We asked Concierge Manager Dawn Pender at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England, to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions she could find—not just her own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some she works with every day at the Hotel. Enjoy the leisurely pace of life on an English country estate.
Jane Austen’s World
Take a walk back in time to the era of Jane Austen with Phil Howe, a retired lecturer and acknowledged Jane-ite full of stories of Austen’s probable visits to Dogmersfield Park—now home to Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, then home to Lady Mildmay. He can also accompany you on a tour of other parts of the country associated with the author, including the house in Chawton where she spent the last part of her life.
The U.K.’s most celebrated restaurant, the three-Michelin-starred The Fat Duck, crucible of molecular cuisine, headquarters and laboratory of celebrated chef Heston Blumenthal, lies just 30 miles from Four Seasons Hampshire. It’s the kind of place where Anjou pigeon is “powdered,” sorbets are flambéed and flavoured with barley, and the “Sound of the Sea” entrée comes accompanied by an iPod for enhanced aural gratification. The 14-course menu will be a three-and-a-half-hour experience you will never forget.
The Great Outdoors
With nearly 3 million visitors annually, Windsor Great Park is the only Royal Park maintained by the Crown Estate. Once part of a vast Norman hunting forest that was enclosed in the late 13th century, the 2,020 hectares (400 acres) of parkland includes a Deer Park and varied landscapes of formal avenues, gardens, woodland and open grassland. The antiquity of the landscape is enhanced by the great ancient oaks for which the park and its forests are renowned.
The Waterwitch Pub in Odiham serves locally brewed “TEA”—Traditional English Ale—from Hogs Back Brewery, or you can try it at the brewery itself in Tongham, Surrey. Otherwise, try the Plume of Feathers, a traditional pub in the village of Crondall.
Just for Kids
Children can enjoy all the fun of owning a pony without a move to the country with the Hotel’s “Own a Pony for a Day” programme. Guests ages 7–16 are not only able to ride their pets, they also get an idea of the work that goes into caring for a pony—from cleaning tack and caring for hooves to feeding and brushing.
Be sure to sample award-winning Tunworth Soft Cheese, served deliciously warm with honey-and-thyme glaze and homemade plum, apple and rosemary chutney on fresh baguettes. Find it at The Gamekeepers in Mapledurwell.
The Lion & Lamb Yard in the historic market town of Farnham offers everything from handmade wooden toys to French fashion. Alternatively, The Boutique at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire features a collection of jewellery and accessories by high-profile English labels such as Lulu Guinness.
A Perfect Day
After a hearty breakfast (or a Farmers Market brunch, if it’s Sunday), stroll or cycle along the Basingstoke Canal. In the afternoon, enjoy an invigorating swim in the conservatory pool, followed by a Spa treatment, unwinding in the relaxation room. And in the evening, sample a cocktail at Bar 1086 before enjoying the Taste of Hampshire menu at Seasons. As much as possible, Executive Chef Cyrille Pannier sources organic foods from local farms to showcase the county’s finest produce, as well as fish from its English Channel coast.