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What is it?
A grand manor house-turned-bolthole set over 90 acres of rigorously manicured grounds.
What's the deal?
There’s one reason, and one reason only, that people tend to visit the underwhelming outskirts of Cheltenham: to watch horses gallop around in a circle at the Cheltenham Racecourse. Otherwise, time is much better spent in the town’s Regency core, or ambling along one of the many nearby National Trails that lead straight into the Cotswolds’ sylvan heart. But even if you’re not a fan of the equestrian arts, the Ellenborough Park Hotel – situated so close to the racecourse you practically watch the races from the hotel lawn – is still worth ponying up for.
For one thing, the grounds are gorgeous: once you pass through through the entry gates, the ancient, honey-hued manor house that houses the reception, restaurant, and spa looms into view like a perfect Cotswold dream, surrounded by clusters of stone buildings where you’ll find the generously-sized rooms. Countryfile fans will get a kick out of the hotel’s historical quirks, like the Civil War-era musket holes that dot the front door. Inside, the piece de resistance is no doubt the Great Hall – with soaring Tudor-style windows, twinkling candelabrum and thoughtfully-selected furnishings that nail the transporative vibe without looking stuffy, it’s the perfect place for an indulgent afternoon tea, or to pen a moody novel about lustful countesses and untamed moors.
The rooms, each individually designed by cottagecore queen Nina Campbell, are stylishly Cotswold chic, featuring countryside-floral accents, silky bedding, roll top baths, and original-feature fireplaces. The heated outdoor pool is surrounded by a pretty stone terrace and steps away from the small spa, where you’ll find a sauna, steam room, and jacuzzi. If you really can’t tear yourself away from the races, the racecourse is a sub-five minute walk – you can practically see the track from the deck chairs perched at the edge of the hotel grounds.
History buffs, steed stans, or people who are both.
Southam Lane, Cheltenham GL52 3NJ