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Billesley Manor Hotel, Warwickshire - Review

A Proper Manor in Shakespeare Country

by Alain Gayot

Countrified charm at Billesley Manor Hotel, just outside Stratford-upon-Avon
Countrified charm just outside Stratford-upon-Avon

Four-hundred years ago, Elizabeth I ruled Tudor England, and a young William Shakespeare walked the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon, a medieval market town that was undergoing transformation. The Middle Ages were ending, the protestant reformation was rising, and poetry and architecture (named after the monarch) would earn an elevated place in England's history.

Traditional common space at Billesley Manor Hotel
Dining room at Billesley Manor Hotel
Traditional common space
Dining room

Today, the bucolic town of Stratford revels in its Shakespearean past and Elizabethan homes, attracting thousands of tourists who come for the town's annual festivals and country charm. The Billesley Manor Hotel, a relic of the Old World located just outside of Stratford, is a classic Elizabethan mansion and a perfect base from which to explore the area and its history.

Modern exercise room at Billesley Manor Hotel
Classic décor in a room at Billesley Manor Hotel
Modern exercise room
Classic décor

Aside from the helipad out front, the Billesley Manor has retained its historic exterior. And while most of the hotel's 72 rooms have been outfitted with modern amenities and lavish contemporary furniture, the hotel also maintains three rooms that remain true to the mansion's tradition. Located in the main house, these rooms are styled as they would have been in Elizabethan times, complete with oak paneling and four poster beds.

Heated indoor pool at Billesley Manor Hotel
Topiary gardens at Billesley Manor Hotel
Heated indoor pool
Topiary gardens

Outside, enjoy a game of croquet, or a cup of tea in the massive topiary gardens before setting out to experience the nearby attractions of Stratford, mostly dominated by Shakespeare—the bard 's birthplace, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Living Shakespeare program, and various festivals and outings coordinated by the Shakespeare Centre.

Billesley All Saints Church

Billesley All Saints Church

Weddings are popular at the Billesley Manor. Situated on the grounds lies Billesley All Saints Church, a small rustic building that dates back to the 15th century. It is open to visitors throughout the year and is used by the hotel at Christmas.

But beyond the poet, a stay in Stratford can include visits to the Medieval Warwick Castle, the Heritage Motor Centre car museum, and the Stratford Horse Races.

The Manor's restaurant, The Stuart serves modern British and pan-European cuisine with dishes such as breast of Gressingham duck on parsnip purée, layered terrine of goose and foie gras poached in vanilla butter sauce. The hotel's spa, Bodysense, has its own bistro, too, with dishes that cater to the Manor's health-conscious guests. The spa includes a full-featured health club, swimming pool, massage treatments, as well as regular yoga classes.

In this area of rich history and numerous attractions, the Billesley Manor Hotel is a destination, and a piece of history, in and of itself.

 


Billesley Manor Hotel
Billesley, Alcester
Stratford-upon-Avon
Warwickshire, UKB49 6NF
01 78 927 9955
www.pumahotels.co.uk



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P090706
(Updated: 07/02/12 CT)


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