10 UK Resorts That Deliver Golf and More
NOT SO terribly long ago it was enough for golf resorts to simply offer food, accommodation and a couple of rounds of golf. But times have changed. More and more of us are looking for a little bit more when we head off for a few days, whether it be with our families or with a group of friends. And the good news is that resorts around the United Kingdom have responded. There is now a huge amount of choice, with all sorts of activities being offered. Here we take a look at 10 resorts that offer golf and a whole lot more besides.
Manor House and Ashbury Hotel, Devon
Manor House is located in Devon, one of the most beautiful counties in the United Kingdom and it is surely the perfect venue for families with children of all ages. There is also something here for those of a certain age. Where to start? Well there are seven 18-hole golf courses to get you going. And if that is not enough there are also a couple of nine-hole layouts. And everything is set in hundreds of acres of beautiful countryside. But it is when you look at the other leisure facilities on offer that you really begin to appreciate just what an amazing venue this is. Tennis (eight indoor and four outdoor courts), badminton, squash, bowls, pottery, candle making, painting, jewellery making, glass engraving, embroidery, card making. On and on goes the list. And if that isn’t enough for you there is also a packed entertainment programme in the evening with everything from magicians to quizzes, and singers to comedians. Phew!
Celtic Manor, Wales
Everybody knows that Celtic Manor hosted the Ryder Cup in 2010, when Colin Montgomerie’s European team won the trophy in dramatic fashion thanks to Graeme McDowell’s heroics in the singles. It was also the week that convinced Rory McIlroy that the event was something rather more important than an exhibition event, a view he had earlier shared with the world. So you have the 2010 Course, the Montgomerie and the Roman Road and they are all brilliant layouts. But Celtic Manor is much more than just a golf resort. For a start, there is a magnificent hotel, offering luxurious accommodation and mouthwatering food served at a choice of restaurants and offering something to suit every possible taste. There is also a world-class spa and fitness club. But where Celtic Manor really comes into its own is with the other activities that it offers. There really is something for the entire family – take your pick from swimming, archery, treetop adventures, dancing, laser combat and much more besides. The Best of Golf in Wales.
Eastwell Manor, Ashford, Kent
Eastwell Manor is a Champneys hotel and spa and that means you know before you get there that it is going to be something rather special – and it is. It boasts a nine-hole course that may only be a par 32 but it is in pristine condition, with some of the finest greens you will ever find. And because it is not too long it means you can take the children out there and introduce them to this amazing game. So what’s on offer at Eastwell Manor? The rooms are beautifully appointed and the food is spectacular, with children’s portions available. There is, of course, a spa which offers a huge range of treatments, as well as a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, relaxation beds and a gym with a range of fitness classes. You can also enjoy falconry displays, tennis, miles of glorious walks, croquet, table tennis, football, pétanque and swimming in a magnificent outdoor pool (there is also an indoor pool).
Foxhills Golf Club, Surrey
Foxhills describes itself as Surrey’s favourite playground, which gives you an idea that it is rather more than simply a golf course – and it is. Actually, it is three golf courses – Bernard Hunt, Longcross and The Manor. Former Ryder Cup player Hunt was the pro at Foxhills and the course that takes his name is a championship layout that is pretty forgiving, with generous fairways. The Longcross is surrounded by pine, beech and silver birch trees and is a proper challenge, while The Manor is a beautiful little nine hole course. Foxhills has been awarded four Silver Stars by the AA, so if you are staying here then you know that you are booking into somewhere that is pretty special. Apart from golf, you can play tennis or squash, take advantage of the two outdoor and two indoor swimming pools, and relax at the spa. There is even a nursery.
Lakeside Lodge, Pidley, Cambridgeshire
The main attraction at Lakeside Lodge is the Lodge Course, an excellent par 72 with a number of water hazards. The fairways are pretty generous but that doesn’t mean this is an easy layout. It is a decent test for players of all standards. The Manor is a lovely little nine-hole course that measures 2,601 yards and features plenty of undulations and several superb golf holes. The greens and bunkers on both courses are extremely well maintained. On top of that, there is a proper pitch-and-putt course. So it is safe to say that Lakeside offers something for everybody. The centre was established in 1992 and is family owned. There are 64 en-suite bedrooms including 32 rooms, 28 rooms with a double and single bed, four double rooms and two singles. Five bedrooms are conveniently situated near the main clubhouse, overlooking the putting green or courtyard. The 23 Fairways Bedrooms are all on the ground floor in two courtyard-style blocks, with views down the 12th fairway. The remaining accommodation is in seven detached two-storey lodges overlooking a small lake – perfect for societies. A range of food options are available, along with pool. And the real surprise is the 10-pin bowling alley.
