ASHDOWN PARK HOTEL & COUNTRY CLUB – A review by Emma Oliver
Seeking downtime in the beautiful Sussex countryside? The Eden blog’s got it covered…
Like many working parents, I struggle to find the time to connect with my family, and all too often weekends are spent catching up with the mundane at home. To break that, last week, my husband and I took our two girls away to Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club to spend some time together. What we found was a most relaxed setting and a return to innocent childhood days…
Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club in Sussex is situated in the heart of Ashdown Forest, an area no doubt far better known as One Hundred Acre wood, for this is where A.A.Milne created his wondrous stories for the classic Winnie The Pooh collection. Needless to say we found ourselves playing pooh sticks, eating honey sandwiches and quoting the much-adored characters while rambling about the stunning countryside. And if that’s not considered bonding with ones own, I’m not sure what is?
Ashdown Park’s grounds comprise of 186 acres. The estate is mainly landscaped woodland, but also 40 acres of grazing land where wild deer roam freely. Renowned for misty mornings, you can imagine the dramatic views our suite surveyed.
A spacious suite that was pure elegance: Think sumptuous velvet soft furnishings and lavish drapes, a whirlpool bath and breath taking vistas. The side windows looked out to the adjoining chapel – constructed in the same gothic style as the house, the stone all quarried from the estate grounds.
The chapel, which makes for a stunning backdrop for any private dining celebrations/weddings/business conferences thanks to its astonishing stained glass windows, is a key piece of Ashdown’s history and was completed (along with many of the extensions) when the house became a Convent. Prior to that, for the duration of the 14-18 War, the house was a convalescent home for army officers. All of which perhaps lends itself to the distinct aura of tranquility one quickly feels Ashdown Park possesses.
The calming effect rubbed off on the children who behaved wonderfully in such a grown up setting. They weren’t alone, but then Ashdown Park is a family friendly hotel.
Children are well catered for and in the warmer months can opt to take a picnic out into the grounds. The carp-filled lake makes for great vistas and the rhododendrons for fabulous playgrounds.
Through the winter months they can take advantage of the especially designed menu in the informal setting of one of the many lounges. My girls loved the Winnie The Pooh themed afternoon tea sat beside one of Ashdown’s many roaring log fires.
We ate dinner in the formal dining room; The Anderida restaurant – its award winning wine selection accompanying a first class menu, with all locally sourced fresh meat. The experience was really very good.
We made great use of the pool in the Country Club three minutes walk away. There are tennis courts too – and if you happen to forget your trainers, no worries, these are available to purchase. I found this out when mentioning the fact that I’d forgotten my Welly boots. This wasn’t a problem either, and I was leant some but then the hotel is happy to help, catering to all needs, bespoke and otherwise. It’s not uncommon for guests to fly in (there’s a Helipad), play golf, use the spa and fly out again.
Personally I’d rather be left to squelch in the mud and run ragged across the rugged terrain with the children. But you know, for me that was what our break was all about – a chance to reconnect.
The combination of friendly staff, the relaxed environment and the beautiful location, certainly made for a wonderful break from routine. All that’s left to do now is book in again in time to catch the carpet of bluebells and the cherry blossoms waking up for spring.
What: 4* Hotel and Country Club
Where: Ashdown Park, Wych Cross, Nr Forest Row, East Sussex, RH18 5JR
Phone: 01342 824988
Price: The Master Suite we stayed in was £555.00 per night. Family rooms start from the Executive bedrooms at £225.00 per night for two adults and one child. There are many other suites and bedrooms at various prices, some with adjoining rooms for children/parents/nanny.
Breakfast included: Yes
Disabled access: Individual requirements are discussed on booking to ensure the best room is allocated.
Facilities: Indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, gymnasium, 18-hole-par three golf course, club house, spa, cycling, jogging, tennis courts, tennis table, putting green, croquet pitch, driving range, spa treatment rooms, snooker room and conference and private dining facilities.
Family friendly: Yes
Nice touch: Children’s welcome goody bags