We have navigated our compasses north, south and west of London to discover some of England's most desirable rural weekend retreats. Leave behind the hustle and bustle of Kings Road for the peace and tranquility of Gloucestershire's rural idyll Kingham, and its acclaimed Daylesford Organic Farm, swap the wine bars of Westbourne Grove for the vineyards of West Sussex at Nutbourne Vineyards or head north to one of England's oldest coaching inns, The George, Stamford in Lincolnshire. And while it is always a good idea to pack your Hunters, country faring jeans and all things Joules and Boden, be sure to dress up for the country, and not let your style credentials slip however in the middle of the sticks you may appear to be...
This is prime A-list turf, where you will most likely bump into Liz Hurley, Jeremy Clarkson or David Cameron – all of whom have homes in this gorgeous corner of the Cotswolds. And Daylesford Organic Farm and its Haybarn Spa a mecca for weekending Londoners reveling in fresh organic produce, style soaked interior goodies for the home, garden and wardrobe and a zen-tastic yoga studio and spa. There are also Daylesford holiday cottages just 50 yards from the farm shop, so you needn't budge an inch if utter relaxation is on the agenda. The nearby Wild Rabbit in Kingham (also owned by the Daylesford super-brand) serves seriously scrummy food in one of the most achingly cool settings outside of London, and with its attached rooms, is another option as base camp for discovering the surrounding countryside, villages and pubs.
© The Wild Rabbit
What to wear: Dress as you would in London al fresco, as this is real people watching paradise. Think seventies inspired mellow luxe, with billowing maxi skirts finished with edgy uptown accessories and a free spirited attitude. Throw over a denim jacket once the sun goes down.
Clockwise from top left: Denim jacket: Proenza Schouler, blouse: Chloé, sunglasses: Cutler and Gross, skirt: Etro, shoes: Gianvito Rossi, bag: Chloé
(Kingham is approximately 1.5 hours on the train from London Paddington or 1 hour 45 minutes driving)
Read More: Travel Guide: The Cotswolds
If you are after a dose of country life with a whole heap of heritage thrown in, then a weekend staying at The George in Stamford should more than suffice. This once coaching inn has been beautifully maintained, not a glitzy contemporary makeover in site and it retains its original features and rich history without being stuffy and frumpy. The pretty stone town of Stamford (the backdrop for the film Pride & Prejudice) is just as idyllic, with unique boutiques, plenty of real ale serving pubs and endless country walks, all on the doorstep.
The George, Stamford, Lincolnshire © The George
What to wear: A feminine floral tea dress is a great country staple and can be dressed up or down. Gladiator sandals are a versatile option, or for added sophistication, go for a pair of chic wedges. Wear with neutral accessories and a carry all tote for the epitome of pared down rural chic.
Clockwise from top left. Hat: Sensi Studio, dress: Zimmermann, bag. Elizabeth and James, wedges: Aquazurra.
(Stamford can be reached by a 45-minute train journey from London Kings Cross to Peterborough, followed by a short taxi or 2 hours driving)
Read More: Where to Live: Country Retreats
Nutbourne Vineyards, West Sussex
You needn't pack you passports for a wine tasting weekend away, as believe it or not, less than a two hour drive from London lays England's very own 'vinopolis' in the heart of West Sussex. The Gladwin brothers, the culinary duo behind The Shed and Rabbit restaurants in London, have recently opened up their award winning family vineyard, Nutbourne Vineyards near Pulborough, to the public for tastings. And with the South Downs just a stone throw away and the period-drama style hotel, Amberley Castle a 15-minute taxi stagger down the road, wine tasting in England could become quite the way to while away a summer's weekend.
What to wear: As with most country exploits, shorts are rural prerequisite. But make sure you go for elegantly tailored and knee length to keep your look sophisticated. Team with a structured blouse or crisp shirt and a trilby for an air of country cool. Go for chunky flat sandals for both wearability and style and a military-esque coat for a utilitarian finish in the cooler weather.
Clockwise from top left. Navy front-tie shirt: equipment, scarf: Saint Laurent, hat: Lanvin, military jacket: Burberry Brit, khaki shorts: Bottega Veneta, sandals: Givenchy
(Nutbourne can be reached by a 1 hour 20 minute train journey from London Victoria to Pulborough, followed by a short taxi or is less than 2 hours driving)
Read More: What to pack: Hunting, Shooting and Fishing
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