Where Shakespeare meets Tina Turner
Studley Castle, set in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside, has become the 14th latest and landmark offering by the group. Originally owned by the High Sheriff of Warwickshire in 1834, it has passed through numerous hands before being snapped up by Warner Leisure Hotels in 2016. Following an ambitious renovation and development, it has been restored to its former grandeur and has some tasteful and luxurious additions. Lovely plush decorations within also have a quirky side, look out for the Alice in Wonderland theme in some parts and the unicorn head in the entrance.
Our accommodation was in a fabulously appointed, spacious king room with balcony (offering sweeping views over the Warwickshire countryside). The room had all the amenities we needed for our stay and some real thought has gone into the layout of the room. The mini safe is at eye level, the hairdryer is located next to a big mirror and the mini fridge has fresh milk to make that ever so necessary cup of tea (having fun is thirsty work). Nice bathroom, toiletries, great over bath shower, quality linens and the softest fluffiest bathrobes I have ever seen (felt) are part of the luxurious make up of this hotel.
Once settled in we enjoyed a walk in the sunshine and took the trail direct from the grounds into Studley village. There are numerous walks on offer, like the Arden trail which will take walkers to Henley-in-Arden a picturesque 12th century manorial town. The Spa has a map to show you the way or a booklet with other walks that require a short drive to get to the start point. You can “get on yer bike” with complimentary Pashley bicycle use (also from the Spa as are all active pursuits), go for a swim, join a Pilates class, go clay pigeon shooting, try archery or use the gym. The numerous active pursuits is supported by a whole range of less wearisome things to do before you need to change for dinner. Luxuriate with a treatment in the spa, lounge in the sauna or steam room, go to the cinema, find a quiet place in one of the lounges’ many comfortable chairs and read your book or play a board game. More social activities like gin tasting (it’s hard I know, but someone has to do it) or quizzes are also on offer. There are chairs, benches, deckchairs in numerous styles and positions outside, so you can consume that novel and glance up occasionally to admire the lovely setting.
All those calories that we had burned on the day’s activities needed to be replaced (well you wouldn’t want us to waste away, would you?). Studley Castle had a treat in store for us at the Evesham restaurant which is also the venue for the main stage and performing acts. Book your table online at the time you arrange your break, to secure a table of your choice for your dining/show experience and you keep that table through your stay. To be fair there isn’t a table with a ‘bad’ view, it’s all a matter of preference. It’s brilliant that you don’t need to scramble down to dinner early to secure your slot, come down when you want, the table is yours. Although starters are served to your table, Evesham is mainly a buffet-style restaurant where we chose dishes from a wide menu selection with local flavours and traditional favourites. I had the beautifully cooked roast lamb from the carvery (on the first night) complete with all the trimmings including the best cauliflower cheese I have tasted in a while. There is a wide selection of deserts, plus cheese and biscuits to finish off your meal. I was mesmerised by the revolving ice cream cabinet that contained so many delicious flavours, it was hard to choose what to have (all of them, the voice in my head cries).
Dinner, Bed and Breakfast is included in the break price and so is the show. Now we’ve all been to places where the ‘in-house’ entertainment is the equivalent of drawing your fingernails down a chalkboard, so we were absolutely blown away by the quality of the acts during our stay. The ‘in-house’ New Dynamics group were very good (amazing voices and musicians) and on both nights warmed us up nicely for the main acts. A rousing Tina Turner tribute act (Typically Tina) and the big show voice of Kieran Sutcliffe. Singing pre and post the show is held in the bar area.
Breakfast, also buffet-style is served in the Evesham but the other dining option for lunch and dinner is the Arden Cafe Bar and Restaurant. Here it’s table service offering classically British dishes with a twist (reservations required). You may (astonishingly) find that your tummy still rumbles a little even with all that delicious fare on offer but fear not, traditional English afternoon tea can be purchased in the Oak Room between noon and 4pm.
Studley Castle is in a great position to give easy access to a large number of local attractions. We visited Shakespeare’s home of Stratford upon Avon, Hatton Locks (a 21-flight featured in the recent Celebrity 5 Go Barging on TV) and Henley-in-Arden but there is also Warwick, Warwick Castle, Brewery and Distillery tours and Hatton Country World to name but a few (you’ll never get around all these in one visit, so you’ll have to come back). Studley Castle offer excursions (check with Guest Services) to some of these locations.
We thoroughly enjoyed being a guest of Warner Leisure Hotels at Studley Castle, and feel this is a great and highly desirable addition to its portfolio of hotels.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Warner Leisure Hotels.