WHEN we heard that Tylney Hall was putting on a panto - we were delighted to get tickets. 

Not just to see the show, and spend some time with our family, but also to have a reason to spend time at the hotel. 

Tylney Hall is a luxury hotel in Rotherwick, near Hook. Set in the glorious Hampshire countryside, this hotel makes other luxury hotels look like bargain chain motels. 

Basingstoke Gazette: Tylney Hall hotel Tylney Hall hotel (Image: Kimberley Barber)

Everything is effortless here. The staff are exceptionally friendly, nothing is too much trouble, and the place is county house perfection. The fire was lit, the lounge comfortable and beautiful, and as expected the Christmas decorations were just as tasteful and classy as the rest of the place. 

The panto was being held in a room to the right of the main reception, and staff were handing out glasses of mulled wine and popcorn at the entrance. The room, panelled in wood like the rest of the historic hotel, had a small stage and about 50 seats. 

This was an intimate show, with just five cast members playing all the different characters needed for a production of Cinderella. Despite that, the show, put on by Chaplins Pantos, surprisingly lasted for two hours, including an interval. 

Basingstoke Gazette: Cinderella Cinderella (Image: Kimberley Barber)

The obvious restraints of being a small touring panto in an intimate location didn't seem to matter to the kids who were absorbed into the storyline the same as if it were a grand production at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. 

Some tweaks had to be made to the story of Cinderella to accommodate the small cast, there was no wicked Stepmother here, and some elements were cut completely, no grand ball for example, however, the show was still packed full of humour, gags, colour, creative costumes and songs. 

There were lots of opportunities for shouting, and boo-ing, and the small audience obliged with gusto. By the end, the kids were all up and dancing, and my youngest wanted to immediately watch the show again when it ended - an excellent sign that it had captivated her imagination. 

This was a lovely way to spend time at a gorgeous place. It was great for the hotel to host something that locals can enjoy as well as its many visitors. I hope that it's booked again next year - and maybe we can make a night of it too?