Despite being less than an hour away from central London by train and car, the Beaverbrook estate feels like it’s in the middle of the countryside. And the 400-acre former home of newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook is currently being transformed into an exciting new venture that is set to make it a must-visit. Gorgeous new 11-room boutique hotel The Garden House, above, is phase one of the ambitious project, which will see it joined by a laid-back-luxe 18-room hotel called The House, below, as well as pampering beauty retreat The Coach House Spa and self-catering The Glasshouse Cottages.
But that’s not happening till summer, so we were perfectly content to pop along to Leatherhead to enjoy a quick taster of this supremely family-friendly venture.
Hidden behind a high-walled working organic garden that feeds the English-Italian restaurant with a bountiful array of fruit and veg and the rooms with beautiful blooms, The Garden House makes for the perfect weekend escape.
The interiors, expertly crafted by Nicola Harding, have a distinctly shabby-chic feel, complete with battered Ladybird books, lived-in furniture and soothing Farrow & Ball shades. The vibe is very much that of a gently eccentric private house and you are positively encouraged to make yourself at home. The cosy snug, above, with its blazing fire and comfy chairs, was a big draw.
Each of the nicely sized rooms is named after one of the herbs grown on the estate – ours, Chamomile, had a fabulously firm modern bed, others have gorgeously romantic four-posters, above. And all the bathrooms come complete with roll-top baths, below, and power showers.
The view from our window inspired us to take leisurely stroll around the grounds and when Little Livingetc happened upon the epic tree-house, below, he was off!All that invigorating fresh air made us feel very hungry and the food in the conservatory-style dining room, below, was an absolute pleasure.
Renowned Japanese chef Kaz Suzuki has concocted an English menu with an Italian twist – two of his standout dishes were the meltingly good ‘Gnoccholini’ with crunchy zucchini fries on the side and Chocolate Nemesis, below, a wickedly yummy, gluten-free delight.
If you’re inspired by Kaz’s dishes – and we certainly were – you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s a cookery school on site, below, which takes bookings of ten and will tutor you in everything from veggie cuisine to cordon bleu.
We can’t wait to return later this year to check out the big house – bagsy the room Beaverbrook’s bestie Churchill regularly stayed in – and state-of-the-art spa…
Double rooms, from £280 per night (beaverbrook.co.uk)