AD – My stay was complimentary in return for this review.
Chicheley Hall is a country house hotel located on the outskirts of Milton Keynes. If you’re local, it’s about a five-minute drive from Newport Pagnell. It’s probably most well known for being a grand wedding venue: I know lots of people who have got married there and lots of you messaged me on Instagram to tell me what a beautiful venue it was for you! And it’s easy to see why – Chicheley Hall is a Grade I listed mansion from the early 18th Century and sits in 80 acres of grounds, which is home to several peacocks! The current entrance hall is made of marble and dates back to the 1700s. The hall itself (and Newport Pagnell was mentioned in the Doomsday Book. It’s a real slice of history tucked away in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside.
Formerly, independently owned but now part of the De Vere hotel group, Chicheley Hall has retained its reputation as a luxury destination and is now home to scientific societies, a nod to its past as several high profile scientists used to stay here. Each room is named after a famous scientist. Chicheley is also a popular conference and meeting venue for companies across Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire and beyond.
I was invited for a one night stay with dinner, bed and breakfast. As this hotel is right on my doorstep, it was rather novel to take a fifteen-minute drive down the road for a mini break in my own home town! So, on Friday night after a long week at work, Dan and I drove through the countryside to have a little treat for the night! We really are lucky to live in such a pretty part of the country. As you turn up the driveway and drive through a spectacular avenue of trees, you are greeted by Chicheley Hall in all its glory. The redbrick, symmetrical mansion is quite iconic! On arrival, we parked around the side of the house and were greeted by a very lovely receptionist who gave us a swift check-in and a quick brief of where everything was. Now, get me to my bed…
We stayed in a superior suite (priced from £76.95 per night for bed and breakfast) which was called Appleton. Chicheley Hall has 48 individually furnished rooms that are all named after scientists – no two rooms are the same! Our room was large, with a double bed, a few armchairs, desk and an ensuite with a bath and shower. During your stay, you will also have access to 100mb WiFi throughout the house which is a welcome touch. All rooms have other basic amenities like a kettle and tea/coffee and bottles of toiletries should you forget your own! There were also a pair of slippers – but no robe, so I’m not sure if these are provided as standard in the Superior Rooms.
One of the most striking features of the room was definitely the windows, which were absolutely huge – basically floor to ceiling! They were surrounded by equally huge curtains which did a decent job of blocking out the morning sun. I can’t stand it when hotel curtains or blinds are as much use as a chocolate teapot! Our view was beautiful too: the bedroom overlooked the lawns at the side of the hotel and the bathroom overlooked the gardens at the back which were impeccably kept. The decor of the room was very neutral and classically done. It wasn’t too modern but it was neither gaudy or too old fashioned. It just had a few nods to the style of the old mansion. The room and bathroom were both spotless when we arrived.
Read more: A weekend at Nanteos Mansion, Aberystwyth
After we had settled into our room, we got ourselves ready for dinner. We booked for 7:30 pm, which gave us a chance to settle down and grab a drink at the bar. We made our way downstairs to the bar and found ourselves a bit underwhelmed. The range of drinks was quite disappointing and I was surprised that my G&T was served in a plain glass with no garnish. The barman didn’t seem to want to be working there that evening so we did feel a little like we’d intruded his space… The decor of the bar also felt very corporate to the rest of the hotel and was as a stark contrast to the dining room. We were hoping this was not setting the expectation for dinner!
Dining at Chicheley Hall
The dining room at Chicheley Hall overlooks the lawns so we chose a table right by the window which was lovely – and gave me ample lighting to take photos of the food… #FoodBloggerProblems! It feels like you are dining in a mansion – the wood panel walls were adorned with paintings and there was a huge marble fireplace at the end of the room. It really was a beautiful setting for dinner! We ordered a bottle of wine to go with our meal – a good, all-round red. Though the waiter did end up sloshing a good glug of it on our nice white table cloth – oops.
The menu on offer was a la carte, so you could choose whatever took your fancy. I would describe the menu as very British – there wasn’t anything particularly fancy on there, it was just tasty, British food. From brie tarts to fish n’ chips to burgers, there was definitely something to suit all tastes. It was nice to see more than one vegetarian option on the menu too and all dishes were clearly marked with allergens making it easy to navigate for anyone who needed it.
