By Claire Ellis
Wow, who knew that just around over the Buckinghamshire border, set in 60 acres of finely sculptured land, sits the finest replica hunting lodge offering the most amazing experiences in shooting, hospitality and fine dining? It’s the perfect venue for that ‘socially distanced’ weekend activity or, best of all, a present for your partner.
Founded in 1835 by Harris Holland, Holland & Holland are one of the finest ‘British’ rifle and shotgun makers and their establishment, more commonly found in Mayfair, is most famous for supplying guns to Royalty and the more well to do.
On arrival you step straight into what I can only describe as a luxury hunting lodge that’s made to feel just like home (or the home you’ve always wanted). There’s a lounge centred around a 4 sided fireplace, lots of side rooms to browse enviable displays of guns, a conservatory bar, a private Bordeaux wine room, a cigar lounge (fully ventilated) and a large event space for private hiring, all of which open onto a terrace that overlooks the stunning landscaped grounds where you can simply sit and enjoy.
Fantastically run by Nicolas and his team, assisted by his friendly (but not in your face) dog ‘Harris’, you immediately feel very welcomed and that you belong in this attentive but low-key hospitality venue. It’s great to see, and taste, what the menu has to offer, based around sourcing the best of British in-season ingredients.
We experienced a two-course lunch that included snacks to share (a meal in themselves) and a full complement of side dishes that came with the mains to suit any taste. This time of year (September) lunch was served straight from the BBQ and is available Thursday-Sunday.
As well as fine dining there are a wealth of activities you can undertake. All are organised to your requirements, time and budget, so whether you are looking for one-to-one tuition, or an instructed guided round, there is an extensive variety of clay sporting stands and targets to enhance your experience and increase your confidence in handling a gun.
After an hour’s introductory lesson with Clive, and trainee instructor Georgina, (it takes 10 years to qualify) and managing to score 5 out of 5 in my first round, I definitely feel able now to accept any shooting invitation if my friends are so inclined!
Additionally, if you are looking for that special place to entertain corporate clients – this fits the bill on all levels. Here, they offer the only indoor rifle cinema, enabling rifle instruction with a moving target and live ammunition.
Coupled with 2 heli-pads, and extensive grounds, they offer any outdoor pursuits from driving, archery to geese herding (that is something I’d love to see). Plus, the shooting ground offers the only indoor (fully ventilated) cigar smoking lounge where you can enjoy a drink and a meal at the same time as having a cigar masterclass – definitely one for the gentlemen amongst you.
If you fancy just popping in to see what all the fuss is about why not visit their farmers market on a Friday or Saturday weekly from 10am-1pm (don’t miss out on the sausage rolls and chocolate brownie) and have a spot of lunch at a table that is yours for the day.
Holland & Holland
Ducks Hill Road
Tue to Fri 8.30 AM – 17.30 PM
Sat 9 AM – 17.30 PM