Easy escapes: a festive break at Coworth Park

Al fresco dining just got a luxe makeover...

Why go

Because after the 'ruined Christmas of 2020', we need to make up for lost time in the most festive and extravagant way possible.

If The Holiday has taught us anything, it's that there is nothing like a cosy countryside Christmas, and it just so happens that Cowork Park is the ultimate classic countryside retreat. As you drive through the grounds on arrival (9.5 miles per hour - the speed of a horse trotting, of course), past the rolling parkland, ponds and ponies and up to the manor house entrance, you can't help but feel 'country'. Now picture it in the snow, and you'll see what I mean.

The vibe

Make no mistake. Just because it's a country manor doesn't mean it's stuffy, far from it. While the interiors might seem grand, you instantly feel at home, ready to whip out your favourite book and sit in one of the comfy sofas by the roaring fire. The ever-helpful staff is always on hand for a chat or to whizz you to the spa in one of their on-site buggies when they see you looking lost on a footpath wearing a robe and flip flops. No judgement here.

The rooms

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to a place to lay your head, with grand bedrooms and suites occupying the mansion house, or, choose for a more secluded getaway in one of the Stable Cottages (these were originally stables for the polo ponies with their groom’s quarters housed above).

We love the traditional grandeur of the suites in the main building (pictured above) which offer second-to-none views of the landscaped gardens and water features.

All rooms can be described as luxe classics fused with modern fixtures; think Bang and Olufsen TV's, signature copper roll-top baths, the fluffiest of towels and pillow sprays to ensure the heartiest of sleeps.

If you want something truly unique for your festive break though, try the newly opened North Lodge, Coworth Park’s gatehouse located on the outskirts of the grounds and with full access to the rest of the estate. Guests can make use of their own a private driveway, three spacious bedrooms, lobby, dining room and kitchen where they can cook for themselves or have a dedicated chef to cater for them. Available to book for six guests, it's the perfect family getaway (pictured below).

(Image credit: TinaHillier2020)

The spa

You really must visit the spa while you're here. Divine treatments include massages, facials and body treatments as well as manicures and pedicures, but the real highlight is the indoor pool that's lined with 15 Amethyst crystals that lend an air of tranquillity to the space. It's flanked by a steam room and sauna, in case you need that extra little bit of R&R.

The food

As with the rooms, there are several dining options at Coworth Park. For a more relaxed and rustic atmosphere, try The Barn, which offers seasonal comfort food such as shellfish cassoulet, salt-aged Yorkshire duck with confit leg pie and the most glorious signature chocolate mousse with macadamia nuts and milk ice cream. You'll be dreaming of it weeks (and months) later.

For something a little more formal, Restaurant Coworth Park (Michelin star of excellence and 4 AA Rosettes) is all about a modern take on British classics, such as the Dover Sole ‘Wellington’ Cauliflower, served with Cucumber, Caviar Butter Sauce. If you can squeeze in the extra meal, you won't be disappointed by the afternoon tea either.

Christmas at Coworth Park

Spending Christmas at Coworth Park would literally be your favourite festive film come to life. As part of the festive package, you'll arrive on Christmas Eve and be welcomed with Festive Champagne Afternoon Tea in the Drawing Room accompanied by a local choir singing carols, followed by children’s story time in the Oak Room and Christmas card-making or family board games in the Garden Room.

After a three-course dinner overseen by executive chef Adam Smith at Restaurant Coworth Park or The Barn, optional transfers take guests to Holy Trinity Sunningdale for those wishing to enjoy midnight service. Magical or what?

(Image credit: Niall Clutton)

On Christmas Day, Father Christmas will visit right after breakfast and just before Champagne leading to a four-course lunch at The Barn or a five-course lunch at Restaurant Coworth Park (the latter is £50 supplement per person). Guests can watch Her Majesty the Queen’s speech in the Garden Room and then make their way to the Manson House for a buffet style dinner and live entertainment.

The festive fun continues on Boxing Day with a leisurely brunch and activities including assorted country pursuits, with cream tea served in the Drawing Room accompanied by a harpist. A three-course dinner will be served at Restaurant Coworth Park or in The Barn.

How to book

Three-night Christmas at Coworth Park package is available from December 24-27, with rates starting at £5,340 per room based on double occupancy. Book here.

Two night packages over New Year at Coworth Park from December 31 start at £3,310 per room based on a Stable Superior Room. Book here.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at MoneySavingExpert.com, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.