If you’re after a weekend of other-worldly indulgence or a chance to air your aristocratic ambitions, try The Manor at Weston-on-the-Green. As soon as you turn into the driveway and spy the imposing, ivy-covered country manor, the daily grind will seem a distant memory.
The building itself is more than 900-years-old (with many of the original Saxon and Tudor designs intact), it also appears in the Domesday Book and has been frequented by royalty throughout the ages. There are many stories to tell from within these walls – including that of poor mad Maud, a local nun who fell in love with a monk and met a sticky end. Housekeeping staff are convinced her ghost still wanders the halls, although we have to say the manor didn’t feel the least bit haunted during our stay…
The Manor at Weston-on-the-Green aims to create a home away from home, and with reading rooms, lounges, roaring fires and a resident Labrador – they are certainly on the way there. However, the place does have a formal, exclusive feel that leaves you feeling as though you should be speaking in hushed tones and being frightfully well behaved.
Each of the 32 rooms has been (or is currently being) renovated to an effortlessly elegant standard. Each is fitted out with pastel tones, soft, plush fabrics and stylish touches like vintage books and retro suitcases. The bedrooms all come with soft robes, slippers and REN toiletries.
Set in Oxfordshire’s rolling hills, the hotel makes it easy to get back in touch with nature. But if you’re missing city life, Bicester shopping village and Oxford’s dreamy spires are both a short drive away. Meanwhile, a turn around the hotel’s grounds will reveal a moat, croquet lawns, an outdoor pool and terraces on which to enjoy a typically English cup of tea on a sunny day.
Food and drink:
Dinner is served in The Baron’s Hall, an old monastery that staff believe pre-dates 1066. But when the food arrives, we don’t expect you to look up from your plate.
We tried their tasting menu and each course, be it sweet Dorset crab with pears, sublimely cooked scallops or quail served with heritage beetroot, seemed more heavenly than the last. The manor’s friendly staff are on hand to talk you through the seasonal delights provided by head chef Larry Jayasekara, or recommend the right wines to compliment the flavour combinations on your plate.
Breakfast is served in the hotel’s bright and airy Morning Room (the light streaming from the high windows is enough to clear the most stubborn of cobwebs away), and consists of fresh juices, pastries and coffee to sample while you decide what to devour off the al a carte menu – think eggs Benedict, creamy scrambled eggs or a traditional full English. If you have any room left, the hotel also serves light lunches and elegant afternoon teas – upgrade to a champagne afternoon tea to transform your stack of treats into something even more special.
Price: Rooms start at £180
Address: Northampton Rd, Oxfordshire OX25 3QL, 01869 350621, www.themanorweston.com
Radio Times travel rating: 8/10 A traditional, elegant country house hotel with fine food.