The Priory Hotel – Wareham, Dorset
The setting of this former monastery and Grade II-listed country house hotel, surrounded by four acres of English cottage gardens, on the bank of the River Frome, is sublime. The history of the building, which dates to 809, is evident in each of the 17 charming rooms, many of which have original wooden beams (some have views of the Purbeck Hills, others overlook the gardens or inner courtyard). Choose between staying in the main house or the all-suite Boat House right by the water’s edge, with its vaulted ceilings, antiques and four-poster beds. Start the evening with an aperitif in the Drawing Room, the Cloisters Bar or, in the summer, on the terrace, before sitting down to try head chef Stephan Guinebault’s three-course dinner menu in the Garden Room restaurant (you can also book in for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday). The peaceful gardens are ideal for drinking morning coffee while reading the newspapers or afternoon tea, after a day exploring the Dorset coastline. The hotel is in the market town of Wareham, with gorgeous Studland Bay and Lulworth Cove both a short drive away.
Doubles from £220, room only
+44(0) 1929 551666; theprioryhotel.co.uk
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