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Taking time out at a rural retreat

If you’re looking for an out-of-this-world spa and dining experience away from the fast-paced city life of London, book into the five-star Alexander House Hotel and Utopia Spa. It’s conveniently located in Turners Hill, very close to Crawley, so I hop on the train from London and can be checked into my room within an hour.

The setting is stunning – the hotel is hidden deep in the West Sussex countryside with 120 acres of grounds for visitors to explore by foot or on one of the bikes available at the hotel. As soon as I arrive I feel a sense of calm. I spend most of my time at the Utopia Spa when I’m here – it’s got a private Zen garden with barrel saunas, outdoor hot tub and daybeds.

Wakehurst Place is quite close to the hotel and it’s always worth a trip there to escape into the beautiful grounds and gardens. I’m a keen photographer so like snapping all the plants and trees. The Cat pub in West Hoathly is a fantastic stop after a long bike ride and serves lovely food.

The food at Alexander House is excellent too. I haven’t quite managed the 10-course tasting menu yet, but I have enjoyed an excellent Sunday roast in AG’s Restaurant. Even if you’re not staying, visitors can reserve a table in one of the restaurants or enjoy Afternoon Tea in the gardens, listening to the bird song and taking in the beautiful surroundings. Needless to say, I never want to get back on the train to London after I’ve stayed here.

A woman taking a photo of a rose bush

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