We have run a lot of FAM trips these past few years and have seen some amazing hotels and venues. We have also had the privilege of taking part in some very unique team building activities. Some of things we’ve done and the elation I’ve felt experiencing them defy an explanation. A few Fridays ago was one of those experiences, it was so unique our group absolutely loved it.
Our FAM trip for November was spread out over two properties, Heathfield House and Chewton Glen, both in the New Forest and around an hour and a half (via train) from London’s Waterloo.
First up was Heathfield house, a 300-year-old property that has been renovated so lavishly with the most stunning period furniture. The estate can fit 4 – 36 guests and consists of Heathfied House, The Coach House and The Magnolia Cottage. Each of the three properties can be taken on their own or, the whole estate exclusively. We were lucky enough to stay in Heathfield House which has 12 bedrooms and is just a minute walk away from the other two properties. Our FAM started with champagne on arrival into the stunning sun filled dining room which could seat up to 20 for board or any meetings before being turned around to host a private breakfast, lunch or dinner. We had a scrumptious afternoon tea, produced by the house’s own private chef and then breakfast the following day – the food was amazing.
After our tea, it was off for a tour of the house and the 12 stunning, individually appointed bedrooms (each with their own bathroom) along with the basement games area, the cinema room and the communal living areas any one of which would provide a fabulous place to meet informally.
We would definitely recommend Heathfield House for a small board or group away day. Being able to have a group of 12 take the house exclusively with private meeting spaces, private chef and fabulous grounds for outdoor pursuits and activities would make it the perfect location for those confidential, high level board meetings. As well as corporate uses, the house is the most perfect location for private group gatherings for special occasions. A special birthday or family gathering where you would have everyone in the same house would be amazing. If you did have a larger group you could take both The Coach House (four bedrooms) and The Magnolia Cottage (two bedrooms). For further information on any of the houses for either private or personal use you can contact Rachel Spackman (Estates Manager) here and please tell her we sent you!
After our tea it was up to our rooms for some free time (where I am pretty sure everyone had a bubble bath to test out the stunning bathrooms) and then, it was dressed up and ready to head to Chewton Glen for a private dinner and tour of the hotel. A few of our group had never been to Chewton Glen before and they were pretty blown away. It is just stunning, every bedroom is different with its own individual design and all equally as beautiful. Even the lowest category room is big and the furnishings are gorgeous. Chetwon Glen is synonymous for style, glamour and sophistication and I know the group weren’t disappointed. In terms of meeting and event space, Chewton Glen has four main spaces; The Lake Suite, The Wardroom and The Library, The Club Room and Mission Meeting Rooms. With capacities from 8 to 200 you can read all about them here.
For our dinner, we had our own private dining room with the most amazing menu that was very hard to choose from. Paired with our sommeliers suggested wine, it really was a remarkable meal. The dining room would be perfect for a small group or for a private occasion. The service ever so attentive and the door means you still feel part of the main restaurant whilst being in your own private room.
After dinner we headed back to Heathfield House where a few of our members stayed up for one last drink but I was pretty keen to snuggle up in the amazing bed! We had an early breakfast call before heading back to Chewton Glen for a special surprise.
After our specially prepared breakfast back in the morning room, it was off to Chewton Glen and to The Kitchen for a half day cooking class which hand on heart, was outstanding. As a group we have experienced a few amazing cooking classes and I hand on heart have enjoyed every single one. The cooking classes in The Kitchen though are pretty amazing. We were lucky enough to do a half day Italian class which was wonderful. I learnt so much that even today I am still cooking using the skills I learnt and as a team building activity it works so well. The class runs for around 2 hours, all with your own work station but facing a team members so you get to practice each and every single dish but can still work as a team by comparing and chatting the whole way through.
This FAM was so good. To be able to see two properties was such a treat, both of which we would have no hesitation in using both professionally and personally. A big thank you to Heathfield House and to the fabulous Lisa at Chewton Glen for hosting us.
Michelle Rees is a Events Advisor for a London Law Firm
Kate is a Events Manager for a London Law Firm