short but sweet | a tranquil hideaway in buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of a short weekend break, but the county does have its charms. You just have to know where to look. Among the vast woodlands and endless green hills lies a 17th-century secret hidden in the sleepy Buckinghamshire countryside. Nestled within the tranquil countryside (on a pathway that’s accessible only by car) is a lovely Georgian manor house—now a hotel—Burnham Beeches.

Originally built in 1727 as a hunting lodge that afforded rest to royal hunting parties, the historic manor house now houses 79 rooms and suites, built with the purpose to provide a relaxing sanctuary for all city-tired Londoners. Moody, atmospheric and steeped in history, literary lovers might like to know that in 1737, the great English poet Thomas Gray is said to have visited his uncle who owned the house and (as the story goes) during his time there, was inspired to write his famous poem Elegy in a Country Churchyard.

Whilst great poems might not be composed here nowadays, Burnham Beeches Hotel still maintains its old hunting lodge atmosphere and has a vibe that’s super relaxed, cosy and very, very British. It’s an Anglophile’s dream, with Georgian architecture and spacious, wood-panelled lounges filled with plush tartan armchairs and giant fireplaces overlooking the hotel’s ten acres of manicured lawns and gardens.

Rooms are simple but elegant, with views that overlook the surrounding gardens. The first thing guests will notice is the pin-drop silence. It’s utterly peaceful here, with only the odd trill of birdsong to punctuate the quiet.

Food-wise, it’s as British as it gets. The Brasserie 1727 restaurant is a lovely oak-panelled room that’s atmospheric and moody. The menu is seasonally led and proudly British—think Wye smoked salmon, matured venison, fish and chips (yes, with mushy peas, tartare sauce and all). Puddings are classic British boarding school vibes but with a modern twist: sticky toffee pudding with stem ginger ice cream, pavlova with granny smith sorbet and treacle tarts. 

Although they’re very proud of their food offerings, the real gem of the hotel is the SOUL Spa, which is worth visiting even if you don’t want to stay over for the night. The treatment menu is classic and unfussy (no seaweed body wraps or cryotherapy here) but the therapists work absolute wonders with their massages and calming facials—all with the main focus of relaxing the muscles and rejuvenating tired skin. It can be hard for the average city-slicker to escape the hubbub of London, sometimes you really do need a dose of good old-fashioned English countryside to actually get a bit of peace and quiet. 

words & photography.  J. Bibi Cooper

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