OUR STAY AT THE SPREAD EAGLE IN WEST SUSSEX (+ LUNA!)
May 2, 2018
I’d been cold for around five months. That was until I checked in at The Spread Eagle. Less than an hour and a half from London, set on the edge of pretty West Sussex market town Midhurst, this is a 15th century coaching house decked out with 39 one-of-a-kind bedrooms oozing character and charm.
And here, there are ample opportunities to get warm; getting snug between the high thread count sheets in the four poster beds or checking in for a few hours of R&R at the spa kitted out with steam room, sauna, pool and an abundance of body-soothing therapies. Even the spoiling treatment I indulged in was a warm hug of a body wrap that lasted a toasty 90 minutes. The South Downs Soother saw me cocooned in cling film as nourishing products seeped into my sun-starved central-heating-parched skin. And lo and behold my winter-long tensed muscles slowly but surely began to unclench.
What makes me happy is pretty simple, not dissimilar to that of a baby. Being warm is right up there. Food is another failsafe way to elevate my mood. On our first evening we settled into the cosy in-house restaurant, every other table full and each adorned with fresh posies of alstroemeria, for a tastebud-tingling feast:
Olives in a Kilner jar
Wild mushrooms on toast with vegetable crisps, fresh herbs and truffle oil
Cured salmon marinated with beetroot with radish salad and horseradish cream
Braised short rib of beef with crispy oyster pickled red cabbage and mash potato
Roast honey glazed South Downs pheasant braised leg, squash, chestnuts, sage and game chips
We were also lucky enough to enjoy breakfast on the wicker sofas in the conservatory on both mornings and, despite the Baltic temperatures outside, the sun streaming through the glass was actually enough to make us want to take our jumpers off.
Various walks on the South Downs are just a stone's throw from the Spread Eagle's front door, where we were able to indulge in some much needed fresh country air, walk past Cowdray Castle and even stumble upon some seriously impressive sunset sheep herding. En route back to London we stopped at Jodie Kidd's pub The Half Moon in Kirdford for lunch, which is well worth a visit too.
It was just the antidote we needed for 48 hours outside of the hustle and bustle of the big smoke.