If you are looking for a perfect stop-over if going on a cruise; flying from nearby Southampton airport, or, just want a leisurely stay in 12 acres of beautiful landscaped grounds, then I would recommend staying at Chilworth Manor Hotel.
We recently stayed in this Edwardian Manor House where two fascinating ‘Beehive cottages’, former lodges, catch your attention as you drive into the entrance to the grounds, leading to a Victorian landscape park, fashioned from an old deer park.
Upon arrival, there is ample room for free on-site parking and, as luck would have it, we were able to park close to the 24 hour reception entrance.
A cheerful member of staff greeted us and booked us in, allocating us to room 119 on the ground floor. It was rather a long walk but we were happy as it turned out to be lovely and peaceful with a quiet, private view overlooking a corner of the garden.
We had a good sized room with bathroom and shower, large bed, TV and tea/coffee facilities. It was adequately furnished with a generous sized wardrobe – and the heating worked! I was impressed by a heated panel in the bathroom mirror – excellent when it gets rather ‘steamed up’!
I usually ask for a ‘history’ of a place when I arrive as it often turns out to be quite interesting.
Chilworth Manor was owned until 1946 by the Willis Fleming family. It was brick built in stages and described as almost ‘square in plan’ two main storeys high with a flat, lead roof. The yellow bricks were reportedly, produced in Chilworth’s own brick kilns.
As you walk around inside there are some interesting names of rooms. G.K.Chesterton Room – a visitor to Chilworth Manor and famous for his Father Brown novels; Hilaire Belloc Room – a great friend of the Chesterton Brothers and a likely visitor. Dwight D Eisenhower Room – a respected American General and 34th President of the USA. He was Supreme Commander of the Allied Cross Channel invasion in 1944 and is said to have stayed at the Manor before launching his offensive.
Dorothy L Sayers Room – related to former owners of Chilworth. Particularly remembered for creating the amateur sleuth, Peter Wimsey.
Chilworth has a spacious, splendid great hall and panelled walls with a wide balcony running around at the first floor level. A conference centre is also part of the hotel and appears well utilised.
Attractive terraces grace the exterior of the building and there are good views of the gardens and lake. There is a good collection of specimen trees including a Cedar of Lebanon with a span of about 150 feet.
Both dinner and breakfast were great, served in the dining room. Portions of food are very generous. We had the home-made steak and kidney pie for the main course at dinner. It was the best I had tasted for a long time, with the pastry being nicely crisp. The staff were attentive and friendly and we were served very quickly, which was wonderful.
Breakfast was just as good with a wide variety available and plenty of staff on duty to help with all aspects of service.
Certainly a place to recommend and return to especially being so close to the beautiful New Forest.