Ellenborough Park, the Cotswolds.

LOCATION: This 16th century Cheltenham beauty, which once lived life as a girls' boarding school, is minutes from one of the country's most famous racecourses. Some rooms even overlook the finishing line.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:  With its striking turrets and honey-coloured Cotswold stone, Ellenborough epitomises the fairy-tale country house hotel. Inside, the reception is small but cosy and the welcome as warm as the original log fire.

THE FACTS: There are 62 bedrooms including four suites named after famous racehorses. Our Luxury room in the main house – there’s also the modern Woodland Court – was chintz-free and elegantly designed, with a stand-alone bathtub, incredibly comfortable bed and raised seating area with leaded windows framing views of the pretty Cotswold countryside. 
Food is taken seriously here. The Beaufort Dining Room offers fine dining at (relatively) affordable prices and there's the sporting-themed Tudor Club Brasserie, where you can scoff a burger next to jockey and horse trainer types.

WHO'S IT FOR: The hotel is a good bet for horseracing fans, but any city slickers looking for a relaxing break will find something to delight them here.

A GOOD BASE FOR: : Exploring the Cotswolds.

WOW: The plush two-floor spa with Jacuzzi and steam room, juice bar, heated outdoor swimming pool and impressive gym mean there's plenty to do if a day at the races doesn't appeal.

HOW MUCH: From £210 including breakfast

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