A love of hunting brought the Duke of Richmond to Goodwood in the beautiful West Sussex countryside over three hundred years ago. For us the attraction is the historic Goodwood Hotel at the heart of this 12,000 acre estate. It is a pretty stone and flint building on a peaceful country lane where cheerful staff check us in quickly and easily, and we are soon installed in a very quiet and pleasant room located in one of the low-rise wings that extend into the parkland behind.
Our room is a dog-friendly ground floor ‘Signature’ Room, tastefully furnished in grey, taupe and blue with an excellent and comfortable bed and slick white and chrome fitted bathroom (with a nice deep bath) plus top quality Elemis toiletries on hand.
More atmospheric ‘Character’ rooms are situated in the 18th century building, whilst rooms with terraces and larger suites are also available.
Hotel stays include free access to the Health Club – an oasis of health, fitness and pampering, and we made full use of a well-equipped gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms. There is also a vast programme of fitness classes, tennis courts plus a range of luxurious spa treatments at The Waterbeach Spa (read our review here).
The hotel is well known for its food, and excellent dining can be enjoyed in the relaxed surroundings of The Goodwood Grill or the cosier setting of The Richmond Arms – you will be very spoiled indeed with seasonal ingredients straight from Goodwood Home Farm.
Lola, our labrador-retriever has come with us to test their pet-friendly weekend breaks, and is rewarded with a lovely comfy bed, a bag of treats and a dog bowl – she particularly enjoys the amazing and varied walks that start right from the hotel door.
A detailed map was provided in the room for the paths that wind through the pretty local countryside. We took a delightful route to East Dean, stopping at a suitably picturesque local pub for a refreshment break, before returning via the impressive CASS Sculpture Foundation with its contemporary art displayed along woodland paths.
The hotel also acts as a base for multiple other activities related to the Estate. Golf breaks are very popular and we tried out the Park Course with tree lined fairways that wind their way around the scenic parkland.
It was in perfect order with immaculate greens and with more time would also love to have tried the highly rated Downs course.
Sport does not stop with golf though. There are for example flying, driving and pampering spa breaks also available and the hotel is a great base for the many festivals and events now associated with Goodwood.
In 1802 the 3rd Duke introduced horse-racing for the amusement of local army officers. Race week was so popular it was soon dubbed Glorious Goodwood and today the racecourse is renowned for being one of the most exciting – and is considered by many as the most beautiful – in the world.
Flying began here in 1940, when RAF pilots learned to fly Hurricanes and Spitfires and a few years later the Motor Circuit was built around the aerodrome’s perimeter and christened when Freddie March, the 9th Duke, tore around the track in a Bristol 400. Today the Goodwood Revival is the only historic race meeting to be staged entirely in period dress, whilst the Festival of Speed celebrates motorsport of all eras.
Also regularly open to the public is Goodwood House itself – fine historic building with a particularly good collection of art whilst The Kennels – a very grand former home for the Dukes hunting dogs – is a members club, accessible to hotel guests, where we enjoyed an al fresco lunch on the terrace with its spectacular views.
If you should get bored Chichester is just down the road, with the coast a few miles farther with its historic harbours or sandy beaches. But really, who needs more when you have everything that Goodwood has to offer?
For more information visit www.goodwood.com
Images by CELLOPHANELAND* and the Goodwood Hotel.
CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of the Goodwood Hotel