Heckfield Place Gets Ready for its Rebirth After 250 years
August 31, 2018 by Hidden Doorways
Downton Abbey may have passed its last season, but Heckfield Place in Hampshire, England is just getting started. The 18th-century Georgian manor house and farm, set amid 400 acres of Hampshire countryside, has been home to successions of dukes and noblemen. Now the stunning 47-room stead is set to open September 1, 2018 as a modern wonder of light and design.
The opening has been a long-awaited affair, one that had originally been targeted to happen in time for the London Olympics. But time is relative in a place where aeronautic museums and fox hunts cross. With all things a go, owner Gerald Chan, the Hong Kong-born real estate tycoon, Harvard graduate, and philanthropist, is ready to open the gates on a world that is both Jane Austen and Zadie Smith. The property plays home to heirloom rose gardens, biodynamic green houses, riding stables and a state of the art spa.
Much has gone into this moment: careful restoration of 250-year-old structures and studied design to accent a sense of place and time as interior designers, whose projects also include Ett Hem, worked to honor the manor’s roots while managing an elegant and contemporary feel.
Salvaged stone and distressed walnut floors are enhanced with worn Persian carpets, carefully curated antique furnishings, and natural textiles. Find rush mats from Yorkshire’s River Ouse, as well as an impressive family collection of British paintings is among the distinctive design details.
The manor brings five room configurations crowned by the Signature Rooms: commodious with plenty of sunlight, living spaces and a fireplace. Then there are the Master Rooms, which also offer generous living areas overlooking different aspects of the gardens. The elegant Chamber Rooms are also spacious with inviting views of the gardens. The Guest Room options are cozy spaces located along the house corridors with views onto the surrounding gardens. The Friends Rooms are the refreshingly simple accommodations that are intimate in scale and overlook the gardens-rates starting at £350.
For special occasions, such as a wedding or a group meeting, The Cottage offers a quaint two-bedroom hideaway in a picture-perfect British country cottage setting.
The main house at Heckfield offers much more than sleeping rooms. A 67-seat screening theater provides space for entertainment while an ample wine cellar ensures pairings and pourings with plenty of selections.
Dining happens mostly at Marle and Hearth, two restaurant concepts using ingredients supplied by the estate’s biodynamic kitchen gardens, orchards and farm. The Biodynamic approach takes its wisdom from organic farming and combines these practices with spiritual and mystical perspectives as first developed in 1924 by philosopher Rudolph Steiner.
Moon Bar brings the cocktails, unique blends from fine, aged selections and fresh infusions from the gardens.
Rooms in the manor seem to follow the sun’s trajectory, from the bright Morning Room where guests find their coffee and newspapers, to the gently filtered Drawing Room for tea and libations in the sun-dappled afternoon hours. Then there is the Moon Bar as evening settles and life becomes more intimate.
Meanwhile, there are woods, gardens, stables and farms to explore on an expanse that evokes a far gentler time and order.
Heckfield Place presents winding forest paths, and a variety of gardens to explore. East of the house, the ground’s upper and lower lakes call for a quiet stroll. Guests can even go boating or for a cooling swim in warmer months. Greenhouses grow a variety of hot house flowers and vegetables and make a curious destination with growers available to answer questions about its gardening philosophies.
But visitors should not miss the Walled Gardens, which provide backdrop for a romantic walk or a moment of time travel back through an Edwardian-themed novel. For privacy or special meetings, the Sun House in these gardens can be turned into an extraordinary venue for private dining.
The Bothy Spa brings welcomed comforts with its five treatment rooms and restorative treatments using exclusive Wildsmith natural skin products. Within other rooms within the spa find personal training sessions, yoga and Pilates, and consultations with lifestyle specialists.
The Assembly at Heckfield Place is a living space for curiosity and creativity. Guests can enjoy informative and inspiring workshops from celebrated chefs, wellness experts, authors, artists and gardeners. Events range from book signings and seminars to film screenings, flower arranging classes, home farm tours and cider tastings. Please click here for reservations information and a full roster of programs.
For the more active guests Heckfield is able to outfit interested parties for fishing on the River Whitewater or provide needed accessories for lessons in British equestrian skills at the Wellington Riding Stable.
But Heckfield Place is sublimely located near noteworthy castles, manors, museums, galleries and villages. The location, 40-minutes southwest of London, places guests less than an hour’s drive from legendary Portsmouth where naval history was forged.
Places to Visit in Hampshire, England
Among the recommended things to do in Hampshire: visit Jane Austen’s house in nearby Chawton for a first person look at where she penned Pride and Prejudice. Or take a drive to Highclere Castle, site of filming for the infamous “Downton Abbey” series. Visitors can wander the gardens where plans were hatched and hearts were broken.
Wander museums of Winchester and happen upon the 13thcentury Great Hall and the greatest symbol of medieval mythology: The Round Table of King Arthur. The Great Hall is also one of the locations used in Netflix’s “The Crown” series. Also find there Winchester Cathedral — boasting the longest nave in Europe. It hides an ancient library and an atmospheric Norman crypt that houses the Sound II statue by Antony Gormley.
Auto enthusiasts will want to drop by the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, which looks at the history of motoring, from modern rally cars and F1 Grand Prix to James Bond and Del Boy’s Reliant Regal.
RG27 0LD, England
(+44 (0) 118) 932. 6868