Woolley Grange Hotel
affordable upper-crust menus served in a fairytale surroundings
Camelot and Shangri-La, Brigadoon and Avalon – even before we’re through the gates, I know I’ve found my version of… well, for want of yet another analogy, the house in the middle of the forest in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But Woolley Grange is most definitely not a figment of my imagination, nor a hallucination, nor a delightful dream. To the contrary, this country house (a former Jacobean manor, no less) hotel and restaurant is a thoroughly modern, down-to-earth, all-things-to-all-people zone that apparently effortlessly caters to visitors and guests of all ages (and their four-legged friends) – it just happens to inhabit an almost ethereally-pretty, fairytale setting… and is capable of making all kinds of dreams come true.
There are chickens, ducks and a lovely, friendly, happy pig in the glorious walled garden from which much of the produce used in the kitchen is sourced. There’s an inviting, serene, glamorous spa zone complete with indoor pool, and another open-air pool on site, nestled within the 14 acres of idyllic, pastoral paradise that surrounds the whole, blissful shebang. Various dens, chill-out and entertainment zones keep older kids busy; babysitting and listening services make sure mums and dads get the stress-free break they deserve too; when it comes to family-friendly, Woolley Grange is a veritable nirvana! But there’s plenty – and we mean plenty – of grown up appeal to celebrate here too. Chilled out, welcoming but super, super-sophisticated, the restaurant (adjacent to the casual Orangery dining area and a collection of alfresco terraces) is head chef Jethro Lawrence’s playground.
Jethro brings a wealth of experience to Woolley; this MasterChef the Professionals quarter-finalist has headed up the brigade at both Le Muset and The Cowshed in Bristol and sous-ed under highly acclaimed Hob God Simon Rogan. Jethro is passionate about locally-sourced, seasonal, sustainable produce, which he shows off to its very best advantage on menus that skilfully blend global inspirations with classic Brit-trad scrumptiousness – little wonder, then, that Woolley Grange is the proud recipient of two prestigious AA Rosettes.
On our most recent visit, my starter of perfectly crackled, sumptuous pork belly served with rich, earthy Mangalitza black pudding and surprisingly mellow fermented apple ketchup was about as treatsome and moreish as as starter can get without spoiling your appetite before treats yet-to-come, while Mr Pig’s classic scallop/black pudding/apple combo easily leapfrogged to pole position on the “textbook incarnation of genre” charts.
On from that… a massive, creamy-fleshed, super-fresh lemon sole that slipped off the bone at the politest reminder from a fork, accompanied by succulent, intensely savoury brown shrimps, a luxurious caviar and whey velouté, lovage (from the kitchen garden) and creamy, dreamy mashed potato – perfection. The sirloin steak was equally flawless: tender and juicy and inherently beefy (as all too many steaks somehow aren’t, these days,) with a generous tide of peppercorn sauce to varnish it with and fabulous fries to complete the picture. And, after all that…. Chocolate Textures (silky mousse, creamy ice cream, and neat little dice of white chocolate fudge that I’d never have opted for at a sweetie counter but am now besotted with) and apple cake imaginatively teamed with a refreshing blackcurrant sorbet, caramel and vanilla – how cool (in all senses of the word) is that?
Talking of translations of the word cool… Woolley Grange is very, very cool, on many levels: subtly stylish, tastefully eclectic, genuinely welcoming, naturally charming… and with a super-cool chef hard at work in the kitchen. If you dream of finding affordable upper-crust menus served in a fairytale surroundings, you need to wake up to Woolley.
The small print: expect to pay circa £36pp for a 3-course A La Carte selection, without wine. Table d’Hote menu: 3-courses/£35. Sunday Lunch: 2/3-courses, £24/£28. Full Afternoon Tea served every day, includes both Champagne and children’s options. Amazing Children’s Menus served every day.
- Wheelchair access ,
- Free wifi available ,
- Dog friendly ,
- Gluten free options ,
- Baby changing facilities
Menus move with the clock throughout the day, all day, every day - visit website for full details.
Woolley Grange is approximately eight miles from Bath city centre. From Bath, take the A4 (London Road) out of the city and at the major roundabout with the A46, take the third exit (A4) towards Chippenham. At the next roundabout, take the third exit (Bradford Road, A363) under the railway bridge, bearing right and up the hill towards Bradford on Avon. Carry straight on along the Bath road (A363), passing Cumberwell Park on your left. After about half a mile, turn left, signposted Trowbridge (B3105). Follow this road for about one mile until the road narrows and you reach Woolley Green. Turn right at the green and right immediately again, following the garden wall to the entrance of Woolley Grange on the right.
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