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Review: A Five-Star Minimoon Getaway at the Gate of the Cotswolds

We headed to five-star hotel Ellenborough Park, in Cheltenham, to learn more about their minimoon, wedding and pre-wedding celebration offerings!

Exterior view of five star cheltenham hotel and wedding venue Ellenborough park. the period sandstone building is surrounded by greenery against a bright blue sky

Exterior view of five star cheltenham hotel and wedding venue Ellenborough park. the period sandstone building is surrounded by greenery against a bright blue sky

Looking for a truly luxe minimoon experience? Ellenborough Park, a five-star hotel on the cusp of the Cotswolds, is the perfect pick. Editor Zoe Burke visited to find out more.

I’ll start by saying I don’t very often do press stays - don’t get me wrong, I love them, but on balance I tend to spend my time off with my young daughter (usually at soft play, not at a spa). But when Ellenborough Park invited me to stay, I just couldn’t pass it up…

Frequented by celebrities and royals alike (particularly when the Cheltenham Races are on, or the Jazz or Literature festivals the city is famous for are taking place), it’s not hard to see even from the first glimpse why Ellenborough Park is a five-star hotel.

You arrive along a sweeping drive, with views across the Cotswold countryside, until you see nestled in the heart of the grounds, the incredible sandstone building. Decorated with a range of period features, from when it was first built in 1487, to the gothic turrets added in Victorian times, it’s an impressive site. 

We arrived by train from London - a straightforward trip taking just under two hours, before getting a cab for the 15 minute drive to the hotel. Straight away we were greeted by the friendly team, from the delightful General Manager Marwan Hemchaoui, to the dedicated wedding coordinator Zoe Nicholls. 

You could tell from speaking to every member of the team, the passion they had for the hotel and for the guest experience. It was one of the highlights of my visit to be honest, to experience their levels of customer care and knowledge of the setting. 

Minimoons at Ellenborough Park

pretty bedroom at Ellenborough park decorated with a pink theme and fresh flowers

For couples looking for a romantic UK minimoon, Ellenborough Park is the perfect setting. There are so many luxurious bedrooms to choose from, and they each have their own perks.

If you’re looking to travel with your dog, this hotel goes above and beyond to make furry friends welcome. You can enjoy suites that come with private gardens for your pup, and even a doggy spa for them to wind down in after racing around the impressive grounds.

For those looking to focus solely on themselves, there’s an incredible Elemis Spa on site, offering a huge range of treatments, plus a steam room, sauna, whirlpool and a heated outdoor pool. All guests are greeted with the fluffiest of robes in their rooms, and it’s not usual to see couples strolling to the spa wrapped in them as you explore. 

The whirlpool set into the floor at the Elemis Spa

Cheltenham is a great city to explore for a mini break - the centre is culturally rich and has plenty to see and do, but if you’re looking to just hole up for the weekend, Ellenborough is the ideal spot.

Once you’ve indulged in your spa treatments and swam some lazy laps in the outdoor pool, you can change for dinner in their incredible panelled restaurant, which boasts amazing period features including stained glass windows commemorating the then King Henry VI and his wife Elizabeth of York. 

Pre-dinner, we were lucky enough to experience one of the hotel’s newest offerings, the Tattinger Champagne Flight. This incredible experience was a real highlight of the stay - the hotel’s knowledgeable sommelier served the group three glasses of Tattinger champagne each, each glass paired with a delectable canape.

the champagne tasting at ellenborough park, with three glasses of champagne and canapes positioned next to a roaring fire

We sampled the brut, the rosé and a dessert version - paired with a smoked salmon blini, chicken liver parfait with apple chutney and a lemon macaron. This costs £45 per person, which feels very reasonably priced for such a luxury experience. It’s an example of just one of the little details on offer by Ellenborough Park that elevate your stay. 

For adventurous couples, as well as exploring the grounds, the team will also work with outside companies to bring unique experiences to you. It was here that I discovered my natural flair for archery (a sentence I never thought I’d write!) as they brought in some archery teachers who set up in the grounds for two hours, teaching us a new skill. 

Whatever you envision for your minimoon experience - learning a new skill, partaking in a favourite hobby, or just doing something you’ve never done before, the team at Ellenborough Park will work with you to make it happen. 

Weddings at Ellenborough Park

Two tables in a long banquet style decorated with fresh greenery in the great hall at ellenborough park

Couples looking for a historic wedding venue will find exactly what they’ve been dreaming of at Ellenborough Park. You can choose from one of six locations for your wedding - whether it’s an outdoor ceremony at the beautiful stone gazebo, or a romantic, traditional set up in the old chapel. 

Couples seeking a small, intimate wedding, will be delighted to discover the spaces that host just 16 guests, whilst those looking for a bit more of a party will be pleased to know they can accommodate up to 120. 

There are a range of wedding packages to choose from, making it easier than you could imagine to design your dream day with them. 

The wedding suite at Ellenborough Park complete with a canopied bed, light bright decor and a large sofa

The wedding suite is located next to the Old Chapel, and is an apartment-sized space perfect for getting ready with the group in the morning, as well as discreetly peeping out to see your guests as they arrive. 

You can also extend your stay and take advantage of all the hotel has to offer - wedding weekend followed by an immediate onsite minimoon, anyone?

Pre-Wedding Events at Ellenborough Park

afternoon tea set up at Ellenborough Park with treats on a tiered stand

Whether you’re planning a luxurious spa hen party or a stag weekend that involves country walks and on-site archery, Ellenborough Park is the perfect setting for a pre-wedding celebration. 

The sumptuous afternoon tea, which is so popular it often extends across two locations within the hotel, is ideal for a shower-type setting. You can also make the most of the spa for a relaxing break that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the final stages of your wedding countdown.

You can also bring in external suppliers, much like the archery experience. We enjoyed a pottery session in the heated outdoor pavilion following our afternoon tea - something I found more enjoyable than a lot of hen do activities I’ve experienced…

The hotel is developing its offerings all the time, with more to come in the coming months, so if you’re looking for a calm and relaxing setting for your pre-wedding events, enquire with them to see what they can offer!

Find Out More About Ellenborough Park

If you’re interested in visiting this beautiful setting for your minimoon, wedding or pre-wedding celebration, get in touch with the team now to see what they can do. You can visit their Hitched listing here for details on packages, capacity, pricing and more. 

I enjoyed the experience so much, I’m actually heading back there this weekend to just be there again - if that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is!

Zoe was invited to Ellenborough Park for one night’s stay through GrifCo PR. Nightly rates at Ellenborough Park start from £269 inclusive of VAT and breakfast based on a Cosy Double room sleeping two people. For more information please visit