Audleys Wood

Enjoy some timeout from real life at Audleys Wood in Hampshire

Say ‘country house hotel’ and most people automatically think ‘too expensive, not for me’ – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Choose the right place and you can have all the extra trimmings, fantastic service, acres of land to play in and prices not much more expensive that your average B&B.

Audleys Wood is a case in point. Situated in the Hampshire countryside and within an hours’ drive of the New Forest and the south coast, you can get in and out for less than £150 – and that includes dinner, bed and breakfast for two, plus a bottle of champagne waiting in your room if you’re lucky.

Lured by the thought of chilled bubbly during a miserable summer, we sped down from London and were rewarded for our faith with an opportune sunny afternoon. Soaking up the sun in the massive garden to the rear of the hotel, we were treated to chocolate and fresh fruit fondue under our parasol, while we watched cute little bridesmaids from a neighbouring wedding playing on the lawn.

It’s unsurprising the hotel is a popular choice for weddings: from the sweeping gravel drive with requisite sundial to the charming reception complete with sagging velvet sofas, there’s something undeniably romantic about Audleys Wood.

The restaurant too has received rave reviews, becoming something of a destination diner for foodies in the area. And while you won’t get the cutting edge design of say a Babington House in the bedrooms, the huge beds, Elemis beauty products, homemade cookies and miniature bedtime tipples more than make up for the lack of Frette linen. After all, with all that saved cash, you can always bring your own sheets with you.

Details: Audleys Wood, Alton Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG25 2JT (01256 817 555, www.audleyswood.com)

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