Mini staycation at Chicheley Hall
I was invited to Chicheley Hall for a one night stay in a superior room. The visit included a complimentary room, evening meal in their restaurant and breakfast the following morning. I was under no obligation to create a blog post from the visit. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.
As you may be aware, John and I have had a bit of a travel hiatus over the past year in preparation for our wedding and honeymoon in the Caribbean later this year. So, when the opportunity presented itself for us to go and stay at Chicheley Hall near Milton Keynes for one night, we were delighted to make the most of this. We went on a Friday after work and stayed until Saturday morning. Ordinarily, I would have preferred to do a Saturday night stay but they’re all booked up on Saturdays for weddings for the next few months as it’s a popular wedding venue. Having said that, the Friday night stay was actually really lovely and a great way to kick-off our weekend.
As an aside, I recently realised that when we fly out to Barbados for the wedding, it’ll have been a full year since I’ve been on a plane! But one good thing about taking a break from international travel is that we’ve been able to get out and about exploring the UK a lot more. And Chicheley Hall certainly didn’t disappoint.
Chicheley Hall is a grade I listed building set in 80 acres of beautiful grounds. It can only really be described as quintessentially English and actually reminded me a lot of other old houses in the area, such as Fawsley Hall in Daventry. We love staying in places that have a history and Chicheley Hall oozes character. Everywhere you look, you’ll find information about its heritage, old books, chandeliers and original wood panels. The Hall was built in the early part of the 1700s in the Baroque style. Chicheley Hall certainly has an interesting past: it was used as a Special Training School by the Special Operations Executive in WWII who conducted espionage and reconaissance activities. More recently, it’s been used as a filming location for productions such as Pride and Prejudice and Enigma. It’s located around 7 miles from Milton Keynes so is really easy to get to from the M1 and is currently owned by The Royal Society.
One quirk of Chicheley Hall is that all of their rooms are named after famous scientists.We stayed in the superior room, Blackett which was stunning and so spacious! It’s named after Patrick Blackett who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1948 for his work on cosmic rays. I thought this was a really nice touch that really highlighted the connection the Hall has to both history and science through the Royal Society.
We were pleasantly surprised at how large our room was – it was a corner room too so there were plenty of windows and seating areas. There was a corridor leading into the bathroom on one side and the bedroom on the other. The bedroom was light and airy and had a very large, comfy bed along the back wall. There was also a lounge area next to the TV complete with sofa, armchairs and coffee table with complimentary water and fruit.
The wardrobe was well-stocked with all the amenities we needed: teas, coffee, biscuits, hairdryer, iron, slippers and most importantly, fluffy white robes! I have to say I was particularly impressed with the robes as they were lovely and soft and not at all scratchy like some of the robes I’ve had in other hotels.
Whilst we always appreciate character and antique features in a bedroom/living space, that style isn’t necessarily what we’re after in a bathroom. Again, there were no worries in this department as the bathroom was modern, clean and had a very hot shower. There was a bath if you wanted to take advantage of this to unwind, athough we didn’t get chance. There was also a nice window view from the bathroom with a blackout blind for privacy.
From our room, we also had incredible views over different aspects of the grounds. On one side we could see the garden to the house, on another the expansive lawn leading down to the lake. The room wasn’t overlooked by any buildings at all, which we really appreciated. Both of us have often stayed in hotels in cities like London and not only is space in your room a huge premium but the chance of getting anything remotely resembling a view is practically non-existent. So the room definitely reminded us of why we enjoy staying in country hotels like this so much.
Well, I have to say that the food really was a highlight of our stay. Both dinner and breakfast were delicious and you could really tell that they’d used high quality ingredients for every meal.
Dinner in particular was a standout meal for me. John and I sometimes have quite different tastes and the menu had plenty of choice for both of us. For drinks, we started off with pre-dinner cocktails in the bar (where there was a particularly impressive selection of gin!). There was also a good selection of wine at a range of price points, so we shared a bottle of rosé with dinner.
For starters, I went for the soup of the day which was sweet potato and chilli, whilst John opted for the crab cake with sriracha mayonnaise. My soup was delicious and warming with just the right balance of sweet and spicy. The crab cake was also really tasty and the sriracha really packed a punch!
Onto mains and I can rarely resist something that contains any form of pasta. So for me the salmon with tomato risotto was the obvious choice. John went for the chicken supreme with mustard mash and a mushroom jus. I have to admit that I’ve gone off salmon fillets somewhat recently when I’m cooking at home so I wasn’t sure if I’d made the right choice, but it was cooked to perfection and not dry or bland at all. It also went perfectly with the risotto, which was delightfully creamy and contained both normal and sundried tomatoes for variety. The risotto had the perfect amount of bite and I also really enjoyed eating this with the green beans that added another element to the dish. The portion size was also extremely generous – at one point I got quite disappointed when I realised I probably wouldn’t be able to finish my meal! I didn’t try any of the chicken supreme (I’m not a big fan of mushrooms!) but John assures me it was also delicious.
Finally, we couldn’t resist going for dessert. There were two chocolate options (!) which I think is amazing as a chocolate lover. As such, I went for the chocolate brownie which was heavenly. It melted in the mouth and paired perfectly with the vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and white chocolate shavings. However, John isn’t a huge fan of chocolate so wasn’t sure if there was anything obvious on the menu for him. He went for the pecan pie with honeycomb ice cream in the end and was immediately won over. So a 10/10 on the dessert front; I’d highly recommend not skipping this course if you’re ever dining at Chicheley Hall!
We were absolutely stuffed after our delicious dinner, but the following morning that didn’t deter us from a cooked breakfast. Breakfast was self-service in a buffet style, although tea and coffee was brought to the table. There was a good selection comprising juices, pastries, bread, dried fruit, meats, cheeses and traditional full English breakfast options, including either fried or scrambled eggs. The hot food was all well-cooked and we particularly enjoyed the sausages, which had a really nice herby flavour. I also managed to squeeze in a croissant with Nutella. Definitely a thumbs-up from me when I see that Nutella is available! John said he thought it was the best cooked breakfast he’d ever had in a hotel so no complaints at all there.
Chicheley Hall is set in around 80 acres of land, so it’s very expansive. The weather was pretty awful the day we left so we didn’t get chance to fully explore, but we did take a turn around the house to enjoy some of the surrounds. It’s a beautiful area with lawns, a lake, woodland and we even spotted a peacock. If the weather had been better then we would have loved to spend more time outside but that’s probably one for our next visit! And we did get chance to appreciate some of the grounds due to the fantastic view from our room.
Even with the beautiful setting, gorgeous room and excellent food, our stay at Chicheley Hall wouldn’t have been the same without the high standard of customer service they provided. Both check in and check out was extremely smooth and quick and the restaurant staff were attentive without being imposing. All our interactions with the staff made us feel very welcome and at home, which meant we left having had a truly enjoyable experience.
Superior rooms start from £89 per night and you can book your stay online. Parking and wifi is free, no pets allowed. Check in is at 2pm and check out is at 11am.