Shakespeare may have slept here but I did it the Hatha-way


I may never have rubbed shoulders with royalty or dined with any literary greats but I can claim to have dined and slept in the same building as Elizabeth 1, Shakespeare and Lord Nelson.

That's because, like them, I stayed at the Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa in Midhurst in the heart of the Sussex countryside.

I spent a restorative 24-hours in this quaint 37-room warren of a hotel.

A former timbered coach-house with walls that have been standing for around 700 years, it still retains delightfully creaky stairs and interesting nooks and crannies that harbour old manuscripts, antiques and even a suit of armour - all testament to its longevity.

Indeed, the dining room has a lovely inglenook fireplace and old oak beams from which linen covered pudding basins hang. Inside the basins are Christmas puddings, some dating back 200 years - it's the hotel's yuletide tradition that guests are given two Christmas puddings, one to eat and the other to leave dangling until their next visit.

Getting there

Package: From £299 per person for single occupancy. Includes one night's accommodation in a traditional room, two yoga classes with Elaine Vaughan, a 25-minute Temple Spa treatment, two talks on yoga, healthy living and wellbeing, dinner and breakfast, use of the spa and leisure facilities with juices and smoothies. Available, October 6–7 and November 3–4, 2015.

I have no idea if the aforementioned trio were into well-being, but I was there to be taken under the yogic wing of Elaine Vaughan, a Hatha Yoga veteran of more than 30 years, and to learn about nutrition and spend time in the Temple Spa, all within 24 hours.

Arriving at midday I dropped my overnight bag in my bedroom.

It was not the Queens Suite sadly - a room has its own wig closet in which Elizabeth 1 kept and put on her wigs - but it did have a gorgeous four poster bed that I literally had to climb on to to get into.

I couldn't help but give it a quick child-like recce before heading to the King Edward 1 sitting room. Elaine was already there with a welcome smoothie of something nutritious and a pep talk about eating well, wellness and healthy living.

A light lunch was followed by a quick swim in their spa pool and a restorative yoga session.

This was all about breathing, body alignment and creating space within the body through standing, sitting and supine postures, followed by a period of deep relaxation.

Feeling too cosy within myself for anything that required brain power, I went to the Temple Spa for a 25-minute Windows of the Soul eye treatment designed to nourish the delicate area around the eye. This was followed by a luxurious nap before dinner. Sleep that night was deliciously easy.

Bright as a lark I awoke with the birds and joined Elaine's meditation and breath work class before breakfast. I didn't fancy a anything cooked and opted for a perfectly blended porridge (always the sign of a good hotel) and went for a short walk to the nearby ruins of Cowdray Castle.

I got back in time for an invigorating one-hour Vinyasa Flow yoga class. Then it was a leisurely departure taking in a last cuppa in the conservatory before catching my not-so-royal carriage at Haslemere Railway Station 7.25 Miles from Midhurst, back to London.

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