Country Escapes: Exploring Lord Beaverbrook’s Estate
Former home of publishing mogul Lord Beaverbrook, Maxwell Aitken, the Beaverbrook estate holds many stories; the private cinema room where Lord Beaverbrook & Winston Churchill watched news from the front line, Churchill’s suite and bathtub where he would dictate to his secretary, or the bedrooms aptly named after their famous guests such as Elizabeth Taylor and Rudyard Kipling, each designed with the hosts personality in mind.
Winston Churchill was once quoted saying that of Lord Beaverbrook; “Some people take drugs, I take Max.” Tales of debauchery (some of the rooms include a double shower), respite (the beds alone are a haven of comfort) and political agendas can be felt throughout the chateau-like estate, but only two out of three are to be had by it’s guests today. Hint – it’s not political. Today, Beaverbrook harnesses the energy and charm of its heritage and blends it with beautifully designed spaces and places in which to dine, unwind, rejuvenate and indulge.
Opened only last year, this stunning new country hotel boasts 18 beautiful rooms, a Japanese restaurant (more on that later), an art deco cinema and beautiful gardens – we even got a game of croquet in before lunch! What’s more, it’s only a 40 minute train journey or an hours drive from London, perfect for an escape from city life. Surrounded by the rolling hills of Surrey, we were taken aback by how quiet and peaceful the surrounding area was, other than the warbling of birds, and I had the most solid 8 hour sleep I’ve ever had.
Interior designer Susie Atkinson, of Soho House fame, is behind the colour palette, clashing patterns and decadent opulence. The Parrot bar in particular is Instagram bait when it comes to design, we felt like we had walked into a Gatsby party, without a mysterious host to toast to. Millennial pink walls, beautiful art canvases, tasselled lamps and velvet chairs adorn the room surrounding a large gilded bird cage, it’s only right to order a Clover Club or a Tom Collins cocktail when sat at the bar.
As for the bedrooms, we had the glorious opportunity to stay in one of the Turret suites, which is as beautiful as it sounds. High ceilings, a monochromatic bathroom (with the aforementioned two showers and bathtub) with a private terrace overlooking the grounds was a fantastic start. We enjoyed a bottle of champagne on the terrace and in the bathtub before dressing up and heading down to dinner.
Next to the Parrot Bar is the Dining Room, which can only be described as an elegant English country parlour; embroidered silks and gilded accents are woven into floral touches. Quite a contrast to the Japanese menu, conceived by ex-Nobu chef Maruyama Taiji, featuring a splendor of sushi and sashimi plates. We couldn’t stop ordering the melt-in-your-mouth Toro Sushi, which comes with a delicate brush to ‘paint on’ the soy sauce: absolutely divine. Other contenders were the prawn tempura, wagyu beef sashimi (I have since dreamt about the wagyu), and the adorable mochi ice cream for desert. One must also have a night cap after dinner, preferably on the private terrace to star gaze – a lack of light pollution makes the stellar sky as light as day!
Another gastronomic highlight is the ‘Britalian’ restaurant at The Garden House, just a little walk down the path from the estate. The menu is overseen by chef Kaz Suzuki, which offers a simple yet elegant menu. Based around home-grown, seasonal ingredients – with many herbs and vegetables freshly picked daily in the kitchen garden – we tried rich dishes such as the wild boar tagliatelle, and Cornish crab, and classic desserts such as the Apple Tarte Tartin and passion fruit cheesecake.
Defined by colourful personalities, power politics and literary greats, the heritage of Lord Beaverbrook’s residence lives on, only updated with modern decadence and the utmost friendly hospitality. We’ll be back in no time, I’m sure.
Rooms start from £350, for more information, visit https://beaverbrook.co.uk/