Tag Archives: bespoke hotel restaurants

Discover Ripley and a famous Coaching Inn in Surrey

The beautiful village of Ripley has a storied history extending over several centuries, from its mediaeval priory and coaching inn, to a crucial role played in the growth of cricket, as well as being Eric Clapton’s birthplace. Set in the lovely Surrey countryside, it’s surrounded by sites well worth a visit and just a short drive from Guildford and Woking.

Coaching Inn bedroom Talbot Ripley
The Talbot – bedroom

It is also the home of The Talbot , which has more than played its part in history. It is even said to have provided the stage for Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton’s love affair to blossom in 1798, and remains one of England’s finest coaching inns.

The Village

The 2007 winner of the Calor Surrey Village of the Year, Ripley reflects its long history. Full of picturesque historical buildings and a large village green, Ripley hosts a monthly Farmer’s Market, a Christmas Fair and a spectacular bonfire and fireworks event that includes a procession, a funfair and live music.

Sport is well catered for. The area is rich in golf courses, the closest being The Wisley, a 27-hole course whose members include Colin Montgomerie, while the 250-year-old Ripley Cricket Club plays regularly on the Green.

Local Attractions

Historic Ripley Coaching Inn
Historic Ripley

The countryside around Ripley offers some beautiful walking routes, especially along the tow-path of the17th-century River Wey Navigation. This offers superb views of the ruined Newark Priory on an island in the river, and the historic Walsham Lock and Weir is near the village.

Just a few miles up the road, you can find the world-famous Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley, 240 acres of the beautiful and the experimental, with the best garden bookshop in the country. If you need more, it’s only seven miles to the university city of Guildford, which offers museums, galleries and a truly elegant cathedral.


Ripley has quaint, unusual shops to explore. Besides the expected antique outlets, such as Sweerts De Landas and J. Hartley Antiques, you can bring out your musical side at Ripley Guitars, or purchase glassware at Jo Downs Handmade Glass, as well as browsing A. Luff & Sons garden centre.

If you’re looking for a more cosmopolitan shopping experience, Guildford and Woking are each ten minutes’ drive away.

Eating Out

Ripley offers a wide choice of restaurants for its size, from the Michelin-starred Drake’s Restaurant to the fine cooking of the Talbot coaching inn, Anchor, Seven Stars and the Ripley Curry Garden. For afternoon tea and cakes, Pinnock’s Coffee House and the Nest Home & Café are both excellent.

Pubs and Night-life

Ripley is well supplied with pubs, many of which also offer food. A number of them go back to the age of the coaching inn, and pubs like the Anchor and the Jolly Sailor have a traditional feel matching the village.

In keeping with Ripley’s character, you won’t find lively nightspots here if you are staying overnight. If you’re looking for trendy bars and nightclubs, though, you’ll find a wide selection just seven miles up the road in Guildford.

Discover the Historic City of Chester and its Romantic Hotels

With a 2,000-year history, Chester  offers everything from Roman remains to a contemporary nightlife, not to mention the oldest racecourse in Britain. Additionally, the city boasts a wide variety of romantic hotels including the Chester Grosvenor and the B W Premier Queen, so it’s easy to explore all that Chester has to offer, especially for a winter break.

Historic Chester

Founded in AD79, Chester was one of the most important cities in Roman Britain, and much of its layout still reflects the original Roman pattern. You can even visit the intact city walls and the largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain.

Chester remained an important city through the middle ages, highlighted by the magnificent cathedral, whose history goes back to the year 689AD, as well as The Rows, a unique example of mediaeval shopping galleries. From your romantic hotel, numerous walking and bus tours are on offer to take in Chester’s historical wealth, or you can take a boat tour along the picturesque River Dee.


History aside, the city is perhaps best known for Chester Zoo. Named best zoo in the UK and seventh-best in the world by TripAdvisor, it combines the best of spectacle and conservation work.

Chester Racecourse has been operating since the 16th century and hosts fifteen meetings a year. The Chester Cup, in May, typically features many hopefuls for the following month’s Derby.


Anyone visiting Chester will not want to stay in their romantic hotel all the time (no matter how great a deal they get!) but rather go shopping in The Rows, mediaeval shopping galleries that today house both major retailers such as French Connection and Swarovski and local independent boutique shops.

If you’re looking for something more mainstream, the Grosvenor Centre has over seventy shops, including major national retailers. And a visit to Chester isn’t complete without a trip to Cheshire Oaks, Europe’s largest design outlet, just six miles north of the city.

Eating Out

The city centre offers a wide range of restaurants, from the Michelin-starred Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor , the King’s Quarters Grill in the Best Western Premier Queen Hotel to the informal contemporary fare of Luke’s Eating House. International cuisine is well represented by the Italian Urbano 32 and the Brazilian Tropeiro, and if you’re looking for a break while touring the city, you can enjoy afternoon tea at cafés like Beaton’s Tearooms or Mad Hatters.


Chester’s history doesn’t prevent it having a thoroughly contemporary nightlife. If you’re looking for live music in the city centre, the Townhouse, Alexander’s Bar and the Church Bar & Restaurant all feature live bands. For a quieter drink, the options range from the handcrafted cocktails at Gin Rickey’s to the fine beers at The Cellar.

