’s definitely worth it for those beguiling 360-degree views of Teesside.
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Lake Country House Hotel & Spa
Llangammarch Wells, Powys, Wales
9 Telegraph expert ratingThe manor is described as having the kind of calm only found in the back of beyond – quiet enough to hear trees rustle and the distant hoot of an owl. Brisk walks lead around the lake and the banks of the River Irfon, or up into woods and sheep-dotted fields. It’s half-an-hours’ drive to the Brecons’ highest peaks, including Pen Y Fan, while the Cambrian Mountains ripple north. The nearest village is Builth Wells, about eight miles away. The hotel provides handy maps with suggested local walks in the Elan Valley and around Llyn Brianne reservoir.
( telegraph )