If you’re looking for a post-lockdown getaway within striking distance of central London, you can’t beat Coworth Park – part of the Dorchester Collection
Close to Ascot, this country house hotel, with its pretty terraces and outdoor seating areas set amid the vast grounds (240 acres in all) couldn’t be more conducive to social distancing and all the necessary health and safety measures have been put in place to ensure you have a stress-free break.
So, if you’re nervous about travelling too far but are in need of a change of scene, I’d recommend you slip away to Coworth Park for a few days. It looks spectacular at this time of year with its wildflower garden in full bloom. Even though you have Windsor Great Park and Virginia Water on your doorstep, with such a colourful spectacle of nature and the delicious scents of summer within the hotel grounds, you may not want to venture out. This is the English countryside at its best.
While Coworth Park is a quintessentially English country hotel, it has managed to get the balance between traditional and modern just right, without trying too hard. The design is contemporary – with a nod to the mansion’s equestrian heritage – it’s the only hotel in the UK that owns polo fields (managed by Guards Polo Club) – with references throughout the hotel from horse artwork to the horseshoe-embroidered bedlinen.
While the spa may not yet be open, you can pamper yourself in your own luxurious bathroom, complete with copper bathtub and Michell and Peach amenities. A range of wellness activities is available on the estate, including pilates, wellness walks, yoga, mindfulness and meditation. Tennis, riding, croquet and bikes are available – but be sure to book.
During 2020, restaurants and bars operated with reduced capacity to make sure there was plenty of space and a safe environment, with reservation times staggered and no self-service or buffet.
Outside, there are plenty of tables in The Barn – an informal restaurant offering a brasserie-style menu. Alternatively, on a warm summer’s evening, al fresco dining is offered in front of the Drawing Room, which is the perfect spot for pre-dinner drinks and watching the sun go down.
Executive chef Adam Smith uses freshly-picked, local and seasonal ingredients to create dishes that look appetising and taste great. The herb garden is worth a visit – there’s also a beautiful rose garden and lime grove – and local artist Carol Peace’s bronze sculptures dotted around the grounds are a nice touch.
If you do decide to explore the local area, you can always take a Coworth Park picnic hamper with you.
Afternoon tea in the Conservatory overlooking the gardens is a delight, while in the winter you can cosy up by the fireplace.
Coworth Park, while enchanting in the summer, is the ideal all-year round destination and with the Dorchester name behind it, you can expect the quality, service, and attention to detail that comes with that, but with a more laid-back feel.
Coworth Park, Blacknest Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 &SE
Tel: 01344 876 600
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