Need A Mini-Break Hideaway Close To London? We've Got Just The Place

Need A Mini-Break Hideaway Close To London? We've Got Just The Place

Surrounded by chocolate box countryside just 20 minutes' drive from the edge of London, Stoke Place is the perfect way to escape the Big Smoke.

So what's the vibe?

You know that grand Georgian pile Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant zip away to on a minibreak in Bridget Jones's Diary? The one where they read each other poetry in the duck pond? Stoke Place has just the same feel, with its pretty architecture and wide sweeping lawns. There's even a pond filled with (very noisy) geese. Just make sure you go with a Mr Darcy not a Daniel Cleaver.

What's it like inside?

Think chintz-free modern country chic. The wood panelling in the hallway has been amped up with Farrow and Ball blue and The Garden Bar - designed by Ilse Crawford - is a cool mash-up of giant canary yellow floor lamps, mid-century furniture and cricket bats mounted on the walls.

Are the rooms nice?

Very. Those big Georgian windows make them feel spacious and grand. The Junior Suites have free-standing baths where you can soak with a glass of wine and look out on the lawn like you're lady of the manor.

What's on the menu?

The hotel's newly opened Seasons restaurant offers both a la carte and tasting menus. We recommend going with the tasting option, a bite-by-bite marathon of British cuisine with an updated twist. The beer glazed roast Cotswold chicken with salt baked turnip was a particular highlight. Though word to the wise, the glasses of wine that arrive with each course are generously poured (more of a gulp than a taste) and you'll get a bit sozzled if you attempt to finish them all off.

Where can we go for a post-dinner sharpener?

Provided you've heeded the advice above, you can head to The Garden Bar for an after-dinner whisky.

What else is there to do?

Hire a bike and go for a spin in the local countryside or potter down to the lake for a picnic ordered from the hotel's special picnic menu. These come in beautiful wicker hampers with both savoury and sweet goodies, like a cream tea with scones, clotted cream, jam and champagne. If you want a beauty treatment the hotel offers in-room facials or massages from its team of Flutterby therapists. Though you probably won't need any help relaxing.


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