Lucknam Park Is the Originator of Country House Chic in England’s Wiltshire

The beautiful thing about Lucknam Park is its nirvanic location. Hidden down a long drive of great beech trees (which back during the Great World Wars hid a stash of spitfires and hurricanes) just off the ridge of the Southern Cotswolds, this regal country home represents what the West Country of England does best: peak dandified Austen chic. 

Everything about the place is literary: The Palladian façade; the dignified presides; the gravel courtyards; and the quintessentially English gardens that began life on this patch of land back in 1066 when the area was a Saxon settlement. Hec, the place is so dignified you’ll check out screaming King and Country. While it’s everything a country house hotel should be, the patina lies in its fruitful modern touches. Stylistically, it is what Gen Z’s would say serves. There’s gold wallpaper in every room; a library stocked with storied crinkly books; gaudy portraits adorning the hallways; coffee tables stacked with magazines and papers; and a medley of cutesy clocks and floral arrangements. 

The rooms and suites are much the same. Perhaps the most defining feature of Lucknam’s swagger comes courtesy of the beds: four poster Rapunzel-style behemoths topped by quilted trims for an extra dose of eccentric English pomp. The suites in the main house are best. All are draped in the traditional country house style nick nacks with mahogany furniture, period tables outdone by pretty plants or flowers, and large windows (some with views of the long drive) crowned by heavy curtains. Bathrooms? All modern, with marble tops, claw-foot tubs, and supremely on-point lighting, come early morning powder session. Some bits are naturally tired (the furnishings, especially, but that’s really part of the charm of staying here). Elsewhere, you’ll find the estate cottages. They are cute, but unless you are a traveling family, they don’t come near as regal as the boudoirs in the main house. 

Credit: Lee Searle

The real star of the show, though, is the spa. It’s handsome and polished with an army of giddy and unfalteringly smiley staff to match. You’ll find all the usual suspects here, from steam rooms to sauna and hydrotherapy pools. While the 111Skin facials succeed at giving your face that extra touch of glow, the standout treatment here, however is a good old-fashioned massage. All use local products from Natural Spa Factory loaded with essential oils and native herbs. Take a punt on the bespoke option from the spa menu, and your masseuse will spend an hour pummelling your body at your leisure. I left the treatment room knot free and so relaxed I could barely stand, so kudos to them.  

The grub is exceptionally seasonal all around. Fine dining gets a dose of West Country frivolity courtesy of Executive Chef Hywel Jones, who has retained his Michelin-star at his namesake restaurant since 2006. Tasting menus are at the heart of the experience, with chandeliers, blow-out curtains, and a soiree of stunning florals helping to justify the hefty price tag. For something less polished but equally swish, head to the Walled Garden Restaurant. Following a fine snazzy upcycle, the demi glass palace continues Chef Jones’ culinary alchemy in the form of fabulous, handpicked wines and in-season sharing plates. Expect Padron peppers, roast scallops from Cornwall, free-range chickens and very tasty locally foraged veg. Breakfast? Fine and tasty but expensive for what’s plated up. Overnight muesli (delicious) and a hot cooked breakfast are the must trys, and the coffee, from dusty cappuccinos to simple black filters, hits the spot… and good. 

Once you’ve digested it all, nature really is your best friend for defeating the extra calories. The Lucknam Estate sits on 500 plus acres so good old long walks and bike rides are plentiful. If you fancy something more challenging, hit up the equestrian centre to spend a day with Dawn Cameron and her team. She’s been heading up the centre for over 20 years and is a British Horse Society instructor and all-star obsessed horse breeder—and her camera roll on her iPhone proves it. Regardless of your experience, there are 25 steeds to choose a ride on, all of which will be chosen under her guidance and wisdom. Friday was my personal favourite—when you meet her, you’ll understand why. 

Summed up, you get the best of both worlds at Lucknam: country chic and all the mod cons that millennials and above need to sustain their existence. It’s pretty, fun, and while it’s all grand and pomp, it is not pretentious in the slightest.  

Top Takeaways

Location: Colerne, Chippenham, Wiltshire 

Rating: Five-star.

The vibe: Slow-pomp living that gives you a chance to revel in the joys of nature, gorgeous spa, and beautiful horses included. 

Food + drink: The best the West Country has to offer, from fine Michelin-star dining to breezy (and on-trend) sharing plates. 

Amenities: Restaurant, gym, spa, pool, hot tubs, boutique, bar, equestrian centre, bikes. 

Our favourite thing about the hotel: The Equestrian Centre. Beyond all the glitz and glam, it’s refreshingly sweet to see how noble steeds from all backgrounds are well cared for and looked after by a team who really cares. 

Nearby attractions: You are in the sticks, but if you are driving, The Unesco World Heritage city of Bath and the medieval village of Lacock are both a 20-minute drive away.

Room count: 43

Closest airport: London Heathrow. Direct trains run to Chippenham station from London Paddington Station. Car hire or private transfers can be arranged from here. 

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