The day had come for Gemma and I to say our final goodbyes to Champneys with our final spa visit of the year. However, we did make sure to leave on a high, as this venue was Eastwell Manor. The beautiful old manor house is situated in the county of Kent, also known as the Garden of England. We could definitely see why it was called this. Driving from Sussex into Kent, we wound around country roads and open fields, passing wildlife in all forms – including pheasants. (these seem to gravitate towards the road, so keep an eye out!)
The gates into Eastwell Manor framed the beautiful picturesque setting, and made the entrance even more intriguing. A small road led us into the spa resort car park, a short walk away from the Eastwell Manor reception area. Once parked up, we wandered through the rustic building to the front of the manor, and were welcomed by a friendly young lady who showed us into the manor house. The room has a rural feel, and was filled with Christmas decorations and a warm sizzling fire. I immediately felt right at home. The lady kindly took our coats and scarves, storing them in the back room for safe keeping.
We were then free to roam the premises and take a look around. Firstly, we decided to wander straight into the garden to see the magnificent display of topiary plants, seating areas and a beautiful central fountain. After taking quite a few shots of the iconic manor, we made our way to the spa to have a look at the facilities and treatment areas. The spa is situated in a separate building, just behind the Champneys car park.
The reception is filled with goodies, including Clarins cosmetics and Champneys robes to take home or use as gifts. Once checked in and kitted out in robes and flip flops, you’ll be given free rein to explore the relaxation rooms, swimming facilities and treatment area upstairs. This is where you can book in at the desk if you wish.
Back in the main manor house, we were preparing ourselves for our festive afternoon tea in one of the formal tea lounges. We were shown to our table, where beautifully painted teacups, saucers, linen napkins, and a large teapot sat waiting. The waitress was ready at hand to ask for our choice of tea, and after both agreeing on traditional English Breakfast tea, it was time to pour! A lovely touch was the tea strainer, which sat neatly above our teacups. After a short time, our festive afternoon tea stand arrived: a three tier stand full of delicious savoury and sweet treats. We couldn’t wait to dig in!
We began with the bottom tier, which held a range of crustless finger sandwiches: egg and cress, turkey and cranberry, salmon and cream cheese, and cheese and chutney. The second tier was filled with 2 scones each, one plain and one fruit. These were both accompanied by a pot of strawberry jam and clotted cream. The final tier was a sweet treat zone. From mini mince pies, to christmas cake slices, to festive trifles, it had a selection for all.
After a final top up of tea, we grabbed our things and head down towards the ice rink located outside the main reception area. By now it was darker out, and all the fairy lights and fire pits were beginning to be lit and turned on. Next door to the ice rink was a changing room for everyone to change their shoes to skates!
On the ice, Gemma took to skating like a duck to water. I, on the other hand, did not! Holding onto the sides, I could barely stand! Gemma rushed an assistive penguin over to my side and within moments I was gliding across the ice attached to my new penguin friend. The rink was great, with plenty of room and space to move about, as well as a great scenic look decorated with fairy lights. It was especially Christmassy!
The loud Christmas music was enough to get Gemma and I dancing, and by the end of the session I was holding her hand skating – almost - gracefully!
Again, a huge thanks to Matthea and the Champneys team for treating us to such amazing food and relaxing treatments over the past few months as we have visited all five of their fabulous venues. We were truly spoilt, and made to feel so welcome. We have had great fun writing up our experiences, and I’m sure it won’t be long before you see us again!