If you want to feel like lords of the manor, look no further than this totally bewitching architectural jewel set amidst the rolling green hills of the English/Welsh border. The warm welcome by owner Christopher, set the tone for a joyous weekend.
Our rooms (Bristol & Yate) were light, spacious & nicely furnished in an eclectic mix of antique & modern which made for a much more personal feel than in many so-called boutique hotels seemingly designed by committee.
En suite bathrooms were terrific; stylish, immaculately clean & very well equipped. Top marks for lovely toiletries & hurrah, decent water pressure! There were also beautiful views out over the rear garden, across to the historic church ruins. The public rooms if anything, are even more impressive; imposing Tudor fireplaces, stunning ceilings & a cosy wood – panelled snug. As the only guests, we pretty much had the run of the house so it felt even more special. Christopher was a mine of information when it came to the extensive history of Old Church Farm & graciously found time to show us round not only the main house, but the impressive adjoining conference centre, even letting us climb the church tower with him. The narrow spiral ascent is certainly not for the faint-hearted although it is a unique & rewarding experience to make it to the top.
Unfortunately we didn’t test the full – scale skittle alley nor the croquet lawn but hope for future opportunities. The gardens are lovely; particularly impressive is the copious productivity of the walled kitchen garden which supplies Kate (Christopher’s wife & co-owner of the hotel) with the ingredients for her culinary wizardry & the food is delicious. Dinner had to be pre-booked 24 hours in advance; daily changing menus with choices of 2 starters, 3 mains & 2 puddings. We enthused about everything we ate; standouts were a delicate salad of goats cheese, walnut & fig, Dexter sirloin perfectly cooked, & panna cotta as good as any I’ve eaten in Italy. The short wine list is nonetheless well – chosen & certainly reasonably priced; we also enjoyed pre-dinner G & Ts with local gin. Breakfasts too, were a treat. Greek yoghurt, cereals, compote of home-grown fruits, home-made preserves (fantastic 3 citrus marmalade) choices of cooked dishes – as with dinner, using locally sourced organic produce. Christopher had even picked wild field mushrooms one morning which elevated our poached eggs to another level.
As a third generation hotelier, Kate certainly has hospitality in her DNA as does Christopher, having previously run a restaurant together. We only met Kate to thank her & say goodbye, as she was fully occupied cooking our amazing meals. Christopher was the consummate host & couldn’t have done more to make our stay the best. (Thank you for the cleaning tips!) We had a fabulous weekend; what a unique pleasure to stay in such a place.