No need to wrangle an invite from the Darcys – you’ll be welcomed like the belle of the ball at boutique hotel Homewood. Just outside of Bath, this Georgian estate has gone scandalously modern, with a clutch of individually designed rooms, a mod-British restaurant and a spa of its own (in case the 20-minute journey to the Roman baths is too taxing). You’ll feel like the lord or lady of the manor; corsets optional.
Get this when you book through us:
A half-bottle of champagne and a selection of luxury chocolates waiting in your room
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £161.88, including tax at 5 per cent.
Rates usually include Continental and full English breakfasts.
The main part of Homewood is Georgian – with some Victorian additions – but the foundations of the original building date all the way to the 13th century, when it reportedly belonged to the nearby Carthusian Priory.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, Smeg coffee machine and kettle, and home-made biscuits.
Our favourite rooms
The spacious Junior Suite is in the original part of the house and has an impressive roll-top bath tub. Book a Hot Tub Suite for its private, alfresco tub. When in Bath…
The outdoor pool sits by the spa and is heated to an ahhhh-inducing 28°C.
Book in for holistic Ila treatments: glow-giving facials, detoxifying body scrubs, bespoke massages and relaxing reflexology sessions. There are two treatment rooms, a sauna, a steam room and a hydrotherapy pool that looks out over the heated outdoor pool and gardens.
Bring your most fetching swimwear and outdoor gear suitable for genteel countryside rambles.
Common areas (the bar, restaurant and meeting rooms) are on the ground floor, along with some of the guest rooms – but they’re not specifically adapted for wheelchair users.
Pets are welcome in most rooms (except Classic Doubles) for £25 a night. A dog bed, food bowls and a box full of treats will be waiting for your canine companion. See more pet-friendly hotels in Bath.
All ages are welcome. Highchairs are available in the restaurant and there are 10 acres of gardens with croquet and other outdoor games available. Extra beds can be added to suites and local babysitters can be arranged on request.
Ask for a table at the back of the restaurant next to the window with a view of the garden.
The restaurant is comfortingly informal, so don your cosiest jumpers and most dashing country-walk-wear.
The locally loved restaurant is decorated with a charming hodgepodge of mismatched tables, chairs and lighting, and original artwork adds an extra splash of colour. Chef Jamie Forman is the creative mind behind the seasonal, mod-British menus, sourcing his ingredients from trusted local suppliers. Settle in for oven-baked scallops in garlic butter, twice-baked cheese soufflé, grilled aubergine topped with spiced hazelnut crumb and pumpkin gnocchi in a goat’s-cheese sauce. Breakfast – always homely and relaxed – is served in the restaurant or out on the terrace. There’s a Continental spread of cereals, granola, fruits, pastries, cheeses, cured meats and fresh juices, along with a menu of cooked-to-order morning favourites.
Full of cosy corners – and with one antique-clock-lined wall – the bar is well stocked with English wines, local ales and creative cocktails inspired by the rolling countryside. In winter, pull up an armchair by the fireplace and sip on local beers and ciders. In warmer months, go for a refreshing English Strawberry Fizz or a zingy Rhubarb and Ginger.
Homewood is hidden at the end of a long private drive in the Bath countryside.
Bristol International Airport is an hour’s drive from the hotel and Heathrow’s just under two hours away by car.
Great Western Rail services pull into Bath Spa station, 20 minutes’ drive from the hotel. Hotel transfers for up to four people can be arranged for £12 each way.
Wheeling in from the city? There’s free on-site parking at Homewood.
Worth getting out of bed for
Indulge in afternoon tea (there’s a vegan option, too), curl up with a classic novel by one of the many fireplaces, explore the vast grounds by bicycle or swim leisurely laps in the heated outdoor pool.
Take in the views from Prior Park Landscape Garden– home to the world-famous (and much-filmed) Palladian Bridge. Perched above Bath, it’s the place for panoramic views over the surrounding countryside; there’s also a secret landscaped garden and a scene-stealing summerhouse glade. Check out the impressive collection at Holburne Museum for a hit of art and culture; the permanent display boasts bronze figurines, porcelain and portraits by some of the greatest artists of the 18th century. Temporary exhibits have included Matisse’s line drawings and some Rembrandt sketches. Prefer wearable art? Get the skinny on corsets through the ages, see how fashion has changed since Jane’s time and catch highlights from the latest designers at Bath’s Fashion Museum.
When in Rome… or, a former settlement of Roman Britain, it’d be a shame to miss the star attraction. The current iteration of the Roman Baths – a beautifully preserved thermae in the city centre – sit on the site of a temple constructed circa 70AD. Take a tour to learn more about the first spa-goers, then make your way to the New Royal Bath on the rooftop of Thermae Bath Spa for your own soak session.
