Last Updated on October 17, 2021
To the Manor (not quite) born – at Tylney Hall in Hampshire.
Shoulder season short breaks in spring and autumn are quite the best kind of country house hotel staycations in my view. While you may not be guaranteed sunshine, these stunning stately homes offer beautiful grounds, charming country walks and space to relax, dine well and generally recharge without having to leave the country. Tylney Hall is the kind of place, you dream of owning but will really appreciate visiting. Approach the hotel along the sweeping gravel drive and I defy you not to fall in love with the place.
Just a few miles from Hook in Hampshire, a Mansion House has been here since 1561 although, according to the inscription on Fredrick Tylney’s tomb, the first Tylney Hall was not built until 1700 Frederick died in 1725 and the property passed through various relatives until William Wellesley Pole demolished it for reasons which are not totally clear. Eventually, in 1899, Lionel Phillips bought the Hall and Estate and built the Tylney Hall which stands today.
It’s a Grade II listed building, much of which looks older than it actually is thanks to being copied from older buildings or built using reclaimed materials. The Great Hall is panelled in Italian walnut and the ceiling was brought in sections from the Grimani Palace in Venice.
In addition to investing in the building itself, Sir Lionel also invested heavily in landscaping the grounds of the house – there are formal gardens designed by Robert Weir Schultz, and Gertrude Jekyll was responsible for the stunning water and wild garden. The landscaping is being carefully restored and it would be a shame to visit Tylney Hall and not take time to explore outside.
I checked into my suite – the kind of space that is larger than many London flats, with a sitting room equipped with comfy chairs and a sofa, a desk and a table looking out over the gardens for those who want to dine in their room. The bedroom was elegant and simple with a large and comfortable double bed and plenty of wardrobe space.
The bathroom had plenty of space, a large bath with an over-bath shower, toiletries by Molton Brown and plenty of fluffy towels together with comfy robes. Everything you might need for a comfy staycation!
Downstairs in the Great Hall, we enjoyed drinks before dinner. And, in the elegant Oak Room, which is the hotel’s dining room we were really impressed by the level of service and food offered by the two AA Rosette Restaurant. Warm bread rolls with butter arrived in a pretty silver basket, perfect for taking the edge off our appetites before the food was ready.
My companion ordered the honey whipped goats cheese which was a delicate mixture of vegetables; baby beetroot, asparagus, carrot and radish with a truffled rapeseed dressing and a good portion of meltingly soft whipped cheese. She loved the textural contrast between the vegetables and cheese and the freshness of the dish.
I picked marbled pork pressing with paprika crackling, crab apple gel, quails egg, burnt shallot and lambs lettuce. Surprisingly light, this was a great combination of flavours with the acidity of the crab apple providing an excellent complement to the sweet pork.
Then, for main courses, my steamed stone bass came on a pile of salt cod mashed potato with garlic-infused spinach and a beautifully buttery hollandaise sauce with pickled cockles and caviar.
My companion enjoyed a Hereford beef fillet with wild mushroom gratin, shavings of chestnut mushrooms and a truffle mash.
Portion sizes were excellent and everything was cooked to perfection. By the time we’d finished starters and main course neither of us felt we could do justice to a dessert.
So, we shared the chocolate Marquise with banana and lime ice cream and warm butter caramel sauce and followed that with an exquisite selection of artisan English cheeses with Dorset crackers.
Coffee came with petit fours and, once I’d succumbed to temptation again I rolled happily up the stairs to bed.
We were genuinely impressed with the quality of the food and with the excellent service. This restaurant deserves better than 2 rosettes for such beautiful dishes and immaculate plating.
I’m always surprised when country house hotels have noisy bedrooms. But, it’s not that unusual; ancient plumbing and rooms that have been created from larger spaces don’t always make for the best night’s sleep. Thankfully Tylney Hall was blissfully quiet – no noise from outside and none from inside either.
And, what could be better than waking to a view like this.
Breakfast, downstairs in the Oak Room comprised a cold buffet with a selection of cereals, yoghurt and pastries and an a la carte menu. Normally I’d jump at the chance of a full English, but I’d really overindulged the night before. Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on English muffins hit the spot perfectly.
After breakfast, I had a chance to explore a bit.
The hotel has both an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool
The indoor pool came complete with a whirlpool tub, while the outdoor pool, by loungers and shrubs, looked truly appealing. I’d have joined the sole swimmer had I got a little more time.
Just walking around the grounds though is the perfect way to burn off some of the excesses of the night before. I was genuinely thrilled to see the Gertrude Jekyll designed gardens – although she designed over 400 gardens in this country, Europe and the US, I don’t think I’ve ever been to one before.
The water features look truly stunning at this time of year.
I was shown around some of the other rooms in the hotel and fell totally in love with the Duchess Suite, which would make the perfect honeymoon first night venue.
But what makes Tylney Hall so special is that there are plenty of options. Apart from the mansion rooms, there are contemporary styled rooms set in some of the surrounding buildings and even dog-friendly accommodation. With such stunning grounds, I think it would be the most perfect place for a doggycation.
In addition to the obvious attractions of the House and Gardens, there are plenty of other places to explore in the area. We recommend visiting Jane Austen’s House, now a museum open to the public, which is just 14 miles away and popping into Chawton House too which is just a mile or so up the road. Even travelling to Winchester is just 24 miles away. We can recommend a visit to the Bombay Sapphire Distillery too – a special experience for any gin lover.
I’ll definitely be back – it’s just an hour or so on the train from London
Tylney Hall Hotel & Gardens,
Disclosure: We were guests of Tylney Hall Hotel
Looking for something similar? We’ve also recently visited Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club, another member of the Elite Hotel Group and can recommend a stay there too.