Hectares of wild woodlands , grand-scale rooms and 400 artworks chosen from the owner’s private collection give restored Georgian manor Heckfield Place in rural Hampshire all the trappings of a traditional English retreat. A state-of-the-art spa, cuisine by Australian chef Skye Gyngell and private underground cinema keep things thoroughly modern.
Where is Heckfield Place?
The county of Hampshire, with its ancient cottages and hedgerows, is around 75 minutes’ drive west of Central London. It’s also an easy 45-minute drive from Heathrow Airport (skipping London altogether), making Heckfield a smart spot to finish a UK holiday.
What’s near Heckfield Place?
A stay here is about full immersion: with almost 200 hectares of woodlands and rolling hills designed for biking, rambling, fishing, bird-watching and picnicking , there’s little reason to venture off grounds. If you are tempted to pursue some classic English country pursuits beyond the property, guests can horse ride on the Duke of Wellington’s personal estate , hit a few balls at a lavish tennis club or see a classic Aston Martin up close.
Even entry-level rooms at Heckfield – known as Friends rooms – are roomy and spacious, filled with live plants, lush textures and a mix of modern and heritage furniture. Along with the Master, Chamber and Guest rooms, these generous lodgings, many with their own terraces or access to the gardens, sit in the newer part of the hotel known as “The Corridors”.
The original manor is home to the deeply elegant Signature suites, including the whole-floor Long Suite which includes a charming pitched ceiling, ten-seater dining table, fireplace and private outdoor terrace.
Restaurants and Bars
Australian chef Skye Gyngell oversees the property’s main restaurant, Marle, whose menu blends the rustic sensibilities of a cottage garden with suave and sure-fire cooking techniques. Stone detailing and rich woodwork gives guests the sense that they’re dining in an upscale blacksmith’s forge.
By contrast, breakfast in the sunlit conservatorium that is the secondary restaurant, Hearth, feels like dining inside a charmingly wild garden, with leafy greenery tumbling over every available surface. Peckish during the day? Snacks like cheese toasties or fresh spinach soup are served in the lounge from lunchtime onwards, or you can finish the evening with an Autumn Sour or blackcurrant and elderflower Negroni in the Moon Bar.
Horticulturalists at Heckfield coax much of the restaurants’ produce from its two walled gardens: such as quinces and plums (in the upper walled garden), and pears and apples. All rooms are single-use plastic free and sustainable biomass boilers are used to heat the property’s water.
But the team behind Heckfield place is a careful custodian of this historic home, preserving not just the building but its famous gardens as well, including the ancient exotic trees planted by original gardener William Wildsmith which includes Monterey pines and Redwood varieties.
The property includes three accessible rooms across several room types , and all areas of the house – including the dining areas and underground cinema – are accessible via wheelchair-accessible lifts.
Spa and Pool
The brand-new Bothy by Wildsmith wellbeing space has transformed the 19th century gardeners’ lodgings into a coolly pristine wellness escape. The garden is present in every corner from faint fern stencils pressed into stone surfaces, to peppery nasturtium leaves and ginger and turmeric shots offered as palate cleansers before treatments. Signature spa and massage treatments are offered alongside steam rooms, hot and cold water therapy and an 18-metre pool known as “The Waters”.
Beyond the Bothy, guests can draw wellness directly from the environment with activities including outdoor yoga, forest bathing and guided nature walks.
What You Need To know
The English are mad for the curious pastime of jumping into freezing water, and if you’re game try it, a qualified guide will lead you down for a dip in the property’s icy lake, after which you’ll be snuggling into a fluffy robe for a warming cup of tea.
Best for: Anyone who needs a breath of fresh air
Design: Contemporary heritage
Number of rooms: 45
Rates: from £550 GBP per night based on two people sharing a room. Breakfast included.
Wi-Fi: Free and fast
Parking: on site, or transfers can be arranged
Address: Heckfield Place, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 118 932 6868