Mama visits Ockenden Manor in West Sussex for a relaxing, spa-filled weekend getaway
Words Helen Baron
Grand yet cosily intimate, Ockenden Manor epitomises the idea of the manor hotel. Set in eight acres of neatly kept grounds and overlooking the pines and meadows of Cuckfield Park, it has been owned by only two families since 1520 – so clearly it’s not the kind of place people want to leave. Now offering 28 guest rooms, each distinctively styled to feature all modern comforts alongside lashings of historical charm, the hotel’s accommodation is amply supplemented by an award-winning restaurant masterminded by head chef Stephen Crane. For families, we recommend the spacious suites above the contemporary spa annexe, which provide easy access to the roof terrace, spa terraces and pools – vitally important at family swim times.
The spa is fed by a natural spring and includes indoor and outdoor hot tubs, sauna and steam room; a fully equipped gym; an impressive indoor pool leading directly to an outdoor one (heated sufficiently so that you can enjoy an al fresco swim on a misty winter’s day); and a number of treatment rooms. There’s an amazing list of treatments available, each making use of Elemental Herbology botanical products. There’s a prenatal wellbeing massage on offer and plenty else for stressed-out mums. I chose the Thai Qi Flow, a therapy that incorporates stretches, herbs and accupressure to stunning effect (it can also help if, like me, you’re suffering from sleep disturbances). New to the spa is the “Silent Treatment”, which all mamas will appreciate: an hour of complete tranquillity spent in an Isopod flotation tank. The water’s salt content means you float naturally, aiding muscle relaxation, boosting the immune system and encouraging the flow of endorphins.
The small and pleasingly picturesque English village of Cuckfield is in a lovely corner of the West Sussex countryside. This is the home of Five Hundred Acre Wood (the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre variant) and the original Pooh Corner. Tulleys Farm, the Bluebell Railway and two National Trust sites – Nymans and Standen House – are also within very easy reach, while the bustling, pretty town of Lewes is a 20-minute drive away.
New Babymoon Breaks from £277.50 per person based on two people sharing a Spa Suite, Sunday-Friday. Package includes dinner, bed and breakfast, 1 x 30 min Isopod flotation; 1 x pre-natal spa treatment; 1 x Elemental Herbology Tree of Life multi-purpose balm (50ml) and 1 x Jem + Bea Lola Bag. Prices from £418 per person in Spa Suite on Saturdays. In partnership with Jem + Bea; jemandbea.com.
Bookable from 1 April 2018