Strolling down an avenue of trees towards Goodwood House, a striking Grade I listed building comes into view. It is home to the Earl and Countess of March. Sheep are grazing in a nearby field and beyond the bluebells, we spot one of two 18 hole golf courses. The 12,000 acre Goodwood Estate in the South Downs National Park (near Chichester, West Sussex) is a glorious place to be on a sunny spring day.
We had just arrived for a short luxury stay at the 4-star Goodwood Hotel. My sister Tessa and I grew up and still live just ten miles away, and were particularly looking forward to dining at The Goodwood Hotel’s new restaurant, Farmer, Butcher, Chef, which opened last November. But first there was time to visit the Goodwood Health Club. Guests staying at the hotel have full access to the club, as well as free use of the estate’s tennis courts and a number of lovely walks through the grounds. The ancient yews at nearby Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve are also worth exploring.
As the late afternoon sun sank lower in the sky, its light poured into the swimming pool area, and our cares and stresses floated away. We may have skipped on the chance to work out in the gym, but we made full use of the pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi.
Above: Our comfortable twin room at The Goodwood Hotel with all the amenities that could be expected from a quality 4-star hotel (although I couldn’t find the mini bar!)
Below: Elemis toiletries, with separate shampoo and conditioner, an example of the attention to detail typical of the Goodwood Hotel.
Farmer, Butcher, Chef
There are two restaurants at The Goodwood Hotel, The Goodwood Bar and Grill (which is currently being refurbished) and the recently opened, Farmer Butcher Chef, where we dined.
We both adored the decor of the restaurant, which is intriguingly and delightfully furnished with an extensive collection of curiosities and memorabilia including many items relating to the estate’s 300 years of farming history. The stunning eclectic look was created by designer Cindy Leveson of Leveson Design.
The service was excellent, as was the food. Using produce from the estate’s Home Farm, each dish was bursting with flavour, a reflection of the farm’s organic and sustainable philosophy. Their spring menu features tasty treats such as Beer Braised Lamb with soused cockles and samphire and Red Sussex Rump Beef with oxtail, white asparagus and Molecomb Blue, one of a number of fine cheeses the estate produces.
Goodwood has been entertaining guests on the site of the restaurant since 1780. The original coaching inn was next door to a huge seven-acre walled vegetable and flower garden and was called the Waterbeach Inn. This seems a surprising name until you learn that centuries earlier the sea actually came this far inland. The spa section of the hotel’s health club has now adopted the name The Waterbeach.
After our wonderful meal, which ended with a superb bread and butter pudding and a delicious buttermilk sorbet, we ordered gin and tonics at the bar, then relaxed in the cosy snug by the fire. The rhubarb gin is well worth trying, as is the Hendrick’s gin with cucumber and black pepper, recommended by Rupert, the excellent barman. And, of course, Fever Tree tonic.
The bar and snug are open to non-residents and we would highly recommend a visit – designated driver permitting. It’s the perfect spot for a morning coffee or an after work drink, with some very tasty and reasonably priced bar snacks. And being just a 15-minute drive from Chichester, and its fabulous Festival Theatre, it is also a good option for pre-theatre drinks.
We feel very lucky to live within easy reach of the Goodwood Estate and we’re sure it won’t be long before we are there again, be that to enjoy the annual Festival of Speed or Goodwood Revival, a meal with family and friends or simply to pop into the bar for a drink and a snack.
It’s also very comforting to know that the estate was listed by Tatler as a safe haven in the event of an apocalypse…
“The world is about to end. But don’t panic, because we have assembled a crack team of multitalented toffs who will ensure the survival of our race. Plus, the best self-sufficient estates for when times get really tough.” Read more Aristocrats to rely on in an Apocalypse!
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Disclosure: Thanks to the Goodwood Estate for hosting our visit to the Goodwood Hotel and Farmer, Butcher, Chef And thanks to all the staff throughout the hotel, health club, restaurant and bar for making our stay such an absolute pleasure.
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