Steeped in tradition and history, Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa has attracted some of Britain's most legendary figures over the years from Henry VIII to Joseph Carey Merrick.
The history of Fawsley Hall dates back as far as the seventh century when it was a royal manor and the surrounding area was hunted by monarchs from the nearby Anglo Saxon palace at Weedon. Some centuries later, and after the Black Death wiped out a third and a half of Fawsley's population, Richard Knightly - who came over to England with William the Conqueror - became Lord of the Manor of Fawsley.
It was Richard's grandson who set about building the earliest part of the house, the south wing, that still exists today. And it was in this part of the building that the fourth generation Sir Edmund Knightly, knighted by Henry VIII nonetheless, entertained Queen Elizabeth 1 - who was said to have her own courtiers and would often visit when her palaces were being cleaned.
But it isn't just royalty that this beautiful hotel is synonymous with. Fast forward to the mid-19th century and it is said that Joseph Carey Merrick - otherwise known as the Elephant Man - was also a guest of the estate.
Through elaborate arrangements that allowed Merrick to board a train unseen and have an entire carriage to himself, he would leave London Hospital and travel to Northamptonshire, where he would spend a few weeks at a time at Fawsley Hall.
One of his favourite pastimes was writing notes to his many well-wishers, and whenever he visited the estate a young labourer named Walter Steel would come from a neighbouring farm every day to post the letters for him. In later years, Steel recalled that Merrick would sit just out of sight in the woods to write, and that he was a "well educated man with many interesting things to say".
He wrote many letters to Frederick Treves, a famous London surgeon, who cared for and befriended Merrick, and in them he would describe the birdcalls and wildlife in the woods. He pressed flowers that he had found between the pages of the letters and wrote proudly of making friends with a noisy, frightening dog. Treves called this "the one supreme holiday of [Merrick's] life, although in fact there were three such trips.
Fawsley Hall has a fascinating history and heritage, and its gardens and parkland - landscaped by Capability Brown in the 1760s nonetheless - has inspired some of Britain's most iconic figures. Traditional, yet contemporary and truly indulgent with it, Fawsley Hall is a beacon for those wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.