The UK is home to some of the best hiking trails in the world, so if you’re thinking about a staycation this year, why not consider a walking holiday? From rolling hills and rugged mountains to wild moors and gleaming lakes, the UK isn’t just beautiful, it’s also incredibly varied – and walking is the best way to appreciate its many charms and contrasts.

Plus, our lovely land is steeped in history and mythology, and many trails take you right past some of the most iconic sites and scenic spots in the country. There’s so much to see and do, in fact, that it can be tricky deciding where to go; are you drawn to the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands, the idyllic beauty of the Cotswolds, or the majestic splendour of the Lake District?

To get you inspired, we’ve rounded up a selection of beautiful bookable properties that could make the perfect base for your next UK adventure – from Victorian manors and Georgian mansions to converted granaries and farmhouses.

Many of these country homes are located in the UK’s best-loved national parks, making them ideal places to stay when you want to explore picture-perfect villages, famous attractions, and well-trodden trails.

With that said, here are 10 characterful country houses for a UK getaway.

1. Nythfa House, Brecon Beacons, Wales

Nythfa House, Brecon Beacons, Wales

The Brecon Beacons National Park boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK, and if you’re searching for soul-stirring views and wide open spaces, you’re heading to the right place. Hiking trails in the Brecon Beacons take you along high mountain plateaus, past thundering waterfalls, through verdant valleys, and over rolling heathland – so there’s plenty of variety.

Located in the market town of Brecon is Nythfa House, built in 1867 for a solicitor and his family. And while it retains a sense of history, the rooms are comfortable and contemporary. There are cosy communal spaces as well as a bar, but because the house is close to many of the park’s hotspots, from the Black Mountains to Pen y Fan, you’ll probably want to spend most of your time outdoors!

2. Thorns Hall, Yorkshire Dales, England

Thorns Hall, Yorkshire Dales, England

The Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria are undeniably two of the most beautiful parts of England. The former is home to rolling green fields, heather-adorned hills, and flower-filled meadows, while the latter boasts dramatic moorland, gentle lowlands, coastal plains and, of course, the famous lakes. Plus, nestled right between these two glorious regions is the famous market town of Sedbergh.

Sedbergh is known for its cobbled streets and artisan shops, and it’s just a hop and skip from Thorns Hall, a grand Grade II-listed manor house. With a 500-year-old history, Thorns Hall contains many original features, from beamed ceilings and open fireplaces to stone flag flooring. It’s the perfect place to cosy up after exploring the Yorkshire Dales or travelling further afield to the Cumbrian lakes.

3. Alltshellach, Glen Coe, Scottish Highlands

Alltshellach, Glen Coe, Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands have a wonderfully raw and wild appeal, and the gleaming lochs, imposing mountains, picturesque villages, and rugged moorlands never fail to awe and inspire. There are all kinds of stunning walking trails to take advantage of here, from challenging treks that take you to the top of towering peaks, to more gentle walks through glacial valleys and around pristine lochs.

Built in the early 1870s, Alltshellach is set on the stunning shores of Loch Leven, near the village of Glen Coe. With 38 guest rooms, three lounges, beautiful wooded grounds, and a bar well-stocked with superb local whiskies, it’s a great base for exploring this romantic region. You can hike around Glen Coe, visit Fort William, climb Ben Nevis, and warm up with a whisky in one of the cosy lounges.

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4. Harrington House, Cotswolds, England

Harrington House, Cotswolds, England

The Cotswolds is famous all around the world for its unique rustic beauty. The historic villages and market towns are packed with character, and while all have their own appeal, few can compete with Gloucestershire’s Bourton-on-the-Water. Regularly voted one of the prettiest villages in England, its riverside location and elegant stone bridges have given it the nickname the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’.

Built in 1662, and located in the heart of Bourton-on-the-Water, the Grade-II listed Harrington House features a mix of Tudor, Palladian, and Georgian styles. With 27 guest rooms, a bar, two lounges, and a grand dining room, you’ll have everything you need – but you’re also within walking distance of the Cotswolds’ best museums, as well as beautiful trails that weave through the pristine countryside.

5. Larpool Hall, North York Moors, England

Larpool Hall, North York Moors, England

The wild, windswept North York Moors have something to offer everyone. Home to quiet valleys, heather-covered moors, and charming villages, the landscape is criss-crossed with hiking trails. The coast is especially enchanting, and while there are many quaint fishing towns to explore, none are prettier than Whitby, which is famous for its gothic abbey, Dracula connections…and fish and chips!

