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Manor House Choices - England (Peg's Picks - A)

Subject to errors, omission, and changes without notice.

ENGLAND TOP PICKS (A)

Manor House Choices - England (Peg's Picks - A) 

weather tennis courts. Tennis coaching is available (charges apply)but advance booking is essential 
A16. LUCKNAM PARK HOTEL & SPA
CHIPPENHAM, Wiltshire, SN14 8AZ
Telephone: (01225) 742777 Fax: (01225) 743536
email reservations@lucknampark.co.uk.

From their Website: Lucknam Park is unspoilt, country house living at its very best. Truly one of England's finest 5 star luxury Country House Hotels - with fine dining featuring local produce in The Park restaurant or a more relaxed meal in The Brasserie, luxurious spa treatments and extensive leisure facilities in our new Spa, and the ability to traverse more than 500 acres via our Equestrian Centre - Lucknam Park is the ideal place to leave everyday life behind. Located in the heart of the English countryside - and just minutes from Bath - Lucknam Park is a proud member of Relais & Chateaux and has been awarded a Michelin Star, AA 5 Red Stars and Visit Britain Gold Award.
Country Estate & Gardens

Lucknam Park is approached by a magnificent mile long avenue of four hundred lime and beech trees planted in 1827. The gardens of the country hotel spread over 5 acres and are set within an impressive estate of 500 acres of listed parkland.

Of all the gardens, the Walled Garden is the oldest dating back to the 1830's. Within its walls lie a very traditional English garden with tall, sculpted Yew hedges and low box hedging framing the herbaceous borders. Dominating the garden is the Dovecote, a listed building dating from the late 18th century.

The Rose Garden was planted in spring 1996. The symmetrical design is based around that of a French courtyard with espalier fruit trees laddering the old converted stable building walls and a small formal pool in its centre.

The herb garden is influenced in design by the Victorian kitchen garden with Yew and Box hedging and planted with a variety of culinary herbs. Lavender is very evident throughout the garden schemes and there is an old, formal circular Lavender garden on the west lawn.

The Arboretum covers a 1.5 acre site within the estate's 500 acres of parkland and has been designed for all seasons. It has been filled with some 600 trees, many of them rare and unusual.

'Voted The UK's Most Delicious Spa' by The Good Spa Guide May 2010

The luxury Spa at Lucknam Park is cocooned within the walled garden of  the hotel near Bath in the UK. The Spa is an exciting fusion of contemporary design with the very finest facilities combined with luxurious and exclusive treatments from Anne Semonin and Carita Paris. Within The Spa complex is The Brasserie, sleek and chic offering all day dining at a time to suit you.  The Spa's luxury facilities include:   20 metre indoor swimming pool, Indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pool, Outdoor salt water plunge pool - (Available for  guests with booked Spa treatments), 9 state-of-the-art treatment rooms including 2 deluxe suites and one double treatment room, Pre-& post-relaxation room with reclining beds, Thermal cabins featuring Japanese Salt, amethyst room, aromatic steam, sauna and tepidarium, Changing rooms with additional sauna and steam room in both male and female changing rooms, Experience showers, Fitness suite with some of the latest state of the art equipment, The Brasserie, stylish and contemporary, offers all day dining and features an open kitchen with wood-fired oven, Hairdressing salon, Spa boutique.

Leisure Activities - In addition to the cocooned and luxurious ambience of The Spa, Lucknam Park also offers other leisure activities both energetic and relaxing on and off the hotel estate.
Within Lucknam Park's 500 acre estate:


  • Walking trails - enjoy the flora and fauna of Lucknam's beautiful parkland and woodland.  Walking trails are flagged and maps are available
  • Bicycles available to borrow for both children and adults. Enjoy the trails and tracks around the estate or go off piste and explore the beautiful Wiltshire countryside
  • 400 metre trim trail - definitely for the energetic!
  • 2 floodlit all weather tennis courts. Tennis coaching is available (charges apply)but advance booking is essential 
  • New all weather 5-a-side football pitch  
  • Croquet on the West lawn
  • Horse Riding - Lucknam's equestrian centre has 35 horses and cater for complete beginners to advanced (charges apply)
  • Gardens - whether you are a gardening enthusiast or just appreciate the beauty of well tended gardens in a stunning setting you will enjoy strolling through our one acre of formal gardens including walled, herb, rose, tower and our fabulous arboretum.

Leisure Activities - In addition to the cocooned and luxurious ambience of The Spa, Lucknam Park also offers other leisure activities both energetic and relaxing on and off the hotel estate.
Within Lucknam Park's 500 acre estate:

  • Walking trails - enjoy the flora and fauna of Lucknam's beautiful parkland and woodland.  Walking trails are flagged and maps are available
  • Bicycles available to borrow for both children and adults. Enjoy the trails and tracks around the estate or go off piste and explore the beautiful Wiltshire countryside
  • 400 metre trim trail - definitely for the energetic!
  • 2 floodlit all weather tennis courts. Tennis coaching is available (charges apply)but advance booking is essential 
  • New all weather 5-a-side football pitch  
  • Croquet on the West lawn
  • Horse Riding - Lucknam's equestrian centre has 35 horses and cater for complete beginners to advanced (charges apply)
  • Gardens - whether you are a gardening enthusiast or just appreciate the beauty of well tended gardens in a stunning setting you will enjoy strolling through our one acre of formal gardens including walled, herb, rose, tower and our fabulous arboretum.
Centre your stay at Lucknam hotel in Wiltshire on all things equine or add some horse riding to a wider itinerary. Children can be happily left with our team to learn more horse skills while you enjoy some precious time on your own!

To book Horse Riding Training near Bath, please call Dawn Cameron Equestrian Centre Manager on 01225 742777 or email equestrian@lucknampark.co.uk

Additional leisure activities can be organised on the estate  including:
  • Clay Pigeon Shooting 
  • Archery
  • Falconry
  • Hot Air Ballooning (subject to weather conditions)
As we use outside suppliers from the Bath area for these leisure activities bookings must be made in advance of your stay.  Golf, Trout Fishing and Go Karting are also available nearby in and around Bath.

To help plan and make the most of your stay at Lucknam Park hotel please ask for further details and costs on any of these leisure activities from our hotel concierge on 01225 742777 or email reservations@lucknampark.co.uk.
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A17.  THE ROYAL CRESCENT HOTEL
16 Royal Crescent, BATH, BA1 2LS           
Telephone:  01225 823333; Fax:  01225 339401

From their Website: A Luxury Accommodation in Bath like no other.  The Royal Crescent represents the ultimate in luxury accommodation in Bath. Each room has been lovingly restored to its original splendour with infinite care, recreating the authentic period details – carpets, furnishings, colour schemes and fabrics are all as they would have been in the eighteenth century.

These include an exceptional collection of paintings from such eighteenth century masters as Reynolds, Gainsborough and the satirical cartoonist Thomas Rowlandson. Throughout the hotel there are also many contemporary portraits of famous people who visited Bath, or lived there – Lord Nelson, Charles Dickens, William Pitt, George III, and the celebrated actress Sarah Siddons.

There are 45 luxury bedrooms in all, arranged throughout the five elegant buildings that have been combined to create this remarkable hotel. Every room has its own unique character, but each has certain items in common. All rooms have luxuriously appointed en suite bathrooms and are graced with flowers. In addition, most enjoy lovely views over the surrounding gardens, lawns and parkland.

Total number of bedrooms  -  45
Classic Double Room          16
Deluxe Double Room          15
Classic Suite                   7
Deluxe Suite                   4
Master Suite                   3

The suites are all named after historic personalities either directly connected to the Royal Crescent or to Bath in its heyday – Ralph Allen, William Beckford, Duke of York, Sir Percy Blakeney, Jane Austen and Sir Thomas Gainsborough, to name but a few.

Each of the bedrooms and suites truly recreates the ambience and indulgence of Bath in its Georgian heyday, but with all the latest creature comforts the discerning guest could wish for.

Who would ever guess that such beautiful gardens exist in the heart of Bath behind the architectural magnificence of the Royal Crescent, a serene venue to meet up with relatives and friends and to pass the time of day; a little corner of paradise. There can be few more agreeable locations in the summer for morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea than in the stunning gardens of The Royal Crescent Hotel.

To wander through the hotel and onto the lawns beneath the trees on a summer’s day or in the evening, to sit at a table, perhaps beneath a parasol, to enjoy whatever refreshments you choose, is a sublime pleasure. The gardens also provide the most perfect setting for the more spectacular social occasion. Certainly, if you’re wanting to create a favourable impression, then this is the place to do it.

Who would ever guess that hidden behind the Royal Crescent lies four further fabulous buildings. The Bath House homes the infamous spa with its very own garden filled with herbs and produce used within the spa itself. The impressive Dower House combines bedrooms and suites with the recently refurbished Dower House Restaurant and Bar. Seven bedrooms and suites are found in The Pavilion, popular for its two suites with their own private conservatories. Finally The Garden Villa is hidden away in seclusion. With only one suite and three bedrooms it lends itself to exclusive use with its own unique garden.

Focusing on the natural elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, The Bath House embraces both Ancient and Modern day spa culture. Set within the beautiful Georgian buildings that make up the Royal Crescent Hotel this little known Gem in the heart of the city is truly a secret to be shared. With an extensive range of therapies using world renowned product ranges we are able to soothe mind, body and spirit.

The contemporary style of The Bath House was created from a converted coach house and stables, opening onto the beautiful gardens; a stunning setting for The Bath House. Enjoy the wonderful relaxation pool heated to 35 degrees centigrade, cool and tepid plunge tubs, sauna and steam Karahafus, fully equipped gymnasium. Treatments range from soothing massages to full aromatherapy facials, and from fruit enzyme wraps to holistic foot and nail treatments. The Bath House is open to non-residents for treatments and for day retreats. Residents of The Royal Crescent Hotel have use of The Bath House spa included in their rate.
Leisure Activities in Bath

It's hard to imagine a more serene atmosphere in which to relax and unwind than that of the Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath. Aside from the simple pleasures of sitting out on the heated patio, reading the newspaper in the Library or strolling the hotel’s secluded gardens, house guests have a number of leisure options available to them.

If the gym is your thing, our air-conditioned facility contains the latest cardio-vascular and resistance equipment, and personal trainers are available upon request.

How about treating yourself with a visit to the The Bath House, our spa, set within the hotel grounds, for total relaxation and rejuvenation.

Venturing a little further afield, house guests may wish to take a private walking tour or a chauffeur-driven tour of Bath and the surrounding countryside. All tours can be tailored to your individual requirements.

For real style, why not enjoy a champagne cruise along the historic Kennet and Avon waterway in the hotel's fine 1923 Thames river launch, the Lady Sophina. An immaculate mahogany and teak craft, she won best restored boat at Henley and is additionally available for private daytime charter.

Lastly, for something very different and highly memorable, there's the opportunity to take a trip in a hot air balloon. Weather permitting, passengers can experience breathtaking views of the City of Bath and surrounding countryside, with take-off during early morning or evening from the nearby Victoria Park.
The History of The Royal Crescent

The Royal Crescent is an architectural masterpiece by any standards. The Royal Crescent Hotel at its heart has to be the finest location of all Bath hotels with its beautiful 'secret' gardens, its fabulous spa, its renowned restaurant and the luxuriously wonderful accommodation.