We went for three courses each. Thankfully, we needn’t have worried about the food because it was all lovely! To start, I had a crab cake with chilli and coriander aioli (£6.95). This was fresh, tasty and packed with crab meat. It had such a nice kick to it. Dan chose the soup of the day (£5.95) which was sweet potato, chilli and coconut. This was also beautiful and had such a deep flavour to it. I am going to need to find out how to recreate this at home! For mains, I had the braised lamb shoulder (£16.95) which was topped with a Mediterranean vegetable mash in a herb crust and served with green beans and a red wine jus. This was also a very tasty dish. The lamb was tender and the mash was packed with flavour. Dan went for the 8oz Rib eye steak (£21.95) which came with chunky chips, yellow roasted tomatoes and pepper sauce. He ordered this cooked raw and they nailed it. It was a very rich, tender piece of steak.
For dessert, I had the lemon tart with raspberry sorbet (£5.95) and Dan had a sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce (£5.95). My lemon tart was zesty and sweet and the sorbet was delicious. Dan’s pudding didn’t come with ice cream which we both felt is an absolute given when it’s sticky toffee, but they kindly added a scoop on top for him! The pudding was nice, but there wasn’t quite enough toffee sauce to go around making the last few mouthfuls a little dry. The pudding itself had some extra spices in which made it taste quite festive. All in all, though, a very good meal and I would definitely recommend it as a dining destination. It’s great to have a lovely restaurant in the hotel as it means everything you need for your stay is in one place and you can truly escape!
After dinner, we headed back up to our room. We ordered a nightcap from the bar and I had a long, hot bath in the tub courtesy of a Lush bath bomb Dan treated me to. It was then time to switch off for the night and drift off in our dreamy bed.
Albeit being slightly wine-fuelled, we had a lovely sleep. The bed was very comfortable and the temperature of the room was perfect. We woke around 8am and had a lazy lie in bed with a cup of tea before getting dressed to go down to breakfast, which is served between 7 and 10 am on weekends.
A buffet breakfast is served downstairs in the dining room. There was a continental offering with yoghurt, fruits, cereal and pastries as well as a cooked breakfast buffet. We opted for the full English, with sausages, beans, mushrooms, egg, bacon and hash browns. It was good a good feed but I always prefer it when there is a menu on offer and it’s freshly cooked. The scrambled egg looked a little milky and separated and the fried eggs had gone slightly rubbery. Nothing beats fresh eggs! We washed it down with a cup of coffee and juice and headed out to explore the grounds.
As we arrived late on Friday evening, we spent the Saturday morning exploring the beautiful grounds of Chicheley. As I mentioned, you might stumble across a few peacocks – you’ll hear them before you see them! There is a very pretty church right next to the hotel which I guess you can get married in also – so convenient! Everything was impeccably kept and I was thrilled to find a wall which was draped in wisteria. The surroundings really do make this a very special place for an escape.
We had a very pleasant stay at Chicheley Hall. It is a perfect destination for a little escape into the countryside and it’s so easy to get to from Milton Keynes. It is not far from the M1 junction so if you’re looking to stop in MK but don’t want to pay central hotel prices, this is ideal. As you can see, the location is truly beautiful and it’s always exciting to stay in a little piece of history. The only aspects that let it down for me were the bar and breakfast. However, it is worth bearing in mind that it is a corporate venue as well as a hotel so these things were definitely engineered for that. The rooms are clean, tidy and very impressive and it would make for such a beautiful wedding venue.
A big thank you to Chicheley Hall for having us and making our stay a lovely one. I will be back at the end of the month for the Village Screen outdoor cinema which is showing Bohemian Rhapsody – I can’t wait! Click here to find out more.
To book a stay at Chicheley Hall, visit www.chicheleymiltonkeynes.co.uk.
DISCLAIMER: Our visit to Chicheley Hall was complimentary in return for an honest review. Dinner, bed and breakfast were covered but we paid for our own drinks. This doesn’t affect my opinion.