Saturday 29 November 2014

A Wedding at Westonbirt

Wow - what a weekend!  Last weekend we were lucky enough to attend one of the best weddings I've ever been to.  A combination of beautiful locations, wonderful people, amazing food and being there to share a special moment where two people and two families come together made it a weekend not to be forgotten!

We set off on a dreary and drizzly Saturday morning, down the M25, off along the M4 then down an "A" road lined with very old looking walls made from the cotswold stone you see everywhere in the area.  All of a sudden we came upon our hotel, Bodkin House Hotel, but weren't sure if it was the right place or not.  We pulled into the car park and both went for our phones to look it up online but alas - no reception!  The no reception thing was a solid theme throughout the weekend and after a few hours I just stopped checking my phone and actually quite enjoyed it!
Anyhoot…Bodkin House…I have never ever stayed in a hotel quite as lovely!  The building has been around since the 1600s so you can forgive its slightly slanty walls and windows which give it more character than a modern and sterile hotel, don't you think?

We arrived before check-in time so sat in the bar area for a while which had amazing views of the surrounding countryside and was filled with one of my favourite smells, a log fire, thanks to the massive open fire.

Our room wasn't ready (we were rather early!) so the owner very kindly closed the ladies restroom for me to get changed in and after a dab of powder and squirt of perfume I was ready to get to the wedding!

All I knew about the location of the wedding was that it was at a school.  Little did I know that it would be one of the finest buildings I've ever been in.  

Just down the road from the arboretum and a drive up the longest driveway I've even been down, the building is simply stunning and like something out of Downton Abbey or Jeeves and Wooster! 

We were again very early but it gave us a chance to have a wander around the "back garden"…I felt like I was in a Jane Austin novel - taking a "turn" around the grounds, admiring the landscaping and trying to see what type of bird was making being loud from the top of one of the trees.

When the rest of the guests arrived there was a well needed spread of tea, coffee, orange juice, pastries and (to my delight) samosas.  I'd skipped breakfast so this was a very welcome snack!  

We were then directed into the library for the actual ceremony.  Mr Jones & I had already had a peek at the room and I was ridiculously happy that the wedding would take place in the room.

Again I felt I was transported back to the time of Jane Austin - dusty old books, fabric wallpaper, ridiculously glam ceiling…

But then I saw this sneaked in with the classics…

We spent a little time back in the room next door with more delicious nibbles and then were ushered into the hall for dinner.

I'd had a peek at it earlier and my first thought was that it was like a mini Hogwarts dining room!  Yes, that's an organ at the far end of the room!

We were served bowls of the most amazing Indian food I've ever had - marinated chicken, a dahl, potato cakes, salad, followed by battered fish, more amazing chicken and beef curries and then finished off with Gulab jamun which I've never had before but probably need to eat more of - little sweet fluffy dough balls soaked in a fragrant syrup.

Our filled bellies had a bit of a rest before the library was transformed into a disco (I'm old, that's what we call the room full of music!) and then it was time for the cake cutting.  Or rather, cheese cutting.  The bride and groom opted for a stack of cheeses for the cake which is a great alternative!

After they cut the "cake" they were showered with confetti and then the dancing began.

Did you know that after a few drinks I am the most amazing dancer?  Maybe not…but I always have so much fun!

A taxi was shared back to the hotel and we finally got to see our room (Don very kindly got our bags up there in advance).

I have never had a hotel room so massive!  I was also very impressed with the bathroom which was very modern and had a gigantic bathtub which unfortunately I didn't try out because I was too busy sleeping…

Photo from TripAdvisor

The following morning with bleary eyes and sore heads we headed to breakfast - there were plenty of options available for breakfast but I went for the full English (proven cure for overindulging the night before!)

After a little nap we met up with about 25 people who were staying locally as well as the new Mr and Mrs for a lovely Sunday lunch, still in the Bodkin.  Considering how many people there were, they catered for us all very well!  There were a few gaps in serving the entire party their appetisers, main course and pudding but with that many people I wouldn't expect everything to come out at the same time. The food was delicious!  I went for the pate, roast beef and finished the meal off with sticky toffee pudding.  Looking back it was probably stupid to eat all three courses and halfway through the main course I felt like I needed a nap…after the pudding I was yawing like crazy…there was still 2-3 hours of driving ahead of me to get home…

If you want a bit of piece and quiet but don't want to give up on luxury, I'd highly recommend the Bodkin and if I'm ever in the area again I would stay there again without a doubt!

Bodkin House Hotel
Petty France,
South Gloucestershire
01454 238 310

Westonbirt School
01666 880333

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