These luxury countryside destinations are bringing the best of active holidays closer to home

By Freddy Clode | 08 Jan 2020 | Sport, Travel

There's no need to look further than the UK and Ireland for these five-star sporting hotels

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IN THE COUNTRY

When we think of luxury travel, too often we look to far-flung destinations for our adventures. While jungle trails and mountain hikes are milestones for every traveller, sometimes there’s value in looking a little closer to home, where the vast British and Irish countryside has far more to offer than one might first assume. Tempus explores the very best country destinations for your favourite holiday activities...

SHOOTING | GIDLEIGH PARK 

This award-winning luxury manor in Dartmoor enjoys a stunning location on the upper reach of the River Teign, on the very edge of Dartmoor National Park. A Tudor-style country house set within 107 acres of grounds, Gidleigh Park offers peace and tranquillity in each of its 24 guestrooms – as well as boasting serious culinary credentials. The local shooting on offer is, quite simply, some of the best in the world, with access to Mairstow, Castle Hill and Great Fulford Estates for guests. The hotel also provides secure gun storage and on-site kennels as well as dog-friendly rooms. Finish your day of shooting with a feast, thanks to Gidleigh Park’s private dining facilities, which can cater to groups of up to 26 and features one of the UK’s best wine cellars – with more than 13,000 bottles stored on site. The cellar tour (complete with tasting) is a must-do to round off a successful day’s shoot. » 

gidleigh.co.uk

HORSE RIDING AND FISHING | THE EUROPE HOTEL & RESORT

Located in Killarney, Ireland, The Europe’s unique setting overlooking 26,000 acres of National Parkland, lakes and mountains offers unbeatable relaxation. In addition to the natural playground on its doorstep, the hotel offers an unrivalled array of activities and amenities, including horseriding. The Europe Hotel & Resort is famous for its Haflinger Horses, a very gentle Austrian breed that is ideal for children and beginners alike. Guests can enjoy a complimentary guided trek around the grounds of the hotel. Killarney Golf and Fishing Club is adjacent to the hotel, offering two championship golf courses for guests to enjoy, as well as lake activities include fishing, boating and kayaking. After an energetic day in the wilds of Killarney, guests can relax at the 50,000 sq ft ESPA spa, which boasts 17 treatment rooms, a private jacuzzi bath, sauna, steam room and restaurant.

theeurope.com

TENNIS | STOKE PARK 

Occupying a palatial mansion and modern pavilion on a 300 acre estate, this sophisticated hotel is set in the glorious Berkshire countryside, just 27 miles from central London. Stoke Park has 49 bedrooms across the two venues, many furnished with fine art, antiques, en-suite marble bathrooms and open fires. The tennis facilities on offer at Stoke Park are some of the best in the world, with three indoor carpet courts complementing the four floodlit artificial clay courts, and six Wimbledon-specification grass courts that play host to the prestigious ‘Boodles’ tournament. Additional sports amenities include a 27-hole golf course, chic spa and indoor pool. » 

stokepark.com

GOLF | FAIRMONT ST ANDREWS 

Where better for a golfer to holiday than the spiritual home of the sport? Fairmont St Andrews is set on a 520-acre estate with a unique coastal setting. The five-star luxury resort offers a unique and special venue, with clifftop views of the North Sea and the town of St Andrews, Scotland, where golf was first played 600 years ago. The resort’s two championship golf courses – the Kittocks and the Torrance – are voted consistently in the top 20 golf resorts in the world. The Fairmont St Andrews combines five-star elegance with its Scottish heritage, offering sumptuous rooms, state of the art spa facilities, and excellent dining experiences including Italian eatery La Cucina and The St Andrews Bar & Grill, serving the freshest of local seafood. 

fairmont.com 

CYCLING AND WALKING | THE PRIVATE HILL 

The Private Hill, North Yorkshire, is a singular hotel and resort nestled in the North Yorkshire Moors near Malton. The locale has been home to both the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire cycling events, and provides some of the best on- and off-road cycling tracks in Europe – including 550 sq miles of breath-taking heather moorland. The destination’s Geodesic Domes take ‘glamping’ to extraordinary new levels of luxury, and with each furnished with super king-sized beds (or two large twins), a woodburning stove, firepit or BBQ as well as a fully stocked minibar, these domes are ideal for holidaymakers who feel most at home in the countryside. There is, of course, a fabulous cafe and bar with soft seating serving the freshest of locally sourced food – a perfect spot for relaxing after a day of cycling or walking in this most atmospheric of British landscapes. 

theprivatehill.co.uk