Begun in 1767 by John Wood the Younger, the crescent took eight years to complete and included some of the grandest houses in Bath. John Wood was utterly determined that his masterpiece should present a prospect of total uniformity and understated gracefulness. His sweeping vision and scrupulous attention to every detail has created a great elliptical curve almost fifty feet high and five hundred feet long that comprises thirty houses of grand proportions.

Such harmony, restraint and elegance, plus the gently sloping sweep of grass that stretches before it, always has the same effect; whether you are seeing the crescent for the very first time, or for the hundredth, it is a sight that never fails to draw a gasp of amazement.

When the famous literary hostess, Mrs Elizabeth Montagu, came to live at No.16 in 1780, she declared that, “The beautiful situation of the crescent cannot be understood by any comparison with anything in any town whatsoever.”

Over two centuries later it is hard to see how any sensible observer could reasonably challenge this bold claim.

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A18.  DANESFIELD HOUSE HOTEL & SPA
Henley Road, MARLOW-ON-THAMES,
Buckinghamshire, SL7 2EY
T +44 1628 891010
F +44 1628 890408

From their Website: Danesfield House Hotel and Spa is an award-winning, luxury country house hotel located between the fashionable boutique shopping towns of Marlow and Henley-on-Thames in beautiful, rural Buckinghamshire.

Our award-winning Aromatherapy Associates Spa provides guests with the ultimate escape from the stresses of everyday life. With its ozone-cleansed pool and extensive treatment list, the Danesfield Spa joins a small and select list of prestigious locations worldwide offering these exclusive treatments -  including The Mandarin Oriental, The Spa at the Savoy, The Dorchester, the Four Seasons Hotel in New York and Necker Island.

Danesfield House Hotel and Spa is a destination for world-class cuisine, home to the acclaimed Michelin Star restaurant, Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House - placed 12th best in the UK in the Good Food Guide 2012 -  and the more relaxed Orangery with its stunning views out over 65 acres of beautifully manicured gardens. 
    Hotel Chef of the Year, Great Britain 2011, awarded by The Hotel Cateys
    Condé Nast Award for Most Excellent Hotel Venue UK 2010
    Exclusive setting unrivalled
    Only 20 miles from London Heathrow
    Most Relaxing Spa- Natural Health Magazine 2011
    Acclaimed Spa Illuminata in Mayfair

Our award-winning Aromatherapy Associates Spa provides a relaxing escape from the stresses of everyday life with its ozone-cleansed pool and an indulgent array of treatments. We are a part of a small list of exclusive, prestigious Spas worldwide offering these treatments including The Mandarin Oriental, The Spa at the Savoy, The Dorchester and the Four Seasons Hotel in New York and Necker Island.

Danesfield Spa is proud to introduce Jessica Gel Nails! Jessica GELeration is a hybrid between gel and polish giving fantastic colour that does not chip or peel, maintains shine, dries in seconds, gives a flawless finish, lasts for three weeks and is removed in minutes with a special soak-off solution. Call the Spa Reception on 01628 891881 to book!
Spa Opening Times
Monday to Friday - 6:30am to 09:30pm

Saturday 7.00am to 09:30pm
Last entry to the pool and gym is 9:00pm
Sunday - 7.00am to 7:30pm
Last entry to pool and gym is 7.00pm
History

Danesfield House, as it stands today, is the third property to have been built within this glorious setting. 4,000 years ago, the site was reputed to have been a resting place of nomadic tribes who paused to hunt nearby land and fish in the then untamed river.  Because of the ample game and the discovery of flint within the chalk-based cliffs, the site became a settlement throughout the ages and although not named "Danesfield" until many years later, this name originated from the fact that Danish adventurers made an encampment here…..

Offering easy access to the M25, M4 and M40 motorways,  just 45 minutes from the centre of London and 35 minutes from fashionable West London, Danesfield House is an intimate and elegant country house hideaway overlooking the River Thames, in an area of breathtaking beauty.
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A19.  HARTWELL HOUSE
AYLESBURY, Buckinghamshire HP17 8NR.
Tel: +44 (1296) 747444; Fax ; +44 (1296) 747450

From their Website:  Hartwell house is one of the Stately Homes of England, just one hour from central London and Heathrow and Luton Airports, and two miles west of Aylesbury.   Its most famous resident was Louis XVIII, exiled King of France, who lived there with is Court for five years.  Situated in 90 acres of landscaped parkland, Hartwell House provides a country house setting, adding lustre to every social occasion.

The impressive Grade I listed house, which has both Jacobean and Georgian facades, contains most beautiful rooms with rococo ceilings, antique furniture and paintings, yet with every imaginable contemporary comfort.

The large and historic public rooms provide great comfort for relaxing with friends and the three dining rooms provide some of the finest cooking in the home counties, with a wine list that has been selected with skill and care.

The hotel lends itself to quick city breaks, or as a base for exploring Oxford, the Cotswolds, and the Chiltern Hills.  An overnight stay at Hartwell is a good way to overcome jetlag on arrival in Britain, or as a memorable place to stay before leaving the UK. The hotel is a popular venue for top level Special Events as well as Spa relaxation.

Hartwell House is a member of Pride of Britain, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, has Four Red Stars, and a famous fine dining restaurant.

In September 2008 HISTORIC HOUSE HOTELS LTD and all its interests in HARTWELL HOUSE and the other two Historic House Hotels, BODYSGALLEN HALL and MIDDLETHORPE HALL, became the property of the  NATIONAL TRUST, by donation, with all profits henceforward benefiting the houses and the charity.

History
Hartwell House has a remarkable history, stretching back almost a thousand years to the reign of Edward the Confessor. It has been the seat of William Peveral the natural son of William the Conqueror; of John Earl of Mortaigne who succeeded his brother Richard the Lion Heart as King of England in 1199; and of Louis XVIII, the exiled King of France who held court there from 1809 to 1814. Louis was joined at Hartwell by his Queen, Marie-Josephine de Savoie, his niece the Duchesse D’Angoulême, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, his brother the Comte d’Artois, later Charles X, and Gustavus IV the exiled King of Sweden.  During the residence of the French Court the roof was converted into a miniature farm, where birds and rabbits were reared in cages, while vegetables and herbs were cultivated in densely planted tubs. Shops were opened in the outbuildings by émigrés short of money.

Others who lived at Hartwell include Richard Hampden (d.1567), a member of one of England’s most illustrious families who entered the household of Queen Elizabeth I and rose to the position of ‘Chiefe Clerk of the Kychen unto the Queen’s Majestie’. Sir Alexander Hampden (d.1627), who received the singular Honour of being knighted by James I in his own house; Sir Thomas Lee (d.1690) who took a leading part in the Restoration and was elevated to the Baronetage by Charles II in 1660; the Rt. Hon. Sir William Lee (1688-1754) who became Lord Chief Justice and served for a time as Chancellor of the Exchequer; and the Rt. Hon. Sir George Lee (1700-1758) a close friend and adviser to Frederick Prince of Wales whose widow he served as Treasurer and Receiver-General. The Lees were ancestors of General Robert E Lee of American Civil War fame.  Sir William Young, MP for Buckingham and later Governor of Tobago was a tenant of Hartwell from 1800 to 1808.

With the arrival of Dr.John Lee, a teetotaller and amateur scientist who lived at Hartwell from 1829 to 1866, the building became a cross between a temperance hall, a museum and an astronomical observatory.  Festivals of Peace and Temperance were held in the park, with the local inn-keeper being paid to close his doors to the public; geological specimens from the ancient world were put on show in the Long Gallery and the Strong Room, and powerful telescopes were trained on the stars through the open roof of a new observatory extension adjoining the Library (since demolished).  Dr. Lee was a champion of the technological revolution that reshaped English industry and agriculture, and in 1830 Hartwell became the target of a Luddite conspiracy.  Several disgruntled farm workers plotted to burn the house but were rounded up by the local Constabulary.

A hundred years later the estate took on the appearance of a giant auction house as hordes of collectors and dealers descended on Hartwell for the 1938 sale of its contents.  Those who came to view included Queen Mary and the Dukes and Duchesses of Gloucester and Kent.  They brought with them a picnic lunch, which was served in the Dining Room by a body of liveried footmen.  After the sale, the house was purchased by millionaire recluse Ernest Cook, grandson and co-heir of the Victorian travel tycoon Thomas Cook, and subsequently vested in the Trust that bears his name.

For the duration of the Second World War Hartwell served as an Army billet, a training ground for British and American troops.  Later, in 1956, Hartwell was let to The House of Citizenship, a finishing school and secretarial college which remained in occupation until 1983.  A fire in 1963 caused extensive damage, and destruction of much of the architectural detail inside the house, and was followed by reconstruction to the requirements of the school.

If Hartwell is remarkable for its history, it is also remarkable for its architecture.  True to the English tradition it has evolved in sympathy with changing tastes.  On the north front the compass and oriel windows are remarkable examples of early 17th century design, but the carved decoration was simplified and the original gables removed in the middle of the 18th century.  The south and east fronts were built around 1760 and are characteristic of their period, with projecting eaves, canted bays, skirted windows and Ionic colonettes set within relieving arches.  The Great Hall is a masterpiece of English baroque design, and with the exception of the floor which was originally flagged with Portland stone, remains virtually unchanged since its completion in around 1740.  The principal staircase with its extraordinary carved figures is partly Jacobean, but partly modern. Two of the balusters are carved to represent Winston Churchill and G K Chesterton.

The house has fine Georgian interiors, dating from around 1760. The Morning Room and the Library are decorated in the Rococo style, with curvilinear marble chimney pieces and fluid plasterwork, and joinery ornamented with garlands, masks, animals and volutes. The bookcases in the Library are fitted with some of the finest surviving gilt-brass wirework in the country.  The landscaping of the park dates from the second half of the 18th century.  Work is thought to have begun around 1757 when Sir William Lee commissioned the magnificent equestrian statue of Frederick, Prince of Wales which now stands in the centre of the entrance drive to the north of the house.  The park boasts a fine collection of 18th century pavilions and monuments.  Some of these date from the 1730’s when a magnificent topiary garden, planted in 1690, was finally brought to completion.

There is the Gothic Tower, a romantic crenellated turret; the Ionic Temple, an elegant exercise in Italianate classicism, flanked by four terms, figures from classical- mythology, now returned to their original position after 200 years in another part of the garden. There is the statue of Hercules, a fine copy after a famous antique original, the obelisk in Park meadow and the statues of Zeus and Juno in the gardens behind the arch.

The present bridge over the lake was erected at the end of the 19th century and is the central span of old Kew Bridge, built in the 18th century by James Paine, but dismantled in 1898 and divided up into lots and sold at auction.  The Old Dairy is a relic of the 18th century, as is the Gothic bridge.

The avenue of trees that crosses the Old Court Garden was planted around 1830, while the estate wall was completed in 1855, encrusted with fossils and rare stones from the grounds. Four years earlier an Egyptian style pavilion had been erected over the spring in Weir Lane. In 1900 a forecourt was created in front of the entrance, ringed by a ha-ha to the north. The Rock Walk and cobbled paths were laid out some time before 1901 and there are trees and plants dating from the Edwardian period.

The Church was built in 1753-6 and is generally recognized as one of the most important buildings of the Gothic Revival.  Unfortunately it was allowed to collapse shortly after the last war but the West Tower and roof have recently been reinstated.

