Walking it off with The Spread Eagle, West Sussex 

Charmingly classical and brimming with personality, The Spread Eagle hotel in Midhurst’s latest walking-based package is ideal for the modern traveller looking for more than USB sockets and fancy sliding doors when it comes to a weekend escape…

There is always something quite endearingly magical about escaping to the countryside – and by countryside, I mean ‘proper’ countryside, not a large landscaped park or a patch of land near a hidden motorway. A true rural setting. A rugged landscape with winding roads, adorable buildings and the natural, historic beauty that made Wordsworth and Byron run for their quills. A forest containing endless muddy trails and ancient trees, rather than crowds of people. A night sky that lacks light pollution. And yes, although they are rather annoying, even those single track lanes with tiny passing places that make you hold your breath every time the wheels of another car can be heard. West Sussex is a county where such paradise can be found – and thanks to The Spread Eagle’s latest walking package, it can be explored at your own pace too.

Part of the Historic Sussex Hotels collection (with two other sister properties dotted about the county) The Spread Eagle is a true feast for the senses – especially if you’re partial to a boutique hotel, freshly-cooked fare and a creaky staircase or two. 

Based in the picturesque town of Midhurst, roughly an hour’s drive from London, this former coaching inn has a past as interesting as its present – dating as far back to 1430 with former guests including the likes of Queen Elizabeth I, Admiral Horatio Nelson and even our very own Prince (very soon to be King) Charles, who stepped over the painted threshold in 1978. Look hard enough and you might even spot the secret passage reputedly used by fleeing smugglers – or perhaps for those who forgot to pack their wallet. 

Flash forward to present day and The Spread Eagle continues to welcome guests pit stopping for the night in its 39 gorgeously classic rooms – although you’re more likely to spot a gleaming Range Rover in the car park, as opposed to a horse and carriage. With abodes offering escapism in the form of four-poster beds, wooden panelling, sash windows and larger suites with separate sitting rooms, this charming hotel is ideal for something unique – and undeniably romantic, as the bedrooms seem straight out of a fairytale. 

But whilst the interiors are enchanting, the outside surroundings offer their own form of visual poetry. Blending wellness with wandering, The Spread Eagle Hotel & Spa has just launched its new Step into Sussex package – an offer designed to showcase the naturally beguiling surroundings in greater detail than a simple ten-minute stroll through Midhurst’s high street. 

Announced in April, the new package aims to help explorers discover the beauty of Midhurst and the surrounding countryside with a number of carefully curated self-guided walking routes – which all start from the centre of town and can be reached easily on foot. Forget about Google Maps – each path can be found within a guest’s complimentary copy of Finding Footpaths: Circular walks around Midhurst, an inspiring collection of walks by local nature and walking enthusiast Michele Facer, who knows the trails like the back of her hand (or hiking boot). There’s even a rough step count for each stroll, helping you work out how many spoonfuls of dessert you can shovel in at dinnertime. 

Post-outing, the hotel’s petite but well-equipped spa awaits back at the property – where a steam room, sauna, indoor pool, outdoor garden and multiple treatment rooms all beckon for a dose of robe-clad recovery. Linger here for several hours and let the different spaces work their magic – but if your limbs still need some TLC, the package also includes a thoughtful full-sized version of Temple Spa’s ‘Aaahhh! – a cooling gel designed to reduce puffiness, refresh and revive muscles with the use of fermented minerals and Mediterranean botanicals.  

Thankfully, this is a package that focuses on restoration rather than restriction. Guests who book Step Into Sussex can also indulge with a three-course dinner, served within the warming interiors of the main restaurant which, with its inglenook fireplace, crockery-lined cabinets and assortment of hanging copper pots, will have you questioning whether you’ve been transported back a few centuries. The food is worth both the wait and walk, with dishes composed of locally-sourced ingredients and seasonal fare – with plenty of exciting options for both vegetarians and carnivores.

Post-slumber, head back to its traditional surroundings for a delectable buffet of hearty continental options – with an al carte breakfast menu of additional hot options for those still feeling hungry. 

The Wordrobe Verdict 

Charmingly classical and brimming with personality, The Spread Eagle’s latest package is ideal for the modern traveller looking for more than USB sockets and fancy sliding doors. Take on a trail, pick up a fork and roll on a robe – this elegant hideaway will immerse you in nature and leave you putting your best foot forward.

Make it happen
Where: Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9NH
Wallet: Price start from £258.00, based on two people sharing a Cosy room.
How: Find out more and make a booking via hshotels.co.uk

Words by Sophie Ritchie, editor

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