“ Address: High Street / Moreton-in-Marsh / Gloucestershire / GL560AW / England „
In June 2009, it was my girlfriends 21st birthday, and I decided there would be nothing nicer than taking her away for the weekend. The trouble was that by the time I had decided this, and checked with her whether she would be around that weekend, it was leaving it a bit late to book somewhere. The hardest thing was I didn't have a clue where to take her. I wanted somewhere romantic, quiet and in the countryside where we could do quite a bit of walking as this is something we both love. I had heard about the Cotswolds before and had understood that it was a nice area with lots of little villages, so I decided that it might be nice to try and arrange to go there for the weekend, as neither myself or my girlfriend had been there before.
I looked up a website all about the cotswolds and it had a massive list of all the villages that can be found in the area, so I took a random stab in the dark and clicked on one, Moreton-in-Marsh. The page it took me to detailed a little bit about the local area and listed the hotels and guest houses that are there... not many (3 hotels I think). The first hotel I rang said they had no rooms available for that weekend so I called the Redesdale Arms, who told me that they only had an executive double available. I snapped it up!
Redesdale Arms Hotel
The Redesdale Arms Hotel is a magnificent old Inn, dating back to at least 1661 and my first impressions on seeing the hotel from the outside was that it was exactly what I was looking for. Most of the buildings in the area were built from Cotswold Stone, and the hotel was no different, it had a very olde world feel about it and is situated prominently on the main road through Moreton-in-Marsh.
The booking process was easy. I simply called the hotel and enquired about the availability of rooms for the weekend of 20th June 2009. I was informed that they only had an executive double room available, so I took it. All they wasnted over the phone was obviously my name and my credit card number, although no deposit was taken. I requested them to email me a booking confirmation just so that I could be sure that everything was booked and sorted. This duly arrived a few days later. The girl I spoke to on the phone was very friendly and courteous, and this left me with high hopes that we were going to have a lovely weekend.
Getting there for us was pretty easy, it was a straight train from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh and took about an hour and three quarters. From the station the hotel was easy to find, we just followed the signs to the high street, walked down the high street for a few minutes and there it was, large as life, right in front of us. By car its also easy, simply take the A429 from the M40 or from the M4, alternatively take the A44 from the M5, I don't drive, but there is a big car park at the back of the hotel in which you can park.
And so we had arrived at our hotel, bubbling over with excitement at the quaint exterior, I led my girlfriend into a dark passageway towards the reception desk. Instantly we both felt that we had stepped back in time. Everything was as it should be, a perfect balance between old and new. There was nobody on reception when we walked in, so we quickly dinged an old fashioned little bell on the desk and within seconds, a lady came scuttling to help us. I just gave her my name and she took us to our room. We were led further down the passageway, past the restaurant, and outside again at the back of the hotel, across the car park towards a block of what looked like converted stables or something. She led us to the far one, and turned the key in the lock.
What met us on opening the door was a BIG surprise! We not only had the biggest bedroom and bed that I had ever seen (it was practically two double beds pushed together), but we also had our very own private living room, which was also pretty big, a kitchen area, a fantastic bathroom with bath, a balcony and a little summerhouse area! Practically we had a whole apartment. What I thought was expensive before we set out suddenly seemed very reasonable!
On a table in the living room was a decanter full to the top with sherry and two glasses. There was a note with this saying it was complimentary and to please help ourselves. We wasted no time at all in polishing this off, and very tasty it was too!
We wasted no time in exploring our apartment and commenting on the cleanliness and the old fashioned slanting ceilings, I went to examine the bathroom and couldnt find a single stray hair or mark anywhere, I was very impressed, on going back into the living room I noticed Sarah had disappeared, I hunted for her and eventually found her sitting in the little summer house area which she said was her favourite part after the big bed.
The living room was big enough for two sofas and an armchair, and the kitchen was well stocked with the usual tea, coffee (fresh and dried), a coffee maker, kettle, milk, hot chocolate, biscuits etc, it even had a fridge which was well stocked with bottles of still and sparkling water.
After thoroughly exploring the apartment we settled down on the sofa to rest our tired legs and put our feet up with a glass of sherry to watch the freeview television on a really nice LCD tv. The bedroom also had a freeview tv.
