Bowood hotel, golf and spa

A classically English estate at Bowood hotel, spa and golf

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If you like visiting beautiful English stately homes but hate the queues, the drive, the parking and the general hassle which usually goes with such visits, then Bowood hotel, spa and golf in Wiltshire has the perfect solution: its own fleet of golf buggies will whisk you across its 18-hole championship golf course to Bowood House, home to the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, in a matter of minutes.

Bowood hotel, spa and golf
Bowood hotel, spa and golf is located in the middle of the 2,000-acre Wiltshire estate belonging to the Lansdowne family
Bowood hotel, golf and spa
Bowood hotel has its own fleet of golf buggies and a friendly member of staff will scoot you across to Bowood House whenever you like

You might arrive a little windswept but you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot and even better, entrance is free for hotel guests. When you want to return, you merely ask at the ticket office and your mini-chariot will have you back drinking cocktails on the terrace at Bowood hotel before you know it.

The 4-star boutique hotel was opened just eight years ago and was the brainchild of the current Lord Lansdowne. In a summer where the weather hasn’t been too great, our arrival at Bowood was in rare but welcome glorious sunshine, so having dropped our bags off at the hotel, we wasted no time in jumping in a buggy to make the short drive (stopping for the occasional golfer to take a shot) to explore Bowood House.

Bowood hotel, golf and spa
Bowood House is a beautiful 300-year old stately home set in the Wiltshire countryside with grounds designed by landscape artist Capability Brown

Bowood House is a Grade 1-listed Georgian country house built in 1725 and has been home to the aristocratic Lansdowne family since it was purchased by the 1st Earl of Shelburne in 1754. With interiors by Robert Adam and a garden designed by the famous Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the house itself is full of history – Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen in the chapel here in 1774 and it contains hundreds of years of family treasures.

Bowood hotel, golf and spa
Part of the house was demolished after falling into ruin at the end of the Second World War but much still remains
Bowood hotel, golf and spa
The beautifully-kept gardens and terrace are perfect to explore on a (rare) sunny day

It’s also the perfect size to explore in an afternoon, from its sweeping grounds with an endless lake, to the tapestries and sculptures inside. There’s even an impressive adventure playground where children can expend energy while parents and grandparents soak up the sunshine and an 300-year old arboretum with more than 360 species of tree and which is a spectacular riot of colour in the Autumn – perfect for a spot of New England-style ‘leaf peeping’.

After thoroughly immersing ourselves in the experience (literally in the case of my friend who, entranced by the lake, fell into a nearby bog and had to dry off in the loos) we golf-buggied back across to the 43-room Bowood hotel, our home for the night.

Bowood hotel, golf and spa
Bowood hotel, opened just eight years ago, has a spa at one end, a golf club at the other and the bar, restaurant and terrace in the middle

The hotel is positioned perfectly so that its sweeping terrace catches the afternoon rays and we relaxed with G&Ts and the Sunday papers while watching golfers finish their rounds for the day. Our modern and smart bedroom also overlooked the golf course and surrounding countryside which made for a very relaxing view, and even after just a few hours there we felt very much at home.

Bowood hotel, golf and spa
Our bedroom which overlooked the golf course and woods behind the hotel

While it has the grounds of a posh country hotel hotel, complete with an imposing gate house and sweeping drive through the grounds, Bowood is more informal than you might expect, with many visitors here for the golf, Bowood House or just a spa weekend away.


To book directly with the hotel, go to: Bowood hotel, spa and golf
To compare prices for Bowood hotel click on: Trivago – Expedia Hotels.com
To read more reviews click here to go to Bowood hotel on TripAdvisor


Bowood hotel, golf and spa
The golf course lit up by the setting sun is a great backdrop for a relaxing cocktail on the terrace at the end of the day
Bowood hotel, golf and spa
Guests were free to borrow the hotel’s wellington boots and explore the grounds

However that’s not to say there weren’t the personal touches and high quality of service that you’d expect from grander hotels: there are wellies in the entrance hall for guests to borrow and the daily newsletter delivered to our room had the weather forecast, golf and spa availability and suggestions of things to do in the local area.

Bowood hotel, golf and spa
There’s a brasserie in the club house but hotel guests eat at the Shelburne restaurant in the centre of the hotel

Dinner in the hotel’s Shelburne restaurant was a relaxed affair, with hearty traditional food rather than fine-dining. We started with Cornish mackerel and dill rillettes (£10.50) and scallops with broad beans (£13) and then had impressively-sized portions of Welsh lamb with roasted turnips (£23) and guinea fowl supreme with bacon mash (£20.50) – all were excellently cooked.

Bowood hotel, golf and spa
The starters looked and tasted good; we have Cornish mackerel and dill rillettes
Bowood hotel, golf and spa
… and scallops with broad beans

Being a Sunday evening we had the restaurant almost to ourselves and after sharing a plate of local cheeses we had a relatively early night – there was the spa to check out the next morning.

Bowood hotel, golf and spa
The gym has great views of the grounds at Bowood hotel

As well as a 16-metre swimming pool – it’s indoor but feels outdoor as it has all-round views of the ground and golf course – there’s a sauna, steam room, spacious gym and treatment rooms offering massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. I had an excellent one-hour Sundari facial (£80) which exfoliated, massaged and moisturised leaving me ready to face the journey home.

Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort
Derry Hill
Calne
Wiltshire
SN11 9PQ01249 822228
resort@bowood.org
While Bowood hotel is open all-year round, Bowood House closes from 1st November, but there are a host of activities until then, including the Walled Garden tour – tour of Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s private four-acre walled garden – on 4th October, a Capability Brown guided tour on 13th October and a Scarecrow Trail for children during October half-term. For more details go to www.bowood.org/bowood-house-gardens/

To book directly with the hotel, go to: Bowood hotel, spa
To compare prices for Bowood hotel click on: Trivago – Expedia Hotels.com
To read more reviews click here to go to Bowood hotel on TripAdvisor
If you like hotels with golf courses, you’d also like Foxhills golf and spa
If you like hotels with luxury spas, you’d also like Lucknam Park Hotel
If you like hotels with history, you’d also like Hartwell House hotel 
Bowood hotel, golf and spa
An aerial view of Bowood hotel, spa and golf on the 2,000-acre Bowood Estate
 

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Sarah Bridge

Sarah Bridge

Every review is personally researched and written by leisure expert Sarah Bridge who, when she is not writing about leisure for a national newspaper, spends her time seeking out the best leisure experiences, from city centre boutique hotels to country house estates, Michelin-starred dining to the newest openings.
Sarah Bridge
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