The creation of Hartwell House and its grounds has involved many distinguished architects and designers including James Gibbs (1682-1754), whose works include the Radcliffe Library, Oxford, the Senate House, Cambridge, and the London Churches of St. Martins in the Field and St, Mary- Le-Strand; Henry Keene (1726-1776), a pioneer of the Gothic Revival; James Wyatt (1746-1813) a master of neo-classical design; and Richard Woods a well- known follower of Capability Brown.

Coming to the present time, Historic House Hotels have undertaken a complete restoration to the highest standards of the house and grounds, under the sympathetic direction of its chairman, Richard Broyd, and eminent Buckinghamshire Architect, Eric Throssell.  The interior design and furnishings have been carefully chosen under the supervision of Janey Compton of Newby Hall in Yorkshire, who was responsible for the success of the interior decoration at Middlethorpe Hall, another property of Historic House Hotels.

During the restoration great attention has been paid to the reinstatement of period, detail, particularly in those parts of the house damaged during the 1963 fire.  There is much new plasterwork, fireplaces have been reinstated, a dining room has been created in the manner of Sir John Soane and the original features of the Staircase Hall have gained a Gothic setting.  The gardens and park have been extensively restored and some garden buildings and ornaments have been moved to their original, or found more suitable, positions.  A dramatic new entrance sweep has been constructed, centred not only on the house, but also on the life-size equestrian statue of Frederick Prince of Wales, rescued from obscurity in a shrubbery.

Hartwell House opened as an hotel in July 1989 and this famous stately home thus entered a new phase of its long and distinguished history.

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A20.  THE CLOSE HOTEL
TETBURY, Gloucestershire GL8 8AQ
Tel: 01666 502 272

From their Website: Set in the delightful Cotswold market town of Tetbury, The Close Hotel and Restaurant holds the enviable reputation of being one of the finest 16th century town houses in the Cotswolds.

Originally built in 1535 during the reign of King Henry VIII for John Steede a local Yeoman, the house has had many owners including Sir Thomas Estcourt, a wealthy wool merchant of the period. Since becoming a hotel in 1974, the Close Hotel has developed a reputation for excellence in hospitality by creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere, combined with the efficiency demanded by today's business world.

There are 15 spacious rooms, each individually decorated and named in the same elegant yet comfortable style as the original house. Many of the bedrooms overlook the beautiful walled garden and provide the comfort of today with the atmosphere of the past.

Originally built in 1535 during the reign of King Henry VIII for John Steede a local Yeoman, the house has had many owners including Sir Thomas Estcourt, a wealthy wool merchant of the period.

All rates are per room, per night including full breakfast and VAT. Rates do not apply to Cheltenham Gold Cup week, Badminton Horse Trials week, Easter or Christmas. All reservations must be confirmed with a credit card or deposit, direct to the Hotel. Our cancellation policy requires 48 hours notice. Any confirmed reservation not taken up or cancelled within this period will be subject to the first night charged in full.

Group bookings and bookings for certain peak times may be subject to an extended cancellation period, details of which will be given at time of booking. Payment must be made in full on departure unless prior credit arrangements are made in writing. We accept Access, Visa, MasterCard, Switch, Delta, and cheque's up to the value of a valid cheque guarantee card.
Eating in the charming Garden Restaurant, boasting an original Adams ceiling and views of the walled garden with its central fountain, offers classic dining with the ambience of a 16th century town house.

Accommodation - here are 15 spacious rooms, each individually decorated and named in the same elegant yet comfortable style as the original house. Many of the bedrooms overlook the beautiful walled garden and provide the comfort of today with the atmosphere of the past. A delightful mix of antique and contemporary furniture enhances the rich decor. There are two bedrooms with fine antique four-poster beds. Every room is en-suite and retains the character of a by-gone era.

Functions - Our conference boardroom allows you to conduct your meeting in total seclusion. "Cloisters" is a purpose built conference room seating a maximum of 22 delegates boardroom style, situated behind the main house, away from any distractions, yet with easy access to the rest of The Hotel.
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A21.  TYLNEY HALL
ROTHERWICK-HOOK, Hampshire, England, RG27 9AZ
Tel +44 (0)1256 764881; Fax: +44 (0)1256 768141
Video: http://www.tylneyhall.co.uk/tylney-hall-videos

Luxury hotels in Hampshire come in many guises, but what makes Tylney Hall Hotel so special is its period ambience, and walking into your room or suite for the first time is a little like stepping back in time. In the main Hall the suites and rooms lead off the magnificent wooden staircase that rises from the reception area.

Each room is a little world unto itself, and has been decorated and furnished individually with period pieces to enhance its own particular charm. Sweep back the heavy drapes that frame the high period windows in many of the rooms and you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the rolling Hampshire countryside.

Contrasting levels of luxury include our Deluxe Bedrooms which offer twin beds or a queen sized bed, relaxed seating and work desk. While our suites offer additional private dining areas, lounges and office spaces to suit all requirements. Or you can really push the boat out and elect to stay in our Duke and Duchess Suites which are unashamedly luxurious with wood panelled walls, four poster beds and whirlpool baths.

For a change of setting and style, but still maintaining the same seductive levels of comfort, you can get closer to the countryside and stay in the rooms and suites to be found in the original estate buildings dotted around the grounds. These charming changes of scene include a quaint row of converted terraced cottages, and the Orangery which has also been lovingly converted into rooms that overlook the water garden. What better way to wake up and greet the day than to look out of your window and see a family of ducks paddling across the lake.

All the rooms and suites are beautifully appointed befitting one of the finest luxury hotels in Hampshire. We can even look after man’s best friend. We have set aside special ground floor rooms where dogs are welcome and we’ll even make them feel at home with their own basket, blanket & bowl. We even throw in a chewy toy.

Facilities
    Luxurious en-suite bathroom with towelling bathrobes
    An extensive collection of Molton Brown luxury toiletries
    Digital Freeview television with radio and teletext
    Iron and Ironing Board
    Direct dial telephone with voicemail
    Digital clock radio
    Broadband Internet access
    Trouser press
    Personal safe large enough to hold a laptop
    Hairdryer
    Mineral water
    All bedrooms are served by 24-hour Room Service
    DVD players and small fridges available on request

Our 112 rooms fall into six categories to suit different needs and budgets.
Deluxe room with one double or two twin beds. Bedroom size - approx 326 Sqft. Deluxe...From £220
Deluxe Superior rooms have views of the gardens. Room size - approx 326 Sqft. From £255
Executive room with king sized bed. Bedroom size - approx 460 Sqft. Our Executive rooms...From £290
Junior Suite with king or queen sized bed. Suite size - approx - 639 Sqft. Junior Suites...From £360
Suite-Garden Suite with king or queen sized bed. Suite size - approx 660 Sqft. Suites are bright and...From £430
Duke and Duchess Master Suite -Our most luxurious and spacious suites. Suite size - approx 700 Sqft.  From £500

Tylney Hall is a Grade II listed building and remains an outstanding example of a luxury country house hotel that has never lost its old world sense of charm.When you arrive at Tylney Hall Hotel, Hampshire, you are swept along a tree-lined avenue and then all at once the magnificent Victorian era mansion house appears, its full beauty slowly revealed as you drive through the avenue of trees that frames the approach. At first sight the main hall immediately takes you back to an age of elegance and gracious living. Step through the entrance archway and you emerge into the reception area which sets the scene. Your eye is greeted with floor to ceiling walnut panelling that sweeps up the magnificent staircase creating a splendour and warmth of welcome that belongs to a bygone era. Hampshire hotels simply don’t come any grander or offer such heights of luxury anywhere in the UK.
Our drawing rooms retain all the elegance and style of the days when Tylney Hall played host to the rich and influential. The Italian Lounge is a splendidly restored period room dominated by marble fireplaces and ornate period furnishings. However, its crowning glory is the spectacular ceiling which was imported piece by piece from the Grimation Palace in Florence no less. Stepping through into the Grey Lounge is like leaving the world of the Italian aristocracy behind and emerging into Hapsburg Europe. Its pale blue walls and ornate cornicing give this elegant room a more Rococo feel. Its light and airy atmosphere, together with the beautiful views it affords over the gardens and grounds, make it a restful retreat throughout the day and a popular spot for enjoying high tea in the afternoons.
The old library is another treasure trove of original wood panelling which has been lovingly restored to create a quiet and relaxing location for the bar, where pre and after dinner drinks can be enjoyed amidst the hubbub of quiet conversation, which on winter nights may have to compete with the crackle of logs burning in the marble fireplace.
The gardens and grounds are no less spectacular and attract hordes of visitors in their own right. Tylney Hall stands in its own 66 acres of glorious parkland and boasts the longest uninterrupted view in Hampshire which is flanked by two lines of mature Redwoods that march to the distant horizon. Pride of place though belongs to the individual historic gardens, originally designed by the renowned gardener and planter, Gertrude Jekyll, and which have been lovingly tended over the last 25 years by our team of dedicated gardeners led by Paul Tattersdill. Tylney Hall may be inspired by the past but we are certainly not locked in it. We offer all the facilities and levels of luxury associated with 4 Red Star status, including luxurious rooms and suites, gourmet dining, a beautifully appointed Spa and leisure facilities including both an indoor and an outdoor pool, and business, conference and banqueting facilities that are second to none. Our location near Basingstoke and Hook, and being close to the M3 and M25 motorways, makes us very accessible from London, Heathrow Airport and the M4 corridor. It also means we are one of the few hotels in Hampshire that also serves Surrey, Berkshire and further afield. But whatever brings you to Tylney Hall Hotel, we hope it will be our relaxed style of attentive service that you’ll remember, and we are proud to be able to say that we were recently awarded the Tourism South East Outstanding Customer Service Award.
For further information on Tylney Hall Hotel you can also visit: Tylney Hall Flickr, Hitched.co.uk Listing and Desination Basingstoke Page.
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A22.  CHARINGWORTH MANOR
Charingworth,
NR CHIPPING CAMPDEN, Gloucestershire, GL55 6NS
Tel. 01386 593555
info.charingworthmanor@classiclodges.co.uk

From their Website:  The perfect Cotswold manor house hotel in warm Cotswold stone, Charingworth has commanded views over idyllic rural Gloucestershire countryside for 700 years. Every one of the 26 bedrooms has recently been carefully refurbished to the highest standard offering contemporary style, all-new beds and duvets, plasma TVs, tea and coffee facilities and, most importantly, fabulous bathrooms.
We are delighted that all of Charingworth's 26 bedrooms have recently been refurbished to the highest standard, whilst maintaining the individuality that makes this hotel so special. Guests can now enjoy wonderfully comfortable new beds, duvets, plasma screen TVs, tea and coffee making facilities and best of all, fabulous new bathrooms.

Ideally located for exploring this beautiful part of England and the perfect hotel location for the delightful town of Chipping Campden, Charingworth Manor is a peaceful location for an important conference or elegant Cotswolds wedding. Choose from standard or superior rooms, suites and two superb four poster rooms reflecting the tradition of this historic Manor House.  Several rooms have private terraces and gardens with views over five counties, and all have complimentary broadband access and room service to your door when you are feeling peckish.  Choose from suites and four poster rooms, all with their own character and many with private terraces and views over five counties. 

Dine in our intimate AA-rosetted restaurant with a seasonal menu that makes the very best of fresh Cotswold produce, and unwind in our leisure facility with its gym, sauna, steam room and pool. And there is the heart of England on our doorstep, with historic houses and world famous gardens to explore, Shakespeare’s Stratford to discover and the delightful Cotswold towns of Chipping Campden, Broadway and Burford just a short drive away.

