Howards House Country Hotel can be found in Teffont Evias, one of the quaintest and most picturesque villages I`ve visited in all of South West England! Set within a wonderfully peaceful position in the Nadder Valley, quite unexpectedly, the short drive from the bustling A303 to this hotel was amazingly quiet and incredibly charming. Having just won the prestigious Cesar Award, Romantic Hotel of the Year 2010 (Good Hotel Guide) this accolade, in our minds, set the scene for what we had to look forward to during our stay at Howards House Hotel.
Upon arrival, the proprietor Noele Thompson greeted us and we felt the hotel had an immediately relaxing, warm and friendly feel. She showed us to our sizeable en-suite double bedroom, which had a fantastic view overlooking the immaculate secluded garden. It seemed extremely comfortable with lovely touches including a tempting fruit bowl, bottles of still and sparkling water, mouth watering homemade cookies and a box full of goodies should guests require tea, coffee and hot chocolate on demand. As well as all that, luxury toiletries from The White Company were provided for guests to use in the bathroom.
That evening we enjoyed a pre-dinner drink in the sitting room by the log fire and then went onto experience a divine three-course meal chosen from the á la carte menu in the restaurant. Each dish was beautifully presented and on both nights I had the open crab lasagne to start with, it`s one of my favourite dishes so I really wanted to make the most of it! For my main course on the first night I sampled the pork dish and on our second night we both had the rib eye steak, which was by far our favourite dish, as it was just incredible and cooked perfectly to our different likings. Lastly, for dessert, we would definitely recommend the chocolate fondant; again, it was to die for. Head Chef Nick Wentworth is the brain behind what`s produced in the kitchen, it`s his passion that shines through, and his attention to detail combined with his creative mind is what makes his food such a pleasure to eat. We too liked that there was a great deal of choice for every guest where one could choose dishes from three different menus including an á la carte, table d’hote or if up to the challenge guests could sample the hotel`s tasting menu! The restaurant is also open to non-hotel guests and it was lovely to see couples and a few small groups, obviously regulars, enjoying their gastronomic feasts too.
This spring the hotel has compiled some great events for foodies to indulge in to celebrate the very finest of local produce. The hotel are welcoming guests and non-hotel guests to join the Howard`s House Dining Club where they will enjoy a themed dinner every two months, the first is an Italian night on 29 June. There is also a lunch special where two people can enjoy a three-course lunch, wine and coffee for just £59 and from May onwards the hotel will be celebrating the opening of their new terrace which means alfresco dining will also be on the menu should guests request it. In addition the hotel is offering a selection of gourmet hampers for guests to take with them down to riverbank or on many of the superb walks in the Nadder Valley.
One walk we can certainly recommend trying is through Dinton Park and Teffont Evias (walk 14). We walked out from the hotel, into glorious parkland that overlooked an elegant Georgian mansion called Philipps House, we passed through lush meadows and wooded land, returning into the pretty village of Teffont Evias with its mellowed stone houses and sparkling chalk stream. During the 3.5 mile walk it allowed us to build up quite a thirst and we were recommended The Compasses Inn, in Chicksgrove, a gorgeous old pub with a small but pleasant beer garden to have a drink in.
We think visiting Howards House Hotel in spring summer is the perfect time to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, as it means you can really make the most of the fabulous weather, relaxing walks, popular fishing and shooting spots and seeing the odd National Trust or English Heritage property if that takes your fancy. Whatever season you choose to visit Howard’s House Hotel, its country home from home comforts and friendly staff will welcome you.
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