Head to Wild Café for all-day brunch – fruit-laden pancake stacks, full English breakfasts and egg-topped bubble and squeak. Stop by The Kingsmead Kitchen for toasted ciabatta sandwiches, mezze plates and seasonal pasta dishes. For dinner out on the town, book a table at Chez Dominique. Start with dukkah-sprinkled scallops or Dorset crab risotto before moving on to mains of aged sirloin steak, grilled hake or savoury celeriac tart. Remember to save room for dessert – blackberry crème brûlée, French cheeses or locally made ice-cream – and your sweet tooth will thank you.
Appropriately moody bar The Dark Horse is full of cosy nooks and low-lit alcoves. The locally focused drinks menu is chock full of English wines, liqueurs and spirits; all of the beers are from the South West, and fruit and herbs are sourced (or foraged) from near Bath.
Being mesmerised by the outfits worn during the Regency Period and more modern-day attire such as Nike Airs at Bath’s Fashion Museum, followed by a visit to the historic city’s glorious Roman Baths, isn't the worst way to kill time and keep dry with Storm Dennis looming over, although, despite our best efforts, the final score is: Storm Dennis, one; umbrella, zero.
Despite the incessant rain and our soggy clothes, the charming honey-hued city weekend-break spot manages to sweep us off our feet. But it's not until we’ve travelled 20 minutes by taxi through the countryside and pulled up at boutique hotel Homewood, a golden-stoned Georgian manor, that we finally feel at peace (and warm). At the entrance we're welcomed by an ornamental poodle – a sure sign to expect something rather unusual – and are met with more slightly bonkers decor within this sprawling hotel.
Inside, settled by roaring fires, we soon feel at home – and dry. At reception Mr Smith and I secretly fist-bump when we're told that we've been upgraded to the Junior Suite, which draws our attention momentarily away from the 20 or so antique clocks hanging behind the front desk. Although, like Big Ben currently, none work. Later, when we've witnessed the two walls of blue plates hanging in the dining room and around 12 very different chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, we interrogate one of Homewood's charming staff about this bold, mismatched décor. We discover that the owner is a bit of a collector. ‘Or a hoarder.’ Mr Smith quips.
Fortunately our suite is slightly more sedate and more like an apartment, complete with a hallway, lounge area, kitchen, and a very generously sized bathroom with a giant freestanding bath tub. The suite’s kitted out with all the amenities you might expect from a grand hotel: there's a bottle of champagne, plate of truffles, sleek coffee machine, 100 Acres bath products, huge TV, and the most snooze-inducing king-size bed Although figuring out how to work the lighting is like decoding an escape room.
With Storm Dennis raging in the background, the freestanding tub (which even manages to easily fit in all 6ft 6in of the BFG that is Mr Smith) and that free bottle of champagne beckons. Before we know it double bubbles mean that we spend an awfully long time soaking. Even for our record. We guess that we must have spent an hour and a half in the water, but when the boyfriend checks his watch the time makes even us chatterboxes scream with surprise. We've somehow mustered close to three hours languishing in the bath. Wrinkly fingers indeed. I wonder if we can contact The Guinness Book of Records…
In the morning, after a solid night of sleep in a bed so enormous that I pretty much lose Mr Smith, I pull back the velvet curtains to find the sun shing – and admire the sweeping countryside views. We can also see Homewood's spa, an enticement that makes me grab my swimsuit quicker than you can say abracadabra. After a substantial breakfast that would have impressed those strong and sturdy Romans, we don our fluffy robes and venture spa-wards where we rotate merrily between the sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy room, hot tub and pool. It's a tough life. Even Mr Smith, a rather active character, appears quite happy to be steamed and soaked, and to lounge by the poolside reading his book. Always drawn to water, my heart leaps at the chance to take a solo swim.
Post-spa we decide we should don our boots and immerse ourselves in the lush green surroundings. We pass by the nearby community store, filled with such a healthy and beautiful variety of things that I consider moving to the area just so I can get my hands on the goods there. Then, we venture further to Freshford, a seriously pretty village with postcard-ready looks. Despite the persistent rain, we hike through the fields until we find ourselves boots ankle deep in water: the after effects of Storm Dennis. After some slight drama, we decide that it's time to stop in at the Inn at Freshford, a seriously cosy find. With the heavens opening yet again, post-walk we decide there's nothing to do but to flop down by the fireplace and order a cream tea (and, with crumbs on our faces, we're certainly nodding in approval at the hotel's vegan option).
Although there are a few small hiccups – there's building work going on next door that starts at around 8.30am every morning – Homewood restores us and delivers on providing a haven in the countryside, albeit with a touch of eccentricity.