Bring your dog - Charingworth is a pet friendly hotel and welcomes your dogs if they are well behaved!
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A23.  HANBURY MANOR
A Marriott Hotel & Country Club
WARE, Hertfordshire SG12 0SD
Tel: 01920 487722; Fax: 01920 487692

From their Website:  A HISTORICAL SETTING IN WHICH TO FIND INSPIRATION AND PURE PLEASURE
Feel history surround you at Hanbury Manor, A Marriott Hotel & Country Club.

This stately 17th century Jacobean style country house set in 200 acres of spectacular Hertfordshire parkland benefits from all the modern comforts associated with 5 star luxury. Within easy reach of Stansted, Heathrow, Luton and Gatwick airports, London and Cambridge, major rail and motorway links as well as numerous visitor attractions, this impressive hotel is close to everything that really matters.

The beautiful manor house began its life as a home to the Hanbury family that later was adopted into a Roman Catholic boarding school known as Poles Convent.  The chapel with its original features now acts as the main banqueting hall recognised as Poles Hall.  As a Marriott Hotel and country club the original school location is now used for the banqueting areas set around a courtyard.

The prestigious golf course was the first to be designed by Jack Nicklaus II and still incorporates features from an earlier 9-hole course designed by the great Harry Vardon.  The course is now widely recognized as one of the best in England, with each hole offering a different challenge.  Hanbury Manor provides an exciting experience for golfers of all skill levels.  From the championship tees, the course measures 7,052 yards.  The USGA greens and numerous tee boxes provide excellent surfaces and year round playability.

During your stay at Hanbury Manor take advantage of our facilities:

Relax in 161 traditionally elegant, spacious bedrooms with many period features.   Delve into the delights of traditional afternoon tea in the beautiful baronial Oak Hall with a selection of finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones, cakes and pastries.   Choice of two formal dining rooms including AA Rosette Zodiac Restaurant or contemporary Oakes Grill.   Unwind with our luxuriant spa facilities that spoil you with a range of health and beauty treatments; placed in easy reach to soak up your senses in the spa bath and sauna before taking a dip in the Romanesque pool.

A limited number of memberships are currently available on a debenture basis, with an annual subscription.   Members enjoy preferential and unlimited access to the golf course and luxurious health club facilities, which include an OFSTED certified, purpose built crèche facility and in excess of 30 complimentary fitness classes each week.  Members also enjoy substantial discounts and privileges throughout the hotel.

HISTORICAL
The first house on this site, built around 1730, was called Poles. After passing through several hands, Poles was leased in 1800 to Sampson Hanbury, a key figure in the London brewery Truman, Hanbury & Buxton. He bought Poles in the 1820s and lived here until his death in 1835.

After his widow Agatha's death in 1847, the estate was inherited by their nephew Robert Hanbury, who enlarged the house and extended the park.

In 1884 the house passed to his grandson Edmund Hanbury and his wife Amy. In 1890-91 the house was demolished and replaced by a new one, in Jacobean style, designed by Ernest George and Harold Peto.

From 1913-1923 Poles was home to businessman Henry King and his family. He built a new stable block, and laid out a nine hole golf course in the park to Harry Vardon's design.

From 1923-1986 Poles was a convent school run by the Faithful Companions of Jesus. When the school closed, Poles was acquired by developers who created a luxury resort, hotel and country club which opened in 1990 as Hanbury Manor.

FOR ANY OCCASION - Modern, high-tech conference rooms featuring a wealth of period details inspire clear, creative thinking. Excellent leisure facilities, including championship golf, luxurious spa, and award-winning dining options help you to relax in style. At Hanbury Manor, a Marriott Hotel & Country Club, we provide everything you need for a successful social celebration, dynamic business event or invigorating short break. Why not become a Member of Hanbury Manor Golf & Country Club to enjoy the Hanbury experience every day?

GOLF COURSE DESIGNED BY CHAMPIONS -  Test your skill on the prestigious 18-hole Championship Hanbury Course designed by Jack Nicklaus II, and widely recognised as one of the best golf courses in England. With each hole offering a unique challenge, the 7,052 yards, par 72 course provides excellent playing surfaces, year-round playability and an exciting experience for golfers of all abilities.
Personal Tuition

Develop your game with help from PGA Professionals and the Marriott Golf Tuition Programme. An action plan focussing on your specific needs will transform your performance, and you'll be playing like a pro in no time!
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A24.  EASTWELL PARK
Boughton Lees
ASHFORD, Kent, TN25 4HR Tel: +44 (0)1233 213000; Fax: +44 (0)1233 635530

From their Website:  The Eastwell Manor welcome makes you feel that you are living in your own Manor House, with all the facilities that implies.

Manor Rooms - Northumberland   Manor Rooms - Northumberland (Right)
With its origins dating back to the Norman Conquest, the Manor has many interesting features - carved panelled rooms, massive baronial stone fireplaces, in a quiet and tranquil atmosphere. The Manor features 23 tastefully decorated and furnished en-suite rooms and suites, offering space, elegance and sumptuous comfort. Each room is individually designed and furnished in a classical style yet has all the modern day facilities that you would expect from a first class family run country house hotel.

The rooms and suites combine today's comforts with an opportunity to feel the history that the rooms have experienced.

All rooms have a colour TV with a selection of satellite channels, video, DVD/CD players, safe, trouser press, tea making facilities, en suite bathroom many with separate showers, hairdryer, telephone and 24 hour room service. A selection of rooms and suites have four poster beds; some have separate lounges and private dining facilities

The Pavilion is one of the finest luxury leisure and spa experiences in the South of England and embodies the very best in health, beauty and fitness in keeping with the unique quality of Eastwell Manor.

The welcome begins in the elegant marbled entrance hall, creating a classical ambience to the overall relaxation and pamper experience.

The 20 metre heated pool, set between pillars against a background of hand painted murals, creates the luxury of an aquamarine haven within a Roman palace overlooking an exotic vista towards the Mediterranean.

A perpetual wall of water conceals the major therapy pool, rivalling any of the country's other leading health spas. A jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, showers and other surprises complete the spacious spa area.

Eastwell Manor Golf Course  - The golf course is available for hotel guests and corporate delegates of Eastwell Manor all year round and provides a challenge for all levels of golfer. Society days are welcomed and can be tailored to suit your individual needs. Memberships are also available.
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A25.  STAPLEFORD PARK
Stapleford,
NR. MELTON MOWBRAY, Leicestershire, LE14 2EF, England.
Tel: +44 (0) 1572 787000

From their Website:  Surrounded by the magnificent 500 acres of Capability Brown landscaped grounds Stapleford Park is the perfect English sporting country estate. The estate sits in the heart of England in Leicestershire, near Melton Mowbray, minutes from Rutland Water.

Since Georgian times this impressive house has been the setting for centuries of hospitality, country pursuits, fine living and relaxation. And today the country house hotel and sporting estate guarantees a warm welcome, a calm space and a wide choice of sports, leisure and fine dining. All housed in a magnificent historic setting.

Hotel guests and members of Stapleford Park are invited to enjoy all the comfort and luxury of this historic country house, as well as the exceptional golf course and luxury spa. Our 18 hole championship course, home of the PGA’s newest tournament The Handa Senior Masters is a constant challenge to golfers, and the Clarins gold spa, housed in the magnificent stables, offers a comprehensive range of fitness programmes and pampering treatments – perfect for weekend breaks.

The hotel offers a wide variety of country pursuits and leisure activities including shooting, riding and falconry. And after a day in the fresh country air, our house guests and members always look forward to a delicious, freshly prepared evening meal in one of our dining rooms and a night cap in the library. Our luxurious bedrooms, all individually designed, guarantee a good night’s sleep in style.

Stapleford Park is much more than a stately home, to our house guests and members it’s their very own home from home.

HERITAGE

Early historical records indicate that at the time of the Norman Survey, Stapleford was held under the King by Henry de Ferrers, who fought at the battle of Hastings in 1066, and who was afterwards appointed the Doomsday Commissioner. After passing through a succession of owners, according to record, in the 14th Century Stapleford formed part of the great estates of John O'Gaunt, and in 1336 the manor was settled as part of the dowry of Blanche, his wife.

In 1402 the house was acquired from the Earl of Lancaster by Robert Sherard, a descendant of William the Conqueror, and for the next 484 years Stapleford remained in the possession of his family.

The Sherard family in latter years were to become the Earls of Harborough, and it was Thomas who is said to be the builder of the Old Wing as we know it today.

The Old Wing was restored in 1633 by William Sherard, but his wife Abigail was said to have had a greater part in the restoration of this section and perhaps her name should be carved in the stone and not his!

A change of ownership came in 1894 when the house was purchased by Lord Gretton, a wealthy brewer of the firm Bass, Ratcliffe and Gretton.

Lord Gretton is said to have wanted to establish his place in society and bought Stapleford not so much for its land but its connection with hunting and Melton Mowbray. Stapleford would assist in introducing him to the fashionable hunting circles.

The house was large, but not large enough for Lord Gretton's ambitions, and so he radically changed it, adding on a series of reception rooms and further bedrooms.

The house finally represented the magnificence of English architecture through the ages and allowed the entertaining of house guests on a grand scale as was common in the Edwardian era. Today Stapleford is regarded by many as one of the finest and most beautiful examples of an English stately home.

Lord Gretton's death in 1899 meant that the Long Gallery (south side of the house where there are now nine bedrooms) had not been fitted out and, as his son did not share his social ambitions, it never was. When his grandson the third Lord Gretton, succeeded in 1982, he was faced with a house designed for entertaining on an Edwardian scale but without the brewing fortune to support it. He decided to sell the house but kept the estate.

The American restaurant entrepreneur Bob Payton bought the house and, in April 1988, after more than a year’s work and large investment, Stapleford Park was opened as a Country House Hotel, realising John Gretton’s idea of Stapleford as a place for entertaining on a grand scale. On 13th July, 1994 Bob Payton tragically died in a car accident. It would be his wish that the hotel continues as before and, to this end, Stapleford Park has grown from strength to strength.

To this day Stapleford Park is owned by a private individual who fell in love with the dream first created by Payton and the desire of Lord Gretton for the house to be a very special place for entertainment.

Over time Stapleford Park has been renovated to maintain its elegant and relaxed style whilst retaining its original charm which lures its guests back again.

GARDENS & PARK  -  The Gardens at Stapleford reflect the many qualities one would expect of England's finest gardens. Wayne Whitting, Stapleford's Head Gardener, takes great pride in presenting and maintaining Stapleford's exceptionally beautiful gardens.

The Historic Walled Garden  -  One of several formal walled gardens which blends so well with the extensive, informal and natural gardens all set within Stapleford's magnificent woodlands. To stroll through these beautifully maintained and peaceful grounds is to experience a perfect natural pleasure.

Church of St Mary Magdalene  -  Although no longer in regular use, the Church of St Mary Magdalene graces the gardens of Stapleford. Built in 1783 for the Earl of Harborough, the Church retains all its original features, magnificent monuments and delightful west gallery containing a fireplace for the Earl.
Situated in the converted Victorian stable block, the Stapleford Park spa contains seven treatment rooms, a relaxing lounge area, fitness studio and fully equipped Technogym. Just a five minute stroll through the picturesque gardens is the House where the pool complex, with a heated 22m pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi can be found.  Set in 500 acres of magnificent Leicestershire countryside, Stapleford Park is one of the most luxurious spa hotels in the UK and offers the perfect setting to unwind and be pampered or work up a sweat. Our members and hotel guests come to escape from the stresses of daily life, jogging around the stunning grounds before meeting their personal trainer in the gym or joining a complimentary class, from yoga to spinning, in the fitness studio. All while the children are looked after in the crèche. 

