We were a little lost, but with the help of a couple of dog-walking ladies, we found Park House Hotel a little further along a country lane leading from Bepton a little village in the beautiful South Downs National Park.
What a splendid location for a country house hotel; away from it all, yet conveniently close to the amenities and interests of historic towns like Chichester, Midhurst, Arundel and Petworth to say nothing of Glorious Goodwood and Cowdray Park.
A family-owned hotel
Park House is family owned. Indeed it is owned by the same family that opened their home as a hotel in the late 1940s to a handful of friends and acquaintances who were looking for accommodation close to Cowdray Park. It still has the feel of a comfortable family home, though it is now considerably larger than it was in the 1940s, and with many more facilities.
Ruth and I had arrived for lunch – and not knowing how long it would take us to drive there – we were early. It was a bit too chilly to stroll round the 10 acres of grounds but the lovely, friendly staff suggested maybe morning coffee in the lounge bar beside the fire; and maybe a tour around the hotel? They are very proud of the hotel.
But first a pot of excellent coffee accompanied by some delicious crisp shortbread biscuits whilst we celebrity-spotted along the photos lining the walls.
The couple of en-suite bedrooms we were shown were just beautiful. No two rooms are the same and the choice of colours and fabrics gave the good-sized rooms the wow factor.
Needless to say they are equipped with probably everything a guest could desire, including some luxurious looking toiletries. The views from the windows over the beautifully maintained grounds and gentle Sussex countryside are lovely.
Apart from the lounge bar area where we had had our coffee we spotted another comfortably elegant lounge with large settees and chairs, and every now and then we came across a little alcove with a thoughtfully placed chair or two; one conveniently close to a well-stocked book case.
By the way Park House is accessible for wheelchair users, as are two or three of the bedrooms; the hotel is also dog tolerant.
There are 12 rooms in the main house and plus nine more spread between three cottages across the courtyard. Also across the courtyard we spotted the Park House Spa, which serves all day refreshments.
The Spa looked so inviting with its tranquil relaxation room and treatment rooms, 15m indoor pool, and gym. We were delighted to learn that the products used in the treatments have not been tested on animals.
En route to the Spa Ruth noticed a charging point for electric cars; whilst, much to my delight, in the hall of the main building I spotted a wonderful array of wellington boots in varying sizes. Park House thinks of everything.
For anybody not wishing to don a pair of the boots and head off for a walk on the Downs there are facilities for tennis, croquet, bowls and golf in the grounds. Evidently during the summer months the outdoor heated swimming pool becomes very popular.
Time for Lunch
By now it was time for lunch – charmingly served in the sunny and elegant conservatory.
To say it was good would be a serious understatement. It was absolutely delicious. Three exquisitely plated and beautifully cooked courses for £25, from a choice of three dishes for each course.
The perfectly balanced pork and ham terrine with fig jam was one of the best I have ever tasted, and Ruth loved her Thai red lentil and coconut soup; for main course I opted for the corn fed chicken with honey roasted parsnips and kale whilst Ruth chose the blue cheese twice baked soufflé with crushed swede served with a little pot of deliciousness as she put it.
Date and ginger sponge pud with a caramel sauce for Ruth whilst for me some scoops of homemade ice cream –gloriously rich and decadent.
Callum Keir, a seriously talented chef
Stunning cookery from the kitchen led by Executive Chef Callum Keir; no two ways about it Scottish born Callum is a seriously talented chef. He has been cooking for over 20 years his career taking him from Perthshire to Michelin starred kitchens in Paris and the UK. He joined Park House in 2013, having previously worked as Head Chef at Verzon House Hotel in Herefordshire.
‘Come back and see us again in the summer so you can sit on the terrace and maybe have afternoon tea’ they said as we collected our coats to leave. Do you know, we think we will. https://parkhousehotel.com/