As it’s Chris’ birthday in December, and he’s very difficult to buy for, I had to get creative to organise presents for 2 occasions in such close proximity! To make matters worse, it was his 30th as well, so I wanted to do something special. Cue a meal and night away to celebrate, and escape the dramas of Christmas, and our recent engagement. (It was all go in December! – hence this post is only just going out…) Widbrook Grange hotel was the perfect place to relax and enjoy the occasion.
I wanted somewhere small and friendly – and a little different. After a lot of googling, downloading menu PDFs and checking availability, I finally settled on Widbrook Grange. I booked over the phone, and the staff are friendly, and very happy to help with your requests (I ordered champagne for the room, and was able to write a note to be left with it!). So, I booked a meal in The Kitchen, and an overnight stay in an upgraded room – it was a special occasion after all! – and crossed everything (fingers, toes, eyes…) that it would be as good as the website photos suggest. And luckily, I wasn’t disappointed!
We left home late on Saturday 9th December – later than planned – even through neither of us had work that day. After we’d packed, and Chris had sufficiently recovered from his work Christmas party the night before, it was more like 6pm rather than 5pm as I’d intended, but we arrived in plenty of time before our table (booked for 8pm). There was a quick tour around the downstairs of Widbrook Grange (restaurant, bar, lounges), and we were shown to our room to drop off our bags.
Our room, the ‘Music Room’, was spacious, including a very large and comfy bed, a bath and a shower and lots of space to spare.
The vintage music theme added an individual touch to the décor, and I particularly liked the bathroom sink perched (securely) on an old bike, and our teas & coffees being presented in a violin case, along with some tasty biscuits. Very impressed with our surroundings, we headed down to the bar for pre-dinner drinks.
The bar is small, and fairly dimly lit, with a rustic theme. It suits the small space perfectly, and feels at once exclusive and inviting. The staff are excellent, very knowledgeable about the drinks, and very happy to recommend based on your preferences. I say this particularly, as there is a very extensive array of drink choices, particularly gins – of which there are pages, quite literally. Have a look through their gin menu here and you’ll see what I mean. If gin is your kind of thing, Widbrook Grange is definitely for you. If only for the bar…
Except it’s not just the bar. They also do dinner, and they do it very well. The restaurant, like the bar, is small, but perfect for the size of the hotel. The room feels spacious and uncluttered, and there is plenty of room between tables. Here food is created and savoured, rather than crammed in as it arrives off the assembly line.
We ordered Game Trio and Rabbit & Local Ham Ballotine to start, followed by Fillet of Beef and Green Crusted Venison Lion for main, and two Trio of Chocolate desserts (unfortunately we are very predictable when it comes to sugar). We also chose a bottle of red wine from the list – Negroamaro Del Salento – which was delicious with the food.
The food was without fault, and not lacking in quantity either. The game starter was a particular highlight, and though served beautifully and well-proportioned, I could definitely have eaten more of the cured venison. The mains were equally good, each paired with a sauce that complimented the meat perfectly. The desserts rounded off the meal well, and the birthday message on Chris’ plate was a really nice personal touch. After eating, we returned to the bar for another drink, and then headed off to bed – so comfortable, we almost didn’t want to get up in the morning!
However, in the morning, we were greeted by a barrage of frenzied texts from friends and family about the heavy snow – and to be careful when driving home. We rushed to the window with childlike excitement, only to discover heavy rain instead. Well, you can’t have it all!
Breakfast was an excellent start to the day, with plenty of choice, including an array of cereals and freshly cooked local produce. All of our food was delicious and perfectly cooked – and I highly recommend having the sausages!
Having refuelled, we set off back to a very snowy Swindon and more birthday celebrations. Overall, we had a fantastic meal and stay at Widbrook Grange, and would definitely recommend it. In fact, we bought vouchers for Chris’ family for Christmas – and are confident that they will enjoy it as much as we did.
Widbrook Grange Hotel, Trowbridge Road, Bradford on Avon, BA15 1UH, 01225 864750
Open all week.
Cost for bed & breakfast £185, 3 course meal for two £60 (see voucher pages)
Food – 9/10
Room – 8/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
Value for money – 9/10