Located on the edge of the town, in 14 acres of lovely grounds, is Larpool Hall, a grand Grade II-listed house that overlooks the Esk Valley and the North Sea. Built in the 1870s, the house is teeming with period grandeur, from its mahogany staircase and open-arched porch to its cosy lounge and bar. From here, the North York Moors are right on your doorstep and the coast is just a short walk away.

6. Monk Coniston, Lake District, England

Monk Coniston, Lake District, England

The Lake District is a remarkable part of the country, and countless writers, artists, and poets have been inspired by its mirror-like lakes, dramatic fells, and tranquil green valleys. Coniston Water is one of the most impressive lakes and was famously the inspiration for Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons. Circled by ancient woodland, it’s a fabulous place to spend the day.

Overlooking Coniston Water is Monk Coniston, a Grade II-listed house that’s packed with character. Built in the 1770s, it’s the ideal base for exploring the area, and some of the best attractions, from Grasmere to the Langdales and the Old Man of Coniston, are within walking distance. The house also has a bar, walled garden, arboretum, putting green and croquet lawn, so there’s lots to do!

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7. Abingworth Hall, South Downs, England

Abingworth Hall, South Downs, England

The South Downs may be the UK’s newest national park, but it’s been famous for its beauty, history, and tranquillity for centuries. The landscape of ancient woodlands, undulating hills, towering cliffs and pretty villages is ideal for hiking, and the coastal views are sensational. The village of Thakeham is one of the best places to explore this lovely region, and it’s here you’ll find Abingworth Hall.

The history of Abingworth Hall can be traced back some 800 years, although following a fire, the house was rebuilt in the early 1900s. Today there are 27 guest rooms and three stylish lounges, one of which opens onto a chic conservatory and bar. There’s also a ballroom if you fancy a spin, plus eight acres of gorgeous gardens and an indoor heated pool – perfect for a warm, post-hike swim!

8. Dolserau Hall, Snowdonia, Wales

Dolserau Hall, Snowdonia, Wales

Snowdonia is arguably home to the most dramatically beautiful scenery in all of Wales. Home to lush green valleys, rugged mountains, cascading waterfalls, and shimmering lakes, the landscape here is like nowhere else in the UK. Millions of visitors flock here every year with plans of climbing Mount Snowdon, hiking through the national park, or relaxing in the many charming, historic villages.

At the southern end of Snowdonia is Dolserau Hall, a characterful Victorian manor house that’s just a brisk walk from the market town Dolgellau. Located by quiet woods and craggy uplands, the house is ideally situated to follow the Mawddach Trail or trek up the foothills of Cader Idris. And after a day of hiking, you’ll return to 23 guest rooms, a comfy lounge, a bright dining room, and a well-stocked bar.

9. Newfield Hall, Yorkshire Dales, England

Newfield Hall, Yorkshire Dales, England

To many, the Yorkshire Dales are the epitome of serene rural bliss, but there’s a unique sense of wilderness about this region too. Packed with quaint villages, historic attractions, and dramatic landscapes to hike through, there’s plenty to see and do here, and one of the best places to base yourself is Malham, a handsome village located at the southern end of the national park.

Many of the Dales’ most impressive sites are within easy reach of Malham, from Malham Tarn and Gordale Scar to Malham Cove and the three peaks. Just outside Malham is Newfield Hall, a baronial mansion that sits on two acres of grounds. With 46 guest rooms, two lounges, a bar, a bright dining room, and an artist’s studio and games room, it’s the perfect place to relax after a long day of hiking!

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10. Freshwater Bay House, Isle of Wight

Freshwater Bay House, Isle of Wight

Take a trip off the mainland and head to Queen Victoria’s favourite holiday destination, the Isle of Wight. Located off the coast of Portsmouth, the island is known for its mild climate and beautiful 25-mile coast that’s lined with dramatic white cliffs, sweeping dunes, and idyllic beaches. To the south is the village of Freshwater, which is a stone’s throw from many of the island’s top attractions.

Freshwater Bay House was built in 1823, and located between its namesake bay and village, it’s ideally situated for beach walks – and there are 43 guest rooms, three lounges, a bar, restaurants, gorgeous gardens, and an outdoor heated pool. Plus, the imposing Tennyson Down is just a short walk away, as are the rugged Stag and Mermaid rocks and the multi-coloured sands of Alum Bay.

Final thoughts…

If you’re thinking about a staycation, and enjoy keeping active on your holidays by doing plenty of walking, you might enjoy a stay in one of these 10 characterful country houses. Located in some of the UK’s best-loved and most beautiful national parks, they make idyllic bases for relaxation and adventure – without the hassle of getting on a plane.

For more ideas for your next staycation, check out our list of six UK road trips.

Which country house appeals to you most? Have you visited any of these UK destinations before? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.