I love my new home. Having been in it less than a year, there’s nothing I like more than to soak in the air and atmosphere I’ve created. But from time to time, I feel it’s important to get away, even if it’s to somewhere pretty close to home, so you can relax and enjoy a slower pace.
Enter Chicheley Hall. When I was asked whether I’d like to spend a night away at Chichely Hall, I’ll be honest, I’d no idea where it was. It’s actually incredibly close to the office I work in, and located in 80 acres of stunning Buckinghamshire countryside close to Milton Keynes and the M1.
Offering 48 individually furnished bedrooms, this Grade I listed Georgian mansion oozes British history, but also offers comfort and beauty.
We arrived just after 3pm, eager to start our relaxing, romantic night away. Having watched the Royal Wedding only hours before, we were reminiscing about our own wedding almost twelve years prior, at a manor house in Hatfield (which sadly no longer hosts weddings). The feel of Chicheley Hall only helped to bring these memories back. As an amazing wedding location, Chicheley Hall would have definitely been on the wishlist of locations, had I been planning a wedding now.
Nevertheless, we felt incredibly lucky to be told we would be staying in the Bridal Suite during our stay.
The Blackett room, named after Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett who won the Nobel prize for physics in 1948 (all of the rooms are named after notable scientists) was found on the top floor, down a corridor, through another private door and across from its own spiral staircase.
A huge super-king bed, comfy chairs and beautiful windows welcomed us. The views from this corner room of the Hall grounds were breathtaking.
There were so many touches in this room, which screamed history; the wardrobe door:
Inside there was a tea-making tray, teas, coffees, biscuits, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, safe, bathroom and slippers (everything you need)
The carvings above the bed:
and other touches like stunning mirrors and a huge fireplace.
The bathroom was in keeping with the room but lovely and modern
And offered another lovely view
Once we’d unpacked, we were eager to get outside, enjoy the weather and have a look over the grounds.
Chicheley Hall is steeped in history. Built between 1720 and 1724 for Sir John Chester, it is regarded as one of the finest examples of early 18th Century architecture in the country. It’s now home to the Royal Society, which has been at the heart of scientific discovery for over 300 years, and whose fellows include Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking. During World War II the house was requisitioned and used by the Special Operations Executive. A small-scale version of the bouncing Bomb was tested on the lake. With this much history coming from one small space, we wanted to soak it all in!
On the first floor, after descending our spiral staircase, we saw a tea and coffee bench, where I assume you can help yourself to refreshments as you enjoy the Hall and grounds. The large staircase to the ground floor screams out for a bride and a long train to swish all the way down. A stunning tear-drop chandelier hung from ceiling to floor and pillar candles lined the stairs.
Out the backdoor and we were greeted by a stunning path and topiaries, with a lovely sundial at the end.
Lakes, complete with swan and geese, a couple of amazing old trees, so tall and old no photo could do them justice and some amazing colours from the various flowering plants – put together with the stunning weather – we were in our element.
The grounds were kept immaculately. Guests were having afternoon tea on the lawn, and we occasionally heard the cry of George the resident peacock, though I didn’t get a glimpse of him during our visit.
We worked out our room was the four corner windows on the top floor.
And then it was time for dinner.
The small, and wonderfully furnished dining room was light and airy. A lovely and traditionally British menu was offered.
I started with a warm Mediterranean vegetable and feta tart, served with a basil vinaigrette and rocket salad. This was lovely, and the flavours complemented each other perfectly. It was also just the right size.
Next I had beer-battered haddock, with chips and mushy peas. The fish was lovely and the batter light, but the star of the dish was the chips. They were epic, cooked wonderfully and seasoned just right. I could have eaten another plate of them!
For dessert I chose the tarte au citron, which was lovely, but very rich so I couldn’t eat the whole thing! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I’m glad I gave this a try.
The dinner service was excellent, attentive and brisk. Our waitress was really lovely and made sure we had everything we needed.
After dinner we decided to take in more of the room, have a relaxing bath and watch some Netflix on our iPad.
The next morning we awoke bright and early. That’s the only downside of having a corner room – so much window and so much light as a result. The gardens were stunning in the hazy morning light, promising another beautiful day. And what a way to bring in the morning than seeing those views!
Breakfast was a self-service affair, and I have to say it was one of the most impressive breakfast buffet turn outs I’ve experienced. The cooked breakfast options were great and plentiful. All well-cooked and very delicious. As well as cooked breakfast options were pastries, bread for toast, cereals, cheese and cold meat. Juices were available too, coffee (damn fine) and tea was made to order and brought to your table.
I’m a full-English kind of girl so I chose my fill from the chafing dishes.
Before we checked out of our room, we had a little peek into the library, adjacent to the dining room. All the books we spotted on our visit were about science, so if you were that way inclined you could get your brain cells ticking over with a quiet spot of reading in this room. So tranquil!
Our visit to Chicheley Hall was so relaxing. The staff were welcoming and friendly, and every guest we encountered was relaxed, slow-paced, and seemingly enjoying their time away from the hustle and bustle. Being so close to Milton Keynes, this is a perfect location to lay your head if you’re visiting the area for a concert, event, or convention. Its surroundings offer the perfect home away from home, and it reminded me how lucky I am to live in Bucks so close to both urban and rural life.
I can aslo see how it would also make an amazing and welcoming location for your small wedding, whether it be the whole ceremony and reception, or just the reception. The sweeping staircase, decor and grounds would make for stunning photos too! Maybe I’ll think about a vow renewal!
I was honoured to be welcomed to Chicheley Hall to experience such a relaxing and comfortable break away from it all. Both Gary and I felt tremendously refreshed after our night away, and so glad we know this treasure is there!
For more information on Chicheley Hall, its history, accommodation and weddings, visit their website.