Magnificence maintained: Buxted Park Hotel review

If Buxted Park was good enough for Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill, it’s certainly good enough for us

There is no such thing as a brief history of Buxted Park. Dating back as far as the 12th century, this grade II-listed Palladian mansion has been a hallmark of power and prestige for 800 years; it has simply survived (and thrived) through too many periods of rise and decline to mention them all. The beautiful house that stands today though, surrounded as it is by 312 acres of East Sussex parkland, was completed thanks to the Medley family, who amassed their wealth in tax collection. But as taxmen come, these were particularly formidable, earning their money as keepers of the Privy Purse in the reign of Henry VIII.

With big ambitions and some serious cash, Buxted Park was made fit for royalty from the beginning. In the past it has hosted the Prince Regent as well as the great Queen Victoria herself, and some of its seven palatial suites are named after its other revered guests including Winston Churchill, Robert Browning and William Wordsworth (whose brother is buried at the nearby Church of St Margaret the Queen, where he was parish priest).

The grand Winston Churchill Suite at Buxted Park

Nowadays Buxted Park retains its air of magnificence, but as a hotel it is also functionally slick and sophisticated, manned by impeccable staff who get the balance between friendliness and discretion just right.

A bathroom with a view

The team really are true professionals. Considering the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry, the management team at Hand Picked Hotels (the group of historic, boutique hotels to which Buxted Park belongs) have done a sterling job ensuring that everything, from the television remote to the breakfast buffet (which is brought to your table without you having to lift a finger), has been considered and made as safe and sanitised as possible. Guests are able to just sit back, relax and enjoy themselves.

In fact there seems no better time to visit Buxted than right now. During lockdown, its core staff took the opportunity to give the hotel and its gardens a face lift. This little bit of pampering has left it looking more radiant than ever. For such a historic building, its interiors – every fitting and finish – are immaculate. Here you may sleep in the same spot as Churchill once did, yet in more luxury than even he.

Several rooms have private outdoor dining patio areas

Dining is also a pleasure, with a menu of crowd-pleasers that are executed to an extremely high standard. With socially-distanced tables or the option of in-room dining (and some rooms have private al fresco patio areas perfect for this), you’re in safe hands.

Breakfast in particular is a special experience to be enjoyed on the sun-catching terrace that overlooks the historic woodland and acid grassland of the Site of Special Scientific Interest. Brimming with wildlife, it’s the perfect pre- or post-dinner sojourn. With grounds, grandeur and glamour enough for the most discerning of visitors, we don’t think you’ll want to leave.

Surrounded by Ashdown Forest and nearby Hever Castle, Glyndebourne Opera House, the terminus of the vintage steam Bluebell Railway line and Rathfinny Wine Estates (where you can taste and buy fine Sussex sparkling wines), you could easily spend a week or more in this secluded spot. And if you are tempted to do so, we advise you consider the spacious suite of Winston Churchill (or similar), so as to pace your private wing and better admire the expansive countryside views.