Down Hall Hotel & Spa
Matching Road, Hatfield Heath, CM22 7AS
Relax and unwind in the beautiful surroundings of the one of the UK’s most established country house hotels. The Down Hall estate was established in 1322 and now serves as a luxury country house hotel and spa, boasting landscaped gardens, a tranquil spa, and a variety of excellent dining options. Upon entering the hotel, take a moment to take in the character of the place and admire the ornately decorated ceilings, the crystal chandeliers and the careful balance of old and new which permeates the decor. If you’re visiting during summer, be sure to pre-order one of the chef’s gourmet picnic hampers. Available from May until September, these baskets are packed with your choice of classic British treats. The hotel’s terrace also provides a great place to drink and dine during the summertime. Bring a group of friends and chill out at the outdoor bar, where there’s a selection of beer, wine, Champagne and cocktails available, as well as over 25 gins. In recent years, Down Hall has developed a great reputation for its afternoon teas. After taking a seat in Ibbetson’s tea lounge, you’ll be served a selection of freshly prepared sandwiches, scones and cakes alongside your chosen tea, with flavours ranging from Earl Grey to apple cinnamon. The crowning jewel of Down Hall is The Grill Room. Decorated with Italian wood flooring, vintage light fixtures and dark wood tables, this restaurant retains the charm of the 14th-century manor while offering a relaxed dining experience. The menu is inspired by traditional British cuisine and crafted with the finest local ingredients, many of which come from the hotel’s own vegetable garden. Begin by perusing the starters: the roasted white onion soup is packed with flavour, while the heritage tomato salad – served with olives, apple and blood orange – is wonderfully refreshing. For your main, select a dish from the grill; perhaps a juicy sirloin or a succulent marinated lamb steak. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something different, why not try the guinea fowl, or the vegetarian Parmesan gnocchi? Finally, end the evening with a sumptuous dessert – the tonka bean panna cotta is especially popular – or one of the restaurant’s mouth-watering cheeseboards.