Wolsey Lodges guide to the National Parks of the UK and Ireland
- Travel Guide
A History of Britain’s National Parks
Great Britain came late to National Parks. It was perhaps easier for other countries to create National…Read More
For many of our guests evening meals are all part of the attraction of a Wolsey Lodge. They appreciate not having to go out looking for restaurants when often there’s even better food available at their lodge.
Many of our hosts are qualified and professional chefs, just not rushing around in a busy restaurant kitchen. They have the time to prepare ambitious meals, served in the calm of a private home.
The importance of the freshness and quality of ingredients has only relatively recently spread into the mainstream, but it has long been accepted by Wolsey Lodges. For many years now our lodges have focussed on using local ingredients, carefully sourced, and many grow many of the vegetables that are served to their guests. Home-grown eggs are common at breakfast and there are several lodges where you can dine on their own beef and lamb, fresh and organic from the herds and flocks that are part of your view.
The evening meals area highlight of any stay at Pendragon Country House near Camelford in Cornwall. The ‘Plat du jour’ style menu of the day is a refreshing change for guests who are able to truly experience the best local seasonal produce. Whether you choose three or four course meals, every dish is homemade from scratch with loving care. Your host Nigel is on hand to serve and introduce each course, helping you appreciate the local artisan ingredients. The actual meal tends to come as some surprise, as ingredients are sourced each morning for that same evening’s meal, but if you look at their Tripadvisor reviews you’ll see they rarely disappoint. You can easily see why if you look at a sample menu here. Importantly, with advance notice they put just as much care into catering for vegetarians and those on special diets, and have an honesty bar fully stocked with fine wines, local artisan gins, ciders and beers. Evening meals are served every day except Sunday but you do need to let them know in advance if you intend to dine in: ingredients are very much bought to order.
There’s choice on the menu at Elm Grove Country House, just outside Tenby in South Wales. Just take a look at the delights on offer on their sample menu. There are always an array of three starters and three mains – along with vegetarian and specialist options – as well as a range of desert options. Meals can be taken as two courses or three, according to your appetite. Ingredients are fresh and local and the menu changes with the seasons: book your evening meal by 10:00am and you’re good to go, and there’s also a well-stocked bar. Alternatively – and through the months of July and August where your hosts are just too busy to run what is effectively an evening restaurant as well as their B&B – there are good pubs in walking distance in the village of St Florence.
Fine cuisine is very much on the menu at Old Whyly, a classic Glyndebourne favourite in the heart of East Sussex. You can get a taste of what’s on offer in a glowing feature in Waitrose Magazine, or take a look at a sample menu here. It’s also a fantastic place to enjoy the experience. Accommodation is an a glorious Georgian manor house with a lily scented terrace with a rose-covered pergola, a hard tennis court and a sheltered swimming pool. Even if you’d never wanted to explore East Sussex Old Whyly is reason enough to plan a visit now.
Both your hosts at Uplands House near Banbury are former international fencers and transfer their skills with a foil effortlessly into the kitchen. Your evening meals are designed over the afternoon tea routinely offered to guests, where you can find out what’s fresh in their huge vegetable garden and discuss the options. Duck and lamb are favourites as well as vegetarian alternatives: individual preferences and allergies can always be taken into account.
Supper consists of two courses, either a starter and main course, or main course and dessert. The only problem is which to skip: when the alternatives might be asparagus soup or gooseberry fool, both produced in the lodge’s own garden, it’s a tricky decision. Best go for Dinner, which gives you all three courses and a cheese board as well. Find out more about the options on offer here, and for a live Tripadvisor review look here.
Whichever you choose the meal is always an event. Cutlery is Georgian silver, gleaming in the candlelight.
Your meal is likely to be walking around right now at West Barmoffity Farm, just beyond Gretna Green in sunny southern Scotland, enjoying wild organic surroundings and a lake busy with birdlife. On this working farm three-course dinners are served on request with a tight focus on home-made dishes using the very closest ingredients. Lamb and beef is locally reared though selected butchers and seafood outlets are used when the season demands. Find out more about the great Barmoffity dinner here.
Food is a highlight of any stay at Haughley House, a luxury manor house near Stowmarket in Suffolk. All food is freshly cooked on the Aga, organic vegetables come from the walled kitchen garden, and fruit from the orchard. Hens provide eggs and beef and pork comes from their traditionally reared cattle and rare breed pigs: few lodges are as self-sufficient. Best of all, they’re licensed, with a range of 30 wines ranging from £15 to £500 per bottle, and a selection of classed growth clarets. It’s a great place for house parties and to dine in style: sample menus can be seen here.
Deep in rural county Sligo – but only half an hour from Knock airport – Temple House is a magnificent sprawling mansion that has been in the same family for 350 years. History oozes from every pore – there’s even the ruins of a 13th century Knights Templar castle in the grounds – and this is a place that certainly knows how to lay on a great formal dinner. You’ll want pretty formal dress to feel comfortable as you gather for drinks in the morning room and progress through to the grand dining hall for four-course feasts under the approving gaze of countless ancestral portraits. The meal is table d’hote – to get an idea of what’s on offer look at a sample menu here – but special tastes are also catered for. Wolsey Lodges’ Irish contingent certainly show us how it should be done.
That’s it for this selection. There are other Wolsey Lodges who offer evening meals and they’re invariably excellent. Find them by looking on our website and filtering on the map by clicking on the knife-and-fork icon. With Wolsey Lodges you are in safe hands.