Escape from the ordinary airport hotel experience. Imagine elegant drawing-room terraces, stunning lawns by the river, and beautiful rose gardens. Picture grand Georgian windows, luxurious four poster beds, and freestanding copper baths. Get pampered with gourmet chefs, rare artwork collections, and indulgent treatments. And yes, even polo fields are within reach. Discover a hidden gem within a short distance of London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports – England’s grandest luxury country house hotels. Not just that, you can even stay in a more quirky and unique spot – an ex-convalescence home. Transport yourself to a world of opulence and charm.

Great Fosters Hotel in Egham
Courtesy of Great Fosters Hotel in Egham

1. Great Fosters

The Great Fosters Hotel in Egham is a sixteenth-century mansion that originally lay within the grounds of Windsor Great. It has heritage-listed gardens, parkland, and a protected seventeenth-century barn and sixteenth-century stables, now a conference center. Great Fosters was the London seat of a judge and Solicitor General to King James I. The property passed into the hands of the Foster family in 1639. It was once used as a lunatic asylum. King George III was allegedly treated there. Subsequently, it was owned by Baroness Halkett, Queen Alexandra’s lady-in-waiting. The 1550 U-shaped Elizabethan homestead with stone mullion and transoms with leaded lights became a hotel in 2018.

Coworth Park Hotel
Courtesy of Coworth Park Hotel

2. Coworth Park

Plaza Athenee and Hotel Maurice in Paris, Rome’s Hotel Eden, and Milan’s Principe di Savoia, the 240-acre Cosworth Park also borders Windsor Great Park, northwest of London in Berkshire. It is the only UK hotel to boast its own polo fields. The Guards Polo Club manages the two polo fields, and regular tournaments like the Cartier Queen’s Cup, Labrador Trophy, and Phoenician Cup are hosted throughout the summer. Individual polo lessons start at £460 for three hours. Amenities in addition to the polo field include a Helipad, croquet lawn, stable suites named after Saint Leger winning horses, and the private three-bedroom 1775 Dower House. It has a Michelin-star restaurant overseen by Adam Smith with British classics like salt-aged Yorkshire duck, Kentish lamb, and Dover sole Wellington.

The hotel is part of the Brunei-owned Dorchester Collection, which includes London’s Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, The Beverly Hills Hotels.

Fairmont Windsor Park Egham Hotel
Courtesy of Fairmont Hotel

3. Fairmont Windsor Park

Close to Windsor Castle and the royal retreat and former home of Queen Victoria’s mother, Frogmore House, the newly opened Fairmont Windsor Park hotel, seven miles from Heathrow and an hour from central London, was once called Heath Lodge and was a family home in the nineteenth century. Its 1215 fine dining restaurant commemorates the signing of the medieval Magna Carta, which occurred nearby at Runnymede on the river Thames.

The 200-room, “Jacobean” exterior addition to the Fairmont portfolio has a private lake, an 18-treatment room spa, and a well-being center offering traditional cleansing hammam experiences, Ayurvedic rituals, vitamin infusions, nutritional therapy, acupuncture, and homeopathy as well as whole body cryotherapy. Electric-powered, nitrogen-free Whole-Body Therapy (WBT) uses air to maximize the experience. A systemic anti-inflammatory treatment involving skin exposure to ultra-low temperatures up to -110°C for a brief, controlled time, inciting vasoconstriction and reportedly leading to physical and mental benefits.

Beaverbrook Estate Hotel
Courtesy of Beaverbrook Estate Hotel

4. Beaverbrook Estate

Twenty-two miles from Heathrow and fourteen from Gatwick, the Beaverbrook Estate in the Surry hills at Leatherhead is the former home of newspaper tycoon and great friend of Winston Churchill, Lord Beaverbrook (British-Canadian Max Aitken), who, as war-time Minister of Aircraft Production, trilled the production of Spitfire aircraft which helped win the Battle of Britain. He was behind the idea of the public donating their cookware when aluminum for fighter planes was in short supply.

The late Victorian parkland mansion was originally named Cherkley Court and was bought by Lord Beaverbrook in 1910, who noticed the For Sale sign when passing by with his friend Rudyard Kipling.

He modernized the building with electricity and heating, a swimming pool, and the UK’s first private indoor cinema. It now has a Japanese Grill as well as the Coach House Spa.

Langshott Manor, Alexander Hotel Collection
Courtesy of Langshott Manor, Alexander Hotel Collection

5. Langshott Manor

The oldest property in the Alexander Hotel Collection, Langshott Manor‘s history dates back to 1580. Our Moat Mews has bedrooms and suites named after Henry VIII and his wives. Langshott Manor played host to Richard Evelyn (the brother of the famous diarist, John Evelyn) and his wife during the reign of King Charles II. It was also the home of Lord Montague of Brandon.

Ockenden Manor Hotel
Courtesy of Ockenden Manor Hotel

6. Ockenden Manor

Within fifteen miles of Gatwick, you can pick country houses like Nutfield Priory, Denbies Vineyard Hotel, Gravetye Manor, and Ockenden Manor, another Elizabehan property once owned by an iron magnate as well as the fourth Duke of Marlborough. Ockenden has also been used as a Jewish boys’ school and formerly housed Canadian troops. The hotel restaurant is headed by Executive Chef Stephen Cane, who offers very English dishes like honey roast partridge, roast fillet of beef, warm treacle tart, and a local cheese board of Sussex Cheddar, Camembert, and Pevensey Blue.

Alexander Hotel
Courtesy of Alexander Hotel

7. Alexander Hotel

The Alexander Hotel and Utopia Spa are spectacularly located on an ancient Roman road. The house has connections with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and is the former residence of a Governor of the Bank of England. The mansion was refurbished, restored, and renamed Alexander House Hotel. In 2015 it became Cedar Lodge Suites.

Barnett Hill Hotel
Courtesy of Barnett Hill Hotel

8. Barnett Hill

Thirty minutes from Gatwick, the Barnett Hill, a Queen Anne-style country house dates back to 1905, built as a family home by Frank Cook, the grandson of travel agent Thomas Cook. Many of Barnett Hill’s original features remain, including the greenhouse. It was loaned to the British Red Cross as a convalescent hospital and became a rehabilitation center for civilians injured in bombings. Four years later, it became the Red Cross National Training Center. 

The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court
Courtesy of The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court

9. The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court

Only nine miles from Heathrow, it might not be a country house, but it is across from Hampton Court Palace and has its own orangery. The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court was built by King Charles II in 1665 as an inn to accommodate travelers and palace guests. Now you can eat in the 1665 riverside terrace restaurant (with a Whispering Angel shed bar) and stay in the Catherine Parr or Henry VIII suites, complete with very un-Tudor-like walk-in showers. The Do Not Disturb signs feature a half-naked Henry VIII in the bath. The Mitre also brews beer – Six Wives. The hotel has a jetty, and river excursions are available. Nearby are Bushy Park and Kew Gardens.