The next time you’re feeling peckish but do not fancy cooking, I suggest trying the Farmer’s Market Sunday lunch at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, a beautiful Georgian manor house in the middle of the country. (Pictured: General Manager, Colin Clark, and myself)
The buffet lunch is served in the Seasons Restaurant, treating you to great views over the estate. And if the weather is nice, you can sit out on the terrace in the shade of large umbrellas. The main focus at this Sunday lunch is on local produce, with nothing having traveled more than 500 miles before you eat it. The UK average, by the way, is 25,000 miles!
The choices are endless and varied, from delicious English prawns on the seafood station, to watercress soup made from watercress grown just 7 miles away, to freshly cut salad leaves grown at a local Surrey farm. For main courses, how does a delicious roast carvery that includes beef from Laverstoke Park and wild venison from the New Forest (just 45 miles away) sound? All accompanied – should you wish – by the biggest homemade Yorkshire puddings I have ever seen!
Despite all of these delicious options, I made sure I saved room for dessert… and thank goodness I did! I’ve never seen so many choices. Chef makes miniature versions of classic favorites, which means you can try a few; the lemon meringue tart was delicious, the sticky toffee pudding extremely addictive and the little piece of shortbread I managed to squeeze in… well, that rivaled even the best from Scotland.
The service at lunch is superb and the atmosphere is fun, relaxed and very interactive. Not only are Chefs on hand to give suggestions, but there is also a live pianist playing.
By the way, the hotel’s smaller guests are also well looked after. They can select from the special Kids’ buffet with deliciously wholesome choices, plus a few naughty treats of their own!
Speaking of children, the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire really goes above and beyond for the little ones. The usual teddies and small bathrobes for overnight stays are available, plus plenty of bicycles, a playground and a separate house for the “bigger kids” with all of the latest computer games. When I peeked inside, I was surprised to see some VERY big kids in there… honestly, boys!!
Perhaps one of the most fantastic things the Four Seasons offers (which is also very unique), is the “Own a Pony” day. But don’t worry Mums and Dads, the day only takes place between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, so no need to concern yourself with stabling when you go home! The hotel has its own equestrian center and the children get to start by grooming and tacking the horses, followed by a lesson. And after the picnic lunch (for both the pony and rider) they go for a hack over the Estate. Parents can relax in the spa, or test out their fishing skills in the hotel’s own trout lake, whilst the children are kept very busy with the ponies. And trust me, when it comes to bedtime there will be very little resistance!
I must congratulate Colin Clark and his team at this beautiful hotel. They look after all their guests so well – large and small. But I must also warn them all: as the hotel is only minutes from central London, I can escape there very easily!