A young Jane Austen regularly visited her neighbours at Oakley Hall, in Hampshire. Today the Georgian country house is a hotel where you can enjoy afternoon tea or try your hand at that most English of pursuits: clay pigeon shooting.
Dating from 1795, Oakley Hall in Hampshire was once owned by the Bramstons – close, personal friends of Jane Austen. Jane lived in the rectory in nearby Steventon and would regularly walk up to visit her friends at Oakley Hall; indeed in several letters to her sister Cassandra she makes fond reference to it.
Today the Georgian country house is a four-star hotel and though most of its original features have made way for more contemporary design, it still holds on to one or two old English traditions: afternoon tea and shooting parties.
Fear not, no animals were hurt in our reviewing of this hotel – we only aimed our rifles at clay pigeons, though we have to say we got quite into the role of playing the English lady and gent for the morning.
The aforementioned afternoon tea is delightful and served in the new Glasshouse Restaurant (which only opened in 2014 and boasts two AA Rosettes), and comes with a selection of dainty scones (served with clotted cream and jam, of course) and delicate pastries. They even serve a dedicated kids’ afternoon tea, which will make your little one’s eyes pop.
There are 50 bedrooms to choose from, including the three-bedroomed garden cottage where you can really make yourself at home and imagine what it might have been like to live on the grounds in Austen’s time.
There are also 18 luxurious courtyard bedrooms and each of the rooms inside the main house has views of some of the 315-acres of grounds.
The Glasshouse Restaurant prides itself on the ‘field-to fork’ philosophy of its kitchen, meaning you can be assured that all of its ingredients have been sourced within a 50-mile radius – in fact much of its produce comes from its very own kitchen garden.
After dinner retire to the 1795 Bar & Lounge (in honour of the year Oakley Hall was built) for a nightcap or even a cocktail or two, mixed for you by the very affable bar tenders.
You can also join the Glasshouse Dining Club for free, which gives you 10% off your dining at Oakley Hall Hotel plus access to exclusive member events and offers.
For more on Jane Austen’s Hampshire, buy your copy of the latest issue of BRITAIN.
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