For my mum’s 60th, I wanted to take her somewhere special for a short break. It needed to be within a couple of hours drive from London and offer the perfect mix of activities and relaxation. So, as we drove down the mile-long, tree-lined drive, past people horse riding, walking or simply reading on a bench, and up to the elegant country house, I knew Lucknam Park was the perfect place.
Sitting upon 500 acres of parkland, Lucknam Park, in Wiltshire, is home to 42 rooms, equestrian centre, spa and Michelin-star restaurant.
After being shown to our room – it was rather elegant I must say, with a huge bed, sofa and bathroom, with a deep victorian bath – we got dressed into our robes and headed down to the spa. We spent the afternoon dipping in and out of the pool, reading on the loungers or testing out the different relaxation rooms; sauna, steam room and crystal room. Though it was early February, we were allowed in the small outdoor pool too – like being in a large, steaming bath.
After a few hours, we returned to our room, where we had some champagne and nibbles… before dinner. You can request the hotel to bring these to the room, which I did ahead of the stay as a surprise for my mum.
Though dining in the Michelin-star restaurant was very tempting, we chose to have dinner in the brasserie. Adjoining the spa, the brasserie looks out onto a garden, where you can also sit on a clear day. To begin, we had freshly made focaccia, with oil and balsamic vinegar, which we enjoyed while looking over the rest of the menu and selecting a wine to match – can’t go wrong with a red from Bordeaux.
Starters included smoked salmon with creme fresh and small segments of grapefruit, which offered a lovely burst of citrus. We also had the superfood salad, a mixture of quinoa, edamame beans, ribbons of carrot, pomegranate and an avocado cream – what should have been light and refreshing was slightly overpowered by a heavy-handed squeeze of lime. For our mains, we had the pan fried sea bream with a lemon, caper and shrimp butter, grilled cabbage and new potatoes, and the slowed cooked lamb, with a parsnip mash and side of seasonal vegetables.
Squeezing in dessert, we shared the creme brûlée – perfectly crystallised sugar atop creamy, vanilla custard – and the apple crumble tart, with rum and raisin custard – a delicious way to round off the meal.
In the morning, after a lovely nights sleep in the incredibly comfortable beds, we went for a long walk around the grounds before heading to breakfast. You can choose from a cold buffet as well as cooked breakfast – everything from porridge to avocado and poached eggs on toast. Admittedly quite expensive (£22 for the continental menu and £32 for the hot option), the food was very nice, albeit the scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast was a little… dainty.
Unfortunately, we had to shoot off pretty soon after our late breakfast but there’s plenty to do at the hotel: horse riding, bike riding, cooking school, reading in the Library, playing tennis or of course, relaxing in the spa. Lucknam Park is also just a 20 minute drive away from the city of Bath. If it’s not somewhere you’ve been before, Bath is definitely worth a visit, not only for the famous Roman Baths but beautiful architecture too, and on a nice day, even an open top bus ride.
Colerne, Thickwood, Chippenham SN14 8AZ