Shrigley Hall, Cheshire
Shirley Hall is a stunning Victorian building that overlooks a vast estate of more than 250 glorious Cheshire acres. The 18-hole, par-71 course was designed by celebrated architect Donald Steel and boasts some of the finest views of any course in the North West. The resort’s health club is one of the finest in the land, with a gym, indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. There are also tennis courts in the grounds. Shirley Hall also describes itself as a cycle-friendly destination and if you do own a bike then you really should take it with you. It is also fine fishing territory with a fully stocked and beautiful lake.
The Grove, Watford
Looking for the perfect family resort? The Grove may just be the place, with milk and cookies, children-sized bathrobes and a toy box waiting for all young guests. There are racks of bikes (including a tandem) and helmets available, free of charge. On top of that there are all-weather tennis courts and three swimming pools, including a children’s pool. You can even head for the beach or sit in the Walled Garden and enjoy a barbecue, play volleyball or build sand castles. And there is even a five-a-side football pitch on which the likes of Barcelona have trained. The course is one of the very best in the United Kingdom, having hosted a series of major tournaments. And then there is the hotel – luxury is the watchword here, for sure. The Grove Review.
Slieve Donard Resort, Newcastle, County Down
One of the problems groups face when they go on a golf break is finding something to do at night. Slieve Donard’s solution is a programme of evening entertainment featuring tribute acts and local singers – the atmosphere is relaxed and easygoing, with the emphasis on ensuring that everybody has a good time. The hotel is stunning, overlooking the golf course and beach beyond. Located 30 miles south of Belfast, it boasts 180 luxurious bedrooms, many of which have stunning panoramic views over the Mountains of Mourne and County Down coastline. It really is breathtaking. The spa offers a range of treatments, as well as a swimming pool and fully equipped gym. Food is served in the fabulous Oak Restaurant. And what of the course? You will be playing Royal County Down, which is one of the best links in the United Kingdom and is a favourite of the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell. It has hosted the Irish Open many times. Other courses within easy driving distance include Warrenpoint, Kilkeel and Ardglass.
Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Perthshire
There are few more spectacular settings anywhere in the world than Gleneagles, surrounded as it is by the magnificent Ochil Hills. When the light is right, the shades, tones and colours will take your breath away. Gleneagles Hotel is, quite simply, one of the best with luxury being the watchword. The estate is set in 850 acres. Opened in 1924, the hotel was described as a “Riviera in the Highlands” and it features 232 bedrooms, including 27 luxury suites. Astonishingly, there is a choice of eight restaurants and bars. The leisure club contains two pools and an outdoor hot pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, gym and fitness training. There are indoor and outdoor tennis courts, as well as croquet, archery, falconry, off-road driving, horse riding, segway tours and bike hire. There are three magnificent 18-hole courses – The KIng’s, The Queen’s and PGA Centenary – and the nine-hole PGA National Academy course. The King’s and Queen’s were designed by James Braid and opened in 1919, while the PGA Centenary was designed by Jack Nicklaus and staged the 2014 Ryder Cup, when Paul McGinley’s European team thrashed the USA. Gleneagles even has its own railway station! Guide to Gleneagles.
Bovey Castle, Dartmoor
Located in the heart of Dartmoor National Park in Devon, Bovey Castle sits in 275 acres of beautiful countryside and rolling valleys. The hotel, which first opened in 1930 and was owned back then by Great Western Railways, has 60 bedrooms and 22 self-catering lodges in the grounds, along with two restaurants which have been refurbished recently. Most of the food is locally sourced with everything on the menu from local game shot on the moors to aged Exmoor beef and fish caught off the coast of Devon and Cornwall. The Great Western restaurant has been awarded three AA rosettes. A spa, which is open seven days a week, includes a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, as well as a fully-equipped gym. Other activities includes croquet, bowls, pétanque, falconry, brass rubbing, table tennis, tennis, archery and shooting. The tree-lined golf course was designed by J F Abercromby, one of the foremost designers of the last century. It is a par 70 measuring 6,229 yards. You may also be interested to learn that this is a dog-friendly venue and the staff will also happily point you in the direction of some spectacular routes where you can walk with your best friend.
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