26 May 2012

My English countryside chronicles

"To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment." Jane Austen

"Of all the great things that the English have invented and made part of the credit of the national character," wrote Henry James, "the most perfect, the most characteristic, the only one they have mastered completely in all its details, so that it becomes a compendious illustration of their social genius and their manners, is the well-appointed, well-administered, well-filled country house."

The lure of the English countryside sometimes just proves too great. It's scorching hot in London this week so J and I fled the city for a quiet R&R in the beautiful county of Berkshire.

We stayed at the Coworth Park hotel near to Ascot and bordering on Windsor Great Park. This wonderful 17th-century manor house and polo estate has recently been treated to an intelligent and eco-friendly modern makeover that’s given it three restaurants, a spectacular spa, and an air of quietly confident grandeur. 

I don’t want to spend too long waxing lyrical on how much we loved the hotel (possibly my top UK country retreat), but suffice to say it was a weekend of wholesome outdoorsy ‘Famous Five’ fun, with bike rides, walks, picnics and plenty of wishing we actually lived there.

I'm grateful to J for keeping me company for hours suntanning in a meadow. As a heyfever sufferer he knows his enemy and being at one with nature in the summer months doesn't come particularly natural to him:)...

The perfect way to begin the weekend? I think so...

Afternoon tea, of course.

.....the tea. Top notch – really.  I was happy to see the mini cakes, as I sometimes think that the full-size versions leave you feeling a little sugared-out, and not always in a good way. I substituted my beef sandwiches for an extra smoked salmon and an extra cucumber and cream cheese. Good move. Soft bread, fresh fillings, and a stunning vista....Simply divine

Nothing aids the digestion so much as a few rounds of competitive croquet outside on the lawns...

All and all a very happy camper indeed..

London Spa Girl x

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