Disclaimer – I was not paid or given anything free for this review, in fact they had no idea I was going to review them! All thoughts will always be my own.
This week saw me turn 43 *gulp* and GF Daddy pulled it out of the bag! He took me for a family retreat to Wotton House in Dorking. This 17th century estate is off the beaten track and probably somewhere you don’t just ‘discover’ unless you are planning a wedding. But 8 years ago that’s exactly what me and GF Daddy were doing………..we had been to see about 6 venues and didn’t like anything (or at least anything in our price range), GF Daddy exclaimed he just wanted somewhere with lots of green and a sweeping driveway!!! This venue had it in abundance and 8 years ago this is where me and GF Daddy said “I do”.
8years on and he brought me back for my 43rd birthday now with 2 kids in tow. As we drove down the long sweeping driveway (there is an 8 & 3/4 speed limit) it is more beautiful than I remember it on our wedding day and thanks to a complete update inside and out it looks really impressive.
We arrived at around 3pm and were given our family room. A lovely big bed for me and GF Daddy (normally hotel beds feel a bit pokey to us as we have a superking at home but this was lovely) and two single fold downs for the kids.
Unfortunately it was a bit petrol smelling in our room upon arrival as they stated they had something happening with their oil supply, however, they couldn’t have tried harder, we were immediately changed rooms and the reception staff took all our belongings for us while we went and enjoyed a swim in the hotel pool. There was absolutely no inconvenience to us at all.
The hotel pool runs sessions when children are allowed to swim, they cannot just rock up at any time. I understand this as the hotel houses many business clients and weddings where folk just want to unwind without kids splashing around the pool. Though accept that this is an adult first hotel as some elderly clientele still did some nice loud tutting at the presence of our kids. I didn’t get a great shot of the pool because there was another family who probably didn’t want to end up on a blog photo in their swimmers
The pool was kept at a lovely warm temperature, had a spa pool (for over 18’s only) and sauna. The changing area was typical of private gyms but was very spacious and kept clean. We had an hour and half session in the pool before it was time to get ready for dinner.
GF Daddy had pre-booked us a table for a pub called The Wotton Hatch. This is a 10/15 minute walk up the winding hotel driveway. Its a road walk up, through cattle gates and on grass verges so if you are taking prams etc you might want to drive. However if you can walk, its a really nice amble past some lovely fields to get to the pub. We were booked for a 5.30pm dinner so we were some of the only people in the restaurant. Dinner was nothing short of amazing.
Being GF’ers is always problematic when eating out but this place has it sorted. All the staff were incredible and we are even given an iPad with all the meals containing gluten removed from the choices. This was the same for the children’s menu also, which is normally something that gets overlooked.
Me and GF Daddy ordered the burgers, this is definitely something that GF Daddy misses since going gluten free and they didn’t disappoint. The photo is of my gluten version but GF Daddy’s had a GF bun and no mac and cheese but was still as tasty.
Boo had Chicken breast strips which we swapped from a flour tortilla to a side portion of chips and carrot sticks. Hiccup had the Beef Burger Sliders, he opted to go bunless but they did offer him gluten free bread, this also came with chips and carrot sticks and plenty of ketchup. Both of these meals went down a storm with the kids.
Puddings are far and away my favourite part of a meal (I was never destined to be svelte) and the Wotton Hatch had the loveliest dessert menu. After a lot of deliberation I chose to have the Melting Chocolate and Peanut Bombe, a chocolate shell housing a sticky toffee pudding inside and accompanied with peanut butter cream, bourbon vanilla ice cream, salted caramel sauce and some delicate edible flowers. This was absolutely gorgeous and i do love a bit of table theater where they melted the bombe with the sauce for me. Never before has a pudding beaten me but i did have to admit defeat on this and leave some. This wasn’t gluten free though the sticky toffee pudding was GF so i am sure they could have accommodated this to be GF if you needed.
Hiccup chose to have a GF chocolate brownie (yes that is a children’s portion in the photo!) with vanilla ice cream. GF Daddy and Boo chose to have the GF apple and rhubarb crumble with vanilla custard. Amazing! I have never seen a crumble on a menu be gluten free as standard so this was very exciting for my two custard lovers. The were presented in lovely saucepans (the kids portion was so cute in a milk pan) with a side jug of custard.
Our entire bill for 4 people’s 2 course meals and drinks came to £65 which is absolutely brilliant in my book (especially for Surrey which always seems 10 x more expensive than the rest of the country!). However the absolute best bit of the meal at Wotton Hatch was the staff and how amazing they were with Boo and Hiccup. The pub manager (I think) spent our entire time there laughing and joking with the kids and making the entire meal feel easy and fun.
A nice walk back to the hotel and it was time for some night time photos and bed for the kids, which in turn meant it was bedtime for us.
The next morning it was the hotels turn to show us their gold stripes with their amazing gluten free breakfast. There was a buffet breakfast of cereals, fruit, juices, cooked breakfasts and continental meat & cheese platters. The hostess was lovely and let the kids pick their table and then talked us through all the options explaining that the only thing we couldn’t eat off the hot buffet was sausages. Boo was very excited that they had a gluten free granola (her favourite) and Hiccup just wanted sausage. Two very happy children! GF Daddy is always happy where there is bacon and beans and I am equally as excited to eat egg and mushrooms. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of the breakfast as we woofed it all down pretty quickly – blame the fresh Dorking air!
After breakfast we headed back to the pool for a couple of hours before checking out. We then spent the next couple of hours wandering the grounds taking lots of pictures in all the places that held special memories for us from our wedding day, plus some sneaky decorating inspiration.
The newly renovated Old Library looks amazing for weddings. This is the room where we got married and the addition of new wooden flooring has definitely made it spectacular. Photos of our wedding day in the Old Library and the room as it looks now:
For art lovers, or lovers of something a bit quirky this hotel is a must as all over the hotel there are small areas to sit and find your thoughts with beautiful objet d’art and stunning design features. I particularly like the repeated use of old keys around the hotel.
The grounds are sweeping and beautiful, if you manage to book a wedding for the sunnier months you can even get married outside in their Italian Gardens setting. We used this as a backdrop for photos when we got married here. The kids enjoyed this time to let off some steam and run around the acres of gardens.
All in all this was the most amazing overnight birthday I have had. Wotton House is more spectacular and beautiful than it was 8 years ago and I would recommend it for any occasion.