Get the English country house treatment at Luton Hoo

Luton Hoo. Credit James Kerr. Image supplied by Luton Hoo

This five-star hotel on the border of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire is housed in an elegant 18-century mansion and is within easy reach of London.

Luton Hoo. Credit James Kerr. Image supplied by Luton Hoo

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A house has stood on the site of Luton Hoo since at least 1601 when merchant Sir Robert Napier, 1st Baronet, purchased the estate, but the property as it stands dates from the late 18th century when it was the seat of the 3rd Earl of Bute, then prime minister to King George III, and it boasts beautiful landscaped gardens, designed by none other than Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.

Luton Hoo is now a lavish hotel where guests can enjoy the Edwardian Belle Epoque interiors introduced in 1903 by architects Charles Mewes and Arthur Davis, who built the Ritz – one highlight is the Wernher Restaurant, named after the owner who ordered the works. Over the years the estate has fulfilled many roles, including testing tanks during the Second World War and hosting a visit by Sir Winston Churchill in 1948 during which he thanked a crowd of 110,000 people for their wartime support.

Wernher Restaurant, Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire. Credit: J Baldwin
Wernher Restaurant. Credit: J Baldwin

Today it’s a fantastic place to get a taste of the English country life, from taking afternoon tea to indulging in a spot of clay pigeon shooting or archery, much as past guests of its distinguished owners would have done.

Inside, the pillared halls and elegant lounges create a grand setting in which to unwind and the Country Club, which includes a spa and an indoor pool with views across the woodlands, is set within a Grade II* listed Robert Adam courtyard that once formed the stables of the house, as well as the Adam’s Brasserie and Adam’s Bar.

Taxis line up outside the front entrance to Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire
Taxis line up outside the front entrance to Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire

And, if you want to explore the Capability Brown gardens, which include parkland, meadows, woodlands, lakes, rivers and nature trails, then you could take advantage of the free London black cabs, which are at your disposal.

Luton Hoo features as one of our 25 spectacular stately homes in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of BRITAIN.

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