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Staycations: A UK retreat without the high price tag

28 March 2013
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Going on a staycation might just be the best way to escape, relax and rejuvenate for a few days – without the expense of airports and long distance travel to boot. Research conducted by holiday lettings agency reveals a family of four could save up to 81 per cent this year, by holidaying at home instead of heading overseas. Country homes in the heart of London, boutique boltholes by the sea, grand rural retreats for a group of friends, we've picked out a few top options for a staycation, or, make it a nearcation, for an easy and wonderful weekend getaway to remember...

Cannizaro HouseFrom the moment you pull into the winding driveway of Wimbledon’s Cannizaro House, you are transported to an age of grandeur. The Grade II listed building has the charm of an elegant country home, yet lies within easy reach of London. Having recently undergone a complete renovation, this English country home boasting a 300 year history offers the utmost in boutique hotel luxury. The 46 newly refurbished rooms, many of which come complete with delightful four-poster-beds, offer breath-taking views of 34 acres of sprawling grounds. The hotel boasts not one but two AA Rosette awards, so the dinner is worth the trip alone. Cannizaro House’s restaurant serves seasonal British organic cuisine in an elegant dining room replete with deeply plush arm chairs. The new brasserie restaurant ‘the Orangerie,’ an al-fresco conservatory with floor to ceiling windows, offers the very best in Mediterranean cuisine. Rooms start from £195 including VAT and breakfast at  

London Syon Park Hotel Home to the Duke of Northumberland for over 400 years, Waldorf Astoria has transformed the property into a wonderful modern setting, perfect for a spot of relaxation. The chic, luxury bedrooms feature chandeliers, king-size beds and marble baths ideal for a relaxing soak, as well as breath-taking views of the hotel's 200 acres. From the minute you enter, the Kallima Spa feels like a veritable temple of tranquillity. Everything from the dark lighting, the scented candles and soothing music ensure you are transported to another, more calming space. The surprisingly large indoor pool is also delightful, as are the ‘stars’ which light up the ceiling above the warm, lapping water, and the variety of massages on offer. Rooms available from £153 per person per night at

The AthenaeumKnown as a 'small hotel with a big personality' the intimate, five-star Athenaeum Hotel feels like the best of bustling London life. Situated opposite Buckingham Palace and just down the road from national museums and galleries, you will find yourself in the heart of swanky Mayfair. So it’s no wonder that past the past guestlist includes the likes of Steven Spielberg, Warren Beatty, and Harrison Ford. Elizabeth Taylor even moved in for a while. Have your cake and eat it with a sumptuous Afternoon Tea, named by the Tea Guild as the best in London. Enjoy a glass of champagne, dainty and delicately-cut sandwiches followed by a tower of treats - warm scones and crumpets accompanied by fresh raspberry jam, dense cream and a homemade and sumptuous lemon curd. Make sure you leave room, because the tea is rounded off by the delectable cake trolley, featuring delicacies such as chocolate-dipped strawberries, champagne flavoured jelly and deep chocolate mousses. Approximate starting rate: £250 per night (includes complimentary wifi and complimentary mini bar) at

The Coach House, the Cotswolds Sleeping up to twelve, this stunning holiday home is perfect for big groups or families looking for a country escape. Situated on the western border of the beautiful Royal Forest of Dean, you will have easy access to the natural beauty and outdoor leisure facilities on offer at one of England's few remaining ancient forests, sprawling across 110 square kilometres of woodland.The rural retreat boasts six bedrooms and offers home comforts with an aga and log fire. A fantastic garden offers complete privacy, with a gravelled terrace and stone-built barbecue making the perfect setting for whiling away the afternoon with some outdoors fun. Enjoy the sound of trickling water nearby, from the Mork Brook, a delightful stream descending by a series of waterfalls to the River Wye. Prices start at about £380 per night at

Drakes boutique hotel, BrightonThis unique, luxury boutique hotel merges orientalism with a double fronted Georgian townhouse, with a splash of Indochine French colonialism and a touch of decadence. Boasting 20 bespoke bedrooms with superb sea views, king-size beds and a free-standing bath, the indulgence doesn't stop there. The boutique's multi award-winning restaurant is the hotel's crown jewel, and there's a swanky cocktail bar to head to afterwards... The price tag is very reasonable, starting from £95 per night.

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