Whatever your desire Chester can provide it so why not stop over for your next romantic break!

Forget Ascot, Let’s Go To Chester For Racing and a City Break!

One of the great summer events in the British calendar is horse racing at Ascot, but while Ladies Day has its merits, it’s Chester Racecourse that really knows how to have fun in style…

The oldest racecourse in Britain, perfect for a city break, you haven’t seen creative millinery until you have come here. The colours, the characters and the general hum of entertainment and excitement begin in May and run throughout the summer months, in addition to a healthy spectrum of polo events.

City Break at BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester - Lobby
BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester – Lobby

On a race day the whole town plays out like a pantomime, bringing to life a sense of tradition that belies its Roman origins and Tudor architecture. The pubs brim over with brightly coloured dresses and teetering heels, happy faces and a sense of anticipation. For the sake of reverie we will imagine that on these days the sun always shines (it certainly does in our experience).

After the races, when the party vibe has reached fever pitch, the jovial atmosphere continues as crowds make their way back into the centre of Chester itself. They totter along the cobbled roads and past the designer boutiques to dine out on the day’s triumphs and tribulations, surrounded by historic sites and ancient city walls.

City break at BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester Bar

There’s a wealth of restaurants, bars and cafes available during your city break in which to find your preferred tipple (the people of Chester certainly know how to have a good time) but when the day is royally spent and you’re ready to lay your head down, go to the BW Premier Queen Hotel at the heart of the city.

Sitting next to Chester Railway Station (travel does not get more convenient than that), it’s welcomed the likes of Charles Dickens and businessman and politician Cecil Rhodes over the years, sating a breadth of taste and preferences amongst its patrons and, who knows, perhaps providing literary or entrepreneurial inspiration at the same time.

City Break at BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester - Bedroom
BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester – Bedroom

The hotel which is ideal for your city break, has many an asset to its name but key amongst them is the food. Referencing its past as well as its location, there are three options for eating and drinking in various degrees of formality. The Waiting Room Bar and Lounge is the place to go for homely food and locally sourced drinks and cask ales, while the Albert Lounge is famous for afternoon teas by the fire, so much so that they have been serving them for more than 150 years. It is the Kings’ Quarters Grill and Cocktail Lounge however that’s a personal favourite, and no doubt the name gives a bit of a hint as to why.

Not only do they serve a mean cocktail, but they specialise in a range of regional dishes combined with a relaxing atmosphere, which particularly after all that excitement on the racecourse provides some welcome respite at the end of the day. If the sun is shining (as we are assured it will), then you can also sit outside and enjoy a drink in the afternoon sun on one of two Italian terraces surrounded by landscaped gardens – a welcome surprise in the heart of a city.

City Break at BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester - Bedroom

Beyond the dining, the hotel is a feast of little surprises fusing contemporary design with a strong sense of history; it’s not afraid of bold colours and whimsical features such as elaborately illustrated feature walls. It also has a ‘Secret Sanctuary’ for beauty treatments and easily transitions from being an ideal location for meetings and conferences to weddings and special occasions, or simply the setting for that long awaited glass of red whilst pondering the day’s events. No wonder it’s been such a longstanding favourite amongst the good and the great for a relaxing city break.

So follow a different crowd this summer and head to Chester. You never know, today could be your lucky day…

Bespoke Restaurants-Lugger Hotel a Most Memorable Meal

It is not by accident that Mary Berry has seen a renaissance in her popularity in recent years, or that MasterChef has such an avid following, we are a nation in love with our food. As such epicurean innovators across the land are rising to the fore and proving their creative flair when it comes to both traditional and contemporary food. And so it is at Bespoke Restaurants.

Bespoke Restaurants & Hotels - The LuggerSo on the dramatic coast of Cornwall, surrounded by cliffs and headlands it is therefore fitting that The Lugger Hotel holds a dear place in our food-loving hearts because of Bespoke Restaurants’ Lugger Hotel Head Chef Jonathan Dome’s flair  when it comes to fish.

Situated almost in the water, you can half imagine your dinner’s protagonists jumping out of the water and straight onto the plate. What makes it a step above the rest is Dome’s personal touch, and that’s not just when it comes to fish. The French chef (with a pedigree encompassing stints at Le Gavroche and The Dorchester) has some serious je ne sais quoi when it comes to dealing with a duck leg, gurnard madras, or beetroot dauphinoise.

Bespoke Restaurants -Lugger Room 2-min
The Lugger Hotel Bedroom

We don’t want to be too leading on what you should choose if you are lucky enough to tuck-in here, but just to say we had a particularly enjoyable experience with the scallop, citrus fruit and pistachio praline starter. That said, we were seriously tempted by the crab soufflé as well, so if you happen to try that on your next visit then perhaps you would give Bespoke Restaurants a shout with your thoughts in the comments section or on Twitter.

Bespoke Restaurants - The Lugger

It’s always nice to have a little formal accreditation to prove one’s expertise and as such the restaurant has two AA Rosettes and (fingers and toes crossed) another one on the way. To be frank though, we would head back even if it didn’t have awards to its name.

The Lugger features one of the Bespoke restaurants that are available at all our hotels in the UK