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Escape to the country: the top five UK travel destinations of 2015

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There's nothing quite like the snug delight of a weekend in the country. 

You have log fires, hearty roasts and the prospect of a gentle amble by the river or down on the beach - that's if you can tear yourself away from that gripping book you've finally found time to read over a warming glass of Pinot.

As the winter air draws in, our thoughts have turned to next year's breaks. It's just about the right time to start pencilling in a few weekends away and where better to start than the UK?

We have a wealth of attractions to choose from right here on our doorstep (so to speak), from the rugged charms of the Scottish Highlands to the peaceful ambiance of the Somerset Levels.

Rather obligingly, the folks over at UK travel experts holidaycottages.co.uk have put together their top British destinations for 2015, based on their own most popular locations.

We've added in the best places to stay for each hot spot, from boutique hotels to cosy self-catering cottages. Read on and get that mini-break getaway sorted:

1. Appledore, North Devon

Appledore, North Devon

It’s all about the north coast in the South West and the quaint coastal village of Appledore is among the most prestigious locations. The ‘little white fishing village’ nestles beside the picturesque mouth of the River Torridge, offering a delightful mix of traditional fish and chip shops, friendly pubs, crabbing contests and a peaceful base for exploring the rest of North Devon. 

To stay:

Hotel: The Seagate Hotel & Spa, a 17th Century Inn overlooking the Torridge Estuary. 

Cottage: Seascape (sleeps 8), a beautiful whitewash villa with sea views.

2. Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire

Yorkshire Dales

The legacy of the Tour de France is predicted to inspire a rise in Yorkshire holidays over the coming years. The stunning Yorkshire scenery showcased during the race has left the county at the forefront of people’s minds for 2015. The Dales are a fantastic destination for a holiday, where charming houses cluster in picturesque villages and opportunities to engage in outdoor activities abound, including cycling of course.

To stay:

Hotel: Yorebridge House, a gorgeous boutique hotel situated by the river with top notch food and hot tubs.

Cottage: Emley View Cottage (sleeps 4), a charming split-level property with a shared indoor heated swimming pool. 

3. The Somerset Levels, Somerset

The Somerset Levels in Somerset

While tourism in Somerset suffered at the beginning of 2014 due to the floods, 2015 is looking very promising already (bookings in the region on holidaycottages.co.uk are up 314 per cent for the first two months of the year). The peaceful Somerset Levels boast a diverse range of wildlife and an intriguing landscape of heritage, archaeology and, and of course, Glastonbury, home of the UK’s favourite music festival. 

To stay: 

Hotel: The Swan at Wedmore, a bustling village pub with ensuite rooms and a kitchen led by Tom Blake from River Cottage. 

Cottage: Cathedral Retreat (sleeps 4), luxurious accommodation with an on-site fishing lake, tennis court, steam room and sauna.  

4. Gairloch, Scotland

Gairloch, Scotland

2014 has seen the political spotlight swing to Scotland and with additional attention from the release of David Tennant’s latest film What We Did On Our Holiday and American sci-fi series Outlander, it is set to be a top destination for 2015. Gairloch, which features in What We Did On Our Holiday is gearing up to be a hotspot for holidaymakers, with awe-inspiring scenery and a great starting place to explore Wester Ross and the north west Highlands.

To stay: 

Hotel: Myrtle Bank Hotel, located right on the shores of Gairloch, specialises in freshly caught seafood and malt whiskey.

Cottage: Logie Ewe (sleeps 5), a detached timber clad cottage situated amid spectacular mountain and coastal scenery.

5. Pembrokeshire, Wales

Pembrokeshire

While the low profile of Wales among foreign tourists has recently been flagged as a concern by Welsh MPs, it’s certainly not due to a lack of appeal; the country has plenty to rival other UK destinations. Pembrokeshire is tipped to be a popular region for 2015 and with a 186 mile network of coastal trails, a wealth of dog-friendly beaches and the 2015 Tour of Pembrokeshire Cyclo Sportive to look forward to, it’s not hard to see why.

To stay:

Hotel: The Grove, a small, picturesque and luxurious hotel that's home to one of Wales' finest restaurants.

Cottage: Cowslip Cottage (sleeps 8), a spacious 18th century cottage near the popular seaside harbour town of Tenby. 

Check out more beautiful places to stay in the UK with a look at our pick of the top country pubs with rooms

Photos: Rex Features

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