The splendor of Heckfield Place, a Georgian eco-friendly estate nestled in the serene countryside of Hampshire is a true experience to be cherished.
Originally built in the 18th century by Jane Hawley, this magnificent mansion, set in expansive and lush parkland, has a rich history steeped in elegance and charm.
Under the stewardship of head gardener William Wildsmith, it flourished with the addition of an arboretum and ornamental lake, gaining renown for its exotic hothouse fruits.
Throughout the 19th century, Heckfield Place was the cherished residence of the distinguished Lefevre family, with Charles Shaw-Lefevre, Speaker of the House of Commons, among its esteemed occupants. After obtaining planning permission in 2009 for its restoration, the estate served as a conference and training center before undergoing meticulous renovation and transformation into a luxurious hotel in 2018.
Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a flagstone entrance hall and a grand staircase, leading to a long, inviting hallway adorned with French doors overlooking picturesque flower beds. The interior décor seamlessly blends contemporary, mid-century, and antique furnishings, complemented by a palette of blush rose, forest green, and grey tones. Marble fireplaces grace the drawing rooms, offering splendid views of the surrounding parkland, while the bar and sitting room exude a seductive ambiance with handblown glass lights and a glittering atmosphere in dark hues.
Accommodation at Heckfield Place comprises 45 rooms and suites, each individually styled to reflect the estate’s natural surroundings and rich heritage. The rooms, spread across the main house and modern corridors, evoke a sense of spaciousness and coziness, boasting super soft beds, modern amenities including smart TVs, Wi-Fi, Nespresso machines, and B&O speakers. Thoughtful details abound, from floor-length chenille robes to minibars stocked with homemade cordial and ginger beer.
Renowned designer Ben Thompson’s touch is evident throughout, with natural textures such as rush matting, parquet-laid Welsh slate, and velvet cushions creating an inviting ambiance. Suites feature fireplaces, bathtubs, and balconies offering breathtaking views of the gardens, lake, or woodlands, while bathrooms boast luxurious amenities including Wildsmith Skin bath products.
My personal favorite is room 15, a Master in the Corridors, boasting large French doors opening onto a small terrace and walled garden, complete with a box of boules for outdoor entertainment.
Culinary delights await at Heckfield Place, with two restaurants overseen by acclaimed chef Skye Gyngell, offering seasonal cuisine crafted from fresh, organic ingredients sourced from the hotel’s own farm and gardens. The estate’s commitment to sustainability extends to its fully certified biodynamic market garden and organic home farm, ensuring a dining experience that is both exquisite and environmentally conscious.
In addition to its culinary offerings, Heckfield Place offers a variety of leisure activities to indulge in. The estate is home to ancient woodlands, where guests can immerse themselves in nature and partake in carbon-reducing initiatives such as tree planting. Single-use plastic is eschewed in favor of sustainable alternatives, reflecting the hotel’s zero-waste ethos.
For relaxation and rejuvenation, guests can retreat to The Bothy, Heckfield Place’s spa, featuring an indoor pool and a range of indulgent treatments. A fitness center, yoga studio, steam room, and relaxation lounge further enhance the wellness experience, with an extensive wellness program available for guests seeking holistic rejuvenation.
The expansive 400-acre estate offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, from hiking and biking to horse riding, fishing, and boating. Guests can also explore the hotel’s farm, engaging in workshops on cooking, gardening, art, and music, or simply enjoying interactions with the resident animals, including cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens.
Heckfield Place is not only a haven of tranquility and natural beauty but also a beacon of sustainable luxury. Its proximity to Jane Austen tours and local vineyards makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a quintessentially English experience, replete with comfort, style, and environmental stewardship.
Families are warmly welcomed at Heckfield Place, with a range of activities tailored to delight young guests, including flower-crown crafts, tree-hunting, woodworking, and willow weaving. Whether seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, Heckfield Place offers an unparalleled retreat for discerning travellers seeking a harmonious blend of luxury and sustainability.