HOTEL REVIEW: Stepping back into a world of Victorian grandeur

Ashdown Park

Ashdown Park

  • Ashdown Park is set in 186 acres of landscaped countryside and gardens in the heart of the Ashdown Forest
  • The mansion overlooks a wonderful fountained lake
  • Outdoors or indoors Ashdown Park gives a real taste of country living
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No-one did grandeur on the same scale as wealthy Victorians.

At the height of the British Empire in the mid-19th century with materials being imported from around the world, they built to impress.

The Gothic style combined the romanticism of stone arches, turrets and towers with the sheer power off sweeping staircases, baronial fireplaces, high ceilings, vast elegant rooms and ornate decor.

These were all the hallmarks of social success for triumphant entrepreneurs of the age.

Ashdown Park was born of this taste for absolute splendour and and grandeur and 150 years later - with a number of beautiful additions during the intervening years - is now the ultimate hotel and country club.

Set in 186 acres of landscaped countryside and gardens in the heart of the Ashdown Forest - the creative home of Winnie The Pooh - it is as imposing as it is restful.

Anderida restaurant

Anderida restaurant

The mansion overlooks a wonderful fountained lake - where the rotund koi carp appear as well-fed as the visitors.

For guests a visit is akin to stepping back in time to a period of opulence and luxury.

That sense of style pervades every aspect of the building and its Anderida restaurant.

As you walk through a magnificent hall, into a range of drawing and morning rooms you are greeted by a host of welcoming staff.

You could be forgiven thinking you had been transported to the set of Downton Abbey

Smartly attired there is a real sense you have stepped both through time and worlds.

Service with a smile and a great deal of dignity underpins everything.

In the reception rooms, the afternoon teas are simply scrumptious and clearly in huge demand each afternoon.

Meanwhile, the dining room echoes every element of period dining charm.

Ashdown Park lounge

Ashdown Park lounge

When we visited on a Saturday a pianist gently accompanied every course with a range of pleasing melodies.

The waiting staff are trained to perfection.

They raise the domed silver covers from the main course with superb timing and present each dish with precision.

You could be forgiven thinking you had been transported to the set of Downton Abbey.

No doubt, maintaining a building of this scale and antiquity is something of a challenge as is providing the right cuisine in such a bustling restaurant.

It’s not surprising that guests come for a variety of reasons.

Ashdown Park

Ashdown Park

Those we chatted to had called in for a special afternoon tea; for a wedding anniversary; for a weekend away; and a gentle reminder of the wonderful wedding they had previously enjoyed there.

There can be few better locations to get married or indeed to inspire your staff at a business meeting.

Outdoors or indoors Ashdown gives a real taste of country living and the perfect escape from the frantic 21st century.

Ashdown Park and Country Club, Wych Cross, Nr Forest Row, East Sussex

A view of Ashdown Park

A view of Ashdown Park

Ashdown Park pool

Ashdown Park pool