Light my fire

Tom Chesshyre fans the flames with his top 10 Bri­tish win­ter bolt­holes

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

Warm in Bath: Royal Cres­cent Ho­tel

THE Mon­tague on the Gar­dens, Blooms­bury, Lon­don: It’s or­nate. It’s over the top. And it has a won­der­ful fire­place in a bright red lounge. Two dec­o­ra­tive blue and red arm­chairs sit on ei­ther side of the fire­place. There are crys­tal chan­de­liers, an­tique side ta­bles and a pair of match­ing oval paint­ings of flow­ers. The lounge is next to a bar that fea­tures an evening pi­anist. The man­age­ment says that stay­ing here is like writ­ing your own part in a Blooms­bury Group novel. More: www.mon­tague­ho­

The Red Lion, Long Comp­ton, War­wick­shire: A pub with a wood-burn­ing fire­place in the bar and plenty of real ales to sam­ple. There are wood beams, flag­stone floors, ex­posed brick walls and lots of nooks and cran­nies to set­tle into with a pint. Rooms are small but stylish and rea­son­ably priced. The restau­rant serves pan-fried red mul­let and Cum­ber­land sausage and mash. Mem­ber of the Cam­paign for Real Ale. More: www.redlion-long­comp­

Westover Hall, Mil­ford-on-Sea, Hamp­shire: This Grade II-listed build­ing on the edge of the New For­est and over­look­ing the Isle of Wight has a big open fire­place in the Nuffield Lounge, which is named af­ter Lord Nuffield, a for­mer owner. The style is eclec­tic, with stone Bud­dhas, an­tique side ta­bles, porce­lain vases and bright art­work. Rooms are lux­u­ri­ously ap­pointed. More: www.west­over­hall­ho­

The Inn at Whitewell, near Clitheroe, Lan­cashire: Ori­en­tal rugs, oil paint­ings, so­fas with vel­vet cov­ers, dark-wood bed frames and open fires are all in the gue­strooms at this inn. Parts of the build­ing date from the 14th cen­tury and there are views of the For­est of Bow­land. The bar also has a fire­place, and serves or­ganic cider and beer. More:­

Kin­naird Ho­tel, Restau­rant & Sport­ing Es­tate, Perthshire, Scot­land: Even the fish­ing hut (bothie) on this 2800ha es­tate has an open fire, mak­ing it a pop­u­lar spot for an af­ter­noon tip­ple among fish­er­men and hunt­ing guests. You will also find work­ing fire­places in nine rooms in the main house of this coun­try ho­tel on the banks of the River Tay in Perthshire. More: www.kin­naird­

Fenton Tower, North Ber­wick, East Loth­ian, Scot­land: James VI of Scot­land took refuge in this 16th-cen­tury for­ti­fied tower in 1591 af­ter flee­ing rebels. Now it can be rented for a min­i­mum of six guests. The cosiest room is the main hall, where there’s a large fire­place with a breast­plate and crossed hal­berds hang­ing above. There are tapestries, flag­stone floors and a cof­fee ta­ble chess­board. More: www.fen­ton­

Royal Cres­cent Ho­tel, Bath: Av­o­cado and crab sand­wiches are on the menu for tea in front of a roar­ing fire in the draw­ing room of the Royal Cres­cent. The room is dec­o­rated in green and pur­ple, and is fur­nished with an­tique chairs. There are gilded mir­rors and old oval por­traits. The Ge­or­gian fire­place has an iron grate, and two ori­en­tal vases rest on its man­tel­piece. More: www.roy­al­cres­

Ar­danai­seig Ho­tel, Ar­gyll, Scot­land: This Scot­tish ba­ro­nial manor, dat­ing from 1834, has a lounge bar with a large open fire and a se­lec­tion of fine Scotch whiskies, per­fect for a rest af­ter a long lochside walk or a ven­ture up the slopes of the Mun­roes. High win­dows open on to the es­tate’s Vic­to­rian gar­dens. More:­danai­

Beck­ett Cot­tage at Comber­mere Abbey, Whitchurch, Shopshire: Pink so­fas in front of a brick fire­place are the fea­ture of the sit­ting room at Beck­ett Cot­tage, one of seven self-ca­ter­ing cot­tages with fires at the 900-year-old Comber­mere Abbey. The build­ing, a for­mer stables, dates from the early 19th cen­tury. It sleeps six in three bed­rooms that have an African theme, with head­boards in the shape of gi­raffes and an­te­lope-horned chan­de­liers. More: www.comber­mere­

Cotswold House Ho­tel, Chip­ping Cam­p­den, Glouces­ter­shire: OK, so it’s not a real fire, but the flick­er­ing flames on the tele­vi­sion in the bath­room of room 15 at Cotswold House Ho­tel have a strangely warm­ing ef­fect. It’s next to a bath­tub with bizarre yel­low spot­lights. The over­all ef­fect is a mix of fu­tur­is­tic and More: www.cotswold­ The Sun­day Times More Bri­tish fire­side favourites and pic­tures: www.theaus­

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