A gorgeous spot in Surrey for a weekend away
If it’s just too long until your next holiday, an overnight stay in a country retreat is just the thing to recharge the batteries. Foxhills is perfectly placed for such a stay, being just a quick zip along the A3 from London and yet feeling a world away from the chaos. Like all country retreats should be, there is a long sweeping driveway up to the manor house. Built in the 19th century, it’s a grand yet pretty building, and the actual estate dates back to the 1780s when politician Charles James Fox resided there – he was quite a character, apparently, making bizarre wagers with the Prince Regent as to the number of cats they would see on Bond Street, as well as surviving a shot in his belly during a duel in Hyde Park. This was his country retreat from London.
The hotel is, refreshingly, not part of a chain and has been owned by the Hayton family since 1983. There’s a golf club with two 18-hole courses – Bernard Hunt and Longcross – as well as the par-three nine-hole Manor Course. There’s three restaurants, tennis courts plus five swimming pools. Oh, and a yoga cabin and spa.
It was nearing lunchtime when we arrived so our first stop was to the new pavilion building with its family-friendly cafe, Flo’s. The building is geared towards families – there’s an outdoor play area adjacent, soft play inside, an indoor pool and a delightful heated pool outside, as well as a room for older kids with air hockey, pool table and gaming area. The menu is perfectly suited with a range of kids’ favourites as well as a selection of sandwiches, burgers and salads. I couldn’t resist a fish-finger sandwich, pimped up with some great garnishes.
I had an afternoon yoga session booked so I headed up to my room for a quick change. The rooms are not in the manor house itself but scattered through the grounds, making use of the old stable block and modern buildings made for the purpose. While the entrances to those don’t have the character of the grand manor, inside they more than make up for it. Mine was spacious with a large bed and sofa area and with lovely views of the autumnal trees, the tennis courts and to the outdoor pool beyond. It was also tastefully decorated and led on to a cavernous marble bathroom.
While I love the idea of yoga, the thought of stacking into a gym to practice isn’t that appealing. Here though, the yoga cabin is delightful, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a garden (screened for privacy). It was tailored for our small group to be gentle, making use of blocks and bands, and was a perfect blend of stretching and relaxing – I could have happily lay there for another hour. But the spa was calling – and I couldn’t wait to try out the indoor pool (there’s one just for adults), whirlpools and saunas. It’s a special place – the indoor pool is the right size for a proper lap or two but it also has the most gorgeous outdoor spa garden. I loved warming up in the steam room before dipping in to the cold natural pool outside. And the outdoor whirlpool is just a dreamy spot.
A quick change and then to the bar – it’s a lovely place to look over the menu for the main restaurant The Fox. There are a range of spaces inside the dining room itself – with a gorgeous private dining room and an orangery as well as the dramatic vaulted main space with modern chandeliers, palms and mural, where we were seated. There is something very atmospheric about it all – a combination of grandeur, a little eccentricity, and history. Octopus to start was a delicious tender portion, a lamb rump for mains was beautifully cooked and I adored the lamb shoulder croquette alongside it. And a creme brûlée finished the meal well.
After an incredibly comfortable sleep, I awoke the next morning to bright blue skies and a carpet of frost on the lawns. Autumn is a great time to visit where you can make the most of the grounds and enjoy a woodland walk among the fall colours. Friends of mine come here for an extended family get-together for Christmas – they love it, and Foxhills puts on all the festive charm you’d want. Equally, I fancy bringing the family for a summer staycation where we can lounge by the pool and enjoy nights at the outdoor cinema.
*Arriving on Christmas Eve, the three-night ‘Mistletoe’ package offers an in-room Christmas tree, stockings and gift all included. On the first evening, guests can enjoy a three-course meal with a glass of bubbly accompanied by live music, before waking up to a champagne breakfast on Christmas Day. A four-course Christmas lunch will be served with a light supper later that day, while a special Boxing Day breakfast and lunch are also included, with £40 credit given for dinner across the resort. From £610 per adult and £305 per child.
The two-night ‘Holly’ package is also based on a Christmas Eve arrival but departing after breakfast on Boxing Day. It includes all the same Christmas Eve and Christmas Day culinary feasts. From £425 per adult and £245 per child.
Find more great places to stay.