Recently I was treated to a 1 night stay at the beautiful Ettington Park Hotel. Set in 40 acres of grounds and located just 6 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, Ettington Park Hotel is positioned as a luxury hotel. It is the only AA 4 Red Star hotel in the area and has a history dating back 2000 years! That in itself is impressive. It also has the reputation of being the most haunted hotel in Britain – this was set up to be a pretty interesting stay!
It’s not often that I go for a short break in the UK as I typically look to go a bit further afield. In fact there’s only 1 stay I can recall in the past couple of years and that was when I headed to Dairy Barns B&B in Norfolk (an excellent trip incidentally). Arriving at Ettington Park was therefore pretty special and had that usual sense of excitement, especially when faced with such impressive architecture!
On arrival we received a really warm welcome, got checked in and were given an overview of the house and the grounds which included a number of freebies such as free bike hire.
We were booked into one of the 48 rooms in the hotel, with our standard double room being more than adequate for our 1 night stay. The room was spacious, clean and had all of the facilities you would expect.
Around the hotel
The hotel offers a lot of facilities typical of these types of venues. Many of these cater for businesses with conference and meeting rooms available however as an independent visitor there is a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, spa pool, tennis courts and of course a bar. Due to our short 1 night stay unfortunately we didn’t have time to make use of any of these but we did look around the hotel to see what it had to offer. For obvious reasons I couldn’t take any photos of the swimming pool however I did get a couple of other shots around the hotel.
Dinner at The Oak Room
Ettington Park boasts The Oak Room which is a 2 AA Rosette restaurant. With high expectations, naturally we made a booking there for dinner shortly after arrival.
Making our way downstairs from our room we were shown through to the drawing room which included a grand piano where we were served drinks and canapes along with other hotel guests. This was a really relaxing and unexpected way to start our evening whilst we we waited for our table to be ready.
Once our table was ready, we were collected from the drawing room and taken through to our table in the dining room.
The dining room at Ettington Park is quite large however it still felt quite intimate which was good. The atmosphere was great and we were made to feel very welcome. Menus in hand and with the restaurant having such a strong fine dining reputation and awards, there was no debating the subject – ordering a full 3 courses was the right thing to do. We decided on the Table D’Hote menu which was set at £39.50 per person for 3 courses (the menu has changed slightly since our visit).
For my starter I opted for the ham hock terrine which presented beautifully.
Sarah went with the cream of pea and pear soup – I’m not sure that there’s a better way to present this dish!
For my main I chose the sticky glazed blade of beef, garlic mash, mushroom duxelle, buttered kale and thyme jus which was amazing.
Sarah went with the roast breast of Warwickshire white chicken.
And for the grand finale it was on to desserts. For this I opted for the chocolate brownie which was to die for.
Sarah decided to go with the apple crumble which like the rest of our meal was presented exceptionally well and certainly wasn’t what we were expecting. Sarah has assured me that like the rest of her meal, this too was superb.
Overall, the food quality and service at The Oak Room was excellent and certainly right up there with our previous fine dining experiences. With so many great sounding choices on the menu it was really difficult to know what to choose however neither of us had any post-meal regrets!
With dinner finished, we drank the last drops of our bottle of wine and turned in for the night.
Waking up early we made our way back downstairs to the dining room for breakfast.
As the dining room was full we were taken through the dining room to Ettington Park’s small chapel which sits just behind it. This was set up with a handful of tables however as we were the only people seated in there, with our waiter coming in and out of the room it felt like a pretty good private dining experience!
Due to the nature of Ettington Park, hot food was cooked to order and served to the table whilst there was also a self-service cold breakfast buffet available, set out on a large table in the adjacent library. This included your usual selection of continental breakfast items plus some other bits.
When not serving breakfast you can of course use the library for its intended purpose which includes some classics such as the complete works of Shakespeare… well you are in his birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon after all.
Back at the table with a few cold bits from the buffet we ordered some hot food from the menu which offered a good selection.
Sarah went with the oak smoked salmon with scrambled eggs whilst I gave the the Ettington Park breakfast a go.
Like dinner, the breakfast was excellent and set us up well for the day (from Ettington Park, we headed 6 miles up the road and explored Stratford-upon-Avon). Following breakfast, and before we headed off into Stratford-upon-Avon for the day we took a walk around the grounds
Ettington Park Hotel grounds
As Ettington Park is situated in 40 acres of parkland, there is a vast amount of countryside to explore. Wandering around the outside of the house offers some great views of the building in addition to the landscaped garden which can also be used for wedding receptions.
Within the grounds there is also a church which can be explored, including some ruins off to one side of it.
Finally there’s the river Stour which runs straight through the middle of the site.
Although the gardens aren’t quite as impressive as many other places I’ve been (Chatsworth House must be the best I’ve seen) they were still great to explore, offering some calm whilst sat on the benches and some great views.
So that was it, our 1 night at Ettington Park Hotel was finished and our overall experience was a really positive one.
Although the room was clean, comfortable and more than adequate for the 2 of us, I certainly wouldn’t say it offered the ‘luxury’ experience I expected. The dinner and breakfast services were however excellent and I really enjoyed the building itself, its character and surrounding grounds.
Having stayed in some exceptional 5* hotels, this was by no means a luxury experience when compared to what I’ve experienced before. That said, as an overnight stay goes, relaxing at Ettington Park was very enjoyable and I would happily head back here in future.
I would rate our stay here 7/10 for accommodation and 9/10 for food – overall experience, 8/10.
Oh and if you were wondering, luckily, we didn’t experience any ghosts!
If you’re interested in staying at Ettington Park Hotel visit the Hand Picked Hotels website at https://www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/ettingtonpark.