When you first visit London it’s the most incredible experience. In awe of your surroundings, the city’s history fills the air and gracefully reveals itself in the weathered stone and antique detailing of the Victorian architecture. Heythrop Park Resort encapsulates this historic beauty, transforming an 18th century country estate into the most romantic getaway!
Nestled in the north-east corner of The Cotswolds in the Oxfordshire countryside, Heythrop Park Resort sits on 440 acres with a 1710 Mansion at its epicentre. Designed by architect, Thomas Archer for Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, the mansion served various occupants since its foundation. From a residence to a tertiary education college and a training and conference centre used by Westminster Bank, Heythrop Park has been welcoming guests as a hotel since 1999. Although a more modern Crown Plaza has been added during a 2010 refurbishment, the antiquity of the mansion has not been diminished. And with an 18 hole golf course, spa, health club, bars and restaurants on site, there’s everything you need for the perfect weekend getaway.
Although technically called a power house or stately home, in my opinion, Heythrop Park Resort is a fricking castle! Perfectly symmetrical, four giant stone pillars guard the front door which is centred in the middle of the mansion’s façade. Two rows of giant sash windows with embellished cornices emphasize the extreme size of the building, while a decorative parapet borders the rooftop parameter, and multiple chimneys preserve the proportioned architectural aesthetic. Stepping through the heavy double doors and into the hotel lobby, the enormous stone columns, archways and staircase entrance have described as reminiscent of a courtyard of a Renaissance palazzo. Before you even get to the check-in desk, your mind has officially been blown!
When staying at Heythrop Park Resort, I would only recommend staying in the mansion house; this is because the grandeur and authenticity of the estate is what makes Heythrop so special. The mansion house is presented in its original state with 18th century furniture and décor, and the 17 bedrooms are authentically decorated with floral wallpaper, floor-to-ceiling drapery, ornate fixtures and lighting, and roll-top baths. A select few bedrooms even have four-post beds, a fireplace and a stately lounge setting. You truly feel like you could be staying in one of the rooms at Buckingham Palace!
How to spend your weekend at Heythrop Park Resort:
- After a wonderful night’s sleep in your stately bedroom and a delicious buffet breakfast, send the hubby off to play a round of golf while you enjoy the health club and spa. The health club has a pool, sauna and steam room, and if you’re looking to really treat yourself, I’d recommend a ESPA facial at the spa (but be warned, they book out fast, so be sure to reserve your treatment early!).
- When you’re feeling completely relaxed, sink into one of the opulent lounges of my favourite room in the mansion; the Wedgewood Lounge. Looking out onto the pristinely manicured gardens, enjoy a traditional English Afternoon Tea beneath the tiffany-blue ceiling and a luxurious eight-arm chandelier.
- Venture back up the mansions grand stone staircase to your room for a much-deserved soak in your roll-top bath and maybe a little cat nap before you pamper yourself for a romantic evening meal.
- Book a table at The Brassey Restaurant which is located in the Crown Plaza quarters of the resort. The restaurant has a much more contemporary, funky décor but the food is traditional, English country cuisine utilising produce grown on the Heythrop grounds or sourced from local farmers. The artisan bread board with olive oil and balsamic dip is always a winner but the Parma Ham starter won’t disappoint! For mains, I recommend the Confit Pork Belly which is super tasty and accompanied by mash potato, greens and a delicious confit red cabbage, as well as the only reason anyone gets pork, crackling! For dessert, you can’t go past the cheese board which has a unique selection of scrumptious local cheeses, including Gloucester and Red Leicester.
- Before you head home the next day, take a walk around some of the 440 acres of magnificent ferme ornèe, meaning ‘ornamented farm’. The landscape has been planned and manicured for aesthetic purposes with detailed hedging and luscious, leafy trees, while part of the grounds are used for farming. During your walk, you’ll most certainly be joined by some of the locals, including squirrels, rabbits and pheasants.
Heythrop Park Resort not only provides a glamorous stay in a stately, country mansion but also does so at a very reasonable price! The hotel packages are most certainly the way to go such as the Stay, Wine & Dine for £139 for 2 (plus a mansion house upgrade), or the His & Hers Golf/Spa Getaway from £139 per person (plus a mansion house upgrade).
If you’re looking to explore a little more of The Cotswolds during your stay, take a quick look at my ‘A weekend in: The Cotswolds’ blog which reveals all the must-visit destinations of the quaint English countryside!