NESTLED in the Warwickshire countryside, Grade II listed Studley Castle is the perfect spot for a relaxing weekend break.
But I’m not here for the peace and quiet. I’m here to relive my youth at an Eighties music weekend, singing along to belters performed by George Michael and Elton John tribute acts.
The Warner Leisure brand, which owns Studley Castle, is more known for its tranquil croquet lawns, daily quizzes and intimate cinema rooms.
Yet here I find myself gin-fuelled and dancing the night away to the same hits I did in my teens. The Eighties festival is just one of many new buzzy themed breaks here.
Alongside it are a Rock ’n’ Roll Weekend and Reggae Nights, as well as a summer-long gin festival with tasting sessions at 14 resorts across the country. Here, at Studley Castle, I opt for the Gin Masterclass at the hotel’s bustling Evesham Bar.
I take in the green scenery from my balcony before heading to the bar, where I’m presented with some rather unusual gin-based cocktails.
During the session, I sample a selection of delicious artisan gins, learning about each from a handy “ginformation” tasting guide. Then outside in the lush gardens I dance the evening away to Spandau Ballet hits performed by tribute band True Gold, as the sun sets behind me.
And the fun doesn’t have to end there. Anyone with enough stamina can carry on the party back at the Evesham bar, where the resident DJ keeps you on your feet until the early hours.
But there is no need to worry about noise. In the confines of your room, you are more likely to be disturbed by the sound of grazing sheep in the morning than late-night music.
I’m in one of the contemporary and brightly furnished Studley rooms at the heart of the hotel and overlooking fields. But there are also the more luxurious Stable, Castle and Lodge rooms, which are tucked away in a more secluded two-storey building.
For me, the great appeal of this place is that after a boozy evening of partying, there is plenty of respite.
The newly refurbished spa in a converted stable oozes serenity, with its simple decor and a Mediterranean-style treatment menu of nourishing body scrubs and reviving facials.
Over at the delightfully olde-world Oak Room, guests are tucking into afternoon teas of cucumber and chive finger sandwiches and chunky scones with lashings of clotted cream.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for quirky touches around the room — protruding from small corners are wall-mounted teacups, stuffed peacocks and pink ostrich feathers.
At £28 for two and with impossible-to- finish portions, the tea is amazing value. There’s also 28 acres of countryside to explore by bike, archery lessons and stacks of board games dotted about the hotel’s many cosy lounges.
With so much choice of entertainment, the limited seasonal menu at the Evesham restaurant feels oddly refreshing. But I decide to head to the more upmarket Brasserie 32 restaurant instead, which has more choice in terms of food and an atmosphere that’s decidedly more sophisticated.
Here you can tuck into hearty dishes of pulled lamb shoulder shepherd’s pie and beer-battered fish and chips as well as lighter bites including prawn and avocado sandwiches and sourdough ham toasties.
I stumble across the Picture Lounge, a mini cinema that fits just 30 comfy armchairs and shows several blockbusters a day.
As I slump into my huge chair, a little exhausted from a whirlwind weekend, I’m pleasantly surprised — my Eighties festival getaway has been wild yet oddly relaxing.
OK, it wasn’t Glastonbury, but knowing there is a comfy bed and hot shower waiting for you at the end of a long night of partying definitely has a certain appeal.
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