Fancy a trip to one of England's finest Coaching Inn's, steeped in history?
Being a local Sussex gal and with spending a lot of my free time travelling to a mixture of both places local and further afield, I'm always on the lookout for new restaurant and hotel hotspots a little closer to home in the Sussex and Surrey areas.
It's always great when you stumble upon a hidden gem that could just be a mere thirty minutes down the road from you.
Recently I was invited down to stay and experience the newly refurbished "The Talbot" a country hotel located in the charming and historic village of Ripley in Surrey. Alex's grandparents live in Ripley so I was already quite aware of The Talbot, a very iconic and intriguing building with its historic exterior laden with lush green vine leaf.
The Talbot is another hotel establishment part of the "bespoke hotels" collection; a four-star hotel with restaurant and garden terrace, frequently referred to as one of England's 'finest coaching inns' and a place full of history.
This historic coaching inn has recently undergone a renovation with a new touch of modern features, however do not not be alarmed, as it still retains many of its quirky characteristics with original oak beams and fireplaces scattered throughout.
Our deluxe room, was located a short walk from reception, via the staircase leading directly to the nine bedrooms located in the main Coaching Inn. These nine rooms all retain their traditional character and original features.
Upon unlocking the door, the first feature that caught my eye were the walls which were soaked in rich dark wood panels and oozed an age of sophisticated romance; ironically history has it that Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton were said to have blossomed a love affair at this very coaching inn back in 1798.
The room was very spacious, with a original feature fireplace and two large, sun-kissed, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Ripley high-street down below. These helped to supply lots of natural light to the room's otherwise, rich dark interior.
The Talbot restaurant menu features modern British a la carte dishes, as well as the traditional gourmet pub classics like rib-eye steak and chips, (extra fluffy and crispy) along with some seafood specialities. There is also an array of pudding options for those inclined to a sweet tooth.. Like me!
During our stay the food on offer was delicious, although I would comment that the menu is rather condensed in its offering with some items quite expensive (starters around the £7 mark), however the price reflects the "gourmet" a la carte food experience you do receive.
Suitable for dining all year round, the Talbot boasts a choice of areas for dining both inside and out; in particular a delightful little courtyard which runs directly down the middle of the Coaching Inn.
Indoors you can chose from the cosy bar area, with its 15th century beams and roaring open log fire, or the restaurant which now features an impressive copper ceiling and glass wall overlooking the terrace and garden - perfect for the summer months!
If your looking for a mini-break in Surrey in relaxed and informal surroundings The Talbot is worth looking into.
I reviewed another hotel, Cantley House Hotel in Wokingham in Berkshire, for Luxury Lifestyle Magazine which is also part of the Bespoke Hotels selection, see my review here.