After being pampered in the spa, our members and hotel guests enjoy putting their feet up in the House, meeting friends for dinner in the dining room or having a drink in the library bar. With 55 bedrooms members and house guests are always welcome to stay, making it perfect for a spa weekend break. 

In June 2011 Stapleford Park's Championship Golf Course once again hosted the ISPS Handa Senior Masters following on from the success of the 2010 event when the course became the East Midlands' first European Senior Tour venue.

The ISPS Handa Senior Masters Information  -  Peter Fowler was impressed with the Stapleford Park course following his Senior Masters tour victory – Click here to see his comments made to BBC Radio LeicesterOf all the golf courses in the world, very few are free from intrusion. Designed by Donald Steel, the Championship Golf Course at Stapleford Park, Leicestershire is a rare exception. Located in the heart of England, surrounded by stunning Leicestershire countryside, the golf course is set within the delightfully pure Capability Brown landscape of the estate. With ever-changing views of the House, its lakes and five hundred acre park, this is classic English countryside at its very best. The course wraps around the heart of the estate in two extended loops, never being more than two holes wide, making golf here reminiscent of the great links courses.
The Championship golf course is not only challenging but it is also amongst the finest luxury golf courses in the Midlands. It was selected by the PGA European Seniors Tour to host their newest golf tournament in May 2010. The greens and tees are immaculately maintained to the highest Championship standards allowing members and hotel guests the opportunity to play the course throughout the year. There is no need to have temporary greens and tees in the winter.  After 18 holes our members and hotel guests like to unwind with lunch and a drink or meet friends and family at the House for an evening meal. Perfect for a short golf break, Stapleford Park has everything to offer the golfer looking for a challenging course and a relaxing time in beautiful surroundings.
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A26.  THE GROSVENOR HOTEL
101 Buckingham Palace Road,
LONDON,  SW1W 0SJ
Tel: +44 845 305 8337, +44 845 305 8376; Fax: 0871 376 9138
Virtual tour of the bedrooms:  http://www.guoman.com/virtual_tour/the_grosvenor_hotel/bedrooms.htm

From their Website: Hotel Rooms at The Grosvenor Hotel, where authentic details meet contemporary comforts are recently renovated. Your bedroom at The Grosvenor Hotel offers a quiet, spacious and comfortable retreat from the bustle of London and the adjoining Victoria mainline station. All Deluxe and Executive bedrooms boast an iPod docking station with surround sound, Egyptian cotton bed linen and a large plasma-screen TV.

From some of our bedrooms, you’ll enjoy views down Buckingham Palace Road to the Royal Mews and the Palace gardens; others look out over the broad span of Victoria Station itself. For a luxurious break with friends and family, or a longer stay in the capital, our self-contained Palace Suite has four double en-suite bedrooms, with secure access via its own private lift.
Centrally located, comfortable and sumptuously appointed, The Grosvenor Hotel makes the perfect destination, whether you’re in London for business or pleasure.
Facilities Available:
  • Hotel has Air Conditioning in all rooms
  • Bose iPod docking station
  • BT wifi
  • Coffee and Tea Making Facilities
  • Complimentary Mineral Water
  • Complimentary Newspaper
  • Complimentary still and sparkling mineral water
  • DVD Player
  • Egyptian Linen
  • Elemis Products
  • Executive Lounge Access
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Fresh flowers and fruit in your room on arrival
  • Hairdryer
  • Hypnos beds
  • IPod Docking Station
  • Iron & Ironing Board
  • Lounge area with settee
  • Nightly room turndown service
  • Rain_Showers
  • Room Safe to fit Laptop
  • Tea and coffee-making facilities
  • Televisions can be connected to laptop
  • Turndown service
  • Use of Bathrobes and Slippers
  • Use of the hotel gym
An imposing London hotel from the Golden Age of travel will not disappoint you.  The Grosvenor Hotel was the first great London hotel built by the Victorian railway pioneers. Opened in 1862, it ushered in a Golden Age of travel. Now, 150 years on, history is repeating itself.
View a virtual tour of The Grosvenor Hotel on our website.   A Newly refurbished Victoria hotel  Following a multi-million pound refurbishment, The Grosvenor Hotel has been transformed. A Listed building, it retains its distinctive Victorian architecture and character, yet offers guests all the comforts of a 21st Century luxury hotel.
Exclusive Bars & Restaurants near Buckingham Palace  -  Our lively new Réunion Bar recalls The Grosvenor Hotel’s historic connections with the Continent, while our Grand Imperial restaurant serves exquisite Cantonese cuisine in relaxed, intimate surroundings. At The Grosvenor, a unique heritage and atmosphere meets the best in contemporary comforts, and the impeccable service provided by our discreet, attentive Guoman team.
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A27.  MANOR HOUSE HOTEL AND GOLF CLUB
CASTLE COMBE, Nr. Bath, Wiltshire, SN14 7HR
Tel: 44 0 1249 782206; Fax: 44 0 1249 782159
Reservations:  44 0 1249 784834 or 44 0 1249 784809

From their Website:  Located in the picturesque village of Castle Combe, our hotel is a haven of tranquillity.  One for the memory bank. As you pause at the entrance to The Manor House Hotel and wait for the private gates to slowly open, you will be filled with excitement and anticipation. Set in 365 acres of Cotswold countryside in the charming village of Castle Combe, the hotel is an idyllic 14th century manor house. A sight you will never forget
The traditional and the modern are perfectly combined in each of our 48 individually designed bedrooms. With a choice between the main house and mews cottages, you can be sure to enjoy a unique experience with each visit to The Manor House.
Michelin star award-winning dining in the CotswoldsGourmet Getaways   -  For the "Foodies" amongst us, experience fine dining at its best in the Michelin starred Bybrook restaurant. Led by Richard Davies, our brigade of chefs use the best ingredients from our kitchen garden and local suppliers.
The Manor House Hotel in the CotswoldsCountry Escapes   -  Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the untouched 17th century village of Castle Combe. Nestled in the breathtaking Bybrook valley, romantic seclusion abounds as you relax in our beautiful 365 acre estate.

Golf at the manor house hotelActivity Breaks  -  From 18 holes on our award-winning Championship golf course, to an exhilarating driving experience around the track at Castle Combe Race Circuit, there is plenty to see and do during your stay with us!
Weddings at The Manor House HotelThose little extras....and a place to have a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ gathering.  See there wedding brochure here:  http://www.manorhouse.co.uk/EXCLUSIVE_HOTELS/brochures/wedding_brochure.aspx

Whether you are looking for a country house hotel in Wiltshire for work or play, we want to ensure that you get a very good night's sleep - and to help you along every room is equipped with little extras! We know that the extra touches make all the difference which is why we have handmade mattresses, breathable hand finished duvets, pillow menus, children's amenities and much more available.
Just under 90 minutes from Paddington Station and conveniently positioned for the M4 / M5, The Manor House Hotel & Golf Club, surrounded by Cotswold views is an impressive and spacious choice for hosting your meeting or event.
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A28.  PENNYHILL PARK HOTEL & SPA
London Road, BAGSHOT, Surrey, GU19 5EU
Tel: +44 (0) 1276 471 774
Fax: +44 (0) 1276 473 217

From their Website:  Within 123 acres of rolling Surrey parkland lies a luxury country house hotel accompanied by the UK’s Most Excellent Spa.

Wonderfully located between Ascot, Sunningdale and Wentworth and only 45 minutes from the centre of London, our spa hotel in Surrey offers everything from tennis and unmatchable five-star spa breaks to its own golf course, superb dining and impeccable service.
Michelin Starred Chef Michael WignallMichael Wignall at The Latymer awarded two Michelin Stars

It is our absolute pleasure to announce that Michael Wignall at The Latymer has achieved a second Michelin star in the 2013 Michelin Guide! Michael now joins a small handful of other restaurants in the UK with this highly sought-after accolade awarded from the world renowned guide. A two-star ranking in the Michelin Guide represents "excellent cuisine, worth a detour”.

Glorious grounds, the UK's Most Excellent Spa, Michelin starred dining and much, much more... See what makes Pennyhill Park the ultimate escape as it comes to life in film.
Christmas is one of the most magical times of the year for the whole family, so whether you're looking for a break for the whole festive period or simply looking for someone else to take care of the cooking, join us here at Pennyhill park where we have an exciting programme of fun events and fabulous feasts planned to take you through Christmas and into the New Year in style!

Dining out is one of life's pleasures. At Pennyhill, will you choose 'Michael Wignall at the Latymer', our fine dining restaurant with two Michelin stars and five AA rosettes (one of only eight in the UK) or the slightly less formal Brasserie?

All our bedrooms have their own individuality - no two are the same! Beautifully appointed and perfect for your well deserved break, we want to ensure that you get a very good night's sleep and every room is equipped with little extras to help!

Spa facilities at Pennyhill Park Luxury Hotel and Spa Resort in Surrey 45,000 sq.ft. of pure relaxation.  Step through the door of The Spa and you're already on the way to restoring body and soul. An exclusively adult environment, The Spa is 45,000 square feet of pure spa heaven.

Wedding Heaven!  Acres of stunning grounds, an award-winning luxury spa and beautiful rooms are at your disposal for the day. Pennyhill Park is a picture perfect venue and are experienced team are here to make sure everything runs like a dream!  Find out more Pennyhill Park as your luxury wedding venue
Leisure activities at Pennyhill Park Luxury Hotel and Spa Resort in SurreyA dazzling diary of events

From stunning Gourmet Dinners and Ladies' Lunches to Shakespeare on the Lawns, Chocolate Masterclasses and seasonal events such as Valentine's and Royal Ascot, we have a fantastic array of events taking place throughout the year.
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A29.  HINTLESHAM HALL HOTEL
Hintlesham, IPSWICH, Suffolk IP8 3NS.
Tel : 01473 652334 - Fax : 01473 652463

Hintlesham Hall Hotel offers historical tours, a fascinating insight into the evolution of the Hall.  For example, the façade was built by Richard Powys ca 1720, which conceals the E-shape Elizabethan mansion of which chimneybreasts remain. The drawing room, built ca 1690, has a stunning plasterwork ceiling among the best of late C17 anywhere in East Anglia. The Hall was also commissioned as a Red Cross hospital in World War II and has been a Hotel and restaurant since 1972.
Whether you are planning an intimate, traditional occasion or a larger, vibrantly spectacular celebration, Hintlesham Hall Hotel has everything you require for your perfect wedding venue:-
  • Licensed Civil Ceremony Rooms
  • Lounge Areas for Aperitifs and Coffee
  • Gardens for Photography
  • Rooms for Indoor Photography
  • Wedding Breakfast Rooms
  • Evening Reception Rooms
  • Guest Accommodation
  • Health & Beauty Centre
Our friendly and expert team will work with you to plan and organise your wedding from the initial show round and will be on hand to assist you as your plans progress, providing a wedding service that is second to none.

Please use this guide as an introduction to weddings at Hintlesham Hall Hotel.

COMPLETE HISTORY  -  Evelyn Waugh described Hintlesham without ever seeing it. He confessed, through Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited:  'More even than the work of the great architects, I loved buildings that grew silently with the centuries, catching and keeping the best of each generation, while time curbed the artist's pride and the Philistine's vulgarity, and repaired the clumsiness of the dull workman.'

