Chicheley Hall Hotel
Just a couple of miles off of the M1 in Buckinghamshire but a world away from the hustle and bustle, nestling in 80 acres of beautiful rolling countryside, you will find Chicheley Hall a Grade I listed mansion dating back to the 1700s. It's easy to see why this building has been selected as a location for films such as Pride and Prejudice, The Meaning of Life, and Black Beauty. As you first enter the tree lined driveway leading up to the hotel you straight away begin to relax in the surroundings, all we could hear were the ducks on the lake and the calling of the resident peacocks in the courtyard.
Chicheley Hall is home to 48 individually furnished bedrooms, overlooking the landscapes gardens that surround the property. Chicheley Hall is also proud to be the home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, a venue for residential events. As the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, The Royal Society is dedicated to promoting excellence in science and is a fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists. This association is recognised throughout the theme to the hotel with the rooms being named after these scientists, many of them noble prize winners.
We checked in at the reception and were personally shown to our room by the manager, who kindly assisted with carrying some of our luggage. We had been allocated the Bridal Suite named after 'Patrick Blackett'. The suite was enormous with a light airy feel and 180 degrees views out on to the landscaped gardens below.
Beautifully decorated with antique furniture, you can see why this venue is the perfect location for a wedding. The photographic opportunities to enhance your big day are endless. Soft light streaming through the windows and so many backdrops to compliment the wedding photographs. The building is complemented by the extensive gardens that can accommodate marquees for up to 300 guests. Licensed for civil ceremonies, the Main House and its bar, sitting room, and dining room provides the ideal setting. The Main House can hold up to 80 guests for civil ceremony & wedding breakfast and 150 evening guests.
The outstanding feature that caught my eye was the large sweeping staircase, which would be a magnificent centrepiece to make an entrance down before the ceremony.
A stroll around the gardens was next on the agenda and what a treat we were in for. Leaving the main entrance we passed Saint Lawrence Church, which is just a stones throw away from the Hall. The church dates back to 1325 and is owned by the village.
The magnificent lake and the romantic walled garden with roses, topiary and vines fully compliment the setting of a grand house such as Chicheley. As I strolled around the grounds the swans were gracefully moving on the surface of the water and the mansion reflected back at me.
I was kindly given access to view a couple of the other rooms, namely the Born and the Bohr rooms. Again, despite these rooms being slightly smaller than the bridal suite they were exceptionally furnished, with a lovely pastel colour scheme.
All of the guest rooms at Chicheley Hall feature contemporary designs, en-suite bathrooms, and all the amenities you need at a price you’ll appreciate. For a photographer it's important to have access to the internet and at Chicheley there is free, superfast Wi-Fi with a maximum bandwidth of 100Mb available throughout the hotel. I found the Wi-Fi very reliable with no issues. The only problem that we encountered during our stay was with the television aerial booster but straight away the duty manager personally attended our room and remedied the fault by obtaining a new booster unit and installing it. The same duty manager met us in the restaurant in the evening and with his colleagues offered a superb service. My wife and I have similar culinary preferences and ate identical courses beginning with a succulent haddock fishcake (£5.95) followed by roast chicken breast served with gratin potato, seasonal vegetables of carrots and runner beans and a red wine jus (£14.95). Dessert was a gorgeous Tart au Citron with raspberry coulis (£5.95).
Background music played throughout our meal and despite the regal surroundings the atmosphere did not feel too formal, We were seated by one of the dining room windows, so we could watch the sun set over the landscaped gardens. The next morning breakfast was served in the same room and there was a large choice of cereals, continental breakfast or my choice the full English. We found the staff very accommodating and nothing was too much trouble.
I took the time after breakfast to explore the rest of the house and photograph the magnificent rooms on the ground level, I also stumbled across a quaint library tucked away.
There were further areas to visit around the gardens before we left which again offered lovely backdrops for photographs.
Thank you to Chicheley Hall for having us to stay!
Our stay was complimentary. As always, all opinions are my own.