You’ve opened the presents, eaten the turkey, hosted the in-laws – what now? A break away during the down-time between Christmas and New Year could be just what’s called for. We’ve got some lovely local suggestions of hotels, inns and boltholes where you can relax and let someone else do all the hard work.

Great British Life: Rooms are full of character at Chilston ParkRooms are full of character at Chilston Park

Chilston Park, Lenham

Surrounded by parkland and with a façade worthy of a period drama, grade 1 listed Chilston Park dates from the 15th century, was modified in the 18th century and today boast 53 luxuriously updated, characterful bedrooms for discerning guests. Once home to the nation’s political movers and shakers, it’s perfect for anyone who enjoys history mixed with all mod cons, and with plenty of quiet spaces in which to tuck yourself away. Should you have the energy to head outside, staff will be able to direct you to lovely walks in the area, after which you’ll perhaps feel you’ve gone some way towards earning a sumptuous tea in the elegant surroundings of the Marble Lounge…

Great British Life: The Dog at WinghamThe Dog at Wingham

The Dog at Wingham, Canterbury

This beautiful old Kentish pub, nestled in the heart of the countryside, is the perfect way to ensure the festive break leaves you ‘R&R’ and not ‘S&S’ (stressed and strung out). Award-winning food, service and rooms await travellers and their pets. Spend the day strolling in scenic countryside and round off the evening with an exceptional three-course à la carte meal in the restaurant, which features on the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list. Replenish your energy with a restful sleep in one of eight luxury rooms. You’d be remiss to check out before sampling the scrumptious breakfast. Dinner, B&B for 2 from £200,

Great British Life: Ferry HouseFerry House

The Ferry House, Harty

Are you looking for the perfect respite to the hectic Christmas build up? Secreted away beside the Swale estuary, set between two wetland bird reserves is award-winning country retreat, The Ferry House. This waterside hideaway blends rustic luxury with 16th century country character. Discover 11 boutique, ensuite rooms, including dog friendly options, statement four poster beds and even a stunning, freestanding copper bath. Here you can really revel in the most wonderful time of the year, with beautiful winter walks marvelling at the many birds of prey, festive fireside dining in the award-winning restaurant and luxurious spa treatments from the tranquil Treatment Rooms.

Great British Life: Enjoy the spa - including the indoor pool - at Brandshatch PlaceEnjoy the spa - including the indoor pool - at Brandshatch Place

Brandshatch Place, Fawkham

Think Brands Hatch and most of us might think ‘race-track’. Formula One seems a world away in this historic bolthole - originally built as a country home for the Duke of Norfolk - though, where everything shifts down a gear when it comes to pace of life. It’s not just its old-world charm that make it the ideal spot to escape to after Christmas, there’s the lure of its luxury spa, too. Unwind and work off the Christmas pudding in the indoor swimming pool, then relax with a spell in the sauna. Needs some fresh air? For those keen to venture beyond the hotel’s doors, there are 12 acres of parkland for you to explore.

Great British Life: Boys Hall: lovely without, lovely within Credit Mark Anthony FoxBoys Hall: lovely without, lovely within Credit Mark Anthony Fox

Boys Hall, Ashford

Who would have thought this gorgeous retreat, tucked away and surrounded by acres of garden, would lie so close to the hustle and bustle of Ashford, but here it is – and what a year it’s had! Crowned as the National Geographic Traveller UK’s Retreat of the Year (see our We Are the Champions feature on page xxx), Kristie and Brad Lomas’s labour of love sees 17th-century Boys Hall vividly brought back to life, with opens fires, hearty, locally-sourced food washed down with Kentish wine and ales, plus bedrooms full of romance and history; think four-poster beds and roll-top baths, once-hidden stashes of gold coins, smuggler’s tunnels – it’s all here! The perfect place to run away to, the only problem might be, will you ever want to leave? Closed December 25-27 December, then open until January 1, closed Jan 2, then open from Jan 3 as usual. Rooms from £180 with breakfast

Great British Life: A room with a view at The Marine Hotel near Whitstable Credit: Waterham Photographic StudiosA room with a view at The Marine Hotel near Whitstable Credit: Waterham Photographic Studios

