Newsflash! Hot goss incoming
If it's hot and happening in Berkshire you can be damn sure I'll know about it! From a new shoppable hotel and a stately TV star, here's this week's goss.
Flex the credit card! Shoppable hotels are a thing
Wowzers! Look who got a makeover during lockdown. Oakley Court in Windsor – a Gothic beauty that’s starred in many a Hollywood movie – is now a destination for design addicts. Wanna know the best bit? It’s a shoppable hotel.
Style queen and creative genius Alex Eagle – part designer, part shop keeper, part curator – has refurbished the 113-room Windsor hotel. Alex is known for blurring the lines between life and retail. What does that mean when you book in at Oakley Court? Well, when you’re in residence quite a lot of the interiors are quietly available to purchase including an in-house product ranges (glassware, fabrics, linens) as well as artworks and vintage furniture. Weekends away could get very expensive…
The ultimate staycay
There’s a virtual stampede for staycays, as we see a glimmer of light at the end of lockdown tunnel. If you plan to make up for lost holidays or just need an escape your own four walls, then check out Coworth Park’s new private, standalone cottage, North Lodge. The three-bedroom bolthole, is tucked away on the outskirts of the Michelin-starred country house hotel’s 240-acre estate, offering a private garden and state of the art kitchen.
Guests can enjoy a bit of privacy but with full access to the spa, equestrian centre and various dining facilities on the estate. All the creature comforts but with a dollop of luxury spoiling on top. The lodge is available to book for up to six guests. Rates start from £3,500 per night for a minimum five-night stay.
Snag a table Fat Duck booking today
Set your alarms, at midday today (Friday 26 Feb), Heston’s three-star thriller The Fat Duck will be taking bookings. Getting a table at this world famous joint can be tricky, so if it’s on your bucket list, this is your moment. The year-long 25th anniversary celebrations continue – a little lockdown closure isn’t going to spoil this party. For this, Heston and the team have put together a collection of Volumes which represent some of The Fat Duck’s most symbolic dishes. Who’s ready for Nitro Poached Green Tea and Lime Mousse palette cleanser? It was Heston’s first culinary breakthrough using liquid nitrogen in the kitchen. Tickets for Volume I are priced at £325 per person (Friday and Saturday). For those wishing to dine on a Tuesday-Thursday tickets are £250-£300pp.
Guess who’s the Antique Roadshow?
Discovered any priceless heirlooms during your lockdown declutter? The Antiques Roadshow is my absolute guilty pleasure and this weekend Stonor Park nr Henley will be featured on the iconic BBC show. Host Fiona Bruce and her band of merry experts filmed at this historic estate last summer (all socially distanced, of course), with Fiona whizzing up the drive in a vintage Aston Martin – a nod to the park’s link to James Bond film Living Daylights.
Don’t miss the discovery of a genuine LS Lowry painting and a rare artefact that survived the attack on Pearl Harbour. Tune in to BBC Antiques Roadshow on Sunday 28th February at 8pm on BBC1. The second instalment will be aired later this year.
Your new go-to with the kids
Oh and that’s not all. Stonor Park has more news – and frazzled Berkshire parents run ragged entertaining littluns, praise be. It has just revealed its magical new adventure playground, Tumblestone Hollow (at a whopping production cost of £250,000).
One of Britain’s oldest family-owned stately homes, the house has played into its history by basing the innovative playground on an ancient stone circle that lies in the grounds. The Hollow has been designed to offer children a safe place to play in and around nature, and to evoke some of the magic of the land’s ancient history. There are climbing nets, high bridges, look-out decks, and a tall tower boasting a view across the whole playground. Stonor has also published an accompanying children’s book, called The Legend of Tumblestone Hollow, chronicling the magical creatures which live there. (Daytrip and bedtime story sorted? Not bad, Stonor!)
Designed for 4-12 year-olds, the playground was part-funded by the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, and will (restrictions willing) open for families by Easter weekend. Best of all? Knackered parents can grab a cup of coffee or even a woodfired pizza from the new, rustic Hollow Hut café.