Abbotstone at The Grange
Cheerful, elegant farmhouse on a country estate steeped in history with facilities for intimate or larger group retreats.
From £6,000 per week
IN A NUTSHELL
Set deep in Hampshire countryside, yet just an hour from London, this beautiful private English home is part of The Grange estate and sits among 3,000 acres of lakes, water meadows and woods. Once the country seat of a banking dynasty, and a meeting place for Churchill and Eisenhower during World War Two, it's now run by a thoroughly experienced team. They understand that when guests relax in comfort and enjoy wholesome food, exercise and fresh air, inspiration and focus will follow. An elegant, adjacent barn for workshops or activities, a pool and a tennis court, along with cosy farmhouse living rooms and bedrooms, make this an ideal retreat venue for life coaching, cookery, wine-tasting, musical, team-building and back-to-nature retreats.
INDOOR RETREAT SPACES
A specifically designed, converted barn is big enough for 70 and intimate enough for 10 people, and comes with screens to divide up the spaces. Equipment like flip chart stands and screens for presentations, plenty of wall space and power sockets are available. The farmhouse next door has a large dining hall, a sitting room, a study and a kitchen with an Aga, and there is further sitting room and living rooms space. There's also a fashionably derelict, but impressively functional Neo-Classical mansion within rolling parklands available for use. A 590-seat auditorium lends itself to wonderful drama and musical events.
OUTDOOR RETREAT SPACES
The gardens, grounds and surrounding countryside are a hiker's paradise, and there are plenty of nooks and crannies for quiet moments and meditation. There's a firepit for ceremonies and keeping warm. In summer, you’ll have access to your own private swimming pool and tennis court. There's even a croquet lawn.
There are eight double bedrooms (one with an extra single bed) and a single room, sleeping up to 18 guests. Some have very generous living space. Two of the rooms are en-suites, and two have double cabin beds. Rooms are adorned with an eclectic mix of colourful, modern and antique figurative art.
The living and drawing rooms ooze charm and taste. Decorated in deep, rich colours, there are plenty of comfy chairs and sofas which makes them suitable for breakout team work. There's a big kitchen with a four-door Aga and three bright and cheerful rooms with working fireplaces. The house comes stocked with drawers full of games and puzzles - plus a TV room and a play room. The well-maintained gardens, terraces and spring-fed ponds offer plenty of outdoor spaces to explore and be alone.
Foraging, wine-making and musical experiences are all options here. Enjoy vineyard tours - there are 2,000 fizz-producing vines - and then sample the local vino at a wine-tasting. Perform your music or drama in the auditorium, or take advantage of the on-site riding, fishing and clay pigeon shooting. Play croquet on the lawns or tennis on the courts, take a dip in the pool or head to the barn for some ping pong. There are some great local walks, with picnics and pub stops optional, as well as a 4km walk to the local market town. In June or July you could even catch world-class opera live at The Grange Festival, a performing arts extravaganza.
If you choose, you can use the venue's chef Becka Cooper, who's also known as a food wizard because she's as adept at serving a formal feasts in the farmhouse as she is at rustling up breakfast for 30 in the barn or a soup and a roll for lunch between workshops. Expect buffet lunches in the farmhouse kitchen and the barn, informal dinners round the firepit, picnic lunches under the portico and sumptuous three-course dinners at the house. You can make mealtimes as formal or informal as you wish. Some of the food served is grown in the grounds.
The owners are mindful of wasteful activities and commodities and the impact they have on the habitat, its occupants and the wider world. For example, this could mean opting for a 3D light projection show on the exterior of The Grange instead of a fireworks display. There is a strict no more single use plastics policy, and every effort is taken to maintain a good relationship with the community. Locals can use facilities for school and other community events. The owners have also experimented with alternative bio-diverse farming and horticulture methods with a view to learning how to farm in a better way.
Abbotstone feels like the much loved home it is. You'll be in experienced hands. The high-energy team will expertly interpret your vision so they can help you deliver the retreat you want - to the letter.
The Less Than Ordinary
Not all bedrooms have en-suite facilities (although there are a lot of loos). It’s set in a rural environment so there may be unannounced wildlife and creepy crawlies. And there aren't slick mod cons.
Abbotstone Farm House and Barn