Set in the New Forest, just over a 5 minutes’ drive from New Milton train station, this quintessentially English luxury Country House & Spa offers a stunning escape from city life, with a relaxed and homely feel in an idyllic location just moments from the sea.
This gorgeous and characterful hotel boasts 70 bedrooms and suites, 12 of them being 'Tree-Houses' for an unforgettable one-of-a-kind experience. The bedrooms attached to the main hotel back onto a pristine lawn where you can play croquet and practice your putting technique while soaking up the sunshine and stunning setting.
Our train took just under 2 hours from London and we arrived to a cloudless sky and the rolling green fields...such a treat for us city girls!
We were greeted with the friendliest of welcomes by the lovely Lisa – Sales Director for Chewton Glen and their sister property Cliveden House. We were taken to the brand-new refurbed restaurant and cooking school – ‘The Kitchen’ which, is set in the grounds of the hotel and met by the most fascinating woman ‘Jen Williams’ who had the job of teaching us to make jams, chutney, and syrups from the most locally sourced & foraged ingredients.
We started off the morning by walking around the grounds and foraging whilst Jen told us loads of interesting facts about which plants and flowers to pick and when (also what not to pick!). We found an Elderflower bush and picked plenty of plants to make our cordial with and then continued to wander around and eat various plants as we went. We also visited the Walled Kitchen Garden and Nursery where all the lovely fresh fruit and veg is planted which is used by the hotel.
Back at The Kitchen we got down to making our cordial and jams with Jen demonstrating how to do each one before we went off to our individual stations to attempt to make something that looked at good as what Jen had just made! We were all equipped with our own iPad with the recipes on and all top of the range kitchen utensils that we would need.
We stopped for lunch around the chefs table and were served up an array of delicious fresh salads, breads, and pizzas all washed down with a lovely, crisp glass of white wine.
We then continued for the rest of the afternoon cooking our chutneys and jams and once it had all started to cool down we started potting up everything we had made throughout the day - all in all about 20 jars each!
Back at the hotel we had a relax on the sofas in the lounge, a look around the hotel and a sneak peak in one of the stunning bedrooms overlooking the garden. We then moved to the outside sofas on the patio to unwind and enjoy the beautiful setting whilst playing croquet and sipping on a gin and tonic and champagne (adding a drop of our lovely elderflower cordial each time).
Finally, at 6:30 we forced ourselves into a taxi packed with our goodies and a few extra treats for the train journey back from Lisa and left the stunning Chewton Glen after the most amazing day.
Chewton Glen is now offering a variety of cooking courses and masterclasses for various group sizes which they can tailor make to suit your needs. We would highly recommend this to any of our clients who are looking to offer ‘something different’ to their clients or staff. It is a great team-bonding experience and is an excellent way to reward staff or thank clients.
It is fair to say we didn’t want to leave this beautiful country retreat, but at least we have plenty of tasty jam to keep us going…until next time!
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