Friday, 21 September 2018

6 family-friendly hotels for half-term breaks in South East England

Chewton Glen

This October half term, treat the family to a stay at one of these family-friendly hotels in South East England, chosen by the Good Hotel Guide.

1. Treehouses and history lessons: Chewton Glen, Hampshire 

This model of a country house hotel and spa in an 18th-century manor house on the edge of the New Forest speaks to children as much as it does to their parents and grandparents. Guests of all ages can appreciate indoor and outdoor swimming pools, on-site cookery courses and a woodland stream to follow to the beach. In-the-know families bed down in one of the Courtyard or Coach House suites, with a private walled garden or private access to the hotel’s extensive grounds. For a special treat aim even higher: tree-house suites in a leafy setting have a mini-kitchen, a wood-burning stove, a spa bath, and a breakfast hamper in the morning.

While you’re there: If your little history buffs are studying Lord Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar visit Buckler’s Hard to see what life was like for 18th-century shipbuilders.

Hartwell House

2. Spa treats and hedgehogs: Hartwell House, Buckinghamshire

Children over six years old can bed down at Hartwell House, a National Trust-owned Jacobean mansion in an Arcadian landscape. For more privacy and direct access to the gardens, book one of the large suites in Hartwell Court, the restored 18th-century riding school and stables in the grounds. You can take the kids to Hartwell’s renowned spa at certain times, and roam the 90 acres of gardens and parkland filled with statues, temples and an obelisk.

While you’re there: Don’t miss Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital. It’s home to the country’s only hedgehog memorabilia museum, an animal hospital and a red kite flying aviary.

The Old Vine

3. A designer pad and steam trains: The Old Vine, Winchester 

At first glance, a Grade II-listed 18th-century inn on the edge of the cathedral close might not sound like a great fit for families, but The Old Vine’s Designers Guild Annexe is spot on. This self-contained townhouse apartment across the street from The Old Vine has two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room, all stylishly decked out with fabrics and furniture from the Designers Guild. Also good for families – guests have the use of a small garage so the surrounding countryside as well as Winchester city centre can be reached easily.

While you’re there: Ride the Mid Hants Railway, a.k.a. The Watercress Line, a steeply graded heritage railway with a fleet of steam locomotives that was used to transport watercress from the beds in Alresford to London. The Wizard Express steam train with Harry Potter-style coaches takes to the rails 27-28 October.


4. Movie nights and LEGO: Cliveden, Berkshire

Children are made to feel part of the Cliveden family when they stay at this extensively restored Italianate mansion in beautiful grounds. Younger kids can play with a selection of games and toys. Older families can settle down for movie night with a wide range of DVDs. There’s a special children’s menu and children’s service, or families can dine together throughout the evening. Or if you’d prefer a grown-ups-only dinner, babysitting service is available, as is room service. Outside, get lost in the giant yew tree maze, follow the woodland play trail or simply explore the 376 acres of National Trust grounds.

While you’re there: Go LEGO crazy among 80 million LEGO bricks at LEGOLAND Windsor Resort. There are also more than 55 interactive rides, building workshops and amazing models of scenes from Europe and the USA.

Hever Castle

5. Royalty and an adventure playground: Hever Castle B&B, Kent 

Combine history lessons with childhood princess/prince dreams at Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Bolyen. Bedrooms occupy two Edwardian additions to 13th-century Hever Castle; the wings are a blend of Tudor-inspired features and modern-day comfort, and your individually decorated bedroom may have a golden chaise longue, a four-poster bed, or a glimpse of the castle through leaded windows. Some rooms can accommodate a cot or a camp bed for children up to the age of 12; others have a sofa bed; and a double and single room can be turned into a suite for up to five guests thanks to a strategically placed door on the landing.

While you’re there: There’s no need to go anywhere! Residents have complimentary access to the castle and grounds during opening hours, including the great new adventure playground. If you do want to venture further afield, the British Wildlife Centre has badgers, harvest mice and Britain’s first walk-through red squirrel enclosure.

Park House Hotel and Spa

6. South Downs views and alpacas: Park House, Sussex 

Luxurious but unstuffy, Park House is foolproof for families who appreciate country house living. The hotel has a home-away-from-home feel, and guests of all ages are made to feel welcome. Deluxe family suites have a double bed that can be turned into two singles, plus a sofa bed or a single bed for kids. There’s no skimping on the views here either; windows overlook the grounds and South Downs countryside. For more independence, book one of the cottage suites, with a small kitchen, private gardens and plenty of space for the whole family.

While you’re there: Take an alpaca for a walk! Children over 6 years old can lead one of Dunreyth Alpacas' friendly creatures on an hour-long walk through the woods. Booking ahead is essential.

All hotels have rooms available at time of writing.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Major new Tate acquisition comes to Southampton City Art Gallery

Le Passeur (The Ferryman), 1881, William Stott of Oldham (1857–1900) Photo ©Tate Purchased with funds provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Art Fund (with a contribution from The Wolfson Foundation) and The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation 2017.

