Heckfield Place, Hampshire, England

Heckfield Place, Hampshire, England

“A weekend in the country, so inactive that one has to lie
down.” – Stephen Sondheim.

The countryside has an inexplicable
capacity to tire you out through little more than a leisurely
stroll. Perhaps it’s the fresh air, those afternoon slices of
coffee cake, or ever-beckoning sofas. Whatever it is, Heckfield Place is more than
culpable of seducing you into a leisurely stupor from the moment
you roll into the drive.

A Georgian family home, plotted on a 400-acre estate just an
hour from London
(urbanites we hear you revelling) this is one of those very rare,
utterly faultless places. Centred on sustainability and surrounded by
heather and woodland, idyllic isn’t adjective enough. A modern
luxury hotel, Heckfield’s grounds carry the hallmarks of the
Georgians’ fascination with nature and predilection for
socialising. Hedonists and horticulturists alike, prepare to be
unequivocally enchanted by these sumptuous surrounds.


Choose from six room types, situated in the main house and off
the corridors. “Guest Rooms” are cosy and perfectly proportioned with
all the modern luxuries you could require – bedside USB ports,
sleekly disguised kettles and panel-controlled mood lighting –
without compromising on an overall homely heritage feel.
Hand-knotted woollen rugs and mats (made from rushes harvested in
East Anglia) don the floors, complementing the rooms’ muted
aesthetic and adding to the warmth. “Friends Rooms” are the
snuggest in size but come with all the hallmarks of Heckfield’s
larger suites.

For those looking to go all out, the “Signature Rooms” are
insurmountable. Of these, the “Lake Room”, positioned in the heart
of the house is worth the additional zeroes added to your room bill
for the sweeping bay windows alone, while Casanova types will be
taken in by the “Coppice Room” – enter by way of intimate candlelit
sitting room, adorned in a delicate palette of sage and dusty

Rooms are partitioned, meaning that regardless of spec or size
all feel like miniature apartments – “living quarters” if we’re
keeping things distinguished. Before bed, climb into the
freestanding bath for an evening soak or hunker down on the corner
sofa with a weighty throw, a well-reviewed tome and a glass of Dom
served in a frosted champagne coupe glass plucked from your in-room

What’s for breakfast?

Veering away from standard breakfast classics, the morning menu
at Marle restaurant serves up some less prolific British classics – try bubble
and squeak or kedgeree for a hearty start to the day. Freshly
brewed coffee and bottomless bread
baskets accompanied by the morning papers are prerequisites here.
Perch table-side in this greenhouse-style space until noon before
taking to the lake for your late-morning constitutional.

How about lunch and dinner?

Seasonal dining is the order of the day at both Marle and
Hearth. Open for lunch and dinner, kitchens are led by culinary
director Skye Gyngell (of Spring and Petersham Nurseries acclaim)
and her presence as well as her pioneering cuisine is palpable

At Marle, interiors combine marble, slate and wood, complemented
by views across the woodland and lakes. Bulbous, hand-blown vases
and trellised greenery sprawling overhead are subtle hints to the
restaurant’s connectedness to the landscape. Here, diners can
expect food that is fresh and simply prepared.

Centred on an open fire, Hearth adopts classic cooking methods
with a set menu that changes daily. Open two days a week, and
available only to residents, it’s best to book a dinner seating in
advance. From introductory plates of langoustine to the final notes
of poached pear dipped in dark chocolate, dinners at Hearth are
intended to be lengthy and indulging. Relax (and digest) in the
subterranean, brick-clad dining space, with views of the fire.

For those who get peckish between lunch and dinner,
complimentary afternoon tea is served in the drawing room between

Is there a bar?

Decompress at the Moon Bar under the flickering light of the
XXL-disco ball that hangs above the bar counter. Inspired by the
lunar phases, cocktails are dangerously drinkable and best sipped
after sunset.

Alternatively, head underground to the 280-bin cellar, which
holds a selection of wines from established and emerging producers.
Choose your bottle before crossing over to the Cellar Bar where the
resident sommelier will talk you through your pick.


The Little Bothy Spa sits at the nucleus of a small but
considered wellness centre. Comprising of
five treatment rooms, it offers all-natural treatments with
ingredients drawn from the apothecary garden. Kick back
post-treatment with a juice or infusion before heading to one of
three studios for a personal-training session, yoga or ballet class
provided by Bodyism.

After an afternoon of cardio, vegetate in the 67-seat private
screening room in front of the latest cinema release or indie

Things you should know

From London, take the train to
Winchfield or Reading – leave work early to beat the weekend
traffic as city folk make a mass exodus for the countryside.
Incomers can reach Heckfield from Heathrow Airport in just under 45
minutes, while Gatwick is a one-hour drive away.

Within a short walk you’ll find…

With Heckfield’s commitment to the land and focus on biodynamic
farming, a visit to Home Farm is worth it. You’ll sight saddleback
pigs, a 70-strong flock of sheep and an impressive market garden
consisting of herbs, vegetables and fruit as well as scented
flowers grown for the house.

East of the estate, Heckfield’s upper and lower lakes are
perfect for a quiet stroll. Walk in the pleasure grounds or though
walled gardens among wisteria, lavender and fragrant English