Getting lost in the woods, catching a swell, basking in the sun – sometimes the city just isn’t the place. But we’ve found that by journeying a few hours from London, Paris and New York, you can easily discover new adventures and incredible locations – and there’s space for the whole gang too. We’ve found timber hideaways in the Catskill Mountains, regal châteaux in the Loire Valley, and beachside mansions in the Hamptons. And each home has been handpicked for spending time doing something distinctively different.

Breathing space

These are places where you can swap sidewalks for hiking trails, where you notice the crispness of the air, and find a spring in your step. It’s not far from the city that the pace of life slows, and we think it’s found just the right tempo in these homes. With things like wraparound terraces, swimming pools and farmhouse kitchens, you’ll be brilliantly based to enjoy your new surrounds.

Slate Pond House, Hamptons

H is for Hamptons, and a home on your horizon

Purdy Hollow House, Hudson Valley & Catskills

Valiant views – come rain, come shine

La Garenne Lodge, Valencay

Ascend the storied steps and find new shoes to fill

Hillside House, Hudson Valley & Catskills

Lakeside or mountain-top? Cross that bridge when you come to it

La Garenne Lodge, Valencay

Room for all the gang, and then some

Time together

When you’re travelling en masse, having space to dine, slumber and play are the main criteria. Which is why in these homes you’ll find sprawling gardens – even estates – made for strolling, sitting rooms of the most generous proportions, and grand dining tables fit for feasting. And as we’ve selected these remarkable places especially, you need only concentrate on finding some together time.

Mettacahonts Creek, Hudson Valley & Catskills

Where antlers reign high and hide rugs soften footsteps

Overlook Farmhouse , Hudson Valley & Catskills

Around the fire there’s always a tale to tell

Double Dune House, Hamptons

There's no room for blues between the poolside patio and the sky

Best of both

Whoever said ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too’, clearly hadn’t mastered the art of city getaways – just a few hours’ journey out of some of the world’s finest cities you’ve white sand beaches, rolling countryside and sleepy villages to discover. The city is far away enough to feel like you’re getting away from it all, but always within striking distance – by car, bus or train – should you want for town and country.

Woodland Creek, Hudson Valley & Catskills

See the wood for the trees in this quiet Catskills home