Stoke Park – Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire
If you don’t know it, privately owned Stoke Park provides one delightful surprise after another. First of all, it’s a historic house, built in the 1790s by James Wyatt for soldier, scholar and poet, John Penn. Secondly, it’s set in 300 acres, including beautiful water-filled grounds designed by Capability Brown and Humphry Repton and featuring a romantic bridge – all just 40 minutes from central London. Thirdly, it’s where the famous golf match from Goldfinger and the mini-break in Bridget Jones were filmed. Fourthly, it’s two hotels, not one: choose from splendid traditional bedrooms in the Mansion or contemporary ones in the Pavilion. Fifthly, it comes with a championship golf course, amazing tennis facilities (the pre-Wimbledon Boodles Challenge is played here annually) and a quite wonderful spa. And last but not least, the staff are very welcoming and the food is excellent. Stoke Park became Britain’s first country club in 1908; now it’s open to all. Close to Pinewood Studios, it’s now a star of the silver screen in its own right too, featuring in numerous films and TV series, including The Crown.