ELLENBOROUGH PARK, THE COTSWOLDS: HOTEL [REVIEW + PHOTOS]

Arriving at beautiful Ellenborough Park in the Cotswolds


FACT PACK:

Hotel: Ellenborough Park
Location: Outskirts of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK
Phone: 01242 802817
Nearest station: Cheltenham
Pool/spa? Yes and yes – pool is outdoor and heated!
Perfect for: Couples looking for a romantic rural break away, and families that enjoy the outdoors. There’s hills and Cotswold countryside ready for picnics and exploring


WHERE AM I?

Ellenborough Park is a luxurious 15th century country estate on the edge of Cheltenham, one of England’s famed spa towns. We drove across from London, but left during rush hour – what were we thinking? It wouldn’t normally take more than a couple of hours, so makes for an ideal weekend escape to the country. It’s a glam country bolthole, with the kind of wonky charm that has Americans drooling – you’re sure to meet a few over breakfast, planning their days out in Gloucester-shire (it’s pronounced ‘sheer’…)

The wire horse (pictured above) that stands guard at the entrance overlooks the fields that run all the way down to Cheltenham racecourse and town. You can walk there, and the hotel will make you up a picnic for the day – I like it here already.

The pretty grounds at Ellenborough Park

Best swing, hands down

The lower ground floor of the ‘house’ within the hotel behind me? Yep, that’s our suite…

WHAT IS THE HOTEL LIKE?

It’s grand in a bijoux way. Ellenborough Park is a little at odds with itself. The ceilings are high but the rooms are small. It’s coated with tapestries, wood panelled walls, and red and gold decor, but light floods in and modern touches lightens the atmosphere without taking away from a building which is so obviously steeped in history. There is an on site historian (!), who is happy and willing to share all kinds of stories, from ghostly goings on to who has stayed in the suite you are occupying… (ahem, David Hasslehoff, ahem)

Reception areas at Ellenborough Park

WHAT’S THE BEDROOM LIKE?

Our ‘bedroom’ was one of the biggest we have ever stayed in. We were housed in the Arkle Suite for the night, which is usually home to visiting celebs.

It does have more than a slight whiff of a castle, and certainly the measurements of one. With a four poster bed and doors that seemingly came out of the wooden panelled walls, there was a lot of exploring to do straight away. I felt like the Princess and the Pea lying in my giant bed.

Shower or bath? Or both!

You can ring my bell…

WHAT IS THERE TO DO?

Make sure a visit to the spa is high on the agenda. And don’t rush it, either. We had a long breakfast and only had a 15-minute visit to the outdoor heated swimming pool before our massages. But it is so lovely, it deserves more of your time.

Don’t be shy – it’s lovely and warm!

Your massage table awaits

Other than eating and spa-going, there are plenty of places to pull on your hiking boots and get walking to from the hotel. There are hills to conquer, and country pubs and Cotswold villages to discover. Then when you get back, there are loads of cosy snug areas to relax into, play chess and have a gin and tonic (made with Ellenborough Park gin) before dinner.

How sweet is the nearby village of Winchcombe? Sudeley Castle is also here for a wander

WHAT IS THERE TO EAT?

The restaurant and on site pub both offer up fine dining and local produce dishes. We had dinner in the restaurant, which was delicious, (think truffle mash, hake, artichoke, charcoaled quail’s egg nest…) but it was a little ‘stuffy’. It was very quiet and there were just a few couples in there dining with us. After a few glasses of wine we loosened up and weren’t overly bothered if people heard our conversation, but I think we would have been more comfortable in the pub environment. We had a pub lunch out at the Rising Sun, which is just up the road and has spectacular views over towards Cheltenham – you can’t beat fish and chips with a view in the sunshine!

WHAT MAKES ELLENBOROUGH PARK SPECIAL?

We would have loved to stay for longer – one night just isn’t long enough to completely relax into life away from the city. But the large grounds, peaceful location, super spa treatments and pool, and cosy places to play chess over a hot chocolate are ideal ingredients for a smashing weekend away in the Cotswolds countryside.

Visit Ellenborough Park, online

First outing for my Olivia Rubin SS17 dress

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