This is the way Hintlesham has grown: the hall, the church, and the tree-shaded village, approached over the undulations of the steep little valleys that drop to the Orwell estuary at Ipswich.

At Hintlesham, thoughts of Brideshead seem particularly appropriate, for the Hall was entirely rebuilt in the 1570s as the chief home of the Timperley family, whose inability to move with the times – from the Roman church of medieval England into the Church of England under Elizabeth I - led to heavy fines and the penalties of exclusion from local affairs. The Timperleys continued to live at Hintlesham until the end of the age of the Stuarts, and though they may have been at odds with political society, they seem to have remained on very good terms with the villagers, mostly people who were their tenants.

The approach from the village, and the old Ipswich Hadleigh road, is very informal beside a small lodge. The park was never a stately affair, to judge from a closely-detailed survey of the manor and tenements 'mapped and made by Thomas Wright' in 1595. He shows the drive to the house crossing 'Posten Field' with 'Copdock Croft' (copp'd oak enclosure) - both dotted with ancient trees, now as then, even after the catastrophic storm of 16th October, 1987.

The approach from the village.  As I turn in off the old road, with its rather dangerous bend, I sometimes find myself thinking how the new Hall was probably topped out in about the year 1579, the year Queen Elizabeth I and her court trotted and trundled towards Ipswich in early August. She may have been keen to get to Ipswich but her recollections of the week she spent there in August 1561 were deeply disagreeable. She had held court at Christchurch Mansion, the cost not all that joyfully defrayed by the town. She was daily displeased by the clergy, who flaunted their wives and declined to wear vestments, even surplices, in church. In 1561, the Ipswich reformers were pushing far ahead of her intentions.

Now, passing Hintlesham in 1579, she was offended by the opposite religious tendency: the Timperley family hankered dangerously after Rome and the old order. If she went past without stopping, she was administering a warning snub.

THE TIMPERLEY FAMILY  -  From the early fifteenth century, for nearly a century and a half, the Timperleys prospered as henchmen of a famous series of dukes of Norfolk. Sir Thomas, the rebuilder of the Hall, was a grandson of the 3rd duke, cousin of the 4th duke and controller of his household. But the 4th duke was beheaded in 1572 with Mary Queen of Scots, and Mary still presented a danger in 1579 which Queen Elizabeth had somehow to surmount.

The rebuilding of Hintlesham Hall was the Timperleys' response to their regrettable retirement from the household of the Howards and thus from the thresholds of the royal household itself. The wind of royal favour was distinctly chilly in 1579. It veered in their favour a century later, during the brief ignoble reign of the Catholic James II.

Like so many of our country houses, Hintlesham was built for a family which had prospered by its service to the nobility but which had subsequently dropped out of the limelight of court life. Neither a palace nor any kind of chateau, it was the country home of a family of gentry; the cradle and the capital of the family, and the repository of their peculiar traditions. In those terms we try to look at it, as well as in terms of its impressive structure of brickwork and plaster work.

The plan is the familiar one: a central block containing the main public room, the hall, and on either side a long wing running forward towards whoever is arriving. The service wing is to the left and the private apartments to the right.

When the Timperleys first established themselves here in the middle of the fifteenth century, they would certainly have needed a defensive moat and some form of drawbridge. At that time, their political activities involved them closely with Gilbert Debenham, whose own base was three miles down the road at Little Wenham; a small, brick-built, battlemented thirteenth century castle, miraculously intact to this day. In 1455, John Timperley and Gilbert Debenham together represented the borough of Ipswich in parliament – the very year one of Debenham's ships, The George of Woodbridge was caught in the act of smuggling wool, cloth and hides out of the Orwell estuary. From Hintlesham and Little Wenham they effectively controlled Ipswich in the political interest of the Yorkist magnates. Their methods were the kind we can read about in the Paston Letters and in Shakespeare's plays about Henry VI and Richard III, and that we associate nowadays with the naked power and lawlessness of the Mafia. But that is the story of the earlier Hintlesham, before the Hall we see today was built, and it was the great glory of the Tudors that they brought such anarchy to an end.

As we approach today we see no obvious signs of any moat: the ornamental strip of water across the forecourt seems to be devised to control the arrival of carriages. The map of 1595, though very detailed, shows no trace of a moat in front of the house, but an unusually long moat runs back on either side, joining at right angles well to the rear of the house, where the present pond can be seen. You can easily trace the earlier moat on the ground, for the soil infill has subsided a little. I imagine that the medieval house stood somewhere within this big moated enclosure. The defensive effect of it from the front was abandoned when the house was rebuilt in the 1570s or at least before the 1595 map was made.

So without the romantic obstacle of the moat, we enter the three-sided forecourt formed by the wings, and take stock. The great red brick chimneystacks and the steeply pitched roofs vanish as we approach, though the Elizabethan house structure is largely in place behind the parapet and stucco of the handsome early Georgian facade. As we shall see, the younger Richard Powys spent a large fortune in giving Hintlesham this mask in the 1740s. His refronting of the house was an ambitious attempt to replace what were probably vernacular' Tudor proportions, mullioned windows, and rather dark interiors.

The Hall from the rear.  To understand the building of two of the finest features of Hintlesham Hall - the first floor drawing room and the oak staircase - we must look to the seventeenth century. The first overt recusancy of the Timperley family - their conviction for non-attendance at church - was recorded in 1608. In 1610, Nicholas Timperley was suspected of keeping a priest in the house, and doubtless he was; he was the first uncompromising papist head of the family. Things got tougher for them during the Civil War when their estates were sequestered and their debts were formidable. But the property was extensive enough in Norfolk and Suffolk to enable them to hold on. However, after the restoration of Charles II in 1660, the head of the Timperley family began to mortgage the estates in order to maintain various relatives living in religious communities in France: in Paris they started an English community of Franciscans amusingly called the Blue Nuns of Paris. By 1672, many of the Timperley womenfolk were safely housed in convents overseas.

In 1686, the sixty-year-old Thomas Timperley IV died, unmarried, leaving the estate to Henry, his eldest surviving first cousin. As he lay here on his deathbed in the south wing that November, he was attended by his brother, also named Henry and otherwise known as Dom Gregory, a priest already officiating in Queen Mary of Modena's chapel at the court of James II. The witnesses of the will included Susanna Sparrow, the daughter and heiress of John Sparrow, Clerk-Comptroller of the Board of Green Cloth to lames II, who was knighted in July 1687. Her father's half-brother Robert celebrated the restoration of Charles II in exuberant pargeting, with Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (left), on The Ancient House, Buttermarket, Ipswich.

Susanna Sparrow married young Henry Timperley, presumably soon after he inherited Hintlesham in November 1686. Under the benign auspices of the Catholic James II, who took the throne in 1685, the young couple must have felt encouraged to hope for a period of prosperity and religious ease. As it turned out, the bride and groom had little time for enjoyment. In October 1688, their first child, a daughter, was buried at Hintlesham. Two months later, the king, perhaps the principal source of their new-found comfort, fled the country to France. The Timperleys and Susanna's father followed soon after to the English court at St Germain, on its ridge overlooking Paris from the south. By 1690 Susanna was a widow; her posthumous son she named Henry. She was reported to have an income of £2,000 a year - a consolation.

Before their flight from England, now under the joint rule of the Protestant, William of Orange and his wife Mary, Susanna and Henry had built an imposing and ambitious oak stairway to their new first floor apartments at Hintlesham.

Later on, this heavily carved staircase was moved by the Powyses to the north wing, where it remains. It was replaced by the elegant mahogany staircase which now leads to the first floor and the drawing room which Henry and Susanna Timperley remodelled and crowned so proudly with an undercut plaster work ceiling. Of the very highest London workmanship, it is still embellished at each corner with poor Henry's monogram, HT. This panelled drawing room has for some time erroneously, been called the Carolean room. Through it, at the end of the south wing, is their (still) very stately bedroom.

Above this bedroom the coved ceiling of the attic room suggests that it served as their secret chapel through the years when popery was proscribed. In their last year or two of occupancy, they may have been emboldened to create a new chapel on the first floor - conceivably in the commodious powder closet between bedroom and drawing-room.

Uncle Dom Gregory seems to have gone 'underground' at Hintlesham, with its friendly villagers and network of neighbouring Roman Catholics who needed his priestly offices, until, in old age, he retired to St Edmund's monastery in Paris, where he died in 1709.

Unlike her husband's royal master, James II, Susanna Timperley was of course free to come and go. In 1694, she returned to Hintlesham Hall with her five-year-old son, Henry, to show him off to his relatives. He was sent back to France, but returned in 1699 to be naturalised. His mother married again in 1704. Henry came of age in 1710 and immediately began raising money on the estate. Late in 1711, he married Etheldreda Mannock of Giffords Hall, Stoke by Nayland, but she died two or three years later, and the childless Henry began to disperse or dissipate the family estate in about 1714, when the Protestant Hanoverian succession was accomplished, and George I came to the throne.

Did the residue of the Timperley fortunes go to help the Pretender in his fiasco of a rebellion in Scotland in 1715? We know Henry Timperley refused to take the oath of allegiance to George I, but then non-Catholics too, were often non-jurors (i.e. refused to swear that oath). Even after all recusancy penalties, Henry still had a rent roll of £ 1,600 a year, although much of it was mortgaged.

RICHARD POWYS AND HIS FAMILY  -  In August 1720, just before the South Sea Bubble burst, Henry Timperley sold everything to Richard Powys, one of the Principal Clerks of the Hanoverian Treasury - an opposite number to his father-in- law, but on the winning side. Henry withdrew abroad and nothing more is known of him, the last of the main line of the Timperleys. The local legend is naturally of a sell-out caused by profligacy, but there is no evidence. One can imagine the bitterness and dismay: the shattered hopes of his marriage, and - to a young French-bred Jacobite – the repugnant politics of the Hanoverians.

Richard Powys probably did very well out of the great South Sea Bubble. He was certainly in a position to. And we guess it was he who was responsible for stage one of the Georgian improvements, putting in vertical sash windows all over the house and adding stucco work to the courtyard faces of the two wings with their parapets and little sham pedimented doors.

As I reckon, stage two began with the succession of his son, young Richard Powys, who gave the central front of Hintlesham its Georgian facade in the 1740's. They were doing the kind of thing we delight in finding in the village of Dedham, say or in Bury St Edmunds - putting up-to-date faces on medieval or Tudor timbered houses. It is curious that some elements of the classical design attempted by the Powyses here had actually been accomplished two centuries earlier, in 1568-9, at Hill Hall, Theydon Mount, in south-west Essex, by Sir Thomas Smith, who had travelled very observantly in Italy and France.
At Hintlesham, the feeling is unmistakably French, and the reason is easily guessed. The younger Richard Powys was married to a Brudenell of Deene Park in Northamptonshire. They would have been very familiar with the Duke of Montagu's (now the Duke of Buccleuch's) neighbouring Boughton House, and its magnificent north front of 1690-1700. Nikolaus Pevsner properly called it; 'perhaps the most French-looking seventeenth century house in England.' The Powyses may be forgiven for lifting the idea of the rusticated, round-headed, open arcade from Boughton, though at Hintlesham they had room for only five arches, as against Boughton's splendid nine. Boughton's unique combination of round-headed arches with the peculiarly French banded-rustication, leaves no doubt as to the origin of the Hintlesham design. The arcade at Hintlesham was originally open, as at Boughton, but it was glazed in the early nineteenth century. (At Boughton, the designer may well have had in mind the New Gallery of Somerset House in London, which the Queen Mother, Henrietta Maria, had added in 1661-1662. The delightful design she followed was by the hand of the great Inigo Jones, 1573-1652, and the Montagus would certainly have known it.)

