Hampton Manor is a family run passion-driven hotel situated in the heart of England. This historic Manor built in 1855 is set in a 45-acre estate in the West midlands and recently launched as a design-centered restaurant with rooms.
The former estate of Sir Robert Peel, Hampton Manor launched in 2010 and celebrates the best in British craftsmanship while paying homage to the building’s 19th century history and has since won a pride of awards.
Arriving on a train from London to Hampton in Arden, I made my way on foot to the hotel. As soon as I stepped into the grand foyer, I instantly felt at home, almost as if I was stepping into my own manor, a feeling that the team hope to inspire via marriage of a homegrown ethos and the spirit of family and community.
Hampton Manor is a perfectly welcoming hotel, boasting a team of staff who are friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. After check-in I was shown to a comfortable space in the foyer while I waited for a cool drink. Built in the time of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, great attention, creativity and care has been poured into the design of the hotel. There is a serene creative ambience and a nod to Mid-Century Modern design.
The Rooms at Hampton Manor
Steeped in history, the team has looked to the Manor’s past to design the 15 Arts and Crafts inspired bedrooms named after someone who once owned the estate, from queens to musicians including Robert Peel, Ardene and Lord Mowbray. The rooms have been individually designed to reflect the hotel’s ongoing love affair with Morris and his nature-inspired patterns, brought to life in Morris & Co. wallpapers and fabrics. Innovative touches such as ladder bookshelves, commissioned furnishings and accessories from handpicked artists and makers, provide a unique identity for each room. The feature rooms all have big baths and separate showers.
Upon entering my room, George Fentham, I was greeted with a sumptuous lounge space and large bay window that overlooked the gardens, a huge bed to sink into and a large airy bathroom - perfect for endless hours of pampering. The extra touches in the bedroom were very welcoming, from the warm homemade cookies, fresh Has Bean coffee to grind and 100 Acres Apothecary toiletries, sourced locally.
Dine in Michelin-starred Peel’s
Peel's Restaurant won its first Michelin Star in October 2016 and it has also received its fourth AA-Rosette under current Head Chef Rob Palmer who sources the best seasonal, British produce and cooks it using modern techniques, putting the Manor on the map of Britain’s leading culinary hotels.
The collective feeling of the Manor is realised in the restaurant; at its centre a new oak dining table by revered local carpenter William Self, surrounded by dining tables, allowing parties to share a space yet maintain privacy in this comfortable wood panelled dining room.
Dinner begins with pre-dinner drinks served by the Makers Table or outside overlooking the hotel’s grounds. Both spaces are warmly informal and invite you to meet fellow diners or interact with the team and find out about the locally sourced sprits and wines.
Peel’s offers four or seven course tasting menus with each dish focused on just three main ingredients, giving them an honest simplicity. After an aperitif in the garden, I took my place in the comfortable dining room and enjoyed the seven course-tasting menu, each paired with a wine flight. The most memorable being the Duck Liver with Blackcurrant and Brioche, served with a Ramoro, Pinot Grigio Italy, an orange wine that ignited the flavours of the fruit and blurs the boundary between white and red, a truly adventurous taste. While the Smoked Eel with Kohlrabi and Samphire deals a fresh smokiness, perfectly teamed with the Kisi Amber, Pheasants Tears, Georgia - a smokey, mineral wine from Georgia that perfectly marries the smokiness of the course. A pairing that may just bring tears of joy for some. Two delectable sweet dishes rounded up the seven courses. I enjoyed the Raspberry with Skyr and Elderflower teamed with Antica Formula, Carpano - sweet vermouth and the Chocolate with Sherry and Vanilla teamed with Banyuls, France. An exceptional dining experience sealed by the knowledgeable and agreeable team and the head sommelier.
Guests looking for an extra special stay can experience The Tasting Room - the most sought after house in the table where in the comfort of a private dining room guests can be at the heart of the action while they watch the chefs at work.
