Spoil yourself at Ockenden Manor hotel


Retreat from the rain at a classic country house hotel, only an hour from London.


With day after day of incessant rain and howling winds across the country at the moment it can be tempting to hibernate at home, scuttling to work or the shops and returning as fast as possible to hide under the duvet. But a far better way to see out the February storms is to head to a welcoming country house hotel and allow a crackling fire, fantastic food and, even better, a superb spa to return your sense of wellbeing.

You’ll find the Elizabethan house hotel of Ockenden Manor nestled in the middle of the pretty village of Cuckfield in West Sussex, surrounded by nine acres of grounds but perfectly sheltered from the buffeting wind and rain. Inside, the main building is cosy and welcoming. A tasteful drawing room and an intimate oak-panelled bar, the Burrell Room, with its original Tudor ceiling, offer just what a hotel of this type should – obsequious service, a comfortable atmosphere and just the right sense of exclusivity.


If you arrive in the evening, start here with an aperitif before heading into the smart Michelin-starred restaurant, which serves local fare such as melt-in-the-mouth pheasant from the nearby Balcombe Estate in elegant, tasty dishes. We can thoroughly recommend the delicious desserts too – try the warm plum clafoutis.

Ockenden is comfortingly traditional, and dinner especially is a formal affair. But hidden away a short walk from the main building you will find the spa – an uncompromisingly contemporary building featuring a large indoor/outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, walk-through rain shower, steam room, sauna, gym, relaxation area, sundeck and café.


And here there is a particularly modern touch – six large spa bedrooms, complete with shutters that open into the bathrooms and a large rooftop terrace, allow you to don your bathrobe straight after breakfast with no need to change all day. Make time to sample some of the excellent treatments on offer and then just sit back and relax. There’s nothing better than luxuriating in Jacuzzi bubbles while the rain lashes down outside – the perfect weather for it actually.

Rates at Ockenden Manor start from £199 for a standard room and from £489 for a spa suite. Ockenden Manor.

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