Whether it’s during a baking Indian summer or a chilly winter weekend, a traditional English country manor getaway can provide the perfect antidote to city life whatever the weather. And with so many such places to choose from within an hour of London, we really are spoilt for choice.
One such place is Great Fosters in Egham, Surrey. A former Royal Hunting Lodge dating back to 1550 AD, the magnificent building clearly has many stories to tell and the succession of owners have ensured that the hotel has maintained its olde worlde charm.
When it comes to accommodation, Great Fosters has recently added a number of bedrooms filled with the kind of mod-cons that you would expect to find in the finest hotels; thankfully however, most of these rooms maintain more than a touch of traditional décor and design to ensure you don’t feel like you’re just in a generic hotel. For us, however, the best experience is to be had in the ‘Historic’ rooms. Whether it’s the ‘Italian Room’, filled with the most beautiful Italian furniture and lavish bronze trimmings to the ‘Tapestry Room’, with its sixteenth century tapestries and fireplace, these rooms truly transport you into another era. Even the TV and other gadgets are hidden from view to help you forget about these mind-numbing modern scourges.
Featuring an art & crafts garden, a Saxon moat with Japanese bridge, a stunning grassed amphitheatre and a lake, step into garden on a warm summer’s day and you can easily find yourself spending an afternoon exploring the impeccably kept fifty acres of lush greenery. Those after something more energetic can also take advantage of the outdoor heated swimming pool, tennis court and croquet on the lawn. Alternatively, if you’re feeling particularly lazy, there are few better places to take afternoon tea than overlooking the stunning grounds at Great Fosters.
New for 2013, Great Fosters has ensured that its food offering matches the high standards set by the rest of the hotel with the opening of two new restaurants. The Estate Grill is ideal for simple lunches and informal dinners, with the speciality being meats and fish cooked on a Josper grill.
For a more special dining experience, look no further than The Tudor Room. In contrast to the no -booking policy, quick service steak and posh fast food joints that have taken over London’s dining scene, The Tudor Room is altogether more sophisticated and relaxed. Set in a lavishly decorated dining room, boasting silk lined walls and a dominant seventeenth century tapestry, the restaurant offers the kind of intimacy and personal service that has been lost in so many new restaurants.
Take a peek in the kitchen and you will find Michelin-starred chef Shane Hughes at the helm. Inspired by his classical French professional background and a love of Asian food, Shane has created an innovative menu that never fails to tickle the taste buds and consistently delivers delicious dishes. Moreover, it’s no surprise that the dishes feature such fresh flavours given that many of the ingredients are grown (including some of the livestock) within the extensive grounds of the hotel.
Visit at dinner and you have a choice of 2 tasting menus – a mere 6 courses (£60) or the fully monty of 8 sumptuous courses (£75). The eclectic array of dishes include Pressed foie gras & artichoke with beetroot mousse, cox’s apple ‘pommes soufflé; a stunningly spiced dish of Thai inspired John Dory with clams, glass noodles & borlotti beans that wouldn’t be out of place coming out of the best Asian kitchens; wonderfully piquant Spanish style young chicken with chorizo, wild garlic, Parma ham, asparagus, plum tomato & smoked aubergine; and a delightful dessert of Summer raspberry soufflé with Tahitian vanilla sauce & raspberry sorbet.
Tudor Room Restaurant Ratings
Cuisine type: Modern European
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £60 or £75/head
Great Fosters Hotel
Surrey TW20 9UR
Tel: 01784 433822