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12 of the best golf and spa hotels in the UK

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Every golfer knows that the UK is one of the world’s leading destinations for a golfing holiday. Not only are some of the most renowned and respected golf courses on the planet found here in Britain, but the country is also home to some of the finest golf-focused hotels. The best golf hotels aren’t just about tee times and driving ranges, though, and after a day spent on the links at St Andrews or teeing off in the rural parkland of Wiltshire, you don’t want just any old place to lay your clubs — you want a stylish suite, a delicious dinner, maybe even a massage. Some of the finest golfing breaks can be found in Scotland, the country that can claim to have invented, or at least standardised, the game, while the rest of the UK has everything from swish country house hotels with luxurious spas to snug and homey bolt holes with views of tee and sea. These are our suggestions (all with accessible rooms unless otherwise stated) for the best golf and spa hotels in the UK.

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1. The Machrie, Islay

££ | ONE COURSE | Best for an island escape

Classic links golf can be enjoyed on the windswept Hebridean island of Islay, where the Machrie course dates back to 1891 and is an original design by the Scottish golfing legend Willie Russell. Now revamped, the undulating 18-hole course features tees right beside the beach, holes that weave dramatically between the dunes and a near-constant bracing sea breeze, plus there’s the playful six-hole Wee Course, a driving range, short-game area and a golf simulator. At the hotel, bedrooms range from cosy doubles with countryside views to split-level suites with floor-to-ceiling sea and golf course vistas, while the restaurant serves Scottish produce overlooking the 18th green.

2. Golflinks Hotel, Portrush

£ | TWO COURSES (ROYAL PORTRUSH) | Best for an Atlantic vista

Located next to the world-renowned Royal Portrush, the Golflinks Hotel couldn’t be better placed for enjoying its famous Northern Irish championship course, the Dunluce Links. Set to host the Open in 2025, the links challenges golfers with its crumpled fairways and windswept greens, towering sand dunes and seemingly endless natural hazards, while the Atlantic stands alongside throughout, distracting with glorious views — and some invigorating weather conditions. There’s also the Valley course, tucked away a little lower in the landscape, its 18 holes cut between the dunes, while the hotel offers 23 comfy bedrooms, a restaurant with a wood-fired pizza oven and a pub with a roaring fire and Guinness on tap.

3. Celtic Manor Resort, Newport

£ | SPA | THREE COURSES | Best for keeping non-golfers happy

Celtic Manor is one of the UK’s most famous golf resorts for a reason — there is something for everyone here. Golfers can take their pick from three championship courses, including the Twenty Ten Course, the first designed specifically for the Ryder Cup, while non-golfers can settle into the award-winning Forum Spa for a treatment. There are numerous restaurants to choose from too, including the sixth-floor Steak on Six with its wonderful views, and Rafters with its menu of Welsh favourites served in the Twenty Ten Clubhouse.

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4. Gleneagles, Perthshire

£££ | SPA | FOUR COURSES | Best for all-out opulence

Fancy your golf with a side of Michelin-starred cuisine? There’s nowhere better than Gleneagles, where Restaurant Andrew Fairlie serves up indulgent dishes such as home-smoked Scottish lobster. Seeking a championship golf course? There are three. After something shorter? There’s a nine-hole course, as well as two putting areas, a short game area and a driving range. Non-golfers are well catered for here too, with a spa and all manner of country pursuits, including riding, falconry and fishing. Golf breaks don’t come more slick than this.

Read our full review of Gleneagles hotel
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5. Rusacks St Andrews

££ | SEVEN COURSES ( ST ANDREWS LINKS) | Best for playing on hallowed turf

When it comes to golf travel, there’s simply nowhere like St Andrews, the home of golf. The historic Old Course hosted the Open in 2022 for a record 30th time and although there are numerous golf hotels, the pick of the bunch has to be the recently refurbished and extended Rusacks, which overlooks the 18th green of the world-famous Old Course. Rooms are stylish, all warm woods and deep greens, and golfers can take on the course before settling in at the Bridge for afternoon tea and a debrief overlooking the Swilcan Bridge.

