What: After what has been quite a stressful few last weeks, I was in need of a weekend away. A weekend out of London, where I could wake up and breathe in air that wasn’t polluted and I could look out across rolling hills and fields, not my next neighbour’s slightly greying underwear which seems to be perpetually on the washing line. I decided to head over to Tewkesbury Park, a hotel sitting in 163 acres of beautiful parkland overlooking the famous site of the 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury. It’s got an enviable position, on the doorstep of the historic town of Tewkesbury and between two areas of outstanding natural beauty: the Cotswolds and the Malvern Hills, making it perfect for long autumnal walks, which beats traipsing around London’s parks.
New? Whilst the hotel isn’t new it has recently had an extensive £9 million renovation which saw the arrival of nine suites, an orangery, cocktail lounge and two spa rooms.
Where: On the edge of the Cotswolds, you’ll find Tewkesbury Park at Lincoln Green Lane, Tewkesbury, GL20 7DN, www.tewkesburypark.co.uk
Rooms: Rooms range from cosy ‘Just Right’ rooms with Nespresso machines, White Company toiletries and Grohe rain showers up to the Opulence Suites with King or Super King beds, views out across the parkland and roll top free-standing copper baths. All rooms come with 40 -inch flat screen TVs and Hypnos beds, which could easily win the award of the most comfortable bed. After a day walking, fresh air, swimming and a couple of G&Ts you’re guaranteed to get that good night’s sleep you’ve been yearning for. Despite a wedding taking place the rooms were wonderfully quiet and they benefitted from extra little touches, like hot water bottles, tweed cushions, relaxing pillow sprays and fresh milk. It might be a small point but having fresh milk ready in the fridge, rather than having to call down, is a massive tick in my book.
Restaurant: The restaurant has seen a new orangery added to it, the rest is yet to be refurbished but will be soon, currently it’s a little out of date, think slightly garish carpets and beige tones, but once it’s finished it’ll be in keeping with the sage and blue tones of the orangery. It’s a popular spot, not just with guests there were plenty of locals and those who had been for a day’s golf. The menu is full of local and British ingredients, there was a particularly good dish of Grafton Farm braised shoulder of lamb with crispy polenta, root vegetables and lamb jus and if you like truffle then make sure you order the chicken with braised leeks, wild mushroom, tortellini and summer truffle sauce. You’ll also find Cerney Ash goat’s cheese, easily recognisable from its distinctive coat of ash and sea salt, it’s one of my favourites and not just because I’m from the Cotswolds and I’m biased. When we visited it was the star of the cheese board and also the key ingredient in a starter with a basil sorbet and heritage tomatoes. Since we’ve been they’ve updated the pudding menu to include a sticky toffee pudding, an indulgent, comfort was missing when we went, so I’m glad to see now the weather is getting colder they have one. The breakfast is just as good, it’s a veritable feast of pastries, granolas, cakes, fruit, cheeses, meats and cooked items.
Things to Do: The obvious thing to do at Tewkesbury Park is of course play golf, within the grounds you’ll find an 18-hole par 73 golf course. But if teeing off isn’t your thing then you can just walk around the course, they give you handy illustrated maps which take you past the sites of medieval battles and along the River Severn. Back at the hotel you’ll also find squash and tennis courts, bikes for hire, a gym, swimming pool with sauna, steam room and an out-door hot tub and a spa. A new addition to the hotel the spa has partnered with the Natural Spa Factory of Bath to offer naturally-inspired and chemical-free bespoke treatments. If, like me, your back is as tense, from that innate low level of anger present in most Londoners that is just waiting to erupt at any moment when someone cuts you up on the street or stands on the wrong side of the escalator then you need to go for a deep tissue massage. My therapist might have been slight, but she was impressively strong. I was pummelled, massaged and stretched for an hour to relieve all the muscle tension and the stubborn knots, which as the therapist told the others outside I was in desperate need of. I left feeling lighter and without my shoulders up around my ears.
Go For: As well as visiting to play golf, the hotel’s location makes it ideal as a base for getting out and walking through the Malvern Hills and the rolling fields of the Cotswolds. It’s also a short walk from the historic town of Tewkesbury. A visit to the abbey is a must and the heritage centre will tell you more about the medieval history, otherwise you can spend the afternoon (well maybe an hour or two it’s quite small) wandering along the river, through the secret alleyways and cosying up in the abundance of tea rooms with the coach tourists.
The hotel is also clearly popular for weddings, there were two wedding parties when we visited, one who had been married in the new function room The Cotswold Suite (which has a wedding license and its own private terrace and conservatory) and one party who were spending the day after their wedding having a spa and golf day.
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