The sought-after slow, quiet pace of life can often feel like an unattainable ideal for most city dwellers. When life’s pressures and lack of time creep upon us, an escape to a faraway destination feels impossible, yet a restorative staycation a little more doable. Today, we round up our top homestays around an hour’s drive from London, yet worlds away from city life where deadlines and tube delays are swapped for fresh, countryside air and afternoon naps.

Utter Extravagance

Our large, luxury houses are an excellent option for those opting for out-of-the-ordinary homes radiating elegance. Balthazar, a modern manor house, affords the most magnificent of gatherings, equipped with a bowling alley, oodles of garden to wander, an indoor pool and a booming sound-proof cinema room. For summer gatherings, Cornucopia is a scene out of a dream, with an open-air dining area, a large outdoor swimming pool and a tennis court. For afternoons of long, al fresco lunches within the South Downs National Park, Ariabelle offers a French-style mansion dating back to the 1850s.

Country Charm

Enchanting cottages embellished with exposed oak beams, fairytale thatch and rambling gardens; our charming country hideaways just outside of London grant an escape for one seeking quintessential English charm, straight out of a storybook. Unwind in Surrey’s manor house Guinevere, set within 38-acres of private stately grounds, or if a historical break is more up your alley, Hummingbird House was once home to a famous Edwardian music hall starlet. For a touch of modernity, Ever After pairs traditional bricks and beams with contemporary flourishes of glass and steel, while Rhapsody flaunts eccentric style with topsy-turvy architecture.

Fairytale Hideaway

For a true sense of solitude, Little Bear offers a one-of-a-kind cabin in the woods, just outside of London in the heart of the Weald Downlands in West Sussex. Granting the perfect escape for a solo-traveller or romantic getaway for just the two of you, you’ll feel like the only one in the world as you cosy into this bluebell-swathed oasis. The city really will feel like worlds away as you sink into the eco hot tub with only the sounds of birdsong around.