As my foot pushed down harder and faster, and my breath got a little bit harder, I knew I could reach the top of the hill. The kids going ten to the dozen right behind me, together we all stood in silence as we reached the peak and took in the breath-taking autumnal view as the sun set on a ridiculously beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Our jaunt this time had taken us to Hampshire. What’s in Hampshire I hear you say, and something I had wondered myself – well I can confirm, amongst many other attractions, lots of the beautiful British countryside. Rolling hills, grazing animals, mirror lakes you name it. It’s also located just 45 minutes from London making it a haven for burnt out city dwellers seeking out some much-needed r’n’r.
Our luxury escape, the Four Seasons Hampshire hotel, is a sprawling countryside house that stands proudly at the end of a beautifully mile long driveway.
Having visited a few Four Seasons resorts across the globe, it’s always interesting to see how they customise the experience to the location. The Four Seasons Hampshire plays into the traditional English setting. The Georgian manor house has been lovingly resorted with striking marbles, glass walkways and a rich traditional English décor. The staff are dressed head to toe in tweed, and popular activities include horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and tennis.
Undeniably, the attention to detail is truly impeccable when it comes to the Four Seasons brand. Upon arrival, we were presented with cupcakes for the children, not just laid out with their names, but also their interests – Peppa Pig, Lego and Princesses – and a little garden salad for us adults, all the nods to making this property worthy of it’s five stars.
Our room for the night was a Park Suite, a spacious suite split between living area with pull out double bed, and adjoining bedroom. The bathroom is large enough for our family to camp in for the night! Asprey products and a large walk in shower were absolutely divine, while the little extras such as the baby pack of nappies, wipes, and toiletries are a nice touch.
While the hotel has seen an extension in recent years, it has been sympathetically done and all the rooms are complementary to the traditional design. Décor consists of thick quality curtains, varnished wooden flooring, elaborate chandeliers, and historic photos adorning the walls of the house in years gone by.
Wild Carrot Restaurant and Bar
The Wild Carrot underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment two years ago. Modish and chic, it’s literally a feast for the eyes with red leather booths, herringbone flooring, an open kitchen and island bar filled with cocktail creations. Don’t worry, you aren’t limited to carrot soup and carrot cake, it offers up an eclectic mix of the best locally grown and sourced produce to create a menu filled with mouth-watering British classics.
The pool is a nice size with plenty of space for children to play alongside those using it more for fitness. Encased in a beautiful glasshouse, it welcomes the outdoors inside. An adults-only outdoor area adjoins the main pool along with a sauna and spa, perfect for some solo time.
Elsewhere there’s a lot to enjoy and take in on the 500-acre estate. We took the complimentary bikes out twice during our stay. Bike seats, children’s bikes, and adult bikes of all shapes and sizes are sized up to your family needs along with helmets.
For our daughter, the real highlight was the onsite equestrian centre and stables. Visitors and locals are able to take advantage of lessons and riding hacks with trainers. Decked out in riding hat, boots and back brace, our guide attentively talked us through the caretaking, processes and general knowledge as we trotted round the estate.
I have to mention the kids’ club, Kids for All Seasons. Fully staffed and with a schedule of activity throughout the summer and school holidays it’s a hive of activity. During off-season, it’s open for play with lots of role-play pursuits, board games and colouring. Upstairs, a gaming room is open to bigger kids.
If you’re still after more, the hotel can set you up with clay pigeon shooting; yoga; spa treatments; fishing; falconry; tennis, you name it! While the hotel may not be located alongside all the attractions some of it’s sister properties in the UK has to offer, it embraces it’s very own secluded location and brings so much to you to enable the unique opportunity to fully enjoy every element of the property.
Need to Know
Rooms start from £325 per room per night. For more information, visit www.fourseasons.com/hampshire