Braving the elements at Ockenden Manor

Ockenden Manor on a snowy day

Cast off the winter blues at the cosy Ockenden Manor and recharge with log-fires, seasonal fare and a Chinese spa treatment

In traditional Chinese medicine, winter is the most ‘Yin’ of the seasons – characterised by dark, cold, inward energies, and considered a time for self-reflection, meditation and soul-nourishing activities. What better excuse, then, to escape to the quiet solace of an Elizabethan manor house in the countryside and indulge in a spa treatment that restores balance to the body and brings calm to the mind?

Undoubtedly Ockenden Manor has its benefits in the summer, with its many outdoor terraces, nearby parks and its own croquet lawn, but forgoing this beautiful 16th-century hotel during winter months would be a mistake. We found the delicious seasonal food, far-reaching views of frosty Cuckfield Park and crackling log fire in the old-world wood-panelled hotel drawing room a welcome change of pace from the characterless grey of cities at this time of year. But surprisingly, it may not be the countryside cosiness that will have you coming back time and time again – rather it’s the hotel’s signature treatment that will do the trick.

An English manor house in West Sussex may seem an unusual place to find a signature spa treatment inspired by the ‘five element theory’ of ancient Chinese medicine. But weary business leaders struggling to cope in the depths of winter can reconnect with nature through the Elemental Rebalancing Ritual – a 120-minute bespoke treatment that promises to restore harmony and feelings of wellbeing.

Hot Thai compresses, stretches, acupuncture, deep scrubs and cleanses deliver the ultimate re-energising winter treatment, while a post-treatment glass of local Ridgeview Estate sparkling wine and a box of hand-crafted Noble & Stace chocolates, enjoyed in the spa’s tranquil relaxation area, will have you planning your next stay before you have even left. And if you feel you have been exposed to enough elements for one day, skip the afternoon walk and continue the flow of positive energy and soul-nourishment by enjoying the spectacular views of the English countryside from the comfort of the bar – after all, there’s always next winter.

Ockenden Manor – more information

Ockenden Manor – view the gallery (click to expand)

Writer: Hannah Gresty. Traveller: Katy Christie-Miller

About author

Hannah Gresty

Hannah Gresty

Until she left the magazine in August 2019, Hannah Gresty was the assistant editor of Director. She previously worked on a local news website and at a fashion PR company before joining the Director team as editorial assistant in 2016.

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