I’ve been craving a weekend away for months now; with summer just around the corner, the need for a break and escape from daily routine had been on the cards for a while. All I need is a big comfy bed, a bathroom right out of my Pinterest dreams, and some really delicious food to indulge in, so when I was asked to visit the recently refurbished Clevedon Hall, there was no time wasted in accepting a night away.
Clevedon is only 40 minutes away from where I live, which is crazy as for all the time I’ve lived in this part of the country I’ve never visited the town, rather driving to Bristol, Weston-Super-Mare or Devon instead for day trips or holidays. Knowing I was going to be attending a tucked away haven so close to home was lovely, especially since I discovered it was the exact location One Direction shot their ‘You & I’ music video – but more on that another time….
Before we’d even got to the front door, we were welcomed by a baby deer running out into the road, which continued to stare us out down the road until we’d arrived at the car park – obviously we’d interrupted it’s afternoon bounce around the site. Later we found out that there are actually 13 deer and stags on the site of the hall, who are free to roam so when you do spot one, everyone gets a bit excited!
On first impressions, you can tell the hall has and is currently going through a transitional phase; the hall itself is very grand – think Downton Abbey – and is surrounded by lovely green areas, a huge lake and trees, however there are still remains of buildings set up on the land in the last 20 years that are a little dated but these are somewhat hidden away if you’re in the right area of the hall.
Clevedon Hall has only in the last few years added bedrooms to the building, primarily being a family home until the late 1990’s and then been transformed into an events space for weddings and conferences. Weddings are an important event so feeling prepared by staying the night before and after on location is a great move by Clevedon, especially with all the detail gone into the design of each room. Each of the 25 bedrooms and suites have been individually designed and reflective of the space, so I was more than thrilled to be staying in an all blue bedroom. A huge queen sized bed was more than enough for me to spread out on, plus there was a TV ready to watch the coverage of Kate and Will’s new baby on – just in time for them to bring the Princess out on the steps as well!
The best bit for me though? The bathroom. I am a bathroom fanatic, and I’m also very picky when it comes to design and cleanliness of a space, but I was more than happy with ours. Again all blue in colour, we had a huge built in bath with a marbled top running along the outside to house all my toiletries, plus a very large walk in shower that I made the most of. The simple attention to details was amazing, plus the Japanese toilet was an interesting touch – a heated toilet seat is something I could get used to. The mix of Victorian character and modern features was right up my street, however I did wish there was more surface space by the sink for doing makeup and washing my face as I had to keep going back and forth from the bath to fetch my products.
As the evening event began, we were able to meet the staff who were heading up the new design overhaul and hear about their future plans for the hall, whilst learning about the history of the building. Topped off with freshly made courses from the in-house chef, I was more than ready to have a nose around the bedrooms before indulging in many, many courses of food – although my dress wouldn’t let you know that 😉
We had the chance to view one of the larger suites on offer at the hall, which came with a huge curved window and separate meeting room for those who required it if using the hall for events. The views from the room were beautiful, overlooking the small lake and gardens, and the roll-top bath was a beautiful touch too. As I said, all the bedrooms are uniquely designed, and the first room had a very regal feel to it which rightly so as it apparently used to house the original tenant’s mistress back in the 1800’s.
Another bedroom we saw took a more muted green tone, and was housed in the corner of the house through windy corridors and stairs – this adds a nice private touch I feel if you’re staying for a wedding, that you can escape away from the party and liveliness to relax in bed with ease. It’s safe to say that all the bathrooms and bedrooms are all different sizes, and whilst our room was more snug but a great size it was lovely to have a larger bathroom – however there was one room which had a double walk in shower, plus a massive bath; that’s something I need in my life, just because I like bathrooms too much.
After our tour, we got to talk to James who was the Operations Manager at the hall to discover more about what the long-term goals for Clevedon were. I was delighted to hear that an on-location spa was going to be built in the near future (a lovely touch for wedding guests), and that the old buildings that we saw on our way in were to be taken down and pave way for cottages that people can rent out for added privacy and tranquility. James also discussed how the bedroom renovations was just the start, as there are plans to bring all the decor up to date to lighten and bright the space more – currently the main hall and wedding area is quite dark so this will improve it leaps and bounds.
