Back in October we booked a two night stay at Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa down in Surrey. One of my best friends was getting married there and I was a bridesmaid, so we decided it would easiest to also stay on site for all the preparations. The Pennyhill estate is a really lovely area, and we were immediately taken by the lovely gardens and buildings.
A few days ago I told you all about our dinner at The Maytime Inn near Buford in the Cotswolds, which was really great, so how did the rest of our stay shape up?
We arrived mid afternoon after a lovely trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park, which is less than 5 miles away. We were a but windswept and in need of a sit down, so were pleased to find check in a breeze. We were shown to our room in the courtyard, just a few steps away from the main building. We were in the Hunting Room, one of 6 themed rooms at the Maytime. The room boasts a superking bed, Waterfall shower and stand alone bath – which I was very much looking forward to sinking into. They even provided a travel cot for Imogen.
The nods to the hunting room theme were seen throughout the room and the bathroom too.
As well as flat screen TVs, all the rooms also have complimentary Wifi and an iPod dock. The large wooden desk sported a variety of local magazines and guides, as well as coffee facilities, fresh milk and homemade shortbread.
The bathroom cam kitted out with full sized Cowshed products, which were lush!
Imogen made herself right at home….
The exterior of the pub as well was pretty special, even in the February gloom. Traditional Cotswold stone, with a gorgeous large patio area overlooking endless countryside.
We had a great night sleep, and despite it being her first night away from home, and first night in a travel cot, Imogen slept well too! Needless to say thought with a 6month old we bound to be the first ones to breakfast, and we were! It was nice to take in the bright and airy garden room by ourselves.
The spread for breakfast was extensive, with fresh pastries, kilner jars of fruit compote and yoghurt and granola as well as the requisite cereals and juices. As well as this there was a choice of a cooked element too, from a Full English, to mushrooms on toast and all the Eggs!
I had Avocado, Poached Eggs and Bacon on Sourdough while Lee had the Eggs Royale. No complaints from either of us here – a very decent breakfast and runny eggs all round!
I could try really hard to fault something with our stay at The Maytime, but honestly, there really isn’t anything and to stay. From the courteous friendly staff to the lovely homely rooms, from the gorgeous exterior to the great food it’s a great place to stay!
Disclosure: Our stay at the Maytime was complimentary for purposes of review, all opinions are our own. No other compensation was received.
Way back in November husband Lee took me away for a night to celebrate my birthday. We’d planned for quite a while to go to Dormy House in the Cotswolds – we had heard some great things about it and to top it off the Chef that has been working there recently used to cook at somewhere near us in Birmingham and we LOVED his food.
Not too long ago I tried my hand at making some Buttermilk Panacottas, a recipe from Daniel Moons recipe ebook, who is the head chef at Ston Easton Park, and last week we were lucky enough to head down to near bath to stay the night and try some of the food first hand!
The Bell Inn, in the heart of the New Forest in Hampshire has been in the same family since 1782. There’s obviously been few modernisations along the way but they’re tried hard to keep it’s old rustic charm and tradition.
There’s 27 rooms, some of which are dog friendly, which is always an appealing factor for those not wanting to leave mans best friend home alone. There’s also an 18 hole golf course, if you’re so inclined and large garden area for the summer months.
For me the setting is idyllic, the new forest is gorgeous at any time of year and the appeal of the roaming New Forest Ponies is something special – we could even see some from our window.
The reception area is very welcoming, and the bar area, complete with flagstone floors and roaring open fire is a perfect place to relax for a couple of hours.
We stayed in one of the Manor Rooms, overlooking the garden area and out towards the front of the hotel. It was a lovely large and spacious room with King Sized Bed which was ultra comfy.
If had a seating area (although this was right under the TV so you had to watch from the bed if you wanted), separate desk area and complimentary local water. There was a good selection of hot drinks and teas, presented nicely in a tea chest as well as a little jar of jelly beans which was a nice touch.
Again, the bathroom was spacious with a large bath, waterfall shower, heated towel rails (very important in the winter!) and toiletries.
We had dinner in a low lit, wood panelled dining room which created a nice atmosphere. Unfortunately there were quite a few things not available from the menu, but due to it being a Sunday night I guess they had sold out over the weekend and weren’t due any deliveries until the following day.
For starters Lee chose a Rabbit Pithivier with Carrot Salad and Apple Puree. He enjoyed the flavours of the rabbit and the pastry was really well cooked. I chose the Tempura Prawns with Mango & Chilli Salsa and Coriander Salad. I was a little disappointed with the size of this dish, 3 small prawns to me seemed stingy and there wasn’t much of a coriander salad, but the flavours of the mango and chill mayonnaise were very nice and the prawns very well cooked.
I liked the sound of all the very traditional sounding mains. I chose the Duo of Lamb with White Onion Puree, Fresh Peas and Braised Little Gem. I couldn’t complain about this at all, the lamb was cooked really well, it was hearty and well seasoned and very satisfying gastropub style food. The same could be said about Lee’s Pork Tenderloin with Black Pudding, Mash and Kale.
For dessert we opted to share the cheeseboard, which was said to comprise of 6 local cheeses; Barkham Blue, Isle of Wight Soft, Somerset Brie, Lyburn Winchester, Isle of Wight Blue, Rosary Goats Cheese. Unfortunately when it arrived there were only 4 cheeses ( 2 of which had extra slices of) so it looked like 6. We did question this, to be told they had run out of two of the cheeses. It would have been quite nice to know that before ordering, particularly as it was the two I was most looking forward to. They came with some Jacobs crackers and frozen grapes. I’ve never seen frozen grapes on a cheese board before (it was deliberate, we checked) I’d love to know if this is a thing as I didn’t feel they looked very appealing. So if there’s anyone in the culinary know reading this please do tell me!
Breakfast the next morning was in the light and airy garden room, and with the winter sun shining through the windows it was a lovely place to eat breakfast.
There was a table full of cold options, including a nice selection of fresh fruit, yoghurt and pastries. We both opted for a full English to get us set for the day which was really excellent, The meat quality was second to none, with perfect eggs and even some fried bread which I haven’t seen for ages!
Overall we loved our stay at The Bell. The food was decent pub style, although I think we suffered a little purely because it was a Sunday night. The room and communal areas are excellent and the service throughout was really friendly and helpful, especially the reception staff. The location couldn’t be better for exploring the area around the New Forest and South Coast.
They currently have some fab Winter offers starting at around £99 per room per night for Dinner B&B
Disclosure: Our stay and dinner at The Bell was free of charge but we paid for all our extras & drinks.