Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Breaking Bard; Shakespeare Lover, JADE WRIGHT Journeys to the Iconic Playwright's Home County and Finds That He's Not Warwickshire's Only Attraction

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Breaking Bard; Shakespeare Lover, JADE WRIGHT Journeys to the Iconic Playwright's Home County and Finds That He's Not Warwickshire's Only Attraction

Article excerpt

Byline: JADE WRIGHT

WARWICKSHIRE is a county of chocolate-box prettiness, of tiny cottages and quaint villages.

But I must admit that I've always found myself so drawn to Stratford-upon-Avon that I've neglected to stop along the way.

As a self-confessed Shakespeare obsessive I've been to his hometown dozens of times over the years to go to the theatre, either driving home afterwards or stopping overnight nearby. But I'd never explored further.

Not, that is, until I heard about Coombe Abbey, a four-star country house hotel.

Founded in 1150 AD by Cistercian Monks, it was known as the Abbey of Cumbe, before dissolution by King Henry VIII, when it became royal property.

Elizabeth of Bohemia, the daughter of King James I, was educated there in the early 17th century.

Had the Gunpowder Plot succeeded, she was to have been abducted from Coombe Abbey and proclaimed as Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1682, the West Wing was added by architect Captain William Winde, who also designed Buckingham Palace. In 1771, Capability Brown redesigned the gardens, incorporating the Coombe Pool lake.

You get the general picture - it certainly ticks all the historical boxes.

But it looks glorious today, too.

Set in 500 acres of parkland, the hotel overlooks formal gardens and a lake. Walking through the grand arches into the courtyard we were impressed by its grand location, separated from the parkland by a wide moat filled with quacking ducks.

The foyer is dark and opulent, with carved stone and draped thick velvet. It took us a few moments to acclimatise to the dark - and then we found our way, still blinking, to the front desk.

The house was home to the earls of Craven until 1923, and was bought in 1992 by the No Ordinary Hotels group. It's become a popular country house hotel, with visitors coming from all over the world.

We walked through more gardens to our room, a grand feature bedchamber.

While the hotel is steeped in history, the rooms are light and modern. Although some have big four-poster beds and ornate carving, ours was plush without feeling like we were sleeping in a museum. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.