The London Getaway: The Angel, Abergavenny

Three hours from the capital, one of Wales' best kept secrets awaits

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Let's face it: London is a busted flush. Over. Kaput. Riven with inequality, trembling on antiquated rail lines, ruled by charlatans and swirling with air so toxic, it's a wonder any of us will reach 60. It's time to get out for good.

Or so it goes: every few months or so, in the mind of any sane resident of the capital. To live in London is to dream of escaping it. But of course, we can't: our lives are here, our jobs, our flats, our theatres and our 24 hour international delis. It's too much to give up. The best we can hope for is that most wonderful of things: a weekend away in the country.

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Readers, there are many options for this time-honoured tradition. But we put it to you we have found perhaps the best within a 3 hour radius of the big smoke, a hotel with quality of food and service you'd expect in Chelsea but nestled instead in some of our island's most beautiful countryside: The Angel Hotel, in Abergavenny.

Abergavenny is a market town in Wales, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, not far south from Hay-on-Wye, where perhaps you've visited before to drink Merlot and watch literary types pontificate in a large tent. It has the fresh air you're yearning for: tons of it, and all the natural beauty the British countryside can muster. Think of the Brecon Beacons as a quieter and less showy Lake District.

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But back to the hotel. The Angel has been snaffling up awards for fun in the past three years, and it only takes a few minutes inside to understand why. The hotel has pulled off that rarest of feats: combining the cosy, laid-back nature of a local pub with first-rate food and service. The best, in other words, of both the world you wish to escape and the one you wish to briefly inhabit.

The Oak Room, its main restaurant [pictured], boasts an award-winning wine list and kind of simple, self-assured British cooking you wish more tourist town hotels would go for, rather than aiming high as though they have a point to prove (you don't need to be in a city to get fancy-schmancy!) and falling short. Roast partridge with stuffed cabbage, glazed onion and confit potato, for example, is perfect and exactly what you want from a trip to the country.

The rooms are equally tasteful and understated, as well as generously sized. A reasonably priced Deluxe Room, for example, will afford you 325 square feed to kick your wellies off and a sofa to collapse on. Neither stuffy and old-fashioned nor clumsily modern, the decors hits that tranquil sweet spot most good hotels do.

The Angel's greatest charm though is its bar, the Foxhunter, where old world wood and open fires meet local ales and ciders for the aforementioned great local pub feel (it's not a feel, really: that's simply what it is, a local pub).

The ability to slip between genuine luxury and an authentic slice of local life is The Angel's great strength, and one it plays to smartly. They also serve the best vegan breakfast we've ever tasted. Really: who needs London for anything, these days?

angelabergavenny.com