Win a serene spa break for two at Hoar Cross Hall in Staffordshire | Travel

Annette K. Brown


The clue

We’re on a treasure hunt. Friend must collect the letters I ask for in each clue and build them into the name of our final stop. If he succeeds, he’ll win one of two prizes.

Clue one: “I’m handing this to you on a silver plate, Buddy. In his twenties, a Texas governor stayed just northwest of here; so, too, a future air force secretary. But this town is known for more than its American friends. Pilot us safely to its market cross and save letters six and seven of its name.”

Clue two: “Now, I’m spoon-feeding you! Eleven miles northeast lies a second town. Ignore its northern industrial estate — we should have been there in November 1979. Instead, common sense demands we see the statue of its political-theorist son.” Save letter six of its name.

Clue three: “Dig deep and drive to a village where builders were coining it, 17 miles east-southeast of the statue. Save the last letter of the village name.”

Final clue: “Enough roaming — X marks the spot in a field two miles southeast of the village. Add that X to the letters you’ve been hoarding and you’ve got the name of a second village, half a mile northwest of the field.”

“What connects all four places?” I ask Friend on arrival. “Americans?” he ventures. I roll my eyes and give him second prize (I’ll keep the frascati for myself). “Think of it as a key,” I tell him. “One just like it unlocked the secret of this field.”

“A hammer?” he splutters as he unwraps it.

“Think yourself lucky,” I tell him. “An American would give you a whole sack of them.”

The questions

1. What’s the name of the second town?

2. What’s the name of the second village?

The prize

The winner and guest will enjoy a two-night, full-board Serene Spa Escape at Hoar Cross Hall in Staffordshire — one of The Sunday Times Best Places to Stay of 2021. It occupies a 19th-century mansion eight miles north of Lichfield, and has just had a £14 million makeover.

Below stairs is a state-of-the-art spa, one of the largest in Europe. The winner and guest will have full access to the facilities, as well as a one-hour treatment each on their first day and a one-hour massage each on their second. Lunch will be served in Hugo’s spa restaurant and two three-course dinners for two in the Ballroom.

This year the estate is celebrating its 150th anniversary, and to mark the occasion Hoar Cross Hall is offering a two-night Grand Getaway package that includes a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne and a two-hour Elemis face-and-body treatment. For details see

The prize must be taken before July 1, 2023, subject to availability and excluding public holidays.

Can’t see the competition form? Enter at

Last week’s prize

The answers are Leadenhall Street and Brick Lane. Nicola Gray of London wins a luxurious break for two at the Grove in Hertfordshire.


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