Studley Castle’s celebration of British music, WarnerFest, aims to attract a younger demographic, finds Abra Dunsby
With live performances from Jo Whiley, Gabrielle and Pixie Lott, the stately- looking Studley Castle near Stratford Upon Avon is looking to mix things up and attract a younger crowd.
The 209-room Warner Leisure Hotels property recently underwent a £50 million refurbishment, and with the fresh new decor comes a vibrant new outlook.
I visited for WarnerFest, a celebration of British music featuring performances from three emerging artists and a closing DJ set from Jo Whiley.
The main performances take place on the stage at the buffet-style Evesham restaurant, while pianists and singers also entertain guests as they dine in the a la carte Arden Cafe and Bar.
It’s not just the entertainment that marks a shift in positioning. Studley’s activities are also aimed at those with a “more energetic and adventurous mindset,” according to Erman Housein, head of trade and marketing at Bourne Leisure. Free on-site activities include rifle shooting and archery.
Clients can also hop on Pashley bikes to get around the grounds or to explore the surrounding Warwickshire countryside, and the hotel has also teamed up with Walkingworld.com to provide maps of local touring routes.
Studley has local partnerships with both the Shakespeare Gin Distillery and Purity Brewing Company, and offers separate trips to both, starting from £25pp.
The hotel is just as suited to those who want to wind down for the weekend. The Stables Spa features an indoor pool, sauna and steam room. It runs daily yoga and Pilates classes and offers a range of treatments, with the option to book dedicated spa packages. The grounds of the beautiful Grade II-listed Gothic Revival building are also ideal for relaxing in. The Arden’s terrace becomes my favourite lunch spot, looking out across bucolic landscapes dotted with woolly sheep.
While it’s clear from my time at Studley that clients aged 60 and over still love to stay here, the property’s new offering means they could soon be joined by their sons, daughters, and even grandsons and granddaughters too.