Quintessential British Charm at Eastwell Manor
Every so often you are reminded of what puts the ‘great’ in Great Britain; that quintessential charm, a nod to nostalgia and the unmistakable allure of stately elegance that makes us proud of our heritage (think Downton and you’re halfway there). What’s even better is when that reminder is right on your own doorstep. At last you can become your very own Lord or Lady of the Manor, at Eastwell Manor to be precise.
A short distance from Ashford in the heart of the Eastwell Park Estate stands Eastwell Manor, the 18thcentury former Earl’s residence. Now a family-run hotel, the hotel sits proudly at the end of the gravel drive amongst perfectly sculptured lawns and glorious countryside views, and offers 23 elegantly furnished and comfortably appointed rooms and suites.
Arriving on a relatively mild autumn afternoon but with the hint of British chill, the roaring open fire in reception provides a warm welcome and leads your eye to the lounge area beyond, offering a cosy and relaxing space for afternoon tea or after-dinner coffee.
The magnificent Earl of Northumberland Suite was to become my far from humble abode for the evening. Offering glorious views of the grounds and golf course beyond – including a relaxing lounge and dining area, four-poster bed, and fully appointed bathroom and finished with rich fabrics and furnishings – the room was positioned at the top of the sweeping grand staircase at the heart of the main building.
Ready for dinner we descended to the lobby where my guest and I were led to the well stocked bar for our aperitifs which we selected from the traditional classic menu. In the comfort of the lounge we were able to peruse the table d’hôte and à la carte menus and make our choices for dinner.
The 2 AA rosette Manor Restaurant proffers an intimate yet lively dining experience; chandeliers and dark wood panelling offer ambience set off by the resident pianist who accompanies the
French and modern English cuisine. Having ordered our meals from head chef Neil Wiggins’ menu, we were served fresh breads, and were soon enjoying our starters of seared Scottish west coast scallops with lemon purée, gloriously crisp and delicately flavoured; and a trio of garden beetroot terrine, rosary ash goat’s cheese and textures of beetroot.
For our main course we chose to share the chateaubriand, cooked to tender perfection and served with delectable hand-cut chips, grilled mushrooms, tomato and a decidedly moreish red wine jus or classic peppercorn sauce, not forgetting a light and peppery watercress.
We were happy to wash down each delicious mouthful with the smooth tones of our Pascau Toso 2014 Malbec, one of many beautiful wines available from the extensive cellar.
As we are not ones to turn down dessert, we were more than happy with our choices of the well-presented chocolate fudge with vanilla ice cream and the zesty lemon tart with a raspberry sorbet.
Full from eating every last bite we relaxed and took in the atmosphere noting the contented faces and empty plates, and soaked in the warmth and romanticism that only buildings like this can provide.
Retiring to the lounge with sated stomachs and the warm glow of future happiness, we relaxed with our after dinner coffees and petit fours tempted by classic board games available for guests.
After a lovely sleep and a leisurely breakfast, we took advantage of the mild and bright morning by taking a gentle meander around the grounds and gardens before heading to the Pavilion to use the gym, followed by a relaxing morning in the pool and jacuzzi areas, taking in a sauna and steam room detox.
Rested and rejuvenated from our whole Eastwell Manor stay, it was time to crunch away down the driveway and bid a fond farewell to our mini stately experience.