When Ellenborough Park was built in the early 1500s, it was known as Southam House because it was situated on Southam Manor, which was owned by King Henry VII and covered two-thirds of the land in the village. Over its 500-year history, the house has changed hands numerous times, undergoing facelifts and additions, including a cross wing, grand staircase and rooms paneled in oak.
The property did not become Ellenborough Park until Edward Law, the Earl of Ellenborough, bought it in 1833. After this, it served numerous uses. From 1906 through 1927, when the estate was broken up, it was a private residence. The house also hosted a school for girls before it was sold again and became Hotel Delabere, which closed in 2008.
That same year brought new life to the ever-changing property, with a three-year project to return Ellenborough Park to its former glory. This included removing the 1970s buildings from the old hotel and replacing them with new accommodations designed after the Main House. The oak-paneled rooms, plaster ceilings and staircase were renovated, and the original landscape design was restored to evoke the feeling of an English country manor house.
Within the hotel’s mix of old and new buildings, guests can now choose from a variety of styles when booking accommodations. The 62 rooms include four suites and are spread across four locations: the Main House, The Mews, Woodland Court and Ellenborough Gate. All the rooms have been completely redesigned by Nina Campbell and offer unique and varying amenities, from upstairs bathrooms with roll-top baths and private patios with heated outdoor pool access to spectacular views of the grounds.
Guests don’t have to travel far for dining, with two restaurants on site — The Beaufort Dining Room serves modern British cuisine, and The Brasserie offers comfort food in a less formal setting. For a taste of tradition, try Afternoon Tea by the fireplace in The Great Hall or on the terrace during the summer.
For those in search of further relaxation, Ellenborough Park’s Indian-themed spa can provide just that. With just seven treatment rooms including a couple’s suite, visitors receive an intimate and personalized spa experience, from facials and massages to journey rituals and mother-to-be treatments. Customizable options such as lighting, candles and iPod docks ensure that treatments are tailored to each guest’s taste. Outside the treatment rooms, spa goers can also enjoy a Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, hot and cold “sensation” showers and a relaxation room.
One of the nicest estates in the Cotswolds, Ellenborough Park makes a perfect base for exploring the area. Guests have privileged access to the Cheltenham racecourse, allowing them to avoid hassles such as the crowds at the entrance and traffic to the racecourse, especially during festivals. The hotel concierge can be a great help for planning excursions based upon guests’ time and taste preferences. In addition to offering activities such as game and clay pigeon shooting, polo, golf, hiking (with a dedicated room at Ellenborough Park for lender boots and jackets), horseback riding and hot air ballooning, the Cotswolds itself is an appealing attraction, welcoming travelers from around the world to its old churches, villages and castles.
Cheltenham Racecourse: Horse racing event venue in the Cotswolds
Jackdaws Castle: A 500-acre estate for racehorse training by Jonjo O’Neill Racing
Longdole Polo Club: Two hundred acres of Gloucestershire countryside dedicated to polo for all levels, from beginner to professional
Cotswold Motoring Museum & Toy Collection: Seven galleries that include vintage cars, a unique toy collection, Motorsports exhibition and children’s TV favorite Brum
Ian Coley Shooting School: Shooting grounds, a gun shop and sporting agency for clay or game shooting, located just outside Cheltenham
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