H&H tries out The William Cecil in Stamford — a quirky, luxury hotel a stone's throw from Burghley Horse Trials

As a person who gets more excited about Burghley Horse Trials than about Christmas, I jumped at the chance to try out the closest hotel you could possibly get to the big event.

Having grown up just down the road from the fabulous four-star it has always been a highlight of the year.

Even going back to school after the summer holidays never seemed too bad as, if you were quick enough, it was very possible to get from classroom to grandstand in time for the final few dressage tests at the end of the day.

The William Cecil (formerly the Lady Anne) backs on to Burghley Park and dates back to the 17th century.

Prosecco on the shuttle bus

The actual entrance to the horse trials itself is a little further round, but never fear as the hotel has its own shuttle service to take you to and from the gate. I was also assured that they always carry prosecco and hot chocolate on board for guests — essential after a hard day’s shopping and spectating.

Each of the hotel’s 27 bedrooms has its own name (I stayed in the ‘9th Earl’) and embody its selling point of “quirky luxury”.

The 9th Earl

The 9th Earl bedroom, which comes with its own private garden

In the spirit of giving an accurate review, I rode two horses and walked the dog on the day of my stay — which I felt was a similar level of outdoor exercise to fighting through the crowded shops and walking the cross-country course — in order to fully test out how suitable the bath was for soaking aching limbs and how comfortable the bed was for weary legs.

Both very much passed the test. The bath was beautifully deep, with lovely White Company toiletries and the huge four-poster bed was extremely comfortable.

Another of The William Cecil's rooms

Another of The William Cecil’s rooms

Dogs are welcome

Another added bonus about The William Cecil is dogs are very welcome (extra charges do apply).

After a busy day making friends and gobbling up dropped burgers at Burghley, your canine pal can relax in his own dog bed in your room.

There is also a dog room service menu, which includes everything from a bowl of Baker’s Complete (beef or lamb) to a 7oz sirloin steak with gravy and Baker’s sprinkles.

And owners will certainly not go hungry either.

The restaurant (which was recently awarded its second AA rosette) boasts a huge menu.

I tried the smoked salmon to start and the burger — both of which were delicious. The sumptuous breakfast buffet and cooked menu would have been perfect fuel for a long day at the event.

I thought it was particularly nice to see some locally-sourced ingredients on the menu too — Lincolnshire beef; Cropwell Bishop’s blue (cheese); Lincolnshire Poacher (cheese); and batter for the fish and chips made with Rutland Bitter.

The whole place was full of thoughtful touches and nice places to sit. The cosy bar had pictures of Olympian Lord Burghley (David Cecil, 6th Marquess of Exeter) on the walls, the garden looked a perfect place to sit with a G&T and there was even a book about Burghley House in the bedroom.

The staff were friendly and helpful and confirmed that they will make a “pack up” if you did want to take a picnic with you. Oh and wi-fi was free and very fast.

All in all, a lovely, fun place to stay for one of the highlights of the eventing calendar.

A double room cost from around £95. There is a minimum stay of four nights from 31 August or 1 September.

Visit www.hillbrookehotels.co.uk/the-william-cecil

Other places to stay for Burghley Horse Trials (1-4 September):

The George of Stamford, 01780 750750, www.georgehotelofstamford.com

Pop-up tented village,  eventfulstays.com

Meadowview Guest House, 01780 762133, www.bedandbreakfast-stamford.co.uk

The Crown,  01780 763136, www.kneadpubs.co.uk/our-pubs/the-crown-hotel

Rutland Terrace B&B, 07454 171269, www.rutlandterracebandb.co.uk

For more information visit: www.southwestlincs.com/stamford-tourist-information