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6. East Sussex National, Uckfield

££ | SPA | TWO COURSES | Best for enjoying the English countryside

Home to two mature parkland courses — the 7,154-yard West and the 7,081-yard East — as well as a driving range and golf academy, East Sussex National is a top-class golf resort on the fringes of the South Downs. Many of the bedrooms have golf course views, while the on-site Horsted Health Club & Spa offers a large indoor pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and treatment rooms. The challenging East Course has hosted the European Open on two occasions and rewards golfers unafraid to take on the bolder shots.

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7. Marine North Berwick

£ | SPA | TWO COURSES (NORTH BERWICK GOLF CLUB) | Best for links golf and sea views

The North Berwick Golf Club is home to a glorious links course where the sea is in play on no fewer than six of the 18 holes. Having evolved over a lengthy history (since at least the 1670s), the main course is replete with hazards, including a wall in the middle of a fairway, which makes for a unique round. Numerous deep bunkers and significant humps and hollows make the beautiful setting a true links challenge. Marine North Berwick overlooks the course and offers luxurious rooms with high ceilings and feature windows, as well as the fabulous Spa at Marine Hotel, which has an indoor/outdoor hydropool and a thermal suite.

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8. The Belfry, Warwickshire

££ | SPA | THREE COURSES | Best for following in Ryder Cup footsteps

No golf resort has hosted the Ryder Cup more times than the Belfry, and the Brabazon course here also currently hosts the annual British Masters. Prepare to be challenged if you take on its 7,255 yards, packed with tight fairways and perilous bunkers. Make time for at least one more round, on either the PGA National, which has hosted European Tour events, or the gentler 6,099-yard Derby. The luxury hotel has simple, elegant rooms and an extensive spa with an indoor pool and the Fire & Ice thermal circuit.

9. St Enodoc, Rock

££ | SPA | TWO COURSES (ST ENDOC GOLF CLUB) | Best for a relaxed and beachy golf break

Ranging across the undulating landscape of the Camel Estuary, the two courses at St Enodoc Golf Club in Rock make for a memorable golf break. Tee off at the Church course, set amid towering dunes that make the most of this dramatic natural landscape — and don’t miss the Holywell course for a short and sweet round on this par-63 layout. Bed down at the laidback St Enodoc Hotel, where the chic bedrooms (none accessible) come with estuary views and the Karrek restaurant serves a tasting menu that celebrates the very best of Cornish produce.

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10. Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch

£ | TWO COURSES (ROYAL DORNOCH) | Best for a Highland escape

Few hotels are as well located for early morning golf as the Royal Golf Hotel, with the first tee of Royal Dornoch just a 50-yard stroll from the front door. This is one of Scotland’s leading links courses, in a breathtaking location along the Dornoch Firth and providing a challenging line-up of raised, domed greens, as well as all the ridges, dunes and undulations you’d expect from a links course. The hotel has a country club feel, with many of the bedrooms (none accessible) featuring fairway and sea views, while staff are able to organise activities aplenty, from guided mountain bike rides to paddleboarding.

11. Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort, Wiltshire

££ | SPA | ONE COURSE | Best for a family golf holiday

This boutique-style country house hotel in the heart of Wiltshire is home to one of the southwest’s leading golf courses. The 18-hole PGA parkland course makes full use of the estate’s mature woodland and, despite its spacious fairways, will challenge golfers of all abilities. The hotel is sumptuous, with elegant rooms, afternoon tea in the Library (above) and an extensive glass-fronted spa that makes the most of the garden views. Bring the kids too — Bowood is home to one of the best adventure playgrounds in the country.

12. The Grove, Hertfordshire

£££ | SPA | ONE COURSE | Best for mixed ability groups

Host to the British Masters in 2016, the world-class course at the Grove is an immaculate parkland affair featuring fast, undulating greens and testing bunkers. Open to all, it’s a friendly, inclusive course that doesn’t require a low handicap to enjoy. An attractive, 18th-century manor house is at the heart of the hotel, home to its opulent suites and the glorious lounges that overlook formal gardens — there’s also the spacious Sequoia Spa and an unforgettable walled garden with outdoor pool, tennis courts and even a beach set-up in summer.

thegrove.co.uk

Read our full review of the Grove
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