At Hintlesham, a central, round-headed arch was abandoned in favour of a more emphatic 'frontispiece', which was intended, I think, to replace a prominent, two-storey, Tudor porch of the sort familiar in all E-plan houses of the period. The new frontispiece is composed slightly clumsily, with coupled Ionic columns each side of the entrance door, and with a central Venetian window above, flanked by single Corinthian pilasters. The rustication is not continued along the wings, which join it awkwardly.

The explanation for all this derives from Richard Powy's grandiose scheme to convert the single storey Tudor hall, with chamber over, into a tall 'saloon', occupying both storeys and lit by curious clerestory lights under the coved ceiling. This made a splendid room for receptions and large family parties, and indeed it is still used for formal dinners and grand receptions. The saloon was fitted with a fine chimney-piece with split pediment. The walls were panelled in pine to two-thirds of their height, and at the south end, a tall mahogany door is part of a triumphal mahogany arch leading to the elegant mahogany staircase which leads up to the drawing room.

Now, in order to create this saloon, the Powyses had effectively cut off all upstairs communication between the south and north wings, as Sir Robert Taylorand lames Wyatt did thirty years later, and in a more sumptuous way, at Heveningham in north east Suffolk. This was the moment, the occasion, of their brain-wave - the making of the Boughton corridor with the entrance hall arcade on the ground floor and, above, a fine gallery, leading across from the north service wing to the family's private apartments in the south wing. The creation of this architectural element caused the slight incongruity where the rustication of the front meets the flat stucco of the wings.

The north side of the house has always contained the kitchens. It was given a new range of stables running east-west (front-rear) in the late seventeenth century. On the upper floor, a clock-mechanism of perhaps the 1680s was given a delightful new circular brass plate saying: 'Repair'd 1791: S. Thorndike, Ipswich.' A dove in flight squawks its boring message: 'Tempus fugit'. The Powyses built an entirely new set of brick offices: you can distinguish them on the outside by their very fine brickwork: alternating black 'headers' (the brick placed small end on) and red 'stretchers' (the brick presenting its flank). These excellent early-Georgian buildings contain an old cobbled way and an arch to enable a coach-and-four to pass under.

If one studies the north range of the house (now concealed behind the new service wing), one can see the unusually wide chimney-breast of the stack halfway along the wing. It is crow-stepped, a familiar Tudor way of decorating sloping brickwork. More interesting, there is a recess with a small, (blocked), window-opening Arthur Oswald, writing in Country life in 1928, spotted this as a likely breathing valve for a priest's hiding-place. An examination of the space behind certainly supports his suggestion.

THE LLOYD FAMILY  -  After transforming Hintlesham Hall, Richard Powys died in 1743, nearly £4,000 in debt. His widow married Thomas Bowlby, Controller of Army Accounts, and their portraits were painted by Gainsborough at Bath in 1766. Hers may be seen on permanent view at Gainsborough's House in Sudbury, a dozen miles from Hintlesham. In 1747, Powys's widow sold the estate to Richard Lloyd, a successful political lawyer. Jacobite Hintlesham had changed hands with a vengeance. Lloyd was a very able Solicitor-General in the incomparable Lord Mansfield's day and secured the death penalty for two of the Jacobite lords, Balmerino and the deplorable Lovat, for their part in the rebellion of 1745.

That year Richard Lloyd had a windfall. Back in 1681, Lady Winchilsea had married Heneage Finch, earl of Winchilsea. She was his fourth wife, aged twenty, and eight years later was widowed. In 1735 she made her will, appointing Richard Lloyd her sole executor and leaving him everything, perhaps in gratitude for his legal help in fending off her husband's family from their interest in his estate.

She died in 1745. Gossips like Horace Walpole seem silent on the subject of Lloyd's surprising inheritance, but their minds may have been distracted by the more serious Jacobite rebellion. Anyway, one sees why one of Lloyd's children was given the name Heneage Lloyd, a combination made immortal by Gainsborough who counted Richard Lloyd amongst his patrons in the halcyon Ipswich years, the blissful decade of the 1750's, before Gainsborough went to Bath and fame.

There seems to be a real possibility that when Gainsborough walked from Ipswich to paint the Lloyd children (over page), they may have taken him to the Home Wood to show him their favourite place for games and story-telling. If it was 1753, as from their costumes it quite possibly was, the boy Heneage Lloyd would have been ten, his sister a little older. and Gainsborough himself twenty-six.

The wood is a few hundreds yards east of the very pleasant kitchen garden, although one has to loop around the neighbouring farm to reach it. Here the remains of the Powyses' landscape gardening can best be seen. In the same Country Life article of 1928, Arthur Oswald could write: 'A beautiful wood garden has been laid out round three small lakes formed by damming a stream at descending levels. It contains a variety of flowering shrubs and many fine trees, among which are a number of exceptionally tall and stately firs.' This pleasant wood, severely damaged in the 1987 storm, still contains its cadence of small lakes.

J.W. Goodison, in the Fitzwilliam Museum Catalogue of Paintings, III, British School, 1977, p.81, describing Heneage Lloyd and his Sister, notes 'the possibility of a scene in the park of Hintlesham Hall', but adds, 'no such scene can now be recognised.' In the Home Wood, the essentials of the setting are, I believe, still there. Gainsborough would, of course, already have been priding himself on his own imaginative creation. As with the even more famous Mr and Mrs Robert Andrews, he revelled in the freshness of the two sitters: but he was probably inclined in this, as he certainly was with the Andrews, to refer to an authentic setting. In each picture the church tower supplied a distant focal-point, and was a stageprop, such as even Constable reached for occasionally. Heneage Lloyd and his Sister was hanging here at Hintlesham until 1895, when Colonel Lloyd Anstruther sold it to Colnaghi and Co. The picture is signed on the stone beneath the boy's foot, T.G.

Despite the astonishing similarities, Gainsborough's companion portrait of their elder brother and sister, Richard Savage Lloyd and Miss Cecil Lloyd, was sold in the Hintlesham sale of 1909 as a work by Zoffany. Here, even more than with the picture of the younger children, the drop down into Home Wood looks authentic - although, of course, it contains famous elements from Gainsborough's picture of Cornard Wood, (or Gainsborough's Forest), in the National Gallery. It is undeniable that here the girl's dress and her work-basket interested Gainsborough rather more than their faces, and we remember his description of portrait painting as 'journeyman-work in the face way'. Cecil would have been about nineteen and her brother twenty-three. She died unmarried at Margate in 1791, but lives on as a slightly defensive nineteen-year old in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art in Connecticut.

There is another link between Gainsborough and Hintlesham - this time a musical one. The four young Lloyds whom he painted at Hintlesham, had a sister Lucy In a later generation it was to her progeny that Hintlesham descended in 1837. By her first husband she had no children, but she married again, to a Lieutenant-Colonel James Hamilton of the Coldstream Guards, who was a gifted violinist.

The story is recorded that the Colonel was playing the violin in Gainsborough's studio, when some visitors arrived. The painter raised a finger to silence them while Colonel Hamilton played the violin for an hour. Gainsborough was so enchanted by the playing that he insisted on giving the violinist the picture of The Boy at the Stile, which the Colonel had been trying to persuade Gainsborough to sell him. Gainsborough also gave him drawings that he would never part with for money, and one sees why the pictures of her youthful brothers and sisters at Hintlesham were cherished by Lucy Hamilton and passed on to her Hintlesham grandson and great grandson, who sold them with the Hall. The Boy at the Stile continues with the senior branch of the Anstruthers in Fifeshire.

The Lloyd family lived at Hintlesham Hall – very happily one would suppose - from 1747 until the beginning of our own century. The lineal descent of the family was less direct than in the Timperley centuries. Richard Savage Lloyd I, the elder of the brothers painted here by Gainsborough, had a son, Richard Savage Lloyd 11, who died unmarried in 1818. His two sisters, also unmarried, succeeded to the Hall and are commemorated in the church. When the surviving sister died in 1837, she left the estate to the grandson of her aunt Lucy and uncle James - Colonel James Hamilton, that agreeable violinist.

The Hamilton's only daughter had married Robert Anstruther, an admirable soldier of the Napoleonic War. At the outset of the Peninsular campaign, Anstruther commanded the rear-guard in Sir John Moore's small but well trained army, bringing them safely to Corunna over 250 miles of wild country in mid-winter. It was like Dunkirk in 1940. The army was thus delivered from the overwhelming 'blitzkrieg' unleashed by Napoleon, and was soon back in the Peninsula under Wellington. But Anstruther died the day after reaching Corunna, and Sir John Moore, the Commander-in-Chief, was killed four days later, and buried alongside him.

'Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,' according to the echoing verse of the Rev. Charles Wolfe, who ended:

'We carved not a line and we raised not a stone, But we left him alone with his glory.'

They were not alone. One monument went up over them both on the rampart of the citadel at Corunna. Their best monument is the recollection of those far-off days when, like Nelson, they died thanking God they had done their duty.

Hintlesham and Aldham - 1825.  The Anstruthers' eldest son succeeded to the family baronetcy in Scotland. It was their second son, James Hamilton Lloyd-Anstruther, who at 31 in 1837, inherited Hintlesham from his mother's first cousin Harriot (sic). Next year, he married Georgiana Charlotte Burrell. They were succeeded at Hintlesham in 1882 by their son Robert Hamilton Lloyd-Anstruther, Lieutenant-Colonel in the Rifle Brigade, and M.P. for south-east Suffolk from 1886 to 1892, the years of Lord Salisbury's prime, Randolph Churchill's debacle, the partition of Africa, the Queen's Golden Jubilee, and the wreck of the Irish hopes upon the adultery of Parnell with Mrs O'Shea.

Colonel Robert Hamilton Lloyd-Anstruther married a FitzRoy. His heir married in 1898, and assumed his wife's name (Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe) by Royal Licence in 1910. (He was created a baronet in 1929). His change of name presumably signified disapproval of his father's conduct. The previous years, 1908-9, his father, the Colonel, had sold Hintlesham and its contents.

Hintlesham - 1908.  Simon Dewes (whose real name was John Muriel) was the son of the doctor of nearby Hadleigh, brought up there during the First World War, and his book of reminiscences, A Suffolk Childhood, first published in 1959, is one of the most delightful and moving books of its kind. His chapter on Hintlesham goes straight to the point:

'The last people of the 'old aristocracy' to live in Hintlesham Hall had been the three Miss Lloyds. They were just before my time, but they were the children of old Colonel Anstruther by his cook. He left the Hall and a very considerable sum of money to them. Anstruther-Wilkinson (Hintlesham's rector 1900-1924) was a cousin of theirs and a nephew of the former rector (Mr Deane) whose sister Lottie continued to live on in an inconvenient little house (Mill House).'

Her brother was the third consecutive rector named Deane: the first, the Rev. W.H. Deane, rector 1822-1854, had married an Elizabeth Christian Anstruther, a daughter of the general who died at Corunna. Through Simon Dewes, Miss Lottie (Charlotte Emily) Deane, who died at Hintlesham in November 1928 aged 86, is revealed to us as the liveliest of all the Hintlesham Lloyds.