Marine Hotel

Blow away the cobwebs at the Grade II listed, elegantly refurbished Marine Hotel, just outside Whitstable. Located on the brow of Tankerton Slopes, it offers uninterrupted views over the grassy banks rolling down to the pebbled beach – so you can either head out for a work (pooches are welcome, too – with a limited number of dog-friendly rooms available), or watch the sea from the warmth of the hotel as you sit beside the roaring fire. If you fancy a change from turkey (and you probably will) tuck into a menu that mixes traditional favourites with lighter bites, and with an emphasis, unsurprisingly, on local seafood. Rooms from £150 with a sea view.

Great British Life: You might want to close the window at this time of year, but it's good to know the sea's so close at No 42, MargateYou might want to close the window at this time of year, but it's good to know the sea's so close at No 42, Margate

No 42, Margate

Margate out of season has its own special appeal – explore Turner Contemporary away from the crowds, have the Shell Grotto to yourself, potter round all those vintage shops – you might even feel brave enough to go for a dip in the Walpole Bay tidal pool…Alternatively snuggle up and enjoy the sea views at No 42 Guesthouse, which opened last summer and has now firmly found its groove. If you’ve got space for more food after all that Christmas feasting, the menu at the hotel’s restaurant, Pearly Cow, with as its name suggests its mix of oysters and steak and more, should ensure you don’t go hungry. Then you can build up an appetite again with a walk along the beach….Rooms from £216 for a two-night stay;

Great British Life: Where better to Snuggle up than in The Snug at The Pig at Bridge?Where better to Snuggle up than in The Snug at The Pig at Bridge?

The Pig at Bridge

With The Pig’s opening at Groombridge Place near Tunbridge Wells hotly anticipated for 2025, devotees of the bijoux boutique chain and its rock-star-chic accommodation can hot foot it to East Kent, where the Pig at Bridge is a paeon to period features, with large fireplaces, secret stairways, panelled rooms and endless nooks and crannies in which to lose yourself. Stay in Bridge Place itself or one of the gorgeously converted hop-pickers’ huts, where you’ll have a wood-burning stove all to yourself. Venture into the dining room for the best in garden-to-plate Kent food, pull on your wellies and head off for a walk, or pay extra and indulge in a relaxing massage or beauty treatment, offered in-house. Rooms start from £200 per night, with breakfast from £15.95 and main courses at dinner from £22.


Look after yourselves - self-catering boltholes


Great British Life: Look! They've still got the decorations up AT Perry Farm! Credit NShepherdphotography.comLook! They've still got the decorations up AT Perry Farm! Credit

Bloom Stays treats

If you’ve missed out on Christmas with the wider family, a local rental at Twixtmas could offer the chance you need to celebrate together. At time of writing, Bloom Stays still has availability at some of its properties. The Old Post Office in Dargate, for instance, which sleeps up to 14, dates from the 16th century and combines period charm with a contemporary feel. Guests can make the most of both shared and private spaces, plus there’s a hot tub if you’re prepared to brave the elements ( it’ll be wonderful once you’re in it). In the village, a great pub, The Dove, offers an ideal alternative to home cooking. Or how about Perry Farm at Wingham, just outside Canterbury, complete with open fire, board games and a pool table? Sleeps 14 – and they might even still have the Christmas decorations up for you!

Great British Life: Cosy accommodation at Spitfire Barn Credit Wendy HughesCosy accommodation at Spitfire Barn Credit Wendy Hughes

Spitfire Barn and Shepherd Huts, West Hougham

Escape the Christmas hubbub with a tranquil rural stay in one of three holiday lets at Orchard House. Stay in the charming, converted Spitfire Barn, ideal for a small family seeking a countryside adventure, or one of two idyllic Shepherd Huts, perfect for couples hoping for a romantic retreat. Pets are more than welcome too! Press pause and relax soaking up the stunning pastoral views, while warming your feet by the woodburning stove. The real festive miracle, however, is that each home comes with a private hot tub meaning you can while away a cosy winter’s eve below the stars. There’s no better way to bring loved ones together this festive season.