24-Hour Room Service: Lucknam Park, Chippenham, Wiltshire

Lucknam Park stands majestically at the end of an improbably long avenue of lime and beech trees. During the Second World War they were deployed as camouflage for parked Spitfires, although Lucknam's history goes back much further than that. It is a grand Palladian house – too homely to be called a mansion – that somehow looks as though there was a coherent grand design, but there wasn't.

A wealthy Bristolian called James Wallis built the central part of the house with the fortune he made from importing 7,000lb of tobacco from Virginia to England in 1680, and I rather hoped to spot his ghost puffing away in defiance of the hotel's strict no-smoking policy.

Of the many reasons to go to Lucknam, not a few involve physical exertion – its 500 acres of spectacular grounds offer wonderful walks, and there is a widely admired equestrian centre. But my wife and I holed up indoors, lingering for hours over Sunday lunch in the country-house genteel surroundings of The Park restaurant. Lunch, which cost us £35 per person for three courses, was irreproachably sourced from local producers, hence some slightly disconcerting name-checks on the menu.

I had "slow-cooked Burford Brown egg, truffled baby artichokes and leeks, Parmesan and Richard Vine's shoots" followed by "sirloin of Tim Johnson beef" – all credit for Messrs Vine and Johnson for their excellent shoots and top-notch beef.

The Park also has a fantastic wine list, brandished by a French sommelier whose effervescence, had it come in a bottle, would have soaked not just our table but all tables nearby. "Peach, lychees, apricot, it is, as you say in England, top banana," he enthused about our choice of white wine. And when we selected a glass each of dessert wine he bounced over like Tigger to explain that it came from "shrinkled grapes".

Captivated by him, and by a palpable feeling that cutlery had clattered through the ages in this room (the cheese trolley looked as though it had seen action in the Crimea), we took so long over lunch that we left scarcely any time to digest it all before heading to the spa for our late-afternoon massages. In fact I had a horrible feeling that when the masseuse started on my abdominal muscles, she might have been able to identify Richard Vine's shoots. My wife, sensibly, had a facial.

The spa, at the back of a charming walled garden, opened only last November, and is incredibly swanky, very hi-tech and minimalist without looking like a Swiss sanatorium, as these places can. It also has an adjoining brasserie with a wood-fired pizza oven, not that we thought we'd need to eat for another 48 hours. However, of course we demolished room-service sandwiches that night followed by a huge breakfast the next morning, served by our favourite waitress, who came from Germany and pressed us to try a "smurfy", which we took to be another local Wiltshire speciality until she came back with a smoothie.


Lucknam Park, Colerne, Chippenham, Wilts (01225 742777; lucknampark.co.uk ). The hotel is six miles north-east of Bath, outside the village of Colerne, just off the A4 between Bath and Chippenham. Once there a car is scarcely necessary.

Time from nearest mainline station: Bath is easily accessible by train (0845 748 4950; nationalrail.co.uk ) and a taxi from Bath Spa station costs between £17-£20.


Goodness me, yes. We were upgraded to the fabulous Tower Suite, which is one of only two so-called grand master suites, and has an opulent marble bathroom big and splendid enough to hold a G8 summit.

In the bedroom, a television the size of a small cinema screen rose out of a reproduction bureau, once we'd found the right button to press.

There wasn't anything on telly worth watching, but it was nice to watch the TV going up and down.

Standard and de-luxe rooms are smaller versions of the same thing, full of conventional country-house frills with a few slick nods to the 21st century. They are all decorated differently.

Freebies: Anne Semonin soaps, shampoos and beauty products. And lots of lovely fruit.

Keeping in touch: There is complimentary Wi-Fi in every room, and a computer with a printer available for the use of guests. But surely the point of going to Lucknam is not keeping in touch.


The Tower Suite starts at £950 per night, room only. Standard rooms cost from £280, room only. Or you can take a mid-week break, styled a Luxury Escape, which costs £345 per night for two people sharing a standard room for a minimum of two nights, and includes full English breakfast, a one-hour spa treatment for two, as well as champagne and chocolates on arrival.

I'm not paying that: Try the Methuen Arms Hotel (01249 714867; methuenarms.co.uk ) in nearby Corsham – where the Duke of Edinburgh used to play skittles when he was a trainee naval officer stationed nearby. It offers double bedrooms from £75. The price includes a full English breakfast.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
    Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

    Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

    Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
    Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

    Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

    Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
    Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

    Spanx launches range of jeans

    The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
    10 best over-ear headphones

    Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

    Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
    Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

    Commonwealth Games

    David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

    Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star