The hotel also serves a fresh continental breakfast with warm dishes to order on request. I was shown to a seat in the gorgeous wooded panel dining room and tucked into a selection of cold fruits, yoghurt and ordered the classic cooked salmon and Eggs Benedict.
The wine and cocktails
The wine and Champagne list boasts natural, organic, and biodynamic wines and 25 Champagnes, 15 of those vintage, carefully selected by our Sommelier and Wine Director. Most of the wines on offer are made by small independent winemakers of England and Wales who know that healthy grapes make delicious wine.
The creative drinks team led by Luik have created a fresh and fun cocktail menu that contextualises the Manor and its love affair with William Morris. It’s not a secret, it is painted all over the walls, while the cocktail list celebrates his life’s poems and prints through the complete art of cocktail making. Dabble in a pre-dinner cocktail The Red House a marital mix of rhubarb gin ginger hibiscus and lime or the Icelandic Saga - a smokey concoction of Icelandic vodka, Reyna, smoke, or great, herbs from the garden and saffron.
Afternoon tea for foodies
The Manor offers afternoon tea but not as you know it - it's an afternoon tea fit for foodies. Hosted in the Parlour, Head Chef Rob has imagined his tasting menus for the afternoon; ‘Crab, XO Sauce’ and ‘Middle Pork, Black Pudding’ make way for ‘Chocolate, Sherry’ and ‘Parsnip, Whisky Raisin, Arlette’.
Hampton Manor invites guests to unwind with a selection of aromatherapy massages, facials and reflexology treatments at the Pamper Rooms, perfectly situated a short walk from the hotel and nestled in woodland.
Explore the estate
Wander Down to the Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden. First completed in 1891, this charming plot will soon become home to Peel’s Restaurant’s seasonal friends: beetroot, carrot, asparagus and tomato. Herbs are developed to garnish Loic’s cocktail creations, and hives erected to house the Manor’s honey bees. If it’s a little windy and wet outdoors, the hotel provides wellington boots & umbrellas.
Hampton Manor invites you to ‘share, taste and storytell’ , of which you will be sure to do at this fabulous hotel.
Rooms priced from £150 per night / £180 with breakfast. Tasting menus are priced as 4 courses (£75) and 7 courses (£95) available with wine flights also available at respectively £55 and £75 (Tuesday to Saturday 6:30pm - 9pm).
Hampton Manor is easy to reach from London. London Midland trains serve Hampton-in-Arden in 2 hours and then it is a 10-minute walk from the station. From Birmingham it is a 12-minute train journey.
A summary of our stay at Hampton Manor
A luxury stately home for hire in Devon that will make you feel like a lady or lord of the manor...
It was a chilly weekend in March when we trundled out of Paddington station down to Tiverton Parkway to spend a weekend at Huntsham Court, a glorious award-winning Baronial Mansion situated in the rolling Devon countryside on the borders of Exmoor National Park.
Now celebrating her 150th birthday, Huntsham has been given a new lease of life by her latest owners who have filled the property with stunning home furnishings and art, as well as personality and lashings of love. Restoring it to its former glory could have been no mean feat and yet the house feels as though it could have been in its current welcoming state forever.
With 35 bedrooms sleeping up to 85 people, it makes an ideal event venue, however, this isn’t your usual party pad. Although it’s packed with period character and oozing sophistication from every nook and cranny, it is essentially the ultimate home away from home (though potentially slightly larger than your actual home) … With weekend and weekday bookings available, guests can choose to go completely self-catered or opt for the fully staffed silver service with staff being as hands-on or hands-off as you please, meaning it’s perfectly possible to have the run of the house and play host for the weekend (i.e. pretend it is actually yours). What’s more, the owners have carefully handpicked a network of local suppliers in the years they’ve been there, so whether you’re looking for a catered curry night for a weekend with friends, or a full-on wedding banquet for 130 people with flowers, entertainment, activities, hair and make-up or on-site spa treatments, it can be all be arranged, though of course clients can (and do) also bring their own trusted suppliers.
