Pulling into the gravel driveway, a breathtaking regal country house hotel known as The Manor-at Weston-on-the-Green waits to greet you. It’s a majestic 11th century building in Oxfordshire, with bags of history and for one night, I’m to be the lady of it – well not quite, but one can always dream, right?
Inside the place is full of charm with a traditional, inviting style and a certain intrigue, which makes you want to explore every nook and cranny. A log fire shares its warmth and to the right of the entrance is Bertie’s Bar, where travel buddy and blog contributor Claire and I head to straight after checking in. It’s a lovely area to unwind in, with a cocktail or two, after the 2-hour journey from London. There are other areas where you can lounge, with one a front room with big sofas and big cushions, which offers a more home-from-home feel. Given the grandeur of the place and slight formality it’s all actually very relaxed, with genuinely nice staff.
The perfect room to relax in though is the one we stayed in known as the Lord William. It’s located on the first floor and is at the front of the building overlooking the driveway and field of sheep to the left. The room is pretty wow, and the bathroom looks recently decorated with a very modern décor. If anything, the refurbishment of the bathroom could have been more sympathetically done in keeping with the era of the building, but nonetheless it’s clean, bright with big fluffy towels and some very fine Ren toiletries.
Having checked out the rooms, an exploration of the grounds is a must. There is a secluded pool which is locked in the cooler months and a badly placed tennis court, but the gardens are actually beautiful and a bit of a sanctuary, which is just as well as there’s not much going on in the area. There are 2 pubs, one of which, The Black Sheep, is only a 5-minute walk away and is owned by the hotel. It’s a nice quaint little pub with more formal dining to the side.
Walk and food at The Black Sheep and The Milk Shed
I have a light lunch of baby calamari, and Claire watercress soup and we share a pear and walnut salad. It is very much bistro style food nicely done, but is no comparison to the meal that we are to eat later back at the hotel. Also in the area is The Milk Shed, which serves the most delicious ice-cream – a chocolate scoop is a must! And then the best thing to do after that is to go for a walk around the fields, where you might spy a few horses, chickens and an olden day church.
Back at The Manor, new head chef Larry Jayasekara brings a touch of fine dining to the menu. We choose to have dinner in the oak-panelled Baron’s Hall. If I’m lady of the manor then I really ought to dine like one! And we do.An amuse bouche of meringue balls filled with beetroot puree tickles the taste buds.
Vegetarians don’t often get the best of choices when eating out, it’s very much an afterthought. But, Claire is mightily impressed with her taster menu, even declaring one of the dishes – an inventive take on the humble cauliflower cheese, which uses textures and a clever balance of flavour – as one of the best she’s ever had. Now you can’t get much higher praise than that.
I, on the other hand, do just as well with the a la carte and choose a starter of lobster and deliciously crisp chicken wings, with a main of Galloway fillet of beef with cauliflower to follow. The beef is superbly cooked with top notes of earthy flavours, which flows through the dish.
Standards don’t drop at breakfast either, this time we eat in the bright and airy Morning Room. The room has a more Georgian feel with important looking people gracing the walls, and lovely views looking out over the gardens where you might get lucky and catch sight of the odd bunny or two.
Fresh juices, teas, coffees and a selection of pastries are served instantly. A part of me wishes to see the buffet style breakfast, where I can gorge on what and how much of what I want. But, I‘m still a lady so it’s only fitting to continue to act like one. So it’s only appropriate that I continue to be served, this time with a very fine traditional full English.
The Manor is a fine place to go for a romantic break, or on a jolly with a friend. You will eat well and sleep well. As there’s not much to do in the area, it would be good if the hotel could add a little more, like massages. However, they can organize for a masseuse to come into the hotel, but it would be good if this were something that was available on site. Otherwise, they have most of what you require to make for a pleasurable stay. An added gift which the hotel gives you is a 10% VIP discount card to use at Bicester Village, which is only a short drive away and a stop worth making if you like to shop!
Depending on time of year a room for two in the Lord William, is approximately £275 including Breakfast. Dinner plus wine is approx £100 for two.
Food I Fancy was a guest of the hotel.
The Manor Hotel
The Manor at Weston-on-the-Green
Tel: 01869 350621