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Staycation: Billesley Manor, Stratford-upon-Avon

Staycation: Billesley Manor, Stratford-upon-Avon
Billesley Manor

Liz Stansfield checks into recently refurbished Billesley Manor in the heart of Shakespeare land

Where is it?

Billesley Manor sits just a short drive from the riverside town of Stratford-upon-Avon. This is Shakespeare territory – the main man was said to visit the manor and use the library, and he wrote As You Like It at this very location.

What’s the accommodation like? 

Billesley is a 16th-century manor house and has recently undergone a refurbishment to celebrate its rich heritage. There are a variety of rooms – a Manor House Double offers loads of space, a huge bed (I had to climb aboard!) and large bathroom, with options to upgrade to suites and four-poster beds. Communal areas are full of character, with roaring fires and cosy nooks at every turn. Hunker down with a book and you’ll happily be undisturbed – unless you fancy a fireside cocktail…
billesly-manor

What did you eat and drink?

An impressive cocktail menu awaits in the main bar, and dinner is a friendly – but fine dining – affair in the hotel’s stunning Stuart Restaurant, where even the menu has a nod to treading the boards. I tuck into a starter (‘Opening Act’) of perfectly assembled prawn and crayfish cocktail, a rich plate of pink venison, hasselback spuds and veggies (‘Main Event’), and a classic pud of crème brûlée (‘Curtain Call’).

What is there to do?

R&R is the name of the game here, so check in to the spa for a super-relaxing back, neck and shoulder massage and a dip in the pool. If you can drag yourself away from Billesley, a day mooching about Stratford-upon-Avon is a day well spent. Independent shops and cosy cafes await, and for lunch make a reservation at local institution El Greco – a fabulous family-run Greek restaurant that serves up banquets with enough food, energy and general merriment to feed the 5,000. The Shakespeare Distillery makes an excellent pit stop for a gin tour and tasting.

billesley-manor3

What do I need to pack?

Something smart for dinner. The Stuart Restaurant is relaxed but guests tend to put on something fancy to match their surroundings. Don’t forget your cossie for the pool – it’s large enough to get some lengths in.

Lasting memory

An espresso martini fireside – an armchair in the main bar quickly became ‘my spot’.

Sainsbury’s magazine insider tip

Don’t miss a turn about the 11-acre grounds. A stroll about the Alice in Wonderland-inspired topiary gardens just before sunset makes for some lovely piccies.

How to book

Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa rates start from £160 per night B&B based on two people sharing, subject to availability. For more information about Billesley Manor Hotel and to book a stay, visit bespokehotels.com, billesleymanor.com or call 01789 279955.

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