This past weekend we had the opportunity to stay at the Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa near Warminster. After school on Friday, we loaded up the car for our overnight stay and drove the hour south to Wiltshire.
Arriving at the Hotel, Christmas was in full swing, with bejewelled trees in the entrance and swags flowing down the staircase. What a lovely time of year to spend a night in a country hotel. The Hotel, once a Georgian country house, with large estate, has been transformed into a luxurious hotel and spa. The rooms decorated in rich colours of aubergine and gold, and roaring fires were lit in the fire places.
That evening we ate in the conservatory, a modern addition to the old building. Outside the storm ‘Desmond’ was raging, but inside we were snug and cosy. Choosing from the festive menu, we enjoyed roast beef, with buttered kale and root vegetables and a rich chocolate torte for a desert. The boys loved their home-made fish fingers and chips and chocolate ice cream for pud.
After dinner, we moved into the library. A large room to the front of the house. Sitting next to the fire we played a game of scrabble with the kids before bed. The Hotel had a large library of books and board games to play with, which was a really nice touch.
The following morning, after a restful nights sleep, we returned to the conservatory for breakfast. Now seeing the estate gardens in the morning light, with views across the lawns and trees beyond. We opted for the full English breakfast – even the boys, setting ourselves up for the day ahead on safari.
The Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa is part of the Longleat group, and are currently running a package which includes an overnight stay at the hotel plus a family pass to visit the safari park. So on Saturday we did just that.
As a family we have been several times before, and the delight of seeing big game animals up close never fails. As we entered the park our excitement gathered – looking forward to seeing Tigers and Lions.
And as if we set it up, there they were there performing for us. Two tigers travelled right in front of the cars ahead, and then if this wasn’t enough once in to the neighbouring Lion enclosure the male, walked right up to our car and looked in at us. Scary yet incredible at the same time.
Once through the Safari, we made our way down to the main house. Where the main star of the Longleat Christmas is the Festival of Lights. In it’s second year a troop of Chinese artists have made a stunning display of silk lanterns around the gardens of the Estate.
With an hour until the ‘switch on’ we wandered the many attractions, seeing penguins and a discovering a parrot who could scoot on a scooter. Rufus thought this was the best thing ever!
Finally at 4, the lights were switched on, and the full effect of the creatures in the dark could be seen. A large dragon boat was sailing in the lake, with huge mandarin ducks floating next to him. But for me the best were the safari animals outside the main entrance of the house. Life sized giraffes, lions, tigers and deer all in motion. Stunning.
Thank you to the Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa for the overnight stay and family pass to Longleat. It was a wonderful way to ease ourselves into the Christmas season.
Lou Archell, a writer, photographer, stylist and founder of Littlegreenshed. A UK lifestyle & travel blog
Lou is also a busy mum of two amazing boys and the founder of Sisterhood Camp – an annual creative retreat for recharging and empowering brilliant ladies, Lou is passionate about supporting and inspiring others whether through her workshops, writing, photography or lifestyle hacks.