Summer is the ideal time to explore the 90 acres of National Trust gardens at Grade I listed Hartwell House
This year Hartwell House is celebrating 30 years since it opened as a hotel. It is now one of the most highly acclaimed hotels in the British Isles and the house and its estate have never looked more spectacular. Today, Hartwell House has 32 superbly appointed bedrooms and suites, some named after the members of the Court of Louis XVIII. Hartwell Court provides an additional 16 bedrooms and suites. All feature antique furniture and paintings and all have delightful views of the gardens. Summer is a wonderful time to explore the magical gardens at Hartwell House spread over 90 acres.
Hartwell House's gardens were landscaped by a contemporary of Capability Brown. Here are 10 outdoor moments:
Guests can follow a trail around the grounds with a copy of their Tree Map, to identify 10 prize specimens, from a Horse Chestnut and a London Plane tree to a Giant Sequoia (an 87- ft domed conifer which bears cones all year round).
Aside from using the tree guide to explore, visible from a good distance, guests will admire ‘Lime Avenue’; a mile-long double avenue of limes which runs north from the house with 234 lime trees, planted in 1830.
The Gothic Tower is a romantic battlemented turret and a good place to start on any walk. A statue of Hercules can’t be missed whilst the Rusticated Arch now re-erected to provide a grand entrance to the SE corner of the grounds is a wonderful surprise when walking around the grounds.
St Mary’s church which was rebuilt in 1753 is a fine example of early Gothic Revival style. While the church isn’t open it can be admired from outside.
Guests can explore the Orchard where old varieties of apples are grown and the walls of the former kitchen garden support apricot, peach, pear and plum trees.
Throughout the year, Richard Jones, Hartwell's Head Gardner invites garden fans on tours of the grounds to show and explain how he prepares and maintains Hartwell’s gardens for different seasons. Garden Tours must be booked in advance as these sell out fast.
The Bridge comprises the central arch of James Paine’s Kew Bridge 1783-9. Walk across what was a road crossing over the Thames at Kew until increasing traffic required a wider bridge. The bridge looks as though it has always been at Hartwell.
Guests can enjoy a game of croquet on a lawn area in front of the library, which is set up throughout the year.
There are two all-weather tennis courts in the grounds for guests to use throughout the year. These are perfectly secluded.
Speciality cocktails are available at Hartwell House including Hartwell Garden which celebrates the stunning 90 acres of parkland at Hartwell House. This incredibly refreshing cocktail matches the Botanist gin with cucumber, apple juice and mint that’s been freshly picked from the gardens.
Since opening as a hotel thousands of guests have experienced the gardens and luxury experience in this magnificent setting. Famous visitors have also included President Bill Clinton and the Emperor and Empress of Japan among many celebrities.
Hartwell Spa resides in the grounds with a mosaic-lined indoor pool, sauna and steam room, gym and Hartwell Café overlooking the pool and opening out on to a terrace in summertime. The 2 AA Rosette restaurant is open daily and visitors and guests can also enjoy afternoon tea at Hartwell House in the various public rooms.
In 1809, Hartwell House was leased to the exiled King Louis XVIII of France and his court. King Louis remained at Hartwell until 1814 when the constitutional document, confirming his accession to the throne, was signed in the library by the King.
Guests should save some energy to explore the stunning indoors at Hartwell House which include:
The House dating back to the early 17th century with a Jacobean style and oriel windows
The Great Hall changed little since it was transformed in 1739 by James Gibbs
The Stairs showcase original Jacobean woodwork
The Vestibule; a top-lit, semi-elliptical space in the style of Sir John Soane
The Library which still has Rococo frieze and Chimneypiece and original bookcases
The Morning Room with a Rococo plasterwork ceiling and a matching chimneypiece
The Dining Room designed in the style of Sir John Soane and open daily to non-residents also
Hartwell House’s landscape is more inviting than ever and the warmer months are ideal time to head outside and explore.
www.hartwell-house.com Hartwell House, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8NR
B&B priced from £250 per room per night