On top of the Wolds

By Ross Forbes | 22 Jun 2021 | Travel

Located at the foot of the highest point of the Cotswolds, Ellenborough Park is a luxurious trip back in time to a 15th century retreat

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If there’s one thing those who partake in the grinding daily routine of commute-work-commute can likely agree on, it’s that a break from this headache-inducing pattern can do wonders for one’s well-being. Whether working-from-home or stuck in the office, a change of scenery can be just the tonic when the dreaded cabin fever starts to creep into our lives. And while we are lucky that we can travel abroad now – and owe an astonishing debt of gratitude to those who got us to this point - it is admittedly still a bit of a faff to take off to far-flung corners of the globe. Thus, if you are like me and see no qualms in looking for a UK-based weekend getaway that bypasses the hassle of international travel, you’ll be hard pressed to find one that takes you to another world with such gusto as Ellenborough Park. 

Upon arriving at the lush grounds of this 15th century manor, guests are greeted with remarkable views over the 90 acres of estate land nestled between the Cotswolds’ highest point and Cheltenham’s world-famous racecourse. And the luxurious frills – of which there are many - start here; staff will offer customers a pair of Dubarry boots at the desk to strap on and explore if they are so inclined. Having arrived during the wettest May In years, however, my partner and I decided not to take up the offer this time around. 

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And either way, it turns out that one does not need look to the rolling hills of the estate for beauty, when instead they could step inside and take a peek at the stunning interior of the hotel. Warm, welcoming and dotted with flourishes of historic décor, it feels at once both thoroughly homely and wonderfully opulent. 

Once we were checked in, we made the journey to our room, the enormous Kauto Star suite. Roomy and full of natural light, this is a monster of a suite - the bedroom alone bigger than most pokey London properties. The suite is packed with rare paintings, vintage furniture and, with a huge bed covered in fabrics designed by Nina Campbell, it’s enough to make one feel like a royal on holiday. The bathroom, however, is the highlight. Again, it is defined by grandeur and an airy quality but this time with a modern touch coming from its open layout and beautiful all-glass shower. Most guests could kick their feet up and relax in the roll top bath all day and be perfectly content. 

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But doing so might see you end up more wrinkled than some of the pooches that turn up for a stay at Ellenborough Park, which is a dog-friendly hotel. And other four-legged friends get a look-in too; our suite is named after one of the most prestigious racehorses in history, borrowing its theming from the nearby Cheltenham Racecourse. Those for whom horse racing is more than a passing curiosity will no doubt be enthralled by packages tailored to the course’s famed festival, which include luxurious 4x4 transfers from the hotel to the track provided by HR Owen Specialist Cars. 

Having explored our vast suite, we headed down to the spa for a dip in its glorious heated waters. The Spa here at Ellenborough Park offers all manner of pampering treatments using indulgent Elemis products – perfect for revitalising guests and leaving them feeling ready for anything. There’s also a heated outdoor pool, offering the perfect opportunity to take in the near-600-year-old stone architecture while you lie blanketed in the steamy warmth. They even left it open during a light rain shower which was a wonderfully relaxing experience. 

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This is a hotel defined by its many layers of rich history, starting life out as a humble home built by farmer Thomas Goodman in 1485 before housing the former Governor General of India in 1833 and briefly operating as Oriel Private School for Girls in 1947. For those looking to get away from the rat race, put the pandemic to one side and discover a small slice of rural England steeped in history, Ellenborough Park is the logical answer.

Rooms at Ellenborough Park start from £209 per room per night inclusive of a Cotswold breakfast. For more information please visit www.ellenboroughpark.com