The perfect rural retreat...
With its amazing food, friendly staff and the Forest of Dean on the doorstep, Tudor Farmhouse Hotel is the perfect rural retreat.
The former working farm was converted in 2003 by owners Colin and Hari Fell, who left London to transform it into the boutique bolthole it is today. Set in 14 acres of grassland in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley, Tudor Farmhouse has a beautiful garden with outside seating, a kitchen garden where they grow their own vegetables, plus chickens, ducks, sheep and ponies. And keep an eye out for the hotel’s resident (and rather elusive) cat, Gromit.
It’s total foodie heaven. Award-winning chef Rob Cox (previously executive chef of Michael Caines at Abode) heads up the kitchen, where he creates the delicious 20 Mile Menus, using local and seasonal produce that’s been sourced within a 20-mile radius of the hotel. Tudor Farmhouse prides itself on its commitment to using local suppliers – from Lydney Park Estates’ venison to Severn Cider and locally churned butter at Netherend Farm. And the proof was certainly in the pudding… and everything else we tried.
There are 20 rooms at Tudor Farmhouse, with cute farm bird-inspired names, such as Cockerel and Hatchling. We stayed in The Nest, one of the hotel’s three suites, which boasts a walk-in monsoon shower, roll-top bath and a separate sitting room with huge windows that look out onto the garden. And with a super-comfy bed, the kind of pillows you sink into (and wish you had at home), a fridge, Nespresso coffee machine, waffle bathrobes and natural Bramley bath and body products, it ticked every box. Prefer sleeping under the stars? The owner Colin told us he’s thinking of branching out into glamping, so watch this space.
What to eat:
Upon our arrival, we picked a sunny spot in the garden and treated ourselves to the cream tea: warm to-die-for scones, jam, clotted cream and a pot of tea. A full afternoon tea is also available, plus a range of gluten-free bread, cakes and scones on request. That evening, we were lucky enough to enjoy dinner alfresco. After much deliberation – trust us, you’ll want to eat everything on the menu – we kicked off with an amuse bouche of carrot soup (compliments of the chef) with pillowy homemade bread. To follow, we had the roast cod, with leeks, thyme gnocchi, wild mushrooms and chive cream sauce. Everything tasted incredible, but the star on the plate for us was the gnocchi, which we can only describe as little nuggets of joy. For pudding, we devoured the caramel parfait with banana ice cream (amazing!) and vanilla foam, and a selection of local artisan cheeses, complete with chutney, grapes and celery. We then finished off the evening with coffee and homemade chocolates. Who knew Thai basil in a chocolate could taste so good! As well as the main dinner menu, which we ate from, there’s also an evening tasting menu: a six-course meal (£60) and the option of an accompanying flight of six wines (£30). The following morning, we feasted on a full English breakfast, complete with eggs freshly laid by the hotel’s chickens and fruit juice that’s made on the Gloucestershire/Herefordshire border. It’s safe to say that we didn’t go home hungry…
Things to do:
Whether you’re working up an appetite or want to burn off all that wonderful food, there are plenty of outdoor activities near Tudor Farmhouse – from exploring the magical woodland of Puzzlewood, which has played host to the filming of TV programmes such as Dr Who and Merlin, to cycling and horse riding. The hotel also has a selection of printed walks of varying distances, with detailed directions and points of interest. Looking for a more hands-on experience with nature? Guests can join the hotel’s in-house forager on a foraging course, where you’ll collect everything from mushrooms to wild garlic (£60 per person, including lunch). The hotel also runs flower-arranging workshops with Josephine’s Fabulous Flowers (£50 per person, including afternoon tea). Or, if you fancy a flutter on the horses, Chepstow Racecourse holds meetings throughout the year and is only a 25-minute drive from the hotel.
Rooms at Tudor Farmhouse are available from £130 per night, based on two sharing a double Hatchling room on a B&B basis. Book via tudorfarmhousehotel.co.uk or call 01594 833046.
Book a two-night mid-week dinner, bed and breakfast break and receive an extra night B&B for free until 30 September 2018. A three-night mid-week break incorporating this offer is now available from £420 per room (£210pp) saving £130 per room (£65pp), based on two sharing including dinner on two evenings.