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TRAVEL / UK

Country life

Hampton Manor combines the rural idyll with Michelin-starred dining Wo r d s e v e h e r b e r t

H

ampton Manor is part of Birmingham’s successful foodie story. Last year was a memorable year for the hotel’s restaurant Peel’s with a Michelin Star, the Michelin Welcome and Service Award, and four AA Rosettes awarded in the space of a week. Peel’s is home to simple dishes cooked using seasonal ingredients and modern cooking techniques under Head Chef Rob Palmer. The hotel is home to a vast kitchen garden and the menus include A La Carte and four and seven course tasting menus. Food alone is a great reason to make a visit.

Located in the picturesque village of Hampton-in-Arden served by direct trains from London, Hampton Manor is a serious weekend destination. Hampton Manor’s most famous resident was Sir Frederick Peel, son of 19th century Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel who established the police force. Frederick was a proud industrialist and his home reflected his beliefs. ‘Industria’ is engraved on the staircase and a crest of a lion, carved in myriad locations across the building, features a weaving shuttle. Its decorative details impose a fascinating contradiction between the celebration of industry and a focus on craftsmanship, advocated by William

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Morris and the Arts and Crafts trend of the time. Today, Hampton Manor is an independent family-run business with 15 individually designed bedrooms and suites that exude the warmth and hospitality of a luxurious country house retreat, but the place has the feel of a super relaxed members club. Built in 1855, Hampton Manor had fallen into decline when husband and wife team James and Fjona Hill embarked on an extensive 18 month restoration project with the support of James’s parents who themselves had worked in hospitality. Fjona Hill acted as interior designer, drawing on her photographic background and sharp visual eye to ensure her first hotel project was a triumph. She transformed the Manor with a unique concept that drew on the building’s original features as inspiration. Stained glass windows, magnificent oak panelling and a staircase finished with intricate carvings are vestiges of the Arts and Crafts style of the period. The beautiful manicured gardens inspire colours and textures. Victorian design features are juxtaposed with luxurious materials and contemporary finishes. ◆

 B&B priced from £180 per room per night hamptonmanor.com

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