Winnie the Pooh once said, “You can’t sit in your corner of the forest and wait for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best hotels with woodland walks so you can explore windswept woodlands and lovely old-growth forests, including the place that inspired AA Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood itself. These are some of Britain’s best retreats, in locations such as 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 browse).
Even Queen Victoria once said she “never saw a finer or more romantic place” than Inverlochy Castle, an unashamedly country house-style building nestled at the foot of Ben Nevis. The Lundie River walk is a good stretch for the legs, mostly through the trees of Leanachan Forest and a short stretch of river bank. You can take a picnic designed by Albert and Michel Roux on a nature photography tour, by mountain bike or on foot; and when you return, the valet will clean and dry your boots and jacket. The hotel offers many other outdoor activities, including off-road driving, stalking or fishing.
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Situated in the New Forest, there are a number of walks guests can take through the glorious Hampshire countryside, particularly following the stream through the woods which leads to Naish Beach. If you’d rather enjoy the trees from the luxury of your accommodation, make sure you opt for one of Chewton Glen’s renowned treehouses, a unique option (why look at the trees when you can be in them?). They overlook the Jurassic-style forest canopy; such a lovely forest, Captain Marriott wrote his novel Children of the New Forest here in 1847.
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The original of the shabby-chic Pig hotels, revered for its rustic, earthy charm and garden-to-table culinary ethos. The huge enclosed garden is the main feature of the hotel and the restaurant’s daily menu depends on what is available along with the results of the resident collector. It sits in a clearing, just outside Brockenhurst, amongst acres of the New Forest, so a nice choice if you’re looking for a woodland walk. Brockenhurst is popular with walkers and there are many routes that take you through Roydon Woods, Brockenhurst Park, disused railway lines and the Lymington River.
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This vast neo-Gothic country house built in 1820 is in the heart of Ashdown Forest, the inspiration for AA Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood. The hotel is a seven-minute walk from Ashdown Forest Center, a starting point for dozens of walking trails, and a 10-minute drive from Hartfield’s Pooh Sticks Bridge. While there are no bears, you can encounter the forest’s resident alpacas, llamas, and reindeer at Llama Park, a five-minute drive from the hotel. A major attraction is the country club’s 18-hole par three golf course, the last nine holes of which wind through the forest.
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The hotel enjoys a superb location on a woodland estate in the heart of the Langdale Valley, midway between the villages of Elterwater and Chapel Stile. The setting is stunning, surrounded by hills and bordered by the Great Langdale Beck. The buildings are low-rise, built with local slate and blend into the natural surroundings of trees, grassy knolls and streams, but by contrast the interiors have a fresh, metropolitan feel. Not only is the elegant property close to many woodland walks, but there are activities to explore the forest further – GoApe! and Tree Top Treks (large trampoline nets hung between trees) between them.
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This 19th-century Scottish castle is less than an hour from Galloway Forest Park, Britain’s largest forest park. Affectionately nicknamed ‘the plateau of the plains’, it offers a huge variety of routes suitable for all levels. The hotel itself is tucked away in a lovely forest estate with giant redwoods and formal gardens and views across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Arran. The smart and attentive staff can arrange everything from helicopter transfers to hot water bottles. There is an all-weather tennis court, croquet lawn, plus wellies, umbrellas and rain jackets at the front door for exploring the gardens.
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Symonds Yat, named after Robert Symonds, the Sheriff of Herefordshire in the 17th century and ‘yat’ means gate, encompasses endless miles of wilderness. The Inn of the Saracens [sic] it is right on the River Wye which straddles Symonds Yat East and West in a steep, wooded gorge. It’s a great base for exploring the Forest of Dean and its abundance of footpaths, including the 136-mile Wye Valley Walk which takes you through the woodland-cloaked ravine gorge to remote meadows and plateaus. For something a little shorter, try the Monmouth to Ross section.
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Gliffaes rests peacefully in 33 acres of 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 woodland, hedgerows and fields of sheep. In the eastern corner of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the hotel has breathtaking walks right on its doorstep. Mynydd Llangorse, where a circular footpath takes in a loch and sweeping views of rounded heights, is just seven miles away, and it’s 10 minutes from Crickhowell – the pretty village of the Brecons. The gardens themselves are filled with rare and beautiful trees — from frilly Japanese maples to mature oaks — all showcased on the tree walk.
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This immaculate 20-room boutique hotel is set in the middle of the beautiful Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. It’s a region rich in natural beauty and full of adventure, including foraging, sculpture trails, long walks and Puzzlewood, a meandering maze of trails through lovely old-growth woodlands. Legend has it that JRR Tolkien drew inspiration for the legendary forests of Middle-earth from Puzzlewood. This is also a popular location for television series such as Dr Who and films including Star Wars.
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You don’t come to Nanteos for fun, you come for escapism, so the facilities are deliberately low-key and the atmosphere is reminiscent of a slower, more graceful age. The hotel is set in beautiful woodland, along a wooded path in the beautiful Welsh countryside. Days involve muddy country walks in meadows and woodlands, sumptuous afternoon teas in the drawing room, perhaps a tour of the manor house with resident history buff Chris, followed by pre-dinner G&Ts in the library cafe. This harmonious Georgian country manor is a class act – bordering on palatial, actually – with tall sash windows framing the view.
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An award winning country manor house in West Sussex, surrounded by acres of National Trust woodland. In 1884, Gravetye Manor and its thousand acre estate were purchased by the talented gardener William Robinson. His desire to enhance the natural beauty of the gardens and woodland extended to the manor house, and one of the most striking features is the house’s internal wood paneling made from wood from the estate. The hotel provides detailed maps with walking routes ranging 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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Nestled in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, Ox Pasture Hall is a wonderful destination for exploring Dalby dales, moors and forest and overlooks layers of mature and natural countryside. The hotel is also close to the Forge Valley, a hollow in north-east England formed by the rush of glacial meltwater after the last ice age, now graced with layers of deciduous foliage. Popular walks include the Cleveland Way National Trail, a 110-mile stretch that takes you through woodland, moorland and coastline – an ideal choice for dog-walkers.
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North Yorkshire’s Mr-Whippy shaped rock, Roseberry Topping, is surrounded by a beautiful patchwork of moorland and clumps of coniferous spruce and pine. The trail starts 200 yards 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 includes an excellent laminate walk package (to be kept), a lunch at sack, free pint and a boot cleaning service, from £150 with a shared double room, dinner and breakfast. Dogs are welcome. Definitely worth it for those alluring 360 degree views of Teesside.
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The manor is described as having the kind of stillness found only in the back of the afterlife – quiet enough to hear the rustle of trees and the distant hoot of an owl. Brisk walks take you around the lake and banks of the River Irfon, or over woodland and fields dotted with sheep. It’s a half-hour drive to the highest peaks of the Brecons, including Pen Y Fan, while the Cambrian Mountains ripple to the north. The nearest village is Builth Wells, approximately eight miles away. The hotel provides useful maps with suggestions for local walks in the Elan Valley and around Llyn Brianne Reservoir.
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