12th October 2017
Before the birth of her baby, a pregnant Family Traveller writer heads to five star hotel and spa, Coworth Park, to enjoy a luxury country retreat in stunning surroundings
Five months into my pregnancy, my husband and I decide to treat ourselves to a babymoon break at country house hotel, Coworth Park. This will be our last opportunity for alone time for a while – not to mention the chance to enjoy amazing food and plenty of sleep.
For London families, the hotel, part of the Dorchester Collection, offers a blissful retreat a mere 45-minute drive from the city. The elegant mansion, built in 1776, sits on the edge of Windsor Great Park, close to Ascot and is hugged by hundreds of acres of meadow. We check in after dark and it’s a delightful surprise to wake the next morning to discover the hotel is surrounded by a carpet of pink and white wild flowers – blooming bright, even in October.
Image: EPR Architects
After checking in, we’re escorted to a golf buggy to be whisked to our accommodation. I’m a little disappointed when I hear we aren’t going to be staying the main mansion, but as soon as we step into our cottage, The Loft, I know we’ve struck gold. Inside, we find all the ingredients of a indulgent night in – a copper roll-top bathtub, big TV (there’s a huge selection of DVDs to borrow from reception), Nespresso machine and tray of delicious truffles.
Inside, the hotel is grand, but not stuffy – immaculately decorated with gold and caramel tones, elegant sculptures and chandeliers. And what’s outside is just as appealing as what lies within. We pull on our wellies to explore pretty ponds and pathways, as lanterns sway in branches above us. As we stroll, we play a game of hunt-the-sculptures, counting the nymph-like brass women dotted throughout the grounds.
For horsey types, Coworth Park is a dream come true. It’s the only British hotel to boast its own polo club and fields, plus there’s an equestrian centre with stables for 30 ponies. A concierge tells me that, during polo season, horses are sent to Coworth Park all the way from Argentina. The horsey aspect is echoed playfully in the hotel’s decor, with plenty of horse statues and portraits, and delicate golden hooves woven on bed linen.
There are plenty of things to lure families to Coworth Park and, as of October 2017, a new Michelin star for the restaurant is one of them. We put the restaurant’s reputation to the test, enjoying impeccable and friendly service, and exquisite modern British dishes. It’s here that breakfast is served (£20) until 10.30am – not a pile-em-high buffet, but attentive table service. A complimentary basket of pastries arrives on our table and I gingerly ask whether we might take them away in a doggy bag (being pregnant means I’m nearly always hungry). The staff are happy to oblige.
For families, the Barn restaurant, in a different building to the mansion, is a more relaxed dining option. Rather than the immaculate white tablecloths and hushed atmosphere of the restaurant, the Barn offers wooden tables and posh pub grub, such as burgers and fish and chips.
Many people come to Coworth Park especially for the spa. The wooden and glass building is built into the side of the hill (like a chic version of Bilbo’s house), its low roof topped with foliage. The pool plays underwater music and the treatment rooms are flooded with calming natural light. I enjoy a relaxing pregnancy massage, inhaling the soothing scent of rose oil as my aches and pains are eased away.
The hotel is not just aimed at the tweedy polo crowd. It has a lot to offer families, with a creche, a den for teens and a games room, plus designated children’s swimming hours at the pool. The kids’ club is open Friday-Sunday (£25 per day). With its blend of luxury accommodation, fabulous food and tranquil grounds, I can confirm Coworth Park is the perfect place for a babymoon. I look forward to coming back one day soon, to put the family facilities to the test!
Less than a 15-minute drive from Coworth Park is one of the UK’s best loved attractions, Legoland Windsor. During a relaxing weekend at Coworth Park, families can’t go wrong with a day out at the famous LEGO paradise. With more than 55 rides, shows and attractions, don’t expect to experience all of Legoland in just one day.
We visit on a sunny Autumn Saturday and wander between the various themed areas, encountering pirates, knights, pharaohs and ninjas. In Adventure Land, we take the plunge on Atlantis Submarine Voyage, a world-first LEGO submarine ride, and travel through a real underwater world.
An old favourite, and still one of the park’s best rides in my opinion, is the Lego City Driving School, where kids aged six-14 drive little electric cars around a realistic road course. Watching kids navigate traffic lights, roundabouts and other drivers is a delight. Miniland is another treat, especially on a dry day. Here you’ll stroll through amazing model scenes of Europe and the USA, made from 40 million LEGO bricks.
Don’t miss feeling The Force in the incredible Star Wars Miniland model display. Seven of the most famous scenes for the Star Wars movies are recreated with 1.5 million LEGO bricks. The models move too, with authentic sounds and lighting creating the unmistakable magic of a Star Wars experience.
Brick or Treat
This October half term, little monsters can get into the Halloween spirit with Legoland’s Brick or Treat event. Look forward to campfire stories, LEGO and DUPLO pumpkin patches, a ghostly takeover of Miniland and the chance to build a giant Minifigure skeleton.
Brick or Treat is on 14-30 October 2017. Firework displays are held 21, 22, 27 and 28 October 2017.
Legoland tickets cost £40; children under three visit for free.
Where: Blacknest Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7SE
Hotel facilities: Kids club | Parking | Restaurant | Tennis court | Spa | Indoor pool | Golf course | Gym | Laundry
Price: Rooms from £255 per night, breakfast not included
Things to do nearby: Legoland Windsor, Windsor Castle, Ascot Racecourse, Thorpe Park, Savill Garden