For all of the shortcomings, 2020 has given us the year of the staycation. With plane travel now less desirable than ever, it is the ideal time to explore those places in the UK that are beyond your own back garden. When Nyetimber very kindly offered us the chance to experience their Summer House at Hampton Manor, it was the perfect opportunity to transport ourselves away for two days of culinary escapism.
Nestled within 45 acres of beautiful rolling pastures and thick woodland, Hampton Manor is the crown of Hampton-in-Arden; a tiny village that sits about twenty minutes outside of Solihull. Considering the M42 and Birmingham International Airport are just a stones’ throw away, this belt of the West Midlands feel incredibly peaceful and green. The manor house itself is very grand and there is certainly a sense of excitement as you head through the driveway to the reception area.
Stays follow a Great British Staycation format; three days at the estate carefully crafted to please any foodie. It was a really nice touch; we got to know a few of the guests and it was a great sense of community at a time when lockdown has us all a bit deflated. Temperatures are taken upon arrival and COVID measures are all observed. We felt very safe and the team were all fantastic; a real highlight of the stay. Enthusiastic, knowledgeable and eager to help where they could, it was delivered in a way that made our stay feel like a second home rather than a visit to a hotel.
While the interior has plenty of beautiful touches and certainly has a few wow factors, the main draw of Hampton Manor is the food and drink. The aforementioned Nyetimber Summer House is a real attraction here; it is such a beautiful well-lit space that serves as both a breakfast and lunch venue. Nyetimber’s award-winning collection of English sparkling wines are served by both the glass and the bottle and, if weather permits, Hampton Manor also offer you the chance to have an afternoon tea picnic that you can enjoy anywhere on its grounds.
For dinner there are two options that are both meticulously cared for by chef Rob Palmer and his team of maestros. On the first evening, we had an immersive experience at Smokes restaurant within the walled gardens. You sit down for dinner within the very Victorian greenhouses that grow your produce. Eating amongst the tomato vines was an amazing sensory experience; probably helped by a beautiful Goat’s Cheese and Beetroot Salad followed by a ridiculously well-prepared Barbeque Glazed Smoked Celeriac. Vegetables have rarely tasted this good and it was such a lovely way to connect the produce to the finished dish.
On the second, and final evening, we had dinner at Peel’s; a Michelin-star restaurant within the main house which offers a very comprehensive tasting menu and wine flight that really introduced some amazing ethical wines that all had a great backstory. Our six vegetarian courses were absolutely delectable; the standout plates definitely being the Potato with Herb Butter or the Pumpkin with Fennel, Honey and Mustard.
During your stay there is plenty to keep you busy away from the restaurants and the Summer House. The wine tasting was casual and not intimidating at all; a very accessible way to discover natural wines that have probably never crossed your path. Outside there are lawn games and tours of the walled gardens, as well as plenty of woodland walks if you need to stretch your legs. Inside, the Parlour is a real hub of activity in the evenings with board games, books and plenty of music to keep you busy. If you fancy something else after all of that Nyetimber and wine, then Fred’s Bar is the place to be. Ask the barman to whip you up a cocktail or take part in a game of Bar Billiards (which might just be my new favourite game).
Stay at Hampton Manor from £360pp for 2 nights with dinner on both nights, bed and breakfast and inclusive of a complimentary wine tasting. The Nyetimber Summer House is open to both guests and the public until the end of September. Our stay was complimentary as we were guest of Nyetimber with no obligation the write this review.