Upon arrival our bags were whisked upstairs and as I swept down the staircase bedecked in black-tie finery with a glass of champagne in hand on my way to join fellow guests for a celebratory dinner to mark 150 years, it’s easy to see why I fell in love with this grand dame of country houses.
The spectacular dinner catered by Peter Mundy was the perfect opportunity to show off the Tapestry Dining Room to its full potential; sparkling under the light of dozens of candles, parties like that are what the room was meant for. We cavorted into the wee hours, indulging in piano-side singalongs and barricading ourselves into the Snug Bar as one by one the house’s guests tiptoed off to bed, those remaining wanting to squeeze every last moment of magic out of our weekend in this marvelous house.
For such a gargantuan property it’s incredibly cosy; from the roaring log fires to the library full of boxes, the shelves stacked with board games to the all-day help-yourself butler’s pantry fully stocked with snacks, it’s begging to welcome you at the turn of every door handle.
Each of the 35 bedrooms has its own distinct personality, from sumptuous Victorian-style rooms on the first floors, resplendent with romantic four poster beds, roll top bathtubs and views out across the five-acre private gardens, to spacious rooms in the attic with their own special homely touches. There’s even a dormitory-style space in the eaves, with a row of beds just begging for a party of bridesmaids or a gaggle of teens to throw a slumber party up there. One can only imagine the fun that would be had filling such a property with friends and family for a special occasion.
It’s impossible to be bored at Huntsham Court, even when spending an afternoon indoors. Whether curling up on the Snug Bar sofa watching the rugby, G&T in hand with the Saturday papers, pouring over the plentiful tomes in the library, nailing your rivals at chess or tinkling the ivories of the Great Hall’s baby grand, there’s more than enough to keep guests entertained.
Local entertainment - Clay pigeon shooting at the Shaldon Shooting School
The morning after our arrival, we enjoyed a hearty cooked breakfast buffet in the extraordinary Tapestry Dining Room and with bellies full, we prepared for a day of clay pigeon shooting. With snow forecasted for the day, we wrapped up warm in all the layers we could find and headed to the Shaldon Shooting School, one of several local activities the Huntsham Court team are able to arrange for you and your guests. Fun as it was busting some clays (and narrowly missing a pheasant) we were relieved when they called time on our efforts, given the mercury continued to plummet while the snow pelted down in flurries.
Enjoy a spot of lunch in Bampton
If you can pry yourself away from the house, head to the nearby village of Bampton. Here you’ll find The Ginger Peanut, a local restaurant with rooms from chef Peter Mundy, which is striving to become the best restaurant in Devon. The Ginger Peanut may be small but it’s dishes are big on taste, with every dish focusing on fine, locally-sourced ingredients served in a relaxed restaurant. With an enviable wine list and an impressive offering of gins it would be all too easy to while away an evening stuffing oneself silly with Peter’s mouthwatering fare before retiring upstairs to one’s chambers.
During our visit we dined on a veritable feast, a shared platter of starters boasting a sumptuous deep fried poached duck egg with pancetta; baby fennel and butter dressing; Portuguese-style pan-fried sardines with crispy shallots; ham hock ballotine with pickled carrots; Welsh rarebit toasts and curried dressing and a beetroot salad with candied walnuts; blue cheese mousse and balsamic dressing. My chosen main of a potato gnocchi filled with pesto, wild mushrooms, sun blush tomatoes, courgettes and white wine was a hearty bowl of comfort - just the ticket given the weather outside. The appreciative sounds emanating from every corner of the dining room however would imply that the pan-fried venison loin, rump of lamb, fillet of sea trout and 28 day matured Himalayan salt-aged rib eyes were all deemed more than satisfactory also.
