AS the tension builds to fever pitch, Peter Andre steps out on stage for an intimate gig in front of 300 people.
With the singer splashed across the front pages due to his saucy link to the Wagatha Christie libel trial, it is hard to believe that weeks ago I was enjoying an up-close-and-personal concert in such stunning surroundings.
I went to Warner Leisure Hotels’ stunning Tudor mansion Littlecote House, on the Wiltshire/Berkshire border, for a weekend break.
Incredibly, Peter’s show was included in the price.
He kicked off the 75-minute set with a perfect cover of Prince’s I Wanna Be Your Lover, threw in old-school stompers such as Kool & The Gang’s Let’s Go Dancing and slowed things down with Bee Gees ballad How Deep Is Your Love, before unleashing his Nineties hits Flava and Mysterious Girl (shirt on, if you were wondering).
The dancefloor was filled to capacity, including a hen party of 16 women in their element.
It was a highlight of the weekend but far from the only one.
Since our arrival, the staff could not have been more welcoming.
We enjoyed a three-course dinner in the lovely restaurant and guests are free to take their drinks through to the Late Lounge for the evening’s entertainment.
That includes fun and games led by the entertainment manager.
Then, on a three-night Star Break Weekend, there is a tribute act and a main turn.
Other big names performing at Warner hotels this year include Lulu, Sheridan Smith, Jane McDonald and Russell Watson.
Afterwards, you can dance the night away as the resident DJ takes to the decks, or retire to the Kennet Bar where you will find yet more live music.
After a good night’s sleep in our spacious historic room — in what was originally the stable courtyard — the next morning is focused on exploring the stately home, which is steeped in history
The original house was built at the end of the 13th century and the gardens, set in 34 acres of historic parkland, include an ornate Roman mosaic floor.
An audio tour, which you can take at your leisure (just collect head-phones from reception), takes you on a fascinating journey through its history.
Henry VIII courted his third wife Jane Seymour at the estate and there are some spooky tales of curses that plagued the mansion’s former owners.
Hundreds of year later, the D-Day landings were planned here.
With our brains suitably nourished, it was time to head to the Chinese Room for afternoon tea.
Don’t go crazy at the delicious breakfast buffet or you will never get through the sandwiches, scones and cakes served up here.
If you are feeling adventurous, there is archery, air-rifle shooting and tennis included in the package.
But if, like me, pure leisure is higher on your agenda, then head to the spa.
I followed a quick swim in the large indoor pool with a sauna and steam-room session, a dip in the whirl pool and an invigorating back massage in one of the hotel’s treatment rooms.
After a hard day relaxing, the perfect pick-me-up has to be a cocktail-hour tipple.
We move on to the Old House for a 5pm gin masterclass, where the friendly and knowledgeable bar manager introduces us to a selection of the 48 gins available.
We learn how mixers and fruit change the flavour of the gin and hear plenty about the distilling processes too. It’s educational as well as enjoyable.
There is an amusing touch when I come down for dinner that evening to find I have been awarded a certificate for drinking gin.
It is the perfect interlude in the lead-up to Peter Andre’s big performance.
There are a few sore heads the next morning before checkout but another hearty breakfast soon puts that right.
We come away thinking that we packed a lot in . . . but also feeling refreshed by our relaxing mini-holiday.
GO: Warner, Wilts
STAYING THERE: Warner Leisure Hotels have 14 country house and seaside resorts.
Two nights’ half-board are from £139pp, including activities and entertainment.
STAR BREAKS: Three nights’ half-board at Littlecote seeing Jane McDonald sing is from £649pp, from June 17; Lulu at Studley Castle from August 12, from £444pp; Sheridan Smith at Thoresby Hall from July 29, from £419pp; and Russell Watson at Studley from September 23, £524pp.
MORE INFO: See warnerleisurehotels.co.uk.