Lucknam Park

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Old Oct 23, 14, 11:42 am
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Lucknam Park

Lucknam Park

Map| 1 Review | 100% Recommended

Lucknam Park

Lucknam Park Chippenham, GB SN14 8AZ

Lucknam Park (0 Photo)

Lucknam Park

When we found out Mr. Ericka had a business trip to London, we decided I would join him. Not because we hadn’t been to London before, but because we’d always wanted to see the English countryside. I’m on a Jane Austen tear at the moment, so we looked for something with a Regency/Georgian feel that had onsite shooting and riding. We narrowed our choices down to Coworth Park and Lucknam Park, with the latter getting the edge for better shooting offerings and more of the look-and-feel I was hoping for.

Travel

We flew UA business class via IAD and the flat-bed seats were as wonderful as ever. We’re always appreciative of the large widescreen TV and entertainment offerings. The food and wine were OK, but we were more impressed with the FAs efforts to speed up our meal service (per our request). With such a short flight, we were anxious to get to sleep. We arrived at LHR and rented an automatic sedan through Hertz. The Never Lost GPS worked very well and allowed Mr. Ericka to concentrate on staying on the left side of the road instead of worrying about where he was going. We stopped for a Cornish pasty enroute….the Brits have some very tasty fast food! Once in the country, the roads got pretty narrow but the GPS never let us down.

Prior to Arrival

We should mention we had doubts before booking. To look at the spanking new accommodations at Coworth Park and compare them to Lucknam….well, there was a definite difference. So in our struggle to make up our mind, we decided to be frank. We had reasons for wanting to stay at Lucknam Park but had heard a few negative things about the rooms, so we wrote an email expressing our concerns and asking the property for any recommendations. DavidO was able to pass this along to the sales manager on our behalf. We received what we thought was a very fair response…that all of the rooms were unique….that we should at the very least book a mid-category room in order to be happy…. and they would in turn allocate us the best room in that category and consider us for an upgrade (Virtuoso) if something better was available. This turned out to be a good approach.

Lucknam Park

There was something very special about arriving at this country estate in the county of Wiltshire. The beech and lime trees that lined the mile long driveway were 200 years old and created a magnificent welcome as the Palladian main house slowly came into view. The property had 500 acres of parkland, expansive gardens (some dating from 1830), a formal drawing room, a wood-paneled library complete with antique books, and furnishings and details very true to the period. Seeing all this, we knew we made the right choice. The house had a genuine sense of time and place and this was exactly what we were looking for. I’m not sure we would have been happy with the more contemporary offerings at Coworth, even though the pictures on the website were beautiful.

Lucknam Park

Tree-Lined Driveway

Gardens

Library

Juliet (Grand) Suite

At the time of our reservation, we expressed an interest in a room with a pretty view and a nice tub. The room they selected for us was the Juliet Suite, so named because of its stone Juliet balcony that overlooked a circular lavender garden. The room was in the main house and the many large windows had expansive views of the west lawn and the courtyard. There was a lovely living room with a wood-burning fireplace, and a bedroom containing a very high, four-poster bed with an elaborate pleated canopy. All of the furnishings were in wonderful, un-worn condition. The bathroom had been recently updated and was absolutely beautiful while still retaining a traditional feel. The bathroom was large with white/grey marble throughout, polished chrome fixtures, a powerful free standing shower, and a deep soaking tub.

Juliet Suite Balcony

Juliet Suite Sitting Room and Dining Alcove

Juliet Suite Bath Fixture

Service

Everyone at Lucknam Park was friendly and helpful. One young man in particular gave us a tour of the property when checking in, talked to us about area activities and made a point to find us later to inquire how we liked our room. All points of contact were very professional and all of our requests were met or exceeded. When we decided to leave the property to go exploring, staff had maps at-the-ready and were knowledgeable enough about the local area to help us with parking, etc.

Dining

We had to pack very light for this trip and decided to skip the Michelin-starred Park restaurant in favor of the more casual Brasserie. I had my first scotch egg here and suspect I will never find another quite as good. We also enjoyed the Wiltshire cream tea service in the drawing room, a large full English breakfast in the main dining room (which highlighted local meats and produce), and another perfectly executed breakfast in our room just off of our Juliet balcony. If we would have had more time and better weather, we would have had the hotel pack a picnic lunch for us as the separate picnic menu looked wonderful. One night, we decided to eat at the neighboring 16th century White Hart Inn for a true English pub experience. Our steak and mushroom pie was very good and we enjoyed trying some of the local beer and cider.

Horseback Riding

I decided to go horseback riding one morning. As an avid rider, I found the barn to be very clean and well-maintained. There was a helmet rule which was probably a good thing, and I was able to choose between a “hack” which is a glorified trail ride, or a lesson of my choosing in one of the different English disciplines…even jumping if I desired. I opted for a hack since I really just wanted to relax and see the property. They asked my experience level, height and weight ahead of time, and assigned me a dressage-trained warmblood with an excellent mouth and wonderful attitude. The horse was actually owned and shown by a person who lives locally and has an arrangement with Lucknam Park whereby they use him in the resort program as needed. My private guide took me out through the woods and open fields, and there were certain areas where I was able to watch the little girls staying at the resort learn to jump their ponies.

Clay Pigeon Shooting

Mr. Ericka participated in the private clay pigeon shooting. There was a gentleman (and his friendly cocker spaniels) that drove in from offsite and set everything up. He gave as much of a lesson as was required and allowed Mr. Ericka to shoot some beautiful Beretta shotguns. It’s interesting to note that the clay pigeons were set to come toward the shooter, which simulated a British “driven” hunt.

Beretta Shotgun

Spa

Our biggest surprise was the brand new luxurious spa. We didn’t read much about it before our arrival because we didn’t think we’d have time for any treatments. And to be honest, we’ve always thought that if we weren’t getting massages, the hotel spa wasn’t a place to just hang out. That’s where Lucknam Park was different. The spa facility was designed to fill a day, and access to the facilities was complimentary. As a refuge from the regularly inclement weather, the whole place was a stroke of genius. There was a 20 meter indoor swimming pool, an outdoor salt water plunge pool, thermal rooms featuring Japanese salt, amethyst, steam, sauna and tepidarium (whatever that is), experience showers, the usual fitness equipment, and best of all, a gigantic indoor/outdoor hot-tub….all of which was available for use until 10pm. We enjoyed a soak one night after dinner and the soft landscape lighting was truly magical.

Offsite Activities

There was much to see in the areas surrounding Lucknam Park. We regret not having time to visit the local villages of Lacock and Castle Combe, but we did take an afternoon to visit the National Trust house Dyrham Park and the city of Bath.

Opportunities for Improvement

One of the first things that we noticed as we pulled up to the hotel was some scaffolding on one of the prominent chimneys. As avid photographers, this was a disappointment, but it’s something that every historical seeking vacationer should keep in mind….centuries-old homes require frequent repair and scaffolding is part of the package. Similarly, the hotel had mildly creaky floors. Our room was on the top level so it wasn’t a problem for us, but I can’t speak for those below us. Lucknam Park also suffered from weak flushing toilets. This was true of one of the first floor public restrooms and the Juliet Suite. The shower and tub water-flow was very powerful so we’re not sure why this would be the case, but it required a great deal of patience and a variety of flushing techniques to get the job done.

Lucknam Park

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