To the Manor Born
I’m in the mood for English countryside. It’s a lucky coincidence that the Cotswold-based Manor House Hotel has just been awarded five black stars in the AA Hotel ratings. Time to dust off the tweed flat cap and get up to some clodhopping capers in a rather splendid rural retreat.
On the southern edge of the Cotswolds, just a short drive from (the World Heritage Site of) Bath, The Manor House Hotel is the very model of cosiness and elegance teamed with rustic pomp and elan.
Originally built to replace a Norman Castle that had fallen into a state beyond repair, the 14th century estate has been the abode of many Lords of the Manor – one of whom is believed to be medieval knight Sir John Falstaff, as immortalised by Shakespeare in Henry IV. The house nestles in 365 acres of Wiltshire countryside, stuffed with sumptuous bedrooms, individually designed mews cottages and leathery fireside settings.
More awards than you can shake a stick at, the hotel has been in receipt of countless accolades ranging from the Tea Guild Award of Excellence, the AA Small Hotel Group of the Year, the Notable Wine List in the AA hospitality awards, to a Michelin Star for Executive Chef Richard Davies and his team at the Bybrook Restaurant.
All the ingredients for a diverting weekend of outlandish Pride and Prejudice-themed adventure are here. You can take a jaunt into the 17th century chocolate box village of Castle Combe, visit the Cheltenham Festival (the shining jewel in Jump racing’s crown), or the Beaufort Polo Club – home to the famous Tomlinson polo dynasty and host to the first Audi England International match of the summer.
Add on a game of golf on the award-winning course, a thrill-seeking drive around one of the longest established race circuits in the UK and a frivolous session at the Thermae Bath Spa, and you’ll be feeling more landed gentry than Mr Darcy let loose in a candlelit ballroom. You’ll probably come away with a belly-full of local beer and maybe even a desire to elope with bustled and buxom woman of means.