You constantly overlook England. It fails to capture your imagination the way some spots in the world do. It doesn’t sound as exciting as the rest of Europe. It even feels a bit stuffy compared to other countries in the United Kingdom. You’re wrong, though. While you’ve been dismissing the country in the North Atlantic Ocean, new hotels have been popping up all over the place. There’s nothing dull about them.
Hampshire is one of the country’s hot spots. The county lies on England’s south shore. The area was originally settled by the Romans. The Normans turned it into an important port. It’s now one of the wealthiest parts of the country, and its districts are among the most coveted locations in which to live. You should set your sights on the village of Heckfield.
Heckfield is conveniently located just 40 minutes southwest of Heathrow Airport. It feels remote and rural, though. That’s especially true once you enter the grounds of Heckfield Place. The Georgian country estate sits on more than 400 acres. They’re filled with a farm, a wooded park, untamed gardens, and extensive orchards. Its manor house looks handsome and imposing at first. The red-brick mansion, which was the home of Lord Eversley (the long-serving Speaker of the House of Commons) in the 18th century, features a grand staircase and antique furniture. But you should leave the rest of your expectations at the door.
Heckfield Place is an eco-friendly retreat. The hotel, which opened a decade ago, is spread across the restored main house and the Corridors, the new modern wing. Forty-five spacious rooms are decorated with oak furniture, Italian linens, and bespoke minibars. While its focus is undoubtedly its food. Local suppliers are good. Ingredients grown or raised right on the estate are even better.
There are two restaurants at Heckfield Place. Marle has floor-to-ceiling windows and lots of light. Slate, marble, and wood fill the interior. A terrace adds outside seating during the warm months. While the menu changes with the seasons. Cauliflower soup, roasted carrots, and salt-baked lamb are among its highlights right now. Hearth, the second restaurant, is in the former stable. The rustic space features flagstone floors, exposed brick, and a wood-beamed ceiling. Sheepskins are draped over Ercol chairs. While an open fireplace is the room’s centerpiece. Green tomatoes, leeks, porcini, and pork belly are flame-grilled atop it.
In addition to farm-fresh dinners, Heckfield Place also serves filling breakfasts, simple lunches, and afternoon tea. The Moon Bar—with its midnight-blue walls and a giant disco ball—offers handcrafted cocktails and small-batch bottles. Freshly squeezed juices are even paired with natural products at the Little Bothy Spa. You’d be foolish not to consider this for your next weekend escape.