Follow in footsteps of dukes at relaxing retreat in the country
Jack Harland visits Clumber Park
Where: Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire.
Accommodation: Clumber Park Hotel, A614, Near Worksop.
Call: 01623 835333.
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Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Nestling just off the A1, practically at the gates to the National Trust's Clumber Park, the Clumber Park Hotel and Spa's elegant frontage hides an extended 73-bedroom hotel complete with bar, gym and health spa.
Despite the terrible weather, we were soon donning our walking boots. We headed across the road to find a beautiful expanse of parkland, heath and woods covering more than 3,800 acres.
The park is also a haven for wildlife spotters, with many different birds on and around the magnificent lake.
Clumber Park was once the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle. Although the house was demolished in 1938, there are glimpses of its grand past to explore. From the Gothic-style chapel, you can follow in the footsteps of dukes through the peaceful pleasure ground to the Walled Kitchen Garden. Here, you can experience the sights, scents and a taste of the past.
During our stay, we spent a fair amount of time in the New Leaf Spa, which boasts a modern, fresh, comfortable environment where we could relax, unwind and be pampered.
The spa has an extensive range of Elemis treatments and we were treated to a back, neck and shoulder massage. They claim to help in "recovering serenity and wellbeing to mind, body and soul". Well, I felt so relaxed, I nearly nodded off. It was just what I needed after a long hike in the rain.
One of the highlights of the hotel has to be the delightful Normanton Inn, where we were treated to some fantastic food during our stay. The bar area is decorated in a modern mish-mash of colours and fabrics, which works really well.
The relaxed restaurant had huge chalk boards on the walls with the day's dishes pencilled in. I sampled the starter of Ham hock fritters with a poached egg, and then enjoyed a sublime braised beef blade with mash and seasonal vegetables. with a fantastic range of dishes, we felt no need to venture into nearby Retford for our second evening's meal.
"Escape to the forest" is what Clumber Park Hotel invites you to do, and this is perfect for a short break in the country to get away from the hectic life in the city.
Clumber Park, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clumberpark
New Leaf Spa www.clumberparkhotel.com