How crazy that we Londoners are more likely to get on a plane than explore the towns and villages that surround our vast metropolis.

Yet some of the country’s finest houses, most glorious landscapes and most attractive towns and villages lie in wait, literally on the doorstep. Fly in a small plane over the counties that count as ‘Home’ – Kent, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire – and you will see that they are green, rural places of space, beauty and tranquility. Head for the Thames Valley with its picturesque riverside towns and enviable waterfront houses; racing country in Berkshire as well as Windsor Castle and its magnificent Great Park; the rolling majesty of the South Downs; the orchards and coast houses of Kent; the charming Chilterns with their hanging beechwoods in Buckinghamshire; or the beautiful, peaceful Surrey Hills, just there, on the edge town. There are hotels to suit all tastes and pockets, from Cliveden to The Bunk Inn; and they are blissfully close to home.

hotels in the home counties