THE BLOG
10/18/2012 07:36 am ET | Updated Dec 18, 2012

Keeping Calm In The English Countryside

On my latest trip to England I made sure that aside from my usual London adventures that I spent time relaxing, revitalizing and resting in the beautiful English countryside.

I'd heard many stories of the adventures and parties at Aynhoe Park a gorgeous Georgian estate, yet I was completely unprepared for the diverse and impeccable taste of owner James Perkins and how each room was a treasure trove of history and relevance.

From the beautiful Gothic chandeliers to the Philippe Starck bedside lamps and the Kings bed, each piece delighted me with its antiquity, design and comfort. Aynhoe Park will certainly bring me back to Bicester, Oxfordshire.

I dined at the Muddy Duck, the top-notch gastropub owned by proprietors Nigel Harris and his wife Gemma incredibly gracious, welcoming and knowledgable.

The beautiful grounds at Aynhoe Park coupled with the wonderfully fun and delicious Muddy Duck, made for an exceptional experience, I highly recommend this hire for the night or better yet a wedding!

My next stop was Endsleigh, the former private house of the Dukes of Bedford, built in 1816. Endsleigh is one of the few historical manors whose authentic stately home atmosphere is enhanced by modern amenities.

The manicured gardens are sublime and the extensive grounds, which have the most disarming array of natural features like rivers, waterfalls and groves, provide a feeling of seclusion.

Delectable tea-times from four to six, English country house dinner menus are complimented by the cultured, urbane and refined fellow hotel guests.

The supremely comfortable bedrooms, furnished with Ren amenities in the bathrooms, provide the perfect space in which to recuperate from day trips to all the scenic spots that Cornwall & Devon have to offer.

Endsleigh is the antidote to the rigours, trials and tribulations of a hectic modern life, a sanctuary to recharge my batteries and reconnect with Mother Earth after spending four nights at Endsleigh, I can tell you it works!

Stonehenge has always held a mystical allure for me. For many years now I have imagined visiting Stonehenge on a atmospheric full moon night and maybe performing some sort of ritual, dance or celebration there with like minded individuals.

On my way to Cornwall I realized that not only were we passing right by it, but it was the Autumn equinox too. The weather was bright, cool, cheerful and we had our National Trust cards.

Fortifying ourselves with Tea, Scones, Victoria Sponge Cake and Devonshire cream (strangely excellent at the concession stand) we braved the pagan crowds with our audio helpers around our necks learning about these ancient monoliths.

Even though it was as bright as a full moon, the spirituality and magic of Stonehenge was still palpable. You can't help but visualize medieval Druids performing some kind of ancient ceremony, the place is so evocative.

While Stonehenge, Endsleigh and Aynhoe Park are extraordinary examples of calm natural beauty, it is important to remember the everyday instances of peace & sere
nity in your day-to-day life.

The English Countryside