Heart-warming prices

A group of country house hotels is offering Downton Abbey-style short breaks from around £70 per person, as rival chains slash rates during February.

Douglas Waddell, operations director at Handpicked Hotels, says: “The marketplace is highly competitive, because people have become so value conscious.”

With 17 hotels in period buildings across the UK from the New Forest to Edinburgh, Handpicked Hotels’ breaks include Champagne and canapés, a three-course dinner and traditional breakfast, all from around £145 per night. Under-12s stay free if they share their parents’ rooms.

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Leading the charge for budget hotels this week is the Travelodge Tennertastic sale, with 600,000 rooms offered for £10 per night for stays between April 1 and August 31. The offer covers 66 cities with 15 Grade II-listed buildings among the hotels. Other hotel groups are still focusing on imminent short breaks in February and March.

At Mercure Spa hotels in Shrewsbury, Coventry, Manchester and Blackburn, double rooms from £52.50 per night, for stays until February 26, include access to heated indoor pools, with pampering treatments as optional extras.

At 72 three-and four-star hotels across the UK, Mercure offers savings of up to 40 per cent on standard prices, for customers who book online by February 25. Best Western, which has 278 hotels across Britain, has trimmed rates by up to 50 per cent on stays until March 31. Rooms at Best Western Mytton Fold Hotel, outside Blackburn, start at £38.75 per night, with impressive Lancashire scenery, long walks, and an 18-hole golf course all on the doorstep.

Meanwhile, budget chain Days Inn is including more than half its 38 hotels in a winter sale of rooms from £29 per night. One of them is at Strensham, near historic Tewkesbury, where half-timbered Tudor buildings still create one of the best medieval townscapes in England. Another is at Warwick South, on the doorstep of Stratford-on-Avon.

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Days Inn hotels are also well situated to explore historic centres like Chester, Durham and Winchester.

And, not wanting to be left out, the Ramada chain, also part of the Wyndham Hotel Group, has a winter offer of B&B stays from £99 per room per night in locations including Bury St Edmunds and St Albans. The Coast & Country chain promises 10 per cent off all breaks until March 31.

Three nights’ dinner, B&B at Charlecote Pheasant Hotel, near Stratford-on-Avon, starts at £116, with four nights from £184.

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