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Sopwell House, St Albans

Muddy says: This country house hotel is just 26 miles from London but offers the perfect get-away-from-it-all retreat, with its secluded suites and brand new super-luxe private members’ spa.

Sopwell House St Albans is conveniently located within easy reach of London while also feeling a million miles away. And, while it might be fancy it’s also family run, meaning you’re pretty much guaranteed a warm warm welcome.

The hotel looks quite contemporary at first glance but the property actually dates back to the 17th century and was formerly home to Lord Mountbatten, and apparently Prince Phillip’s parents got engaged in the gardens here! Well it is a pretty romantic setting… oh and on that note, they throw a pretty good wedding bash here, too.

The hotel sits within 12 acres of countryside and has 128 rooms, including 16 uniquely designed and privately gated mews suites, which are separate from the main house and include features like secluded terraces and cedar wood spa baths for utter countryside luxury.

Foodwise, there are two restaurants on site – one more formal for special occasions and the other a relaxed brasserie – as well as the Conservatory Bar and Cocktail Lounge.

And if it’s relaxation you’re after, you’re in luck thanks to the recent addition of the UK’s first private members’ spa, Cottonmills, and my does it look swish with its state-of-the-art fitness facilities, plethora of pools, saunas and steam rooms and signature treatment list.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Herts & Beds