The bed was extremely comfortable, and I probably had the best nights sleep I have had in a long time, thanks in part to the blinds in the roof window which provided complete black out conditions. When we woke up in the morning, it was still pitch black in the room, despite the fact that I knew it was sunshine outside, in fact, Sarah thought it was still night time and told me to go back to sleep, the only time she realised was when I suggested we go for breakfast!
The hotel is fantastic for dining, there is quite a large bar at the front of the hotel which offers a cosy atmosphere with sofas and armchairs, and a large fireplace, you can sit in there for a drink or you can also eat in there too. We had booked a table in the restaurant for 7pm, which was for a three course dinner included in the cost of our accomodation.
At around 6pm we went down and had a glass of wine each in the bar (I had two!) we both found ourselves commenting on how we were really enjoying our stay already and on how friendly and polite the staff were. We discovered that they were even more attentive when just before 7pm, a young lady came to collect us from the bar and take us to our table, we were even more impressed when she carried our drinks for us!
We were led into one of two restaurant areas, where we were shown to a lovely table near the window at the back, with a nice view out onto the garden and patio area. We were brought our menus and also a dish of bread with butter and olive oil. The bread was still hot and seemed as though it had been freshly made, it certainly was delicious!
We both had a starter, I had Brandy Flamed Chicken Livers, and Sarah had Home made Soup of the Day, which on that day was tomato and pesto flavour. We both agreed that we were thoroughly delighted by the quality and presentation of our dishes, as well as the helpfullness of the waitress. Everything appeared to have been prepared freshly, and there was nothing left at the end.
Following our starter our main courses were brought. I had Roast Gressingham Duck Breast, and Sarah had Roasted Chicken Breast. We were also brought a gigantic plate of vegetables to have with our meal. Again, we both agreed that our meals were fantastic, but there was so much food that we didnt manage to finish.
Unfortunately I cannot vouch for the quality of the desserts as neither of us was able to manage one, but from seeing some others that were brought to the table next to ours they looked amazing, and very large!
Breakfast again was definitely not a disappointment. We had been told that breakfast was served in the restaurant area at the front of the hotel, which was the other one to the one we had dinner in the previous night. We were quite late for breakfast, arriving at about 9:30, but there was still so much food left that it made us feel quite hungry just looking at it.
I have never seen one person eat so much for breakfast as Sarah did, she had a bowl of cornflakes, followed by a bowl of fresh fruit, a yoghurt and ALL of the toast that was brought to the table (which was meant for both of us). I myself, opted for a cooked breakfast. One thing I particularly liked was that the cooked breakfast was presented as a help yourself buffet, you could have as much or as little of everything as you wanted, and all the bacon, sausages, black pudding and eggs were sourced locally. I think we both went mad with breakfast but it certainly set us up for our day of walking, and again, the quality was unfaultable.
Checking out was as painless as checking in, this time when we arrived at reception there was somebody there who collected our keys and charged my card for the room and a few drinks that I had added to the bill. Thankfully the hotel let us leave our bags in the office for collection later so that we didnt have to carry them around with us all day.
We had an executive double room on a dinner, bed and breakfast rate which cost me £155 for the one night and was well worth every penny.
Alternatively, they have other rates available (as at 09/07/2009)
B&B Room Rates
* Singles from £79.95
* Doubles from £85.00
* Executive Rooms from £105.00
DB&B Room Rates
* Single DBB £104.95
* Double DBB from £135.00
* Executive DBB from £155.00
I know £155 sounded expensive to start with but by the time you factor in that that included a whole apartment, a free decanter of sherry, three course dinner and breakfast it is actually extremely reasonable.
Moreton-in-Marsh is just a small village and there really isnt much to see there that will take you more than half an hour or so, although there are lots of quaint little shops in the high street, a few pubs and a coffee house. We didnt do much other than walk about, but on the Sunday, we did walk to Batsford which is about 2 miles from Moreton-in-Marsh and visited the Batsford Arboretuma nd Falconry centre. This was the nearest thing I could find to the hotel to do and it certainly was a great day out. Ideally if you wanted to see much of the other nearby villages or some more attractions further afield you would need a car as public transport is limited and taxis need to be booked in advance.
Sarah and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Redesdale Arms and we are already talking about visiting again and staying for longer! The weekend certainly was a great one for Sarah's 21st birthday and all I can say is thank you to the Redesdale Arms and all its staff for making our stay so special and memorable.
Tel: 01608 650308
Fax: 01608 651843
Redesdale Arms Hotel
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