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We arrived at Fawsley Hall on a perfect day. The sun was streaming over the hills, the sheep were clustered like clouds on the grass, and there was a real fire crackling in the Great Hall. By JANE SLADE

Fawsley Hall Hotel and Spa is a country house hotel 10 miles from the market town of Daventry in Northamptonshire. It dates back to Tudor times and still retains many original features including its own church, a charming grade I listed building a short walk across the fields.

I love hotels like Fawsley, ones that that wrap you in another era, surround you in comfy furniture, and provide you with a bed large enough to accommodate your entire family.

Having said that Fawsley has all the mod cons you would expect from a member of the Handpicked Hotels Group, including a spa offering a range of treatments, massages and manicures, an indoor pool, gym with views over the landscaped gardens and a choice of restaurants. Fawsley-hall2

But for me nothing compared to taking afternoon tea in the Tudor Great Hall. If it’s wow factor you are after then this fabulous room with lofty ceilings, huge chandeliers, exposed beams and stone fireplace packs a punch.

As we settled down to our scones and finger sandwiches I gazed at the portraits on the wall and wandered if one of the characters might just step out and walk over to the roaring hearth.

Before dinner we explored the gardens, walking up and down stone steps, admiring the topiary yew hedges, oak trees and stroking the stone balustrades as we threaded our way through the narrow paths.

It was straight out of a set from a period drama – I could well imagine one of Jane Austen’s characters arranging a secret rendez-vous and tottering down to the lake giggling girlishly with her beau.

Fawsley-Hall6Our bedroom was grand and spacious enough for us to enjoy a glass of champagne before dinner and dance a gavotte!

If you, like me, are likely to over-indulge on the scones then leave as much time as possible between tea and dinner.

Fine dining is in the two rosette Cedar Restaurant housed in the oldest part of the hotel.

Dark and cosy with stone floors and mullioned windows this is a lovely place to dine à deux or with friends. All that was missing was some fine porcelain and delicate glassware to go with the fine food.

The following morning we woke to a view of fields and trees and the song of the blackbirds. No matter what time of year there is always something to enjoy here; the birdlife is rich with house martins, warblers, magpies and jackdaws visiting regularly as well as coots and swans on the lake.

Apparently Queen Elizabeth I came to stay in the 16th century, but I don’t suppose she had freshly squeezed orange juice and Tiptree conserves for breakfast. Nor do I imagine she experienced the Great Hall at Christmas with its massive tree, huge candles and lavish decorations.

For a romantic escape or just an excuse to be pampered Fawsley Hall takes some beating but if you arrive on a Saturday be prepared for a wedding atmosphere. Fawsley Hall is a popular venue for weddings and newly weds; it’s no secret that Geri Halliwell and her racing driver beau Christian Horner spent their wedding night here; well Fawsley isn’t that far from Silverstone.

Fawsley-Hall3Christmas Offers

One night Christmas Eve package – Thursday 24th December
Includes Christmas Eve reception, dinner and traditional breakfast.
Classic bedroom – from £395 for two*

Two night Christmas package – Thursday 24th and Friday 25th December
Includes Christmas Eve reception, dinner, Christmas Day lunch, Christmas Day dinner buffet and traditional breakfast.
Classic bedroom – from £935 for two*

Three night Christmas package – Thursday 24th, Friday 25th and Saturday 26th December
Includes Christmas Eve reception, dinner, Christmas Day lunch, Christmas Day dinner buffet, Boxing Day dinner and traditional breakfast.
Classic bedroom – from £1,185 for two*

*Prices based on two people sharing a Classic double or twin bedroom. Upgrade, child and single occupancy supplements apply.
www.handpickedhotels.co.uk