April 21, 2022
Having enjoyed many visits to the must-see sites of England, I opted for a lesser-known area in North Hampshire for our recent family vacation. I was craving acres of bucolic charm and an abundance of outdoor activities complete with a historic manor oozing British history and heritage. The Four Seasons Hampshire, dating back to 1728, located on 500 acres, checked every box!
In typical Four Seasons style, the hotel manages to be a destination in itself, although there are several well worth visiting sites nearby. More on those another day. The list of things to do is endless, horseback riding, clay shooting, biking, croquet, archery, spa visits, falconry, and the list goes on and on. So how does one make the best use of their time while visiting? Here are four tips to help you get the most out of your Four Seasons Hampshire visit!
Tip # 1: Make friends with your Concierge!
Here’s a priceless travel tip for you, the Concierge at a great hotel is an invaluable asset when planning a vacation. They know the area around their hotel better than just about anyone. They purposefully network with local experiences, restaurants, sporting events, and theatres to provide you, their guests, extra special services and opportunities.
Weeks before my arrival, I reached out to Mattia, one of the Four Seasons Hampshire Concierge team. I shared with him our interests and already scheduled activities. He then provided me with information on the local area related to our interests, such as walking trails, vineyards producing England’s version of Champagne (which is really good by the way), and a few activities offered at the hotel that we might enjoy. This information helped me better organize my time before we arrived. Then while there, we had a few last-minute ideas. I wanted to see Stonehenge, but I didn’t want to see it from the typical viewpoint behind the fence, and my husband and son wanted to see West Ham play Sevilla in a Europa League the following week in London. Mattia was on the case! Within a few hours of our requests, he had arranged for us to walk among the stones at Stonehenge during sunrise the following day and secured four tickets to the West Ham soccer match! During our stay, Mattia also reserved us seats at a local pub so we could watch Manchester United play while enjoying some proper fish and chips. We had a great spot waiting for us right in front of the TV.
While Mattia and the Four Seasons Hampshire Concierge team provided exceptional value during our stay, it really always comes down to that little something extra that makes your time somewhere special. Mattia was our little, big actually, something extra!
Tip # 2: Take a walk every day!
This place was made for late afternoon strolls. Ignore the weather; it may or may not cooperate, which is half the fun. This is the UK, so expect and delight in a bit of moody rain. Maybe it’s because I’m from Florida and am so used to sand, but the mud here is fantastic! It squishes perfectly under your boots with each step. And no worries about having the right gear; the hotel provides wellies and warm, waterproof jackets.
Our daily evening ritual of grabbing a steaming cup of hot tea, switching our shoes for wellies, and heading off to explore the countryside was everyone’s favorite activity. We would stop to admire the local wildlife, feed the horses, ogle over the adorableness of the Highland cows, and explore old bunkers. Every walk was a new adventure full of laughs and beautiful sites, smells, and sounds. We’d often split up as we approached the manor, each going in our own direction to take a closer look at something we had noticed the day before.
Tip # 3: Belly up to the bar!
Let me start by saying that every meal we experienced on the property was excellent! We enjoyed a Sunday Roast at Wild Carrot the day we arrived, and it was such a great family meal. But we really fell in love with The Bar at Wild Carrot! It might have been the fact that it was slightly more casual, and we could enjoy both lighter bites and the full Wild Carrot menu. We had a few favorites here for sure. You simply must order the House Aged Truffle Tunworth, Wild Carrot Salad (I might have the recipe for the spectacular truffle vinaigrette that topped the most beautiful veggies you have ever seen.), and a triple order of fries.
Or maybe it was the incredible decor and artwork of the bar area. I personally love a bar drenched in dark mahogany, deep rich tones of red and green, and pops of vibrant colored modern works of art. It’s a decor that seamlessly blends cozy comfort with sophisticated elegance in a way that makes an elegant ballgown or jacket and riding boots look perfectly appropriate. Add a wall of windows with a view of the glorious English countryside, and I simply must ask you, why would you not want to eat here every day?
Hmmm, maybe. Both are excellent reasons, but I believe it was our bartender, Surinder. He had a way with people and with cocktails! Always dressed to perfection with a great suit and friendly smile, he was a familiar regular we enjoyed running into almost daily. We all looked forward to his amazing concoctions and friendly banter.
Tip #4 – Hire me to plan your trip!
Yes, you can book a Four Seasons Hampshire getaway all on your own, and it’s relatively easy, actually. But you’d be missing out on agent-exclusive amenities that Mer Bleue has access to as a Four Seasons Preferred Partner. These amenities enhance your stay and add value.
Additionally, there is so much more to do and see in the area, and do you really have the time and energy to research and then vet all the options? Leave it to a professional, my friend. Call me, and I’ll hook you up! Click here to start planning!