Experience weekends: how to make marvellous memories on your 2024 getaway

When planning a fantastic gift or getaway it’s handy to look at what’s worked well in the past. When we do, we see that the very best have one thing in common - they’re about experiences, not things. Because its fabulous experiences - precious time in special places with people we love - that resonate most strongly. But how can we make memories that endure? Read the Donnington Grove guide to experience weekends to find out.

Focus on a favourite past-time

We all have them - the things we simply love doing. Activities that help define us. The past-times that make us tick. It might be walking, jogging or being out in nature, fishing, swimming or golf. They’re the things we do that really make us feel alive.

So what better mini-break than one that’s simply packed with activities we love? Find a place that excels at delivering these and your experience weekend is off to a flying start. Which is why we love providing the highest quality activities for experience weekends at Donnington Grove.


Beauty meets brilliance at our 18 hole Championship course, flood-lit driving range and fully-stocked shop. And our team of PGA professionals can help everyone, from juniors to experienced players, develop their game.


Donnington’s very own stretch of the River Lambourn is a true treat for fly fishing fans. This half-mile of crystal-clear waters combines a bright gravel bottom with the perfect width, so you can stalk your catch amid picturesque scenery.

Clay pigeon shooting

Beautiful surroundings, skilled staff, and all the equipment you need. As clays burst mid-air thanks to your shot, at Donnington you can experience a thoroughly modern take on the classic country house vibe.

Try something new

And even if you’ve never done them before, gifting or trying these kind of activities could be the start of a new passion - making it a truly memorable experience weekend. Imagine helping someone fall in love with an activity that goes on to bring them a lifetime of joy. Whether it’s a first beauty treatment or first go at clay pigeon shooting, that first experience can be the gift that keep on giving.

Indulge yourself & others 

Sometimes the experience weekend we really need is not to be super-active, but to take our foot right off the gas. Beauty treatments, massages, the time and space to relax and recharge. From facials and manicures to Swedish massage and reflexology, treatments can enhance or be the full focus of a mini-break. And at Donnington Grove, the Avalon Retreat team excel at providing all these experiences from the heart of our country house estate.

Make a date with a memorable event 

Or perhaps it’s a particular event or series of events that will help make your experience weekend truly memorable. The trick is to pick a perfect location and weave in events that really appeal to you. Take Donnington, for example. Events near here might be heritage-themed, sporting or cultural - or a mix of all three. 

A stay at Donnington brings you within 8 miles of Highclere Castle, ITV’s Downton Abbey, which runs visits and special guided tours. The excitement and action of Newbury Racecourse is just 4 miles away, while one of the UK’s most successful regional producing theatres, the Watermill, is right on our doorstep. Windsor Castle and Basildon Park are within easy reach as well.  

Sample superb food & drink 

Whether you’re a fully fledged foodie, or just someone who values exquisite cuisine, fine food and drink can provide stand out moments that make experience weekends truly memorable.

At Donnington guests can delight in the culinary creations crafted at Beaus Restaurant - stylish and relaxed it’s a gorgeous place to dine. Locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients shine, while the history and luxury of our country house hotels ensures you’re perfectly placed to kick back, relax and delight in the food.

A luxurious country house experience weekend

In fact, sometimes the venue itself - just by being fabulous - makes the experience weekend.  Luxurious surroundings, beautiful scenery and heritage features when combined with exciting activities, relaxing beauty treatments and attentive staff can deliver an experience all of their own. At Donnington, we take great care to create an atmosphere that is truly memorable all on its own. 

Let them chose when to enjoy their experience 

Some people love to be whisked away for an experience weekend - the surprise adds to the appeal. Others prefer, for a whole host of reasons, to choose the date and time of their treat themselves. 

Which is why Donnington Grove’s Gift Vouchers prove so popular. All you need to do is identify the type of thing your loved one will enjoy, and they decide exactly when works best for them.

Options range from unforgettable Traditional Cream Tea and Hotel and Dining Vouchers, to Shooting experiences, Beauty Treatments and a wealth of Golfing sessions on our Championship course, 

Discover Donnington Grove

At Donnington Grove we delight in crafting memorable experience weekends. The fact that we can combine so many marvellous activities and experiences helps us create something very special indeed. 

Outstanding golf, beauty, fishing and clay pigeon shooting sit alongside exquisite food and drink and the sense of staying at your very own country house estate. Add faultless service, exciting events and a wonderfully warm welcome, and you really do have an experience weekend that’s hard to beat.

We think you’ll love our historic hotel, set in 500 gorgeous acres on the outskirts of Newbury. Here sumptuous bedrooms team modern comforts with tapestries and vintage wallpaper. Stunning suites, spacious summer house rooms and soothing lodges ensure there’s a sleep spot that’s perfect for you.

In fact, Donnington is much, much more than a luxury country house hotel. It’s a destination - and one that excels at marvellous, memorable experience weekends.