I have been rather busy of late. In fact, the first full weekend I have had in London for months was last weekend and it was blissful not to be travelling anywhere. A few months ago, I'd had a similar run of busy weekends and I was booked in to review The Manor at Weston on the Green in Bicester, near Oxford.
I have to be honest, I was half tempted to cancel it as I was so fed up of not being at home and just wanted a weekend pottering around my flat and more than anything, a massive lie-in. However, I had bought the train tickets for me and my fiance, Steve, and would have felt bad had I cancelled, so we kept the booking and made our way on an early Saturday June morning to Bicester.
I am SO glad we did.
After passing down a lovely country lane, we arrived at The Manor at Weston on the Green and I instantly felt pleased I'd made the journey. The Manor is situated through some big iron gates at the end of a gravel driveway, next to plush and green gardens, and we were presented with a wonderfully inviting big country house that is The Manor. We entered through the big wooden door and were checked in smoothly by friendly staff, who took our bags and showed us to our room on the second floor.
We were given one of the newly renovated suites which featured a sofa and tv on the wall opposite as you entered, a big bed in the middle of the room with a dressing table by the windows looking out onto the courtyard. Off the bedroom was a lovely sized bathroom with large shower, deep bath and lots of Molten Brown toiletries.
We were booked in for afternoon tea at 2pm so after a short relax on the sofa, we went for a wander around the hotel's gardens in the sunshine. The gardens were beautifully pristine and it felt really romantic having a stroll around them. On the opposite side to the gardens, there was The Coach House, which is another part to the hotel, a lovely sheltered seated area and a swimming pool and sun loungers. We would have loved to have gone for a swim (a brave couple already were!) but it was a little too chilly when we visited.
We had a choice of the snug (a small room with sofas and a coffee table) or the restaurant for afternoon tea and decided to be posh and sat in the restaurant at a prettily laid table with white tablecloth, silver cutlery and old-fashioned blue and white china.
We were offered either The Manor (£23) or The Manor Champagne Afternoon Tea (£35) and since it was a Saturday and we were relaxing in the countryside, opted for the champagne afternoon tea. This was the same as The Manor afternoon tea but also included a glass of Laurient Perrier Brut and fresh strawberries and cream.
We were given a pot of The Manor's Morning Blend tea to begin, which was a refreshing blend of Assam and Darjeeling. Then came our champagne, which was deliciously crisp and hugely enjoyable, especially as Laurent Perrier is one of my favourite champagnes.
Our afternoon tea came laid out on a 3-tier cake stand and I have to say, was one of the most appealing looking afternoon teas I've seen.
We were presented with a selection of sandwiches including smoked salmon and cream cheese, cheese and chutney and ham and mustard all on a variety of breads. The chef had also kindly made mine without mayonnaise, which is a huge dislike of mine.
There was a tasty offering of cakes such as chocolate and nut, raspberry cream sponge, praline tarts and macaroons. Along with homemade scones of course, of which we were given a choice of both plain and sultana, with clotted cream and jam. We managed to finish off the whole cake stand, apart from one scone each, and thought we did pretty well especially since we had dinner booked that evening!
It was all delicious and for £35 including a glass of champagne, I think it was very reasonable for afternoon tea and you'd often pay a lot more than that for much less quality produce.
We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the communal sofas, reading (Steve) and writing (me), and treated ourselves to a glass of wine around 6pm before making the short walk to our room to get ready for dinner.
I absolutely loved my afternoon at The Manor at Weston on the Green and it was one of my favourite Saturday afternoons in a long time. Just me, Steve, the countryside and a wonderfully relaxing hotel. And cakes, of course.
Look out for my review of dinner at The Manor soon.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Manor at Weston on the Green.
Weston Manor Hotel, The Manor at Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire, OX25 3QL.
* A suite like ours on a Saturday night in September is available for £345 *Suggest a correction