A gem in the middle of a beautiful estate, Coworth Park boasts incredible food, beautiful rooms and, for those in the mood for a little airborne adventure, a startling proximity to London.
The closer we get to Christmas and the more trees we see popping up in prominent places throughout the capital, the stronger the urge becomes to venture past the M25 to a world beyond tall buildings and busy pavements to experience nature in winter for oneself.
Making that journey, however, can take some doing, especially with the holiday season leading to busy roads and striking trains. Practicality often wins out over imagination and we convince ourselves that it’s easier to just remain where we are.
Luckily, one clever person (a whole fleet of them, in fact) thought to look to the skies.
As the crow flies, the illustrious and very beautiful Coworth Park is just under ten minutes from Battersea, which conveniently contains one of London’s heliports. Floating up over the Thames in one of CastleAir’s fine helicopters is just the way to escape the humdrum of London, and with a hop, a skip and a jump over Richmond Park (albeit a very, very smooth jump) the white mansion house of Coworth park rises up to greet one landing by the polo fields.
Built in 1776 for a prosperous East India Merchant, Coworth Park was home to three successive generations of the Arbuthnot family in the 1800s. In 1883, the estate was purchased by William Farmer (then Sheriff of London and High Sheriff of Berkshire) before Lord Stanley took ownership of the land at the turn of the 20th Century.
80 years later, Galen Weston, the owner of Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason, bought the estate and began to turn it into the polo powerhouse it is today. A stunning restoration saw Coworth Park open once more as the rural outpost of the luxurious Dorchester Collection in 2010.
As close as you’ll get to staying in a castle without actually visiting one, the high canopies and roll top copper baths in Coworth’s bedrooms are worth the trip on their own.
Relax and dip into a copy of Dan Kieran and Tom Hodgkinson’s The Book of Idle Pleasures (one of which is, unsurprisingly, taking a bubble bath) and don’t be in a hurry to rush down to dinner; you’ll find that life at Coworth moves at a pleasant, strolling pace and the food is worth the wait.
Restaurant Coworth Park stands up to its Michelin star. Spearheaded by Adam Smith, a no-fuss, light-hearted chef from Birmingham who hopes to reduce food waste in five-star kitchens, the food is British and uncomplicated, but incredibly flavoured and intricately crafted to celebrate the beautiful surroundings.
Beautifully thought out, their Christmas menu contains all the classics, with a few surprises along the way – if you didn’t think langoustines belonged on a Christmas menu, be ready to be proven wrong. Expect heaps of pigs in blankets and perfectly-cooked roasties, surpassing the expectations of even the harshest potato critic. When explaining the ins and outs of his menu, Mr Smith is want to simply say: ‘because that’s how I like it.’ And after all, who are we to argue with the man who has earned a Michelin star for the second year running?
If you book in on a Christmas package, there’s a distinct chance that Father Christmas may greet you on Christmas Day. A cherry on the top of the incredible festive experience that Coworth offers, you’ll find yourself questioning adult cynicism and, even if only for a short while, believing in the magic of this special time of year once more.
Another highlight of Coworth’s festive season is their festive Champagne afternoon tea, served in the beautiful Drawing Room. A wonderful example of how London’s latest revival can be done, and done well. If you’re still not feeling completely relaxed, take a trip to Coworth’s incredible spa for a massage.
These days its easy to look further afield for a special Christmas or, more likely, to decide it’s not worth the fuss and settle for an ordinary holiday at home. Coworth Park has tackled these issues, bringing you a truly unique Christmas where the only thing you have to worry about is how hot to make your bubble bath, and whether ten pigs in blankets will make you a little too full for dessert.
The answer is, of course, there’s always room for pudding.
For Christmas at Coworth Park, there is a three-night package with rates start at £4,105 per room based on a Stable Superior Room. Two and three night packages over New Year at Coworth Park from December 31 start at £2,665 per room based on a Stable Superior Room. For more information or to book, www.dorchestercollection.com/en/ascot/coworth-park.
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