Beneath the Surface: William Stott of Oldham and British Impressionism exhibition will open 14 September 2018 – 12 January 2019 The star of the show, William Stott of Oldham’s painting Le Passeur (The Ferryman) is considered a key moment in the breakthrough of British Art to naturalism and established Stott as one of the most progressive British artists of his day.

Secured for the British public with funds provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Art Fund (with a contribution from The Wolfson Foundation) and The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation, this painting will be displayed in Southampton City Art Gallery as part of a UK wide tour in partnership with Tate.

This exhibition will show Stott in the company of those who, like him, contributed to the development of British Naturalism and Impressionism and will also include examples of French Impressionism, drawn from Southampton’s permanent collection, to place British art of the 1880s and 1890s more broadly in a dialogue with French painting of that time. Shown alongside Le Passeur will be work by some of Stott’s contemporaries who were influenced by the move in painting toward rural Naturalism, illustrating what connects Stott to them at this moment in his career and what distinguishes his singular vision.

This exhibition has been guest curated by Professor Sam Smiles and will include significant additional loans from Russell-Cotes, Southwark Art Collection, Tate, Towner Art Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum.

Southampton City Art Gallery is the second of four UK-partner galleries to display Le Passeur, thanks to funding from National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the John Ellerman Foundation and Art Fund. The work will also be exhibited at Gallery Oldham and Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture said:

'Having such exceptional work of early British Impressionism on loan from Tate alongside art drawn from our city’s own permanent collection, has resulted in another amazing exhibition for Southampton and Southampton City Art Gallery. It helps cement us as an international destination for arts and culture, and I hope local residents and visitors alike take the opportunity to make the most of it.'

Lead Exhibitions Officer Dan Matthews, Southampton City Art Gallery said:

'The generous loan of this key work from Tate has given us the opportunity to borrow paintings by a number of artists not represented within our collection such as George Clausen, Bertha Newcombe and Henry Herbert Le Thangue. We hope this display will enable our audience to learn more about this important era of British Art.'

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Chewton Glen Takes First Place in a Worldwide Celebration of Excellence

Condé Nast Traveller announced its 21st Annual Readers’ Travel Awards on Monday, 3rd September, to an audience which had travelled from around the globe, to find out who had won the hearts and minds of the discerning readers of the world leading travel publication. With categories that included the ‘Best Country’ and the ‘Best Island’, to the ‘Best City for Architecture’ and even the ‘Best Island for Beaches’, which was won by Hawaii, Chewton Glen was thrilled to be awarded the prize of the ‘Best UK Hotel Spa’ and also to receive the Number 3 ranking in the category of ‘Best UK Holiday Hotel’, with its sister hotel Cliveden House in Berkshire taking the Number 5 position and its country cousin, The Lygon Arms in Broadway making its first top twenty appearance.

The awards ceremony, which was held at the Ham Yard Hotel in the heart of London, was hosted by the publications irrepressible Editor, Melinda Stevens, whose pride and passion for Condé Nast Traveller shone out like a beacon from the stage as she invited the travel industry luminaries to collect their awards. Melinda also shared with the audience the exciting developments that are planned for Condé Nast Traveller in the UK and USA and praised the remarkable work her editorial, photographic and production teams do to produce a publication that is recognised as the world’s most discerning travel title providing punchy, practical and independent features on destinations and worldwide trends, whilst offering insider information beneficial to the consummate traveller.

Andrew Stembridge, Executive Director of Iconic Luxury Hotels who accepted the award of ‘Best UK Spa Hotel’ from Melinda commented:

'In this coming of age 21st award ceremony for Condé Nast Traveller, it is wonderful that Chewton Glen, which has been such an inspiring resort for well over five decades, is acknowledged as being still at the top of its game. I am immensely proud of the team at Chewton Glen for their outstanding work in creating a world-class spa hotel that is so well respected by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller.

'We were thrilled last year to be the runner-up in this category, but this year with an amazing score of 87.59 the perceptive readers highlighted our skilled therapists, our holistic programmes and the bedrooms at this iconic luxury country house hotel in Hampshire. The luxury health spa at Chewton Glen embodies the unique purity of its New Forest and coastal location. Our staff are dedicated to ensuring guests receive the highest levels of personalised service, holistic lifestyle programmes and indulgent spa experiences within the environments of a world-class retreat.
'The Spa at Chewton Glen was also listed in the prestigious ‘World’s Top 100’ in the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2018, with its amazing score of 87.59. Chewton Glen took 46th place in the list which named the Greek Islands as the winner with 95.63, properties such as the Lanserhof Tegernsee, in Bavaria was in 2nd place with 94.72 and, The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India with 94.49 was in third position. Chewton Glen was the only property in the UK to be listed in the top 60 of this impressive listing of the readers’ favourite destinations, hotels, villas, spas, airlines, airports, cruises and tour operators around the globe. This is an amazing result and we are so grateful to Condé Nast Travellers and its readers for their endorsement of our hotel and spa,'