Icy blast to replace warm winter weather

Icy blast to replace warm winter weatherPA



The start to 2012 in Britain has been so warm (despite winds causing havoc), that spring flowers have come into early bloom.

But the pleasant temperatures are set to give way to a chilling icy blast that will last until the middle of next week at least.

The Met Office predicts that the mercury will drop from today, with frost seen on Friday, and night time temperature plummeting to -1C, and they warned drivers will need to be extra careful in the "freezing fog".

Forecaster said it was too early to tell if it would snow, but the cold snap would "hang around until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week".

According to the Metro, some rural UK areas could see temps of -6C, while people in the East Midlands and Scotland will feel the freeze at -2C.

Gale-force winds could make a return to Scotland, which has seen two nasty spells of strong blasts cause havoc, including travel chaos, the closure of schools and businesses, and even a plane being hit by a bus shelter at Edinburgh Airport.

The warm spell has seen a host of flowers across the country blooming months early, with daffodils and snowdrops already out in many areas.

Time to escape to one of these cosy getaways?

10 PHOTOS
Cosy UK winter retreats
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Icy blast to replace warm winter weather

Best for: Cosy bedroom fires
Set in 500 acres of stunning parkland near Bath, the 42-room Palladian mansion, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, is the perfect place for a cosy winter weekend getaway. You can explore the estate on bikes, and enjoy escorted rides around the beautiful parkland or enjoy a relaxing stroll. After taking in plenty of fresh country air through the frosty woodland you can then curl up in front of a roaring log fire in the library, which is overflowing with books before filling up on a Michelin-starred restaurant, The Park. The bedrooms have stay-all-day four-poster beds, while the Grand Master Suite even has a gorgeous open fire.
Price: From £345 per room per night (a two-night stay is required over the weekend period), based on two adults sharing a room, and inclusive of use of the spa.Visit lucknampark.co.uk or call 01225 742777.

Best for: Indoor games
Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa is a charming old manor house set on the Sussex coast, just a hop, skip and jump from Climping Beach. There are exclusively trained ‘Games Concierges’ at the hotel to teach guests the lost art of charming traditional games such as Cribbage, Table Skittles, Ludo, Shove Halfpenny, Backgammon and many more.
Price: From £209 B&B per room, per night, including full use of the spa. Visit hshotels.co.uk for more information.

Best for: Outdoor hot tubs
Look no further for the perfect cosy British break. As well as its 20 gorgeous rooms and suites, the hotel's Lake House, about one mile away, sits on its own private lake and features six sumptuous suites, an indoor pool and sauna and large outdoor cedarwood hot tub.  The main hotel also boasts fantastic Garden Suites with private outdoor hot tubs, and both the hotel and Lake House have plush lounge areas with roaring fireplaces to enjoy winter-warming drinks. This is one romantic getaway, as well as a fabulous foodie retreat, surrounded by the beautiful walking trails of the Lake District.
Price: From £195 per night, including dinner, bed and breakfast, based on two sharing. Visit gilpinlodge.co.uk or call 015394 88818.

Best for: Bedroom butler service
Ultra-luxurious resort Cameron House, which sits on the banks of Loch Lomond, is a stunning snuggly winter retreat. They have the obligatory roaring log fires to cosy up in front of, big comfy sofas and beds decorated in modern Scottish fabrics. Their great Scots bar has hundreds of whiskies to sample from and a range of warming winter cocktails like the Rusty Hot Apple Toddy. It also looks out over Loch Lomond, even more beautiful in the snow, and a luxury cruiser is ready and waiting to whisk couples on a Champagne cruise around the loch. For the ultimate in luxury pampering, and an excuse not to leave the bedroom, the Whisky Suites can come with their very own butler service to offer a welcome drink on arrival, unpacking and packing service, clothes pressing, afternoon tea, canapés and Champagne in the evening, running of a bath and management of all activities and in-room meals during the stay.
Price: From £750 on a B&B basis in the signature Whisky Suites with full butler service. From £139 on a B&B basis in a classic room. Visit devere-hotels.co.uk.

