TRAVEL: A quiet life never tasted so good...
It's a short drive from Lincolnshire, yet it feels a million miles away. Mel West discovered how the perfect escape from modern life is closer than you think...
Sometimes in life you just need to stop and take a breath. Whether you're fleeing work pressures, escaping the housework or just in need of some TLC, the Clumber Park Hotel and Spa offers the sanctuary you're searching for.
Located just 35 minutes away from Lincoln, it's set on the A614, just off the A1 and on the edge of Sherwood Forest. The hotel stands alone next to the roadside. It is homely and comfortable yet modern and well maintained.
Having ducked out of the office early to miss the rush hour traffic, we arrived at about 4pm. On arrival the staff were welcoming and check-in was simple.
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We were directed to our room, which was clean, stylish and fully-equipped with the usual hotel essentials, like a TV, hairdryer and super-sized, super comfy bed.
After a quick unpack, our first port of call was the hotel's New Leaf Spa. The spa promotes itself as a "comfortable environment where you can relax, unwind and be pampered".
This is a spot-on description.
The treatments we received (back massages) were expertly delivered and the spa area itself boasts a pool, sauna, steam room and an outdoor hot tub (which is best enjoyed at night with a crisp glass of Chardonnay from the bar).
For the more energetic visitors, the New Leaf complex has a compact but perfectly-formed gymnasium too.
While much of the hotel's marketing centres around its spa, it's almost impossible to stay there without being bowled over by the food on offer. The place is a gastronomic paradise.
Visitors have the choice of eating in either the Courtyard Restaurant, which serves an a la carte menu, or the Normanton Inn, which offers a huge array of dishes, from light snacks and sharing platters to something more substantial.
The food was some of the best we've ever eaten, and it was washed down with bespoke cocktails created by the bar team, who are happy to design drinks based on customers' tastes and preferences.
If you can bear to tear yourself away from the hotel, it's just a two-minute stroll to Clumber Park, the National Trust's largest UK site.
With 3,800 acres of picturesque parkland and gardens, peaceful woodlands and a magnificent lake to enjoy there is plenty of space to explore and relax.
In short, the Clumber Park Hotel and Spa is a delightful getaway and its location makes it the perfect destination for a weekend break, or even just an overnight refuge.