20 – Top 50 UK & Ireland Stay and Play Goodwood

Few resorts combine variety, serenity and quality as well as Goodwood. This multi-purpose estate, set over 12,000 acres of gorgeous Sussex countryside, will always be synonymous with horse and motor racing, but in recent times, it’s also garnered a reputation for its fully fledged range of leisure pursuits.

Nowadays, golf is indisputably one of the main attractions. Golf at Goodwood dates back to 1892, and today there are two fine layouts on the property; The Park, a pleasant parkland track that sits in the shadow of the magnificent Goodwood House, and The Downs, a beautiful and varied course that rises and falls over undulating terrain and through dense, tree-strewn landscape.

The Park is more suited to intermediate golfers. That’s not to say it’s a pushover, though. The rough is penal, and mature Cedar trees frame most holes. It’s an easy-to-walk course with some decent holes, namely the 18th – an uphill par 5 with a blind second and 
a well-protected green.

The Downs is in a different league to The Park. It’s beautifully framed and contoured with some truly outstanding holes. Laid out in 1914 by five-time Open winner James Braid, the Downs flows through mature forest before opening up towards the end of the front nine. The start is exceptional, with the 2nd – where the green sits some 100 yards below the level of the fairway – and the 6th – a driveable downhill par 4 offering spectacular views – particular highlights. It’s a course that demands imagination, creativity and shot making – a product of undulations, cleverly placed obstacles, imaginative bunkering and some tricky green complexes.

Off the course, the Goodwood Hotel is an elegant and contemporary establishment. There are four types of accommodation available at the hotel, including terraced garden-view rooms and newly refurbished modern suites, complete with towering four-poster beds, separate lounge areas and eclectic collections of books and magazines.

The well-appointed leisure club is home to a sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and indoor swimming pool. Goodwood also offers a range of spa treatments, a sizeable gym and fitness classes – which you might need after sampling the resort’s award-winning dining.

The Goodwood Bar and Grill provides hearty food in a more casual environment, and the Richmond Arms fuses traditional classics with modern twists, using food produced from Goodwood’s own organic farm. The Kennels 
- a stunning Georgian mansion originally crafted for the 3rd Duke of Richmond’s hounds – also provides first-rate dining with views over the Goodwood estate. It doubles as the Downs’ clubhouse, and provides warm fireplaces, lounges and beautifully furnished relaxation areas, ideal for a post-golf or dinner stupor.

Rooms & suites: 91 Courses: 2 – Downs, Park
Golfbreaks.com best Mar/Apr 2014 deal: One night’s dinner, B&B & two rounds from £99pp. Visit www.golfbreaks.com