31. 16 in cottages, 1 suitable for disabled.
all year, restaurant closed Mon lunch.
hall, drawing room, library, bar, dining room, free Wi-Fi, in-room TV (Sky, Freeview), civil wedding licence, 220-acre park (gardens, tennis, croquet), spa (16-metre swimming pool).
no under-6s in hotel, under-8s in spa (set swimming times).
Amex, MasterCard, Visa.
 per room B&B £180–£385. À la carte £55. 1-night bookings sometimes refused.
Good Hotel Guide Review
The name may mean ‘house among thistles’, but the ‘meticulously kept’ combination of manicured lawns, knotted gardens and meadow flowers tells otherwise. Flourishing, too, is the praise guests reserve for this ‘beautiful’, ‘ancient’ mansion under the stewardship of the National Trust. ‘It hasn’t changed one bit in the 20 years we’ve been going there, and that’s how I hope it stays,’ says a trusted Guide correspondent this year. ‘The sofas are comfortable; the place is warm, quiet and peaceful; the staff are super-friendly, super-professional, immaculately turned out.’ Beyond the public rooms (‘lovely’ original fireplaces, fresh flowers, leather-bound books), bedrooms in the main hall and in cottages in the grounds are furnished with antiques and original paintings. ‘Our cottage suite was immaculate – a bit tired around the edges, but it’s like going to stay with a favourite relative.’ Come dinnertime, suit up for John Williams’s ‘superb’ modern menu. ‘Some may find it a little formal, but we dressed up, dined in for five nights (they kindly altered the menu), and drank gallons of fair-priced wine. Loved it!’ (Richard Morgan-Price, and others). This hotel is a member of Pride of Britain hotels.
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- The Independent: Ten of the best UK hotels with gardens
- MSN Travel: The UK’s top 10 luxury spa hotels