Directions

S Magazine Great Escapes

Where: On the outskirts of the picturesque village of Burley, six miles from Ringwood in Hampshire.

The lowdown: Set against the stunning backdrop of the New Forest National Park, Burley Manor sits in eight acres of gardens. The Grade II listed manor house dates back to 1852 and has 40 rooms and suites situated in the original house and the more modern Garden Wing. The interior marries country house character with a bold, contemporary twist. Beamed and vaulted ceilings, an impressive staircase and decorative fireplaces give a luxury feel.

The hotel prides itself on its hospitality and we were welcomed by friendly and knowledgeable staff. Our lovely room – complete with a four-poster bed and roll-top bath – overlooked a herd of resident red deer. A jar of freshly baked biscuits and a retro radio added a touch of old school charm to the ambience. An outdoor swimming pool (open between June and September) is the ideal place to take a dip.

USP: Dining is at the heart of the Burley Manor experience. Head Chef Ben Johnson has created a modern menu featuring Mediterranean-inspired dishes made from locally grown fare. A selection of tapas and sharing plates such as wild mushroom arancini, and ham hock and manchego croquettes are well worth tasting. The dining room is a relaxed affair and guests are invited to mix and match dishes.

Time for one treatment: The Temple Spa is small with just two cosy treatment rooms, so it’s worth booking in advance. Try the Good Spirits treatment, which involves a Swedish-style massage on a heated bed using Mediterranean essential oils chosen to revive the body and mind. The massage is designed to improve circulation and my tense and tired muscles felt soothed and invigorated after the treatment.