Gravetye Manor – West Hoathly, West Sussex
It was just over 60 years ago, in 1958, when Peter Herbert opened this Elizabethan manor and its famous gardens as a hotel. A classic of its kind, it’s now in the caring hands of Jeremy and Elizabeth Hosking, who have kept its integrity intact while beautifully renovating and subtly modernising it. Today’s furnishings look elegant, fresh and attractive, but the feel remains the same: the unhurried calm, the polite but chatty staff, the profusion of naturally-arranged flowers, and the smell of linseed oil and wood smoke from great open hearths. Andrew Thomason is the consummate general manager, while George Blogg’s Michelin-starred food, served in the stunning, glass-fronted dining room, is an accomplished delight. Best of all, the 35-acre gardens – which were originally created by visionary gardener, William Robinson, in 1885 and are now considered some of the most historically important in England – have been restored to their former glory, thanks to a dedicated team headed by Tom Coward. They are quite wonderful and transform lunch on the terrace into an unforgettable treat.
Doubles from £298
+44 (0)1342 810567; gravetyemanor.co.uk
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