If you’re not basking on a European beach this summer, the UK has plenty of hotels with outdoor pools where you can make the most of sunny days.
Location, location, location. This contemporary resort’s infinity pool nudges up to Loch Fyne, Scotland’s longest sea loch, on the wild west coast. It’s heated with a biomass generator until late November, meaning you can swim on cool autumn days too. If you don’t have your own yacht (there is a marina), choose from the apartments, studios and hotel-style Lodge rooms with a chic Scandi feel – some with balconies and loch views.
Doubles from £149 B&B, portavadie.com
Askham Hall, Cumbria
On the edge of the Lake District, the family-run Lowtherestate grows produce for its two pubs with rooms and Askham Hall, a stately pad with parapets-turned-fine-dining restaurant with rooms. Still with the air of a grand family home smattered with antiques and frayed rugs, rooms are a mix of four-posters and florals and look out over the terraced gardens to the fells beyond. There is an organic “No Dig” kitchen garden and four acres of formal gardens, sweeping lawns, perfectly clipped topiary, the showpiece, Grade II listed terraces with their frothy herbaceous borders – and a small but elegant outdoor pool.
Doubles from £180 B&B, askhamhall.co.uk
The Runnymede, Surrey
Messing about in boats is just one of the water-based activities on offer at The Runnymede on the banks of the River Thames. The hotel has a fleet of boats tied up on its private mooring; can navigate down stream or let the guests hotel’s skipper sail them to nearby Windsor with an on-board picnic. There is paddleboarding on the river, the whirlpool by the weir sits on the hotel’s private jetty, and there is a spectacular tree-fringed outdoor swimming pool where you can relax on the loungers after a few laps.
Doubles from £190 B&B, runnymedehotel.com
Burleigh Court, Gloucestershire
The glamorous Art Deco plunge pool at Burleigh Court, designed in 1920 by Sir Clough Williams Ellis, was in need of some TLC when the new owners took over the 18-bedroom, Grade II listed manor looking out over the Golden Valley near Stroud in 2019 The listed pool, cradled by the three-acre grounds, has now been restored to its original glory and is open from July to September.
Doubles from £139 B&B, burleighcourtcotswolds.co.uk
Eastwell Manor, Kent
Champneys bought this grand neo-Elizabethan manor surrounded by 62 acres of manicured parkland not far from Ashford in 2017. No surprise, then, that the spa is a big draw, with its range of pampering treatments, sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy suite and lounger-lined indoor pool. Outside, there’s golf, tennis, croquet, pétanque, falconry and nature trails to meander– and an elegant 20m outdoor heated pool for laps or lessons.
Doubles from £145, champneys.com
Fritton Lake, Norfolk
A two-mile lake might be at the heart of this visionary 1,000-acre rewilding project, wilderness retreat and holiday club on the Somerleyton Estate, but if you prefer your swimming less wild, there is also a 22m lounger-lined outdoor heated pool. Land-based activities include walking and 4×4 safaris, foraging and dining in the wild among the red and fallow deer, water buffalo, pigs and ponies. On the lake, there is paddle-boarding, rowing and canoeing and a floating sauna. Clubhouse doubles from £180 B&B, frittonlake.co.uk
Piglet’s Boutique B&B, Essex
This adults-only boutique B&B created from an old tithe barn – and once a piggery – in the heart of the Essex countryside has a natural swimming pool with solid green credentials (no chemicals, just plant-based science). Plants growing in the regeneration zone create the friendly bacteria to keep the “gin-clear” water clean. Piglets has just five rooms, a gin library and honesty bar, pizza oven (for eating in), croquet lawn, games room, sauna and country walks on the doorstep. Doubles from £170 B&B, piglets.co.uk
The Nici, Dorset
Take one faded seaside hotel and shake things up with a dash of South Beach glamour. This summer, Bournemouth seafront’s Savoy was reborn as The Nici, a hip hotel with a self-proclaimed Miami vibe (think palm trees, flamingos and botanical prints). Add a cool kidney-shaped pool, curtain-clad cabanas for a spot of daybed lounging and a poolside cocktail bar. The seven-mile sweep of sand is just a flip-flop away, or stay put and Zen out with yoga by the pool (each Sunday). There is a series of outdoor cinema screenings this summer while next year will bring the opening of a 30m infinity rooftop pool and bar.
