In the heart of one of England’s most magnificent national parks, South Lodge hotel and spa is a wonderful haven.

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AFTER a damp squib of a summer, I wanted to make the most of the late sunshine the south of England was blessed with – so the hunt was on for a quintessentially English country house hotel where I could soak up the last rays of the year. Enter South Lodge hotel, a stunning bolthole overlooking South Downs national park.

So on a bright and sunny Monday morning, feeling smug as everyone else clocked into work, we loaded up our electric BMW iX3 – the perfect car for city and country driving, we discovered. I wouldn’t usually feel confident driving an electric car out of the city – however, not only does the iX3 have a fantastic range of 285miles, but the hotel had plenty of charging points for guests to use, so we could have charged it up had we wanted to – and it charges to 80 percent in just 34 minutes, which is one of the fastest I’ve come across.

Because we didn’t even have to think about the range on the car, we clicked in our destination on the sat nav and opted for the scenic route from our home in London to South Lodge, enjoying a beautiful smooth drive along country roads.

Pulling in to the hotel, we were treated to a long sweeping drive on the approach, before turning in to the ample car park with the aforementioned electric charge points. It was busy, even on a Monday, thanks in part to the outstanding spa (more on that later), but I was able to manouvre into a tight space thanks the iX3’s parking assistant system which showed me all angles to ensure zero mistakes.

We arrived long before check in time, as we wanted to explore, and staff were friendly and helpful, offering suggestions of nearby lunch spots and things to do in the area.

After a hearty pub lunch at The Crabtree, which was recommended by the front desk, we checked in.

We stayed in a Plush Junior Suite, with gorgeous views of the grounds. All of the rooms are named after local sights, historically important people, and flora and fauna.

Our room was huge – a massive, supremely comfortable bed, winged back armchair, sofa and dining table.

Truly impressive was the bathroom, which featured a bath with TV and. “Brinkwire Summary News”.

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