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A luxurious countryside hotel break steeped in history.
Here at London Unattached, we love a hotel that has some real history and Billesley Manor near Stratford Upon Avon is not only a beautiful Elizabethan Manor House Hotel but also played a crucial part in Shakespeare’s creative and personal life. Rumour has that he wrote ‘As You Like It’ in the Library Room and married Anne Hathaway in the church at Billesley manor 1582, and it is certain his granddaughter Elizabeth Nash married there in 1646.
Billesley Manor’s history goes back to the time of the Norman Conquest when it was one of a number of Midland properties that belonged to the influential Trussell family. In 1327 Willam Trussell was amongst the Parliamentarians who deposed King Edward II, going on to serve his son, the warrior King Edward III as soldier and diplomat. At that time Billesley consisted of a wooden manor house and the nearby village, but in the middle of the fourteenth century, the Black Death decimated the village, leaving just the manor occupied and a church. Foundations of the medieval village of Billesley can still be discerned in the fields to the east of the hotel.
We arrived at Billesley Manor Hotel on a cold and misty winter’s evening, after seeing a show, The Boy in The Dress, at the RSC in Stratford upon Avon. It’s ideally situated, just a 20-minute drive from the theatre and Stratford’s town centre. We were given a friendly welcome into the warmth of the hotel, which was looking wonderfully festive with sparkling Christmas trees and large open fireplaces decked in fairy lights.
In the light of day, we were able to explore a little more and were very impressed by its striking grand exterior, which is set in 11 acres of manicured Warwickshire gardens with a beautifully ornate topiary garden in the style of a chessboard.
Billesley Manor is a quintessentially British country house hotel. The interior, in keeping with tradition, boasts oak-panelled walls, leaded windows, large stone fireplaces, wide staircases and tartan carpets in a multitude of different muted shades throughout. It oozes elegance, warmth, and charm.
The baronial dining room, where both dinner and breakfast is served has a stunning minstrel’s gallery, a majestic carved large wooden fireplace, and grand chandeliers and coats of arms hung on the walls. Classic upholstered chairs and tables elegantly set with white tablecloths add to the refined look.
We sadly arrived well past dinner time, but the staff kindly brought us a selection of delicious freshly made sandwiches: avocado and chicken, egg mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, and red onion chutney, home-smoked salmon with beetroot and horseradish cream and chunky ham and pickle together with two large glasses of chilled Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. So we were able to sit and relax and soak in the atmosphere before heading up to our room.
Billesley Manor Hotel has 71 elegantly-styled bedrooms within the original Manor House and the restored Cedar Barns. Our room was in the main house; it was both stylish and comfortable, decorated in subtle shades of beige with a featured floral print wall and textured soft furnishing. And, there was a loveable looking Billesley bear on the bed. We had tea making facilities, a flat-screen television; free high-speed WiFi and a well-equipped classically styled bathroom with a selection of Gilchrist & Soames products.
After a good night’s sleep, we enjoyed a plentiful breakfast which offered a selection of cereals, cold meats and cheeses, pastries, fresh fruit salad and a choice of teas and fresh coffees and cooked breakfasts to order. My scrambled eggs were perfectly cooked and served on hot buttery toast and the veggie full English was a real feast.
Unfortunately, we had to hit the road back to London, but if we’d had a little more time on our hands to we could have enjoyed the Spa at Billesley Manor Hotel which has everything you need to relax and unwind including an extensive selection of Decléor treatments, a health suite, gym, swimming pool, sauna, and steam room.
Or perhaps explore more of the local area… we rather liked the look of The Shakespeare Distillery which is an independent artisan spirit producer based in Stratford upon Avon. You can take a gin cruise on the beautiful River Avon through Stratford or even try your hand at a cocktail master class.
Billesley Manor Hotel offers a luxurious countryside break, perfect for immersing yourself in all things Shakespearean or exploring the nearby Cotswolds.
I think we might be back!
Billesley Manor Hotel
Tel 01789 279 955