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The Retreat Elcot Park, Newbury, Berkshire
A chic country bumpkin retreat in West Berkshire, set within rural grounds with an outdoor pool to lounge beside admiring the scenery, great for couples and families alike. The building itself, originally built in 1772 was the former home of literary icons Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, quotes of which can be seen on the walls dotted throughout. Rich wooden floorboards contrast with mint green statement walls and quirky colourful objet d'art create a beautiful interior. The courtyard seating adjacent to their in-house café, wine shop and salon offers a fun alfresco area. The two restaurants offer classic brasserie which can be enjoyed in the pretty orangery or fine-dining Japanese. The serene spa provides a tranquil place to restore.
We were there on a Sunday and enjoyed buying some artisan products at the Newbury Artisan Market, the last Sunday of every month.
Highclere Castle, featured in Downton Abbey, is just fifteen minutes away. Alternatively take a walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal, or go to the Races at Newbury.
By car: around 1 hour 45 minutes from London, 1 hour from Bristol and 3 hours 30 minutes from Manchester. Free on-site parking.
By train: Newbury station is 15 minutes and Reading station is 40 minutes by taxi. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
A lovely place to stay for a couple or family who want a break away in a chic countryside retreat. We loved the statement piece woven carpet in the hall and on the staircase which was flown in from India.
Service & Facilities
They have wellies in all sizes which can be borrowed if you fancy a country walk. You can bring your dog to stay in any of the ten pet-friendly rooms; they will provide a bed, food and toy.
- Swimming pool
- Fitness centre
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
The Bushby Bacon Suite is gleeful: patterned wallpaper, a sumptuous super king-sized bed and adjoining room kitted out with bunkbeds for children. The spacious bathroom was pretty with purple grapes and green leaves stencilled onto the walls.
Classic Room, Heritage Room, Wessex Room, Culture Room, Sutton Suite, Bushby Bacon Suite, Percy Shelley Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with toiletries, bathrobes and slippers, tea and coffee facilities, smart TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
We loved the quirky menus with a cartoon lion wearing a chef's hat sat at a banquet on the front. The tempura prawn sushi with crunchy sesame seeds was moreish.
Brasserie 1772: relaxed dining room and orangery. Mains include glazed duck breast and stone bass. All-day menu, open daily.
Yu: Pan-Asian restaurant and sushi bar. Open Wed-Sat for dinner, 5:30-9:30pm.