Great British Boltholes: Billesley Manor in Warwickshire is a romantic, cozy retreat … just like the bard liked it
- Billesley Manor, near Alcester, has had many lives since Shakespeare stayed here
- The last facelift last year spent £ 5.6 million on the 4-star hotel
- There are 71 rooms that are “richly dressed” with wood panels and soft carpets
Billesley Manor has had many lives since William Shakespeare stayed here. Its last facelift last year spent £ 5.6 million on the four-star hotel near Alcester – the place is now filled with velvet seating and quirky art, though its rich history still oozes from every corner.
The heavily pigs interior is part of the romantic appeal. Walk through an oak-scented maze of hallways and if you’re lucky enough to check into the Shakespeare Suite (room four) you’ll find an original priest’s hole above the fireplace.
The former library has been renamed the As You Like It Lounge and its desk marks the spot where the bard wrote his famous comedy more than 400 years ago.
Full of romance: William Shakespeare is said to have put pen to paper in Billesley Manor
Historians also believe he married Anne Hathaway in the tiny All Saints Church on the premises – guests can take the key and look around.
The church and manor are the only remains of the original hamlet of Billesley, which was removed from the map by the Black Death in the 13th century.
The Stuart restaurant, with its huge fireplace, 16th century chandeliers and oak paneling, has a more formal feel to it and goes with the kitchen: think apricot and chicken terrine, roast Gressingham duck and Herefordshire beef drizzled with confit. There is also an impressive wine cellar here.
Excessive indulgences can be made up for by strolling the 11 acres and impressive Victorian Alice in Wonderland style topiary gardens, or the 12th century stone carved church where weddings and blessings can still be performed.
One of the “richly dressed” rooms – perfect for a cozy weekend for two
Billesley Manor, Warwickshire. B&B rooms start at £ 129 a night (billesleymanor.com).
If you’re looking for the perfect spot for a cozy weekend getaway for two or a family celebration (private dining is a draw) this is an ideal retreat.
There are plenty of quiet corners to relax in, or you can swim in the indoor pool or beat up your partner on the tennis court. However you want to spend your time, you can do it … however you like.
The food: Seasonally and beautifully presented. At dinner a guest greeted “the best black pudding of my life”. Afternoon tea on the terrace is a must.
The USP: Its history and romance. Where else can you write postcards from the spot where Shakespeare wrote his 20th play in 1599?
The rooms: Richly dressed, with wooden panels, soft carpets and trendy headboards. As there is no elevator, it is best to indicate any preference or mobility issue when booking any of the 71 rooms.