Country Hotels Worth a Tumble in the Woods

October 08, 2018 12.35 PM

s oranges, yellows and auburns ignite the autumnal foliage of the English countryside, there are no worthier months than October and November to trade in a few days from the city. Every November 5th marks Bonfire night (aka Guy Fawkes night) where toffee and red wine are consumed in equal quantities around questionably large bonfires and homemade firework displays lit off by inebriated blokes. A posher set, however, find sanctuary at an array of countryside hotels where fall foodies feast on wild mushrooms, chestnuts, squash and blackberries whipped up in Michelin Star dining rooms and fire-lit pubs. Modern-day manors like Lime Wood in Hampshire, Pig Hotels in Devon and Babington House in Somerset lure a canvas-clad caravan of hipsters on the Friday express trains out of London for boozy, bourgie retreats with friends. 

An older, more-posh set retreat to more formal country hotels like Clivedan House recently christened by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, during her royal wedding. Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons just outside Oxford with its Raymond Blanc eatery and Lympstone Manor in Devon both offer a sophisticated formality that are more far more stylish than their rivals. Recently, we took a closer look at Heckfield Place(pictured) that has attracted a fair bit of attention over its numerous opening dates and 5-year delay that alas yielded the first reception bell of a guest checking this past May and has since become the quiet lover of London’s most posh fashion-set. 

The 19th century manor home to Charles Shaw-Lefevre, a Whig politician, Heckfield Place is set on 400 forested acres in Hampshire among one of the more picturesque landscapes of ornamental lakes, manor house and Victorian arboretum. Its formal exterior and outcropping of more modern north wing and courtyards yields a more sophisticated interior with imposing entrance hall lined in flagstone with 30-foot staircase rising from one side. The lobby perks with a younger, fashionable crowd with chatty waiters decked in tweed and d├ęcor reminiscent of something dreamed up by Soho-favored designer Martin Brudnizki. Three distinct eateries include the farmstead Marle restaurant, open-flamed Hearth, and dining room directed by chef Skye Gyngell. Afterward, Moon Bar perks with rowdier types til 1am before retiring to the stunning Long Room overlooking the estate's lakes and grounds under a Georgian vaulted ceiling flickering above the perfect in-room bonfire.

Written by:

Thom Porte
Editorial Review Author


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