The most important feature for me I felt was the food, of course. James told me that the head chef and kitchen worked with events and wedding parties to create bespoke menus for all, from recreating your Grandfather’s famous pie to serving up a delicious freshly made Salted Caramel ice-cream, you could ask for anything and everything and they will work hard to make it a reality. This made me all the more excited for dinner, and as everything is sourced as local as possible and handmade from scratch in the kitchens, you know it won’t disappoint.
After many rounds of canapés – the Beetroot swirls were delicious – we finally made our way into the Dame Rosa Burden room for dinner. I loved that we were all sat with a member of the hall to discuss the food and plans for the location, plus with other guests of various careers to share the delights of food and discuss our rooms – we’re all nosey here. Luckily we were by one of the large curved windows overlooking the garden, and managed to spot more deers running around!
The food, oh the food, I was so impressed. I am a huge lover of cooking, but there’s something about someone cooking for you and each course being a surprise that makes the whole process much more exciting. Of course, starting off with a course of breads and oil to dip was a treat but we had another four courses to enjoy, the first being a whipped bisque of Artichoke and Garlic; it tasted so substantial even though was a small amount, very meaty for a vegetarian option, and bursting with flavour.
Our starter was even more spectacular, a mixed salad with delicious oily Artichokes, Avocado (yes), greens, and Tomatoes. Basically, my heaven on a plate, I could have had another few servings. Wonderfully balanced and a mix of textures that felt fresh yet substantial, I was constantly making yummy noises throughout eat bite – that’s when you know it’s a good meal.
Our mains were even more spectacular, a delicious Vegetarian Risotto with Creme Fraiche and what I’m still adamant about now, an orange undertone. It tasted like jaffa cakes, but was a lot more fresh and really complimented the sour edge of the cream, however I couldn’t finish it all as I’m not great with creamy dishes plus I wanted to save some room for dessert – priorities you know?
I don’t think I have words to describe how delicious dessert was, a blend of Chocolate Melt in the Middle Cake (the best kind), Honeycomb Ice-Cream (made fresh) with big chunks of Honeycomb (also made on site) with a Salted Caramel Crisp; I mean, you can’t top that. I don’t treat myself to a dessert often but this was easily Top 3 of all the ones I’ve ever had – it goes to show that a chef with attention to detail, a passion for flavour and making things fresh on the day creates a mouth water end to the evening.
To top it all off, I settled down with a few cups of peppermint tea and two handmade truffles (heaven is a place on earth) before promptly crawling into bed at an extremely late hour for me. As we had to check out relatively early the next day, I made use of both the shower and bath in the morning which a totally luxurious experience – I may not be a bath person but I enjoyed the total relaxation after a very late night.
Breakfast was as varied as dinner, from a Full English to Croissants, there was even an option to have freshly cooked eggs as you liked them. I didn’t see if they made porridge at request, but I was so full from the night before I was more than okay with a banana (I did have porridge when I got home though, don’t worry).
Overall, our time in Clevedon was enjoyable; the only downsides were that we hardly got any sleep as our room was by a fire exit which people were running up and down until nearly 2am, leaving me with about 5 hours sleep which was difficult to function on. There were also some room details which were a bit off-putting, such as our room having only one mirror and also lacking a full-length one which when hosting wedding guests would be an important aspect, plus our toilet broke in the morning and when we notified the cleaners, it was already know that our room had the ‘broken’ toilet so it would have been nice to have been told about the issue.
Other than that, the bathroom was spot on in terms of design, the bedroom was cosy, the food was out of this world, and the staff were more than helpful and enthusiastic about the hall’s progress as a place for events and weddings. It was lovely to explore the grounds and the surrounding town, plus the plans for the future of Clevedon Hall are exciting enough to make me want to visit again. I can definitely see why it is a success as a wedding venue, and hopefully in five years time when more has been achieved with the hall, I would consider it a place myself to have a wedding.
It’s amazing what a night away can do – you can eat delicious food, indulge in beautiful bathrooms, and maybe spot a deer or three. Clevedon Hall has a lot to offer, and with food like this being served most weekends, I’d be more than happy to visit again to taste the menu on offer. With work here and there, Clevedon Hall is on it’s way to being a top wedding and events location, and with big comfy beds and baths you could sleep in you’ll be more than happy with your weekend escape.
Have you ever visited Clevedon or a beachside town in Somerset? Are you a fan of big bathrooms? Which one of these dishes would you dive straight into?
Lots of Love,
This trip was complimentary, however all views and opinions are my own and do not reflect those of Clevedon Hall.
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