I’ve decided that the end of summer is the perfect time to go on holiday. You’ve made the most of any British summer sun (this year was particularly good to us), missed the school holiday crush and had the chance to grab some summer holiday essentials in the sales. This year, we planned a whole week of holiyay fun (see my post on Estepona to find out what we got up to in the latter part of the week), kicking things off with a visit to check out Brooks Country House Hotel.
Brooks Country House is the newest addition to Brooks hotels – a selection of gorgeous little hotels, each one with its unique style (remember the rooftop caravans?). It’s also their first countryside offering, so we were especially excited to see how their city chic had transformed into country charm. We hopped into the car on a grey Friday afternoon and a mere hour later we were cruising along sunny Hertfordshire lanes and pulling into the long drive that led to the main house.
We were shown to our room, which was exactly what I’d hoped it would be – clean and simple with unusual details and a bed I couldn’t wait to sink into. It was so peaceful – all you could see from the window were rolling hills and the occasional sheep.
We booked in for dinner at 7 and then instantly set to exploring. I’d heard that the grounds held some fun surprises and I wanted to find them for myself! After a quick game of table tennis in the games room we stumbled across the swimming pool, complete with a giant chess set and beautiful deep blue tables and chairs, perfect for enjoying a sunny afternoon.
On the other side of the swimming pool wall we spied some vineyards, which produce the hotel’s very own wine (more on that later). Rounding a corner on the way back to our room, we found ourself in some gorgeous gardens, leading to the bar and lounge areas – both Jon and I fell a little bit in love with the vintage suitcase coffee tables and stags heads adorning the walls.
We headed down to the dining room for dinner, which was the perfect rural English setting – all deep mahogany with big windows looking out onto the darkening landscape and books lining the walls. The menu was small but perfectly-formed – although there were only a few dishes, we struggled to decide between them and each course was expertly cooked and presented.
My particular fave was the smoked chicken, fennel, mint and orange salad – the flavours combined to make one hell of a tasty dish. We also tried some of the wine from the vineyard – it would have been rude not to, right? – which was the best way to complete the meal. We’re quite the fans of dry wines and this one ticked all the boxes, without being too overpowering.
After a delightful night’s sleep I got up early on Saturday morning to hit the pool – despite the chilly early-Autumn temperatures, I simply couldn’t leave without trying it out. It was such a refreshing way to start the day, and a big pile of cuddly towels waiting for me when I got out made it worth risking the cool water!
Overall, Brooks Country House was the perfect way to start our holiyay week of fun. As we headed off to our next destination, it seemed crazy that it had been less than 24 hours since we’d left the hustle and bustle of Bristol – the quite countryside location and luxurious feel of the hotel had left us feeling relaxed and refreshed, ready to enjoy the next part of our trip. I’d highly recommend it as a weekend escape from the city – whether you fancy spending your days wandering around the green countryside or snuggled up with a book in the lounge area, this country house has it all.