Doubles from £175 B&B, nicihotels.com
Grand Hotel Eastbourne, East Sussex
An ornate, wedding cake of a hotel, The Grand in Eastbourne (on record as one of the sunniest places in Britain) is known locally as “the white palace”. On the seafront, this majestic Victorian seaside property (Sir Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin once took the sea air here) has 152 understatedly elegant rooms – many with seaviews and balconies – and the kind of swoony outdoor pool which conjures up a bygone era of mule -teetering, kaftan-clad film stars with huge Jackie O sunglasses.
Doubles from £225 B&B, grandeastbourne.com
The Retreat at Elcot Park, Berkshire
Pegged as a country house hotel reimagined, this 55-room, Grade II listed retreat opened in May this year. Surrounded by tranquil gardens overlooking the lush Kennet Valley on the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there is also a spa featuring a hydrotherapy pool, Finnish sauna, aroma essence steam room and salt flotation chamber, and a heavenly outdoor infinity pool compete with designer cabanas and pool bar where you can while away the day.
Doubles from £150 B&B, retreatelcotpark.com
The Rectory, Wiltshire
In the heart of the Cotswolds, this honey-hued Grade II listed Georgian gem offers the quintessential English idyll – complete with its own pub, The Potting Shed, just over the road for gastropub grub and pints of ale. The 18 rooms (and a cottage in the grounds) have been decked out in a soft, soothing color palette with romantic roll-top tubs. One feature that’s not quite so quintessential is the open-air heated swimming pool – open from April to October in the tranquil gardens.
Doubles from £150, therectoryhotel.com
Porth Tocyn Abersoch, Gwynedd
In the same family for four generations, this charming country house hotel on the Llŷn Peninsula, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is just walking boot-steps from the Wales Coast Path. The 17 comfortable rooms are decorated with antiques and many have views over Cardigan Bay and Snowdonia. There is a relaxed old-school coastal vibe, with books to thumb, a table-tennis room –and a secluded heated swimming pool in the grounds.
Doubles from £185 B&B, porthtocynhotel.co.uk
Homewood Hotel, Somerset
Inside the soothing, sandy-toned stone exteriors of this Georgian pad, things are decidedly less beige. This eclectically designed country house hotel, surrounded by 20 acres of grounds outside Bath, has 31 vibrant rooms, smattered with original artworks. The spa has an indoor hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub, and a heated outdoor swimming pool open all year round with spectacular views across the Avon Valley.
Doubles from £195 B&B, homewoodbath.co.uk
Glebe House, Devon
An English agritourism with food at its heart (from the farmhouse breakfasts to kitchen suppers and farm-to-table restaurant), this large, whitewashed Georgian house is set in sweeping gardens with views down the Coly Valley. In the grounds are a tennis court, kitchen gardens and lovely outdoor pool. Set in lush rolling Devon countryside just three miles from the sea, there are six bright, bold bedrooms to choose from, with canopy beds, original fireplaces and freestanding tubs.
Doubles from £139 B&B, glebehousedevon.co.uk
Polurrian on the Lizard, Cornwall
This spectacular clifftop hotel on the Lizard Peninsula has jaw-dropping views, a secluded beach and open-air swimming pool. Built in 1890, this old railway hotel – now less old-world glamor and more contemporary coastal living – once hosted Sir Winston Churchill, was an officers’ mess during the Second World War and, in 1953, Hollywood stars Clark Gable and Gene Tierney stayed here while filming Never Let Me Go.
Doubles from £119 B&B, polurrianhotel.com
Hell Bay Hotel, Isles of Scilly
This New England-inspired clapboard hideaway on the tiny island of Bryher, 30 miles off the Cornish coast, is the most westerly hotel in England. In a secluded cove, with just 25 rooms, balconies and terraces face on to the Atlantic Ocean or over the garden. There is a beach just a pebble’s throw away, a treatment shed, Jacuzzi, sauna and sheltered outdoor heated pool.
Doubles from £190 B&B, hellbay.co.uk