This is a house that’s built for entertaining, a place that manages to feel both grand and lavish while also incredibly cosy and welcoming; I imagine even when packed to the rafters with guests it still wouldn’t feel imposing. There is a wealth of options when it comes to booking dependent on how many rooms you want and the level of board, but with prices akin to a three-star B&B for what is a five-star experience like no other with the chance to be your own Lord or Lady of the manor, Huntsham Court should be top of your list.
Prices from £127 pp per night (based on full hire of all 35 bedrooms for a two-night midweek dry hire).
A summary of our stay at Huntsham Court
One of the benefits of living in London is that it has a plethora of divine country escapes on its doorstep, with a host of welcoming hotels mere minutes from the city centre.
Down Hall is one of them. Just 45 minutes on the train from Liverpool Street and a short 10 minute text from Bishop’s Stortford, this 14th century country house features contemporary bedrooms, a brand new spa and a AA Rosette awarded restaurant. If you need an idyllic country escape from London, you’ve found it.
With 99 bedrooms, each individually designed to reflect the elegance and character of the historic property, the hotel feels much smaller than it actually is. The main lounge, with its open fire and elegant sofas, is the perfect space to take afternoon tea, or just curl up with a book, while the cocktail bar, adjacent to The Grill Room restaurant, overlooks 110 acres of gardens and woodland the hotel is set in; calling out for a leisurely afternoon stroll in the sunshine.
If, however the idea of being sociable and active is too much, fear not, as the newly-opened Eden Spa offers a hydrotherapy pool, mood lit sauna with full height timber cladding and tiered seating and a state of the art steam room with starry night feature lighting. Is there anything more satisfying than a spa circuit? If it all gets a bit much, there’s also a relaxation room to chill in pre or post, though it could do with some blankets to up the cosiness.
It would be foolish not to indulge in a spa treatment while you’re there, especially as there are four brand new treatment rooms - including one double - and ESPA products. The hot stone massage comes highly recommended; I’d never tried one before but can confirm it was even more relaxing and satisfying than a classic aromatherapy or Swedish.
After floating back to one’s room on a cloud of massage-induced bliss, room service may tempting option, but you’ll want to drag yourself down to The Grill Room for supper. With two AA rosettes, the restaurant specialises in Anglo French cuisine from head chef Matthew Hill, who was recently appointed following experience at top London eateries, Tom Aikens Restaurant Chelsea and Bleeding Heart Farringdon. Using ingredients from the kitchen’s own vegetable patch or local suppliers, signature starters include braised pork cheeks, pulled ham hock, air dried ham and spiced apple purée; and leg of guinea fowl stuffed with walnuts and tarragon, marron purée and orange gel.
I can heartily recommend starting with the roast pigeon, with sweetcorn bacon and popcorn granola, which was incredibly succulent and full of flavour. The roast chicken breast and thigh, with baby aubergine, celeriac and black cabbage was a great choice for main - juicy, tender meat that melted in the mouth - and green olive gnocchi with artichokes salsify and pine nut dressing garnered some rather satisfied noises from the other side of the table.
Puddings include the likes of gluten free passion fruit parfait, mango cheesecake with coconut sorbet, lime and mint sauce and chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream, but when faced with a pick and mix cheese board with Reblochon as an option, there’s not really any contest.
Retiring to chambers, one can expect a sterling night’s sleep, thanks to a sturdy mattress and pillow perfection - not too soft, not too high. Usually a terrible sleeper, I was out like a light; probably partially due to the aforementioned supper.
There are things to do in and around the local area, if you so desire it, but when faced with a country house hotel with stunning grounds, a stellar restaurant and spa, there’s not really any point in straying from the grounds. The prospect of being in the countryside there within an hour of finishing work on a Friday, indulging your palate and waking up far from the city hustle with a full English and a hydrotherapy pool stretched out before you is one I imagine will be tickling a lot of fancies right about now.
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