There’s nothing like leaving the city to help recharge the batteries, and a visit to Sussex’s very fine Gravetye Manor was much needed.
Nestled in some beautiful woodland, just arriving at the hotel is an excellent reminder that you’re not in the city any more. Sweeping into the driveway, the 16th Century hotel stands proud and is a fantastic, romantic site that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Downton.
We visited on a bright autumnal afternoon and headed straight to the grounds to enjoy a G&T in the walled gardens.
The setting really couldn’t be more idyllic – vast kitchen gardens full of seasonal fruit and vegetables, an orchard, a lake, a croquet lawn, and beautifully manicured lawns and wild flower beds make for an absolutely gorgeous afternoon spot.
William Robinson owned the Manor for many, many years – regarded as one of the greatest gardeners of all time – and you can see his legacy in the stunning grounds today.
Our bedroom was up in the top of the hotel – lots of nooks and beautiful antique furniture line the stairwell. We were fortunate enough to be staying in a very comfortable suite with a stunning view over the gardens and lake.
The room was equipped with everything we could need, but certainly didn’t try to be contemporary. Gravetye Manor doesn’t try to be something it’s not – it’s in a historical, sleepy, countryside setting and the design and style of the hotel reflect this.
The hotel is full of wood panelling, antique furniture, huge log fires and gorgeous upholstery and feels like a great place to hunker down and relax for a weekend.
The restaurant at the hotel, run by Head Chef George Blogg is excellent – and this was recognised by Michelin who awarded it its first star in the 2016 guide. It’s incredible value with set lunches from £25, and a 4-course dinner menu at £40 and it’s really very good quality for that price.
Using fresh, seasonal and home-grown produce from the Kitchen gardens you can tell that this team is creative and progressive. The championing of British ingredients is a running theme on the menu and that’s reflected with Nyetimber as the house fizz here too.
With a menu that boasts fantastic produce like hand dived Orkney Scallops, English Rose Veal, Haunch of local Venison, and their own house-smoked Salmon, the Chef is clearly extremely competent and thoughtful.
Every single dish at Gravetye Manor was a success, with dishes presented beautifully. Highlights included hand dived Orkney scallops with miso glaze, kohlrabi, sesame seed and seaweed crack; and aged beef with braised snails and bone marrow jus.
Gravetye Manor is a beautiful venue, well worth a visit for the gardens alone, but the food also now makes it a real destination.