Old Hunters Lodge
The Old Hunters Lodge, set on the edge of Whipsnade Common, is one of the oldest thatched houses in the village and has been in the same hands since 1981. As well as offering rooms and a restaurant, the venue is fully licensed, and drinkers are as welcome as diners. Had I visited on a warm summer evening, I would have wandered with my drink into the large garden that fronts the building, but as it was wintertime, I settled by the log fire to enjoy my real ale and choose from the range of menus on offer.
In the bar, there is an extensive menu of hot and cold bar snacks and a specials board of ever-changing dishes. There are also two separate restaurants, the larger of which is ideal for functions, parties and wedding receptions, and where both à la carte and set menus are served. These feature traditional English dishes, including roast beef for Sunday lunch, and dishes with European flavour for more formal dining. I opted for the restaurant menu and chose whitebait served with lemon mayonnaise as a starter followed by ethically reared British rose veal, served with a wild mushroom and Madeira cream sauce and accompanied by a side dish of seasonal vegetables. This was a substantial meal, so I resisted the temptation of dessert, and was glad to retire to my comfortable en-suite room. Booking is recommended, especially at weekends.