For the perfect country escape and an idyllic weekend away worthy of a romantic chick-lit novel, Tylney Hall Hotel and Gardens is the place to visit this summer. The stunning Grade II listed mansion dates back to the 1700s and is nestled amongst 66 acres of beautiful grounds in the Hampshire countryside.
Tylney Hall Hotel – part of the Elite Hotels collection – is located next door to Tylney Park Golf Club so guests can enjoy a relaxed round before lunch. Sitting just outside the pretty village of Hook, the four-star hotel is brilliantly situated for exploring Hampshire and is easily accessible from the M3.
We were upgraded to the beautiful Lady Rotherwick suite, a large and sumptuous room in the old part of the house. Steps from the hallway lead you past a classic and gleaming bathroom with a large shower and a grand roll top bath framed by the ornate stone window. Sink into the tub and enjoy the views along the grand vista, one of the longest uninterrupted vistas in Hampshire, lined by Giant Redwood, or watch deer grazing in the meadow beyond.
The suite offers guests a cosy but stylish space which is refined and elegant. A grand chandelier is suspended from the intricate ceiling and lights the room with a warm glow, creating a comfortable space to relax. A large super king-sized bed dominates the room.
The suite is a wonderful and welcoming space to make your own during your stay, come summer or winter. During the warm, sunny weather large windows flood the room with light and open onto a pretty sun-drenched balcony with sweeping views across the lawns. By winter, the stone fireplace can crackle into life and heat the room.
The jewel in Tylney Hall’s crown is the stunning gardens that surround the Victorian mansion. Staff offer self-guided or tutored tours of the fascinating garden which tell an intriguing story of the Hall’s history. Ancient trees, rainbow-coloured flower beds, rose and azalea gardens, manicured formal gardens, and rolling lawns stretch off in every direction. The hotel boasts water gardens designed by renowned British horticulturalist Gertrude Jekyll and a beautiful Italian garden featuring elegant statues and a fountain that was designed to mimic the original one that was lost during the Hall’s time as a school.
The Boathouse Lake offers guests a quiet and secluded spot to sit beside the water and has beautiful views of the house, as well as a quaint little bridge; the perfect photo opportunity. And in the water gardens, two pretty lakes are sprinkled with beautiful lily pads and are connected by an intricate network of waterways, falls and streams. Hotel guests can follow one of two trails winding through the spectacular gardens or can jump on one of the bikes to pedal around the estate. Meander through shady walkways, wisteria tunnels or find a quiet corner to sit back and relax as you listen to a waterfall cascading down the rocks and the birds singing in the trees. Wander around the pretty orchard, hunt for the Second World War air raid shelter, and seek out the traditional garden pavilion.
The old Dutch Garden – a magical walled garden sheltered by tall trees and the rustic brickwork of the main house – is now home to a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool. The sun was shining as we arrived and, although late in the day, the pool was heated to 31C meaning our swim was lovely. We bobbed in the warm water as the sun sunk behind the canopy of trees. We relaxed on a lounger that edge the poolside, beneath the twisting branches of a pretty wisteria arching over the pergola and offering shade from the midday summer sun.
Towering above the walled garden is the historic water tower, which still holds the Hall’s water supply today. Outside the gates, a large terrace offers guests the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxed lunch, a leisurely afternoon tea or an afternoon drink. Inside there’s a cosy bar to unwind in with a late-night cocktail or to relax mid-morning with the paper and a coffee.
The Oak Room Restaurant is a formal, award-winning dining room with beautiful views onto the garden. The grand oak-panelled hall has boasts high ceilings, regal artwork and exquisitely-presented tables spaced out accordingly due to social distancing rules. Guests can enjoy lunch or dinner here, or can opt for a casual dining option in the lounge or out on the terrace. We got dressed up for dinner and were pleased to arrive to find the restaurant bustling with guests toasting drinks, laughing and tucking into impeccably presented dishes. Some evenings, diners can enjoy the background soundtrack of a pianist to really set off the grand country house setting.
The menu is refined with five options for each course; each dish carefully considered and perfectly designed to ensure there is something for every taste (an additional menu caters to vegetarians, vegans and dietary requirements). We started with a bubbly aperitif to sip while we perused the menu and tucked into deliciously warm bread rolls and soft, salted butter. I chose the honey whipped goat’s cheese with baby beetroot, asparagus, carrot, radish and truffle rapeseed oil. The goat’s cheese was smooth and creamy, complemented perfectly by the earthy beetroot and the peppery sweetness of the radish.
The main course – steamed wild stone bass with salt cod crushed potato, garlic spinach, pickled cockle and caviar Nantaise – was light, fresh and every morsel was packed full of flavour. The fish was meaty and juicy, while the potato was salty and buttery. To finish, I opted for the dark chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream and raspberry. While the cake was rich and chocolatey, it would have been better served with a cup of tea or alongside the restaurant’s afternoon tea offering, and felt a little heavy and dry for a three-course meal.
We finished our evening in the cosy lounge where the friendly barman served us up a sweet and fizzy Bellini before retiring to our room to sink into our huge soft bed and drift off into a deep slumber, dreaming of what it must have been like to stroll the gorgeous Tylney Hall gardens in our finery in the Victorian era.
A deluxe double sleeping two with breakfast starts from £240 per night.
Address: Ridge Ln, Rotherwick, Hook RG27 9AZ
Phone: 01256 764881