Best for: Self-catering
Set in a remote spot in the Black Mountains, Cae Marchog offers amazing views - and a hot tub to enjoy them from. Inside, there's a large open fire, exposed wooden beams and comfy, stylish furniture. The stone house and its neighbouring barn conversion can be booked together to accommodate 10 people in character-laden luxury, or the house could be booked separately to sleep 6. The location is perfect for accessing local mountain bike routes, as well as being just five miles from the Hay-on-Wye, town of books.
Price: From £1405 for a week, sleeping up to 10 people. Visit breconcottages.com.

Best for: Foodie fans
Awarded the Island Hotel of the Year 2010 at the Scottish Hotel Awards, Kinloch Lodge on the Isle of Skye is a perfect winter haven. Winner of three AA Rosettes, a Michelin Red Grape and the only Michelin star on the Scottish Islands, the Kinloch kitchens, started by award-winning cookery writer Claire Macdonald, will ensure you're happily full-to-bursting before flaking in front of a roaring log fire on deep sofas in one of the three drawing rooms. 
Price: From £99 per person for dinner, bed and breakfast. Visit kinloch-lodge.co.uk or call 01471 833333.

Best for: A warming whisky
The award-winning Torridon (Scottish Hotel of the Year 2012), is set in 58 acres of parkland at the end of a magnificent sea loch, a 75-minute drive north of Inverness, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Not only does the sumptuous lounge have a roaring log fire (and fantastic views), but you'll also be welcomed by a large log fire burning in the reception.  The 3AA rosette restaurant serves up superb local Highland produce, and chef Bruno Birkbeck is one of Scotland ’s top chefs. You can go on guided walks, archery, loch kayaking and mountain biking. The reward at the end of the day? The chance to curl up with a choice of one (or more) of the 350 malts in the hotel’s Whisky Bar.
Price: From £110 per room per night. Visit torridon.com.

Best for: Snuggling
Nestled in the medieval town of Malmesbury, The Old Bell, built in 1220, is Grade I listed and said to be one of the oldest in England. Sink into squashy sofas in front of numerous crackling log fires in cosy corners and enjoy afternoon tea. If you manage to drag yourself away from the fire, nearby places to visit include Abbey House Gardens, Highgrove House and Castle Combe.
Price: From £115 for a double room with breakfast. Visit oldbellhotel.co.uk or call 01666 822344.

Best for: Nordic Walking
Rockliffe Hall, a five-star luxury country retreat set within 375 acres in the heart of County Durham, is the ideal setting for a traditional country break - with a Nordic Walking twist. The resort is the first official centre of excellence for Nordic Walking in the country, approved by Nordic Walking UK. After taking in the beautifully landscaped gardens or playing the 18-hole championship golf course, relax with a drink in front of a roaring log fire, enjoy a pamper at the top-notch spa, one of the biggest in the UK, and munch on mouth-watering local cuisine at the Brasserie by Atkinson restaurant, helmed by Kenny Atkinson, a Michelin-starred chef and BBC Great British Menu winner. If we have to...
Price: From £175 per room per night, B&B basis, based on two people sharing a Tiplady Lodge room. Visit rockliffehall.com or call 01325 729999.

Best for: Country pursuits and hot toddies
Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa is a four-star country house hotel overlooking a mountain-rimmed lake in a nature reserve in mid-Wales. Enjoy an afternoon tea or a hot toddy in front of a crackling fire, while taking in the picturesque scene outside. Or head for a country walk (there are 58 miles of forest and moorland paths criss-crossing the estate), go cycling or try clay pigeon shooting. If the great outdoors isn't your thing, head to the Spa & Thermal Suite for a pampering treat - and a wonderful waterside view.
Price: From £211 B&B per room, per night in a Country View Room. Visit lakevyrnwy.com or call 01691 870692.

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