What’s the Draw?

As I watch my daughter inhale popcorn from a paper cup while seated on a brocaded velvet sofa, I wonder whether she’s been ruined for life. It’s her first cinema experience, and we have the entire theatre to ourselves at Beaverbrook, a luxury country house hotel not far from London, in Leatherhead, Surrey. The space is softly illuminated by art deco wall sconces and light cast from an old-fashioned, fire-engine red popcorn machine, but it’s not the room per se that separates the experience from your everyday silver screen outing. It’s the bottoms that have occupied these seats in years past.

The Dowager Room at Beaverbrook

The hotel duty manager, Callum Pomeroy, explains that the former owner of the property, Lord Beaverbrook, had a supersized influence on Great Britain in the 20th century and was famously close with Winston Churchill, who visited the mansion often and would view Pathé newsreels of World War Two in the very same room. Charlie Chaplin was also a regular guest, and had a fondness for viewing his own films here. These days, guests can either stay in the 19th-century House with classic wedding cake architecture and interiors designed by Susie Atkinson, or the separate Garden House, designed by Nicola Harding, which offers eleven bedrooms. Each room takes its name from a luminary who frequented the estate, from Jean Cocteau to Somerset Maugham to Ian Fleming. It sometimes feels like guests are cosplaying mid-century aristocracy, so it was fitting that we were staying in the HG Wells room, itself a kind of time machine.

The Japanese Restaurant at Beaverbrook

What to eat?

There are two main restaurants. The Garden House serves Anglo-Italian cuisine in a formal garden setting that is eye-wateringly beautiful and perfect for a postprandial stroll. However, if you’re looking to push the boat out, the Dining Room in the main House serves exceptional Japanese tasting menus, and if you’re looking to push the superyacht out, they will serve you omakase as you hover above Surrey in a hot air balloon. Although, caveat emptor, be prepared to say farewell to the contents of your current account before clambering into the balloon’s gondola. Thirsty? Let’s talk about Frank’s Bar. The cocktail game here is on point, particularly the Caesar, the Canadian riff on a Bloody Mary, spiked with clam juice, which makes the rounds at breakfast on Sunday morning (a few of our fellow diners seem to have been burning the midnight oil the night before).

What to do?

There’s a lot. The jewel in the crown here is the Coach House Health Club & Spa, designed by stained-glass artist Brian Clarke, and papped with great frequency on Instagram for its dappled, technicolour design and an outdoor swimming pool that’s a verifiable suntrap. However, golfers might argue that the course here is the main draw, a masterclass in manicured fairways. We spent the majority of our stay wandering the stunning grounds of the 470-acre woodland estate and poking around the epic treehouses and hideaways that pepper the property. This, of course, interspersed with cinematic refreshment, cocktails and popcorn in what was Britain’s first home theatre, where history was made

Rooms start from £610 per night.