'When I knew Miss Dean, she was very, very old. She had a maid named Ellen, who, for years, went without teeth. When Mr Payne James, the dentist, went to live at Hyntle Place, he put some teeth in Nellie's mouth, and in no time she was engaged. Miss Deane was delighted at Nellie's good luck but horrified at the thought of losing her. The solution was reached by Nellie's husband coming to live in Miss Deane's house.

'The other residents were Nora, the donkey, and Major Stukley, Miss Deane's nephew, who came for a fortnight and stayed for years.

'Nora was no figure-head donkey. She was a working donkey for Miss Deane drove out in her donkey chaise every afternoon. As she had no coachman, she unashamedly kept one of the village children away from school, and he trudged along beside Nora, beating her rhythmically with a little switch, while Miss Deane rode in state in the chaise. If the donkey-boy stopped whacking Nora, even for a minute, Nora stopped dead and had to be dragged by her bridle into a walk again... When nearly ninety, Miss Deane was still holding up Lady Ryan's Rolls Royce, Sir William Burton's hunters, and the Eastern Counties Bus Services as she drove along on the crown of the road in her donkey chaise, drawn by the reluctant Nora. When Miss Dean drove out in the afternoon she wore all her jewels ...

'Major Stukley was the other member of her household: and there is no doubt that Miss Deane knew that Ma]or Stukley was one of the greatest drinkers ever known in those parts. But never, never did she admit it.... When her nephew disappeared for a week at a time and was lying-out in some rather disreputable village pub, Miss Deane said he had gone on a walking tour. In that way, she was not expected to know when he would come home. When he fell down in the street on the way home from a session, she said it was his malaria. When he did not turn up for meals, he was off-colour. And when Roger Southgate, the publican, brought his watch back and demanded two pounds which he had lent on it, Miss Deane gave him the two pounds as a reward for finding it.

'Sometime later, Major Stukley disappeared, no one knew where. A party from Hintlesham visited the Wembley exhibition, and there was the unfortunate Major taking the sixpences at the turnstile. It was like a reunion of old friends, and the queue waiting for admission grew longer and more impatient. When the Hintlesham people got back to their parish, one of them, who should have known better, told Miss Deane he had met the Major taking sixpences at the Exhibition. The old lady never faltered, though it must have been a great shock to her. "Yes", she said, "he took up a Directorship and he has always made it a point to know every business from every angle." She and Nora died in the same week.'

For Hintlesham, it was the end of an era.

TWENTIETH-CENTURY OWNERS OF THE HALL  -  Whatever the reason, the estate was divided and sold in 1909. The Hall, park and manor were bought by another baronet, Sir Gerald Ryan, who with my old friend Lilian Redstone wrote a very scholarly book, Timperley of Hintlesham, in 1931. When he died the Hall became the home of Mr Anthony Stokes, a director of the big Ipswich engineering firm, Ransome & Rapier, whose brother Dick was chairman and managing director, Labour M.P. for Ipswich during World War II, and a Privy Councillor. Anthony Stokes established a rather eccentric little music festival at the Hall, with an amphitheatre on the site of the present fine pond. Much of its charm rested on an element the unexpected, but the frolics were very much enjoyed, especially by him.

During the 2nd World War, he moved into Rose Cottage and the Red Cross took over the Hall. Under Matron Hunter and her V.A.D. nurses, it became a convalescent home. In the grounds, convalescing servicemen, in their standard light-blue suits and red ties, provided at once a cheerful and melancholy sight to passers-by.

The Long Gallery which served as a hospital ward in World War II.

When Anthony Stokes died, the Hall stood empty, and the county planning committee were reduced to allowing the sale of some of the park for farmland, and wondering whether anyone would ever come forward to take on the house.

In 1972, Robert Carrier, the prestigious food and cookery writer, saw it, bought it, and undertook the considerable rehabilitation of the fabric. In particular, very hefty iron bracing was needed to stop the spreading of the south-wing walls, which was in turn causing the famous plasterwork ceiling to sag, there was a real risk that it would collapse completely. In just ten years, he gave the house an international reputation, and after a very lively decade, he sold.

Ruth and David Watson took on the tradition of superlatively good cooking, and added to it all the comforts of a distinguished and utterly delightful hotel. All the rooms, including the attics and the first floor of the north wing, which had been left untouched and semi-derelict since Victorian times, were restored. Once more, the Hall seemed like a country house - a large friendly family house - and not just for week-ending. Hosts and staff were welcoming, attentive and efficient. The house itself had never felt happier, even when young Thomas Gainsborough walked over from Ipswich to paint Heneage Lloyd and his brother and sisters.

HINTLESHAM CHURCH: ST NICHOLAS  -  Hintlesham's church, probably wooden, was already recorded, as were over four hundred of Suffolk's medieval churches, in the Domesday Book of 1086. The village congregation of the sixteenth rind seventeenth centuries must have experienced unusual degrees of tension as between popery, puritanism and moderate anglicanism.

We pass the old yews and limes of the churchyard, and the timber south porch, and enter the church cautiously, wondering if much of this tension has left its mark. Down two steps, we find ourselves on the homely brick farmhouse floor, in a church with a very welcoming feel, not too spruced up, very seemly. 'Though much is taken, much abides.' Notice the obvious antiquity of the masonry: the aisle-arcades on alternate round and octagonal piers have stood fast since the thirteenth century, heedless of the East Anglian earthquake of April 1884, that shattered the Elizabethan chimney-stack of the saloon up at the Hall. The chance! and nave are continuous, on the same level: there is no suggestion of a rise in the chancel. That suggests a very low' church! There are clear signs that the large rood-stair led up from the east side on to the rood- loft, where the carving of Christ's crucifixion stood until it was abolished by the puritans. In patches on the nave's north wall, the whitewash with which they protected themselves from seeing the 'superstitious' pictures of Bible stories and legends of the saints, has receded to give glimpses of the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries' scheme of decoration. As you step in through the south doorway, you face St Christopher's right leg alongside a very lively flat-fish as the (invisible) rest of him carries Christ across the stream on his shoulders. One might have thought that travellers need the moral support of that saint more today than ever.
           
Next to the ancient vestry door, an incised slab says: 'Here lieth interred the body of Captain John Timperley Esq.'. He is dressed in early seventeenth-century armour, home from fighting in Europe, on the Catholic side. He died in 1629 after a skirmish at Martlesham near Woodbridge, in which he was acting second to a friend in a duel. His Oxfordshire wife caused this memorial to be inscribed: 'Too little to express either his desert or her affection ...

CHRONOLOGY
HENRY VI   
1454 - John Timperley I bought the main Hintlesham manor from Sir John Fortescue, a famous judge who had held it only six years. The Timperleys held it till 1720.
RICHARD III
HENRY VII
1483 - Richard III created John Howard, of nearby Stoke-by-Nayland, the first of the Howard Dukes of Norfolk. He was slain two years later, fighting on the wrong side at the Battle of Bosworth.
HENRY VIII
1513 - Battle of Flodden.
1514 - Thomas Howard (1443 - 1524) created 2nd Duke of Norfolk after his part at Flodden.
1523 -  William Timperley married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke.
ELIZABETH I
c.1575-1579 - Their son, Thomas Timperley I (c.1524-1594) was Controller of the Household to Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk (who was executed in 1572). As members of the Howard household, the Timperley family would have rebuilt Hintlesham Hall in c.1578 as a more permanent home after the disgrace of the Howards.
JAMES I
1608  -  Thomas Timperley I married c.1558 Ethelreda Hare and their son (who had nine sisters) was the first member of the family convicted of Catholic recusancy.
CHARLES II
c.1660 -  Timperleys began mortgaging estates to support relatives in Roman Catholic communities abroad.
JAMES II
c.1686 - Henry Timperley II married Susanna, daughter of Sir John Sparrow, Clerk of the Green Cloth and Cofferer to King James II in exile at St. Germain. Henry and Susanna built grand new apartments in the south wing at Hintlesham before they left England c.1689.
WILLIAM AND MARY
1690 - Henry Timperley III, born in France after his father's death.
ANNE
1711 - Henry Timperley III married Ethelreda, daughter of Sir William Mannock of Stoke-by-Nayland (Gifford's Hall). She died before 1714. Henry, childless began dispersal of Timperley Estates.
GEORGE I
1720 -  Henry sold Hintlesham to Richard Powys, a Principal Clerk of the Treasury, who began improvements to the house.
1724  -  His son, Richard Powys II, succeeded and began an expensive conversion of Hintlesham Hall that cost him his fortune.
GEORGE II
1747  -  Hintlesham bought by Richard Lloyd who became Solicitor-General.
VICTORIA
1837  -  James Hamilton Lloyd-Anstruther inherited Hintlesham Hall.
EDWARD VII
1882 1909  -  Colonel Robert Hamilton Lloyd-Anstruther succeeded to Hintlesham; he sold it to Sir Gerald Ryan, Bt.
GEORGE VI
1939  -  Mr Anthony Stokes bought the Hall. During World War II it was a Red Cross Hospital.
ELIZABETH II
1972  -  Robert Carrier bought Hintlesham Hall and restored it. He ran it as a flourishing restaurant and cookery school.
1984  -  David & Ruth Watson were the next owners for a period of six years during which they applied great imagination and skill to the establishment of hotel business.
1990  -  David Allan bought the Hall and commenced a period of major improvements. A dramatic new clubhouse was built in 1991, winning a national architectural award, to serve the excellent golf course which lies adjacent to the Hall. The year 2000 saw the opening of "Hintlesham Health and Fitness". These modern additions enhance the business necessary to preserve and constantly refurbish the fabric of the Hall without impinging on it's integrity as a Great House.
2003  -  In October 2003, Dee Ludlow purchased the Hall together with its hotel, restaurant and health club.  A well known and professional hotelier with over thirty years' experience in hotel management, particularly in several prestigious London properties.

The Hall's reception and dining rooms have now been refurbished to reflect their original grandeur, especially the impressive Grand Salon which has had the magnificent chandelier and Gold Leaf rose restored.

Hintlesham is just a few minutes' drive from the A14 and A12 trunk roads.
The drive from the M25 at Junction 28 takes about 50 minutes.
The train journey from London (Liverpool Street) takes 65 minutes with a short taxi ride to follow.
Stansted Airport is an hour away and the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich are just 25 and 40 minutes by road respectively.  Hintlesham Hall is extremely well placed for exploring Suffolk's delightfully unspoilt 16th century wool merchants' villages, its pretty river estuaries and 'Constable Country'. Newmarket racecourse and the coastal town of Aldeburgh, famous for its music festival, are within easy reach, as are Long Melford and Woodbridge, with their numerous antique shops. Cambridge, with its magnificent university architecture, and the cathedral city of Norwich are a comfortable drive away. Hintlesham Hall also offers a perfect retreat for those who wish to go nowhere at all.

Directions - Travelling north-east on the A12, proceed towards Ipswich town centre at the A12/A14 interchange roundabout. Turn left at the second set of traffic lights onto the A1071. Continue over the next roundabout and you will enter Hintlesham village after about two miles. The entrance to the Hall is just past the church on the right-hand side.  Travelling south-east on the A14, take the Great Blakenham exit (B1113) and turn right towards Sproughton. Continue straight on and through Sproughton. At the next roundabout turn right onto the A1071 and enter Hintlesham as above.

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