Misty skies, crisp auburn leaves, the sound of a flickering flame on a wood fire, mulled cider in hand - there's nothing I love more than the beginning of autumn. The autumn weather makes me think of romantic novels, everyone snuggling together to keep warm around fireplace, kisses in the rain and walking through woodland as the first leaves begin to drop. When the weather gets colder, there's a lot of people that like to abandon ship and take the next flight out of the country, but not me. I love a winter stay-cation in the UK. Pretty castles, old fashioned pubs and acres of wonderful countryside to photograph as the season changes, that is my type of retreat. Over the last week I have scoured the internet and searched far and wide to bring you a few UK hidden gems that will make you not want to head for the nearest plane, but book a train and explore what our beautiful country has to offer this time of year.
If you have a penchant for fifties style dresses and a love for corduroy and flares then Brighton and Hove may whet your vintage shopping appetite. The image above is just one of the many vintage stores Brighton and Hove have to offer. There's Hope & Harlequin on Sydney Street whose vintage finds have graced the likes of Downtown Abbey, the Snoopers Attic at Kensington Gardens - a must go-to for any thrifty shoppers who don't mind sifting through bric-a-brac to find that coveted item, The Lavender Room which is one of the UK's most successful lifestyle boutiques and Flock, a new vintage store opening in November that promises to bring together the stylish and bohemian offerings of a handful of local labels.
If you prefer to head somewhere where you can switch off your phone and hide away for a few days just you and your partner, the Hidden Lodge in the gorgeous Devonshire country may be more suited to you. The Hidden Loge is a beautiful converted barn hidden away amongst the undulating hills and bubbling streams of Yealm Valley. The property boasts thick stone walls, wooden beams, under-floor heating, a wood burning stove to cuddle up next to, a glass staircase and a loft style bedroom with meadow views.
If your idea of a perfect break revolves around sampling the local culinary treats, then the Edinburgh Food Safari at the exquisite Nira Caledonia hotel is not to be missed. Foodie lovers can experience a culinary adventure with Nira Caledonia as they launch their new 'Edinburgh Food Safari' this month. This tantalising taster of local specialities will lead explorers on a gastronomic quest, exploring the vibrant Scottish Capital allowing them to immerse themselves in the city's culture and authenticity. During the safari, explorers will be introduced to six of Edinburgh's local flavour haunts, serving the best in Scottish cuisine.
Finally if you prefer a city break to capital, but you are looking somewhere different that has an historical background and serves exceptional food, check out The Ampersand Hotel in South Kensington. The Ampersand Hotel is a new London experience with individually styled brooms, balconied suites, splashes of contemporary art and a ground floor patisserie serving artisanal coffee and Champagne. Located in the original 19th century vault below the luxurious decor of the hotel, Apero offers a taste of the Mediterranean with a tempting menu of sharing plates of cocktails. The hotel is one of London's original Victorian boutique hotels, having originally opened in 1888.
What would be your perfect winter stay-cation?