These Luxury U.K. Hotels Are Offering Quintessentially British Experiences for the Ultimate Escape Across the Pond

Rocco Forte hotels in London and Edinburgh are offering a slate of quintessentially British experiences.

A landscape view showing the castle in Edinburgh next to the Balmoral hotel

Courtesy of Rocco Forte Hotels

If there was ever a time to go to the United Kingdom, it’s now. According to Google Flights, London is the top destination Americans are searching for their summer vacations this year, and with so much going on across the pond in 2023, it’s easy to see why. The island nation made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland is Travel + Leisure’s 2023 Destination of the Year, and it’s set to celebrate King Charles III’s coronation and host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest this May. In the midst of all this excitement, one luxury hotel brand is welcoming guests with a slate of quintessentially British experiences to help travelers make the most of their summer (and beyond).

Interior front hall room at Brown's London

Courtesy of Rocco Forte Hotels

Rocco Forte is inviting visitors to experience classic British destinations with new experiences at The Balmoral in Edinburgh and Brown’s Hotel in London. Both properties are housed in stunning historic buildings at the center of the cities’ best neighborhoods — Brown’s Hotel was actually the first hotel to open in London in 1837 — imbued with a sense of place that’s carried through the guest room decor, on-site bars and restaurants, and unique experiences that offer a true slice of the U.K.

Interior suite with firplace and couch and the exterior of Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh

Elizabeth Rhodes/Travel + Leisure

The Balmoral, a grand railroad hotel that dates back more than 100 years, is an iconic Edinburgh landmark, known for its stately clock tower. With a classic afternoon tea service, a Scotch bar offering 500-plus varieties of whisky (and an exclusive whisky club in partnership with The Macallan), and rooms with views of Edinburgh Castle, it’s the ideal home base for a trip to the Scottish capital. But the hotel’s newest experiences invite guests to go deeper into some of the most beloved Scottish traditions. The Balmoral has partnered with tartan designer Araminta Campbell to develop a bespoke plaid just for the hotel, and they offer guests the opportunity to visit the Araminta Campbell atelier to learn more about how tartans are designed and woven.

The tartan experience at The Balmoral Edinburgh

Courtesy of Rocco Forte Hotels

Once you’ve seen the iconic tartans Scotland is so well-known for, you can uncover the scents of Scotland with a Scent Butler experience at the hotel. Led by Imogen Russon-Taylor, founder of Scotland’s first fragrance house, Kingdom Scotland, the master class takes guests through a scent journey, exploring the brand’s perfumes and learning about how the country’s landscapes and heritage inspired their creation.  

Martinis and cheese at Brown's London bar and the iconic Big Ben clock tower in London

Elizabeth Rhodes/Travel + Leisure

Just a four-hour train ride south in London, Brown’s Hotel welcomes guests to the gallery and designer shop-filled neighborhood of Mayfair. Just a short distance from some of London’s most famous attractions, including Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus, Brown’s is a luxe oasis in the heart of the city, thanks to its timeless charm and recently refurbished public areas. With the glamorous Donovan Bar (named for photographer Terence Donovan), sophisticated Charlie’s restaurant, and an on-site spa offering Irene Forte treatments, the hotel makes for a lovely Mayfair escape.

And you needn't go far to discover the best of Mayfair. Tours hosted by Maeve Doyle provide fascinating insight into the London art scene, including visits to some of the city’s top galleries, and the new English Garden Afternoon Tea, in partnership with luxury British jewelry brand Boodles, will honor the king’s coronation in the wood-paneled Drawing Room. As for the ultimate Mayfair experience, guests can book a stay in the new Sir Paul Smith Suite, created by the designer himself in partnership with Olga Polizzi.

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