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 Humphry Repton, featuring a romantic bridge, 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 newly built 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 excellent. Stoke Park became Britain’s first country club in 1908; now it is open to all. And the church of Gray’s Elegy fame is a stroll away. Doubles from £220.
Do: Explore the Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens on the hotel’s Heritage Walk and visit the site where the poet Thomas Gray is buried – 2016 marks the 300th anniversary of his birth.
Eat: At the award winning 3 AA rosette Humphry’s restaurant. Save room for the exquisite puddings.
Buy: Make the most of the grass court tennis courts (if they’re good enough for Novak Djokovic…) and book a lesson with one of the pros.