One of the finest stately venues in England, Brocket Hall has been the much loved weekend getaway destination for the elite. Located 22 miles away from Central London over a sprawling area of 540 acres in the lovely Hertfordshire countryside, it is one of the preferred locations for grand events hosted by the rich and the famous from the political, business and social circles. It is also home to the Melbourne Club, one of the most exclusive golf venues in the UK.
The place has an amazing history as well, which adds to its attraction manifold. With its earliest evidence dating back to 1239 and the association with the famous names like Lady Caroline Lamb (who had a scandalous affair with Lord Byron) and Lord Palmerston (the Prime Minister who died while making out with a chambermaid on the billiard table), Brocket Hall offers a slice intrigue for history lovers. Not only was it home two Prime Ministers but was also frequented by the royals like Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria and Edward VII centuries ago.
I had the opportunity to explore all that this lovely location offers during a weekend stay here. And trust me, it does have a lot to offer- beautiful surroundings, sumptuous food, comfortable stay and of course, an interesting history. We stayed at the elegant Melbourne Lodge which is the lodging part of Brocket Hall, located right amidst its tranquil grounds. The lodge offers splendid views of Brocket Hall, Melbourne golf course and the Broadwater Lake.
Originally a coach house, the Melbourne Lodge now has 16 rooms, each of which is named after a racehorse. This has been done as a tribute to the history of the place, which used to be a race course once. Our room was named the Sun Chariot and I loved its decor. It was spacious, bright and airy, in addition to being well-aligned with the classic appearance of the rest of the estate. The vintage décor, with rich velvet drapings, squashy armchairs, illuminated oil paintings and china lamps, deserves a special mention. The bed in our room was crafted with a massive feature back to represent the regal era. The bathroom too had a vintage touch with deep bath and double sinks.
While the rooms at the Melbourne Lodge still replicate the rich heritage that the place is so well-known for, they also have all the modern amenities that you may want for a comfortable stay. with complimentary breakfast in the lakeside Clubhouse as a part of the package. Besides enjoying the luxurious experience here, I took immense pleasure in the refreshing views of the lovely lush green golf course from the huge sash windows of my room.
The peace and tranquility of the place impressed me the most, but amazingly that is not all! Brocket Hall is a serene and calm location that offers a relaxing break, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Still, there is something for everyone here. My little one loved the greens, golf course walks and rides in the golf cart. There was something incredible about the drive around the golf course; a massive lake in the center, the myriad ancient trees, and the impressive architecture all around, together made a feast for the eyes.
Now let me talk about the things that you can see and do at the Brocket Hall Estate. As a guest at Melbourne Lodge, you can’t get inside the Hall but wander around the parkland and also enjoy a guest membership at the golf club. I loved the lazy long walks by the Broadwater Lake and the mouth-watering breakfasts in the clubhouse.
But the most favorite part of my stay here was the sumptuous meals at the Auberge du Lac, the restaurant located in the Hall’s former hunting lodge.
Auberge du Lac has a charming lakeside setting the overlooks the sprawling country estate as well as the Brocket Hall itself. It has a beautiful lounge though I personally recommend that you relish your meals on the picturesque terrace if the weather permits. If you are looking for a private dining experience, the place has some tastefully decorated rooms that can accommodate 2 to 16 guests at a time. I found the service as well as the ambience of the place to be absolutely commendable.
Coming to food, the first thing I would want to say that you can expect a lot from Auberge du Lac because it has an AA rosette and the Michelin-starred chef, Matt Edmonds, cooking for you. What more, they will be celebrating their 20 years this November, So the bar is expected to be really high and they meet the standards as well. We went to have the famed 7-course tasting menu with wine pairing; they have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options and even their main menu has lots of great options for veggie options as well and I tried the former as I am a vegetarian.
Comprising of unusual dishes such as Heritage Beetroot, B low Torch Smoked Eeel (for the non-vegetarian meal) and Miso Caramel Mousse, it was an absolute gastric delight. The wine list was equally impressive, with the likes of Pouilly Fuisse, Uruolat Jurancon and Chateau Montelena served as a part of the menu. The seven-course meal cost £ 85 per person with tasting wines at £ 135 per person, which can be considered whopping but were worth the price considering the dining experience we had. And one thing that I cannot forget about Auberge du Lac is that we were taken to the restaurant from the lodge in the golf cart which was as amazing as the food itself.
The weekend trip to Brocket Hall was a complete getaway for me as it had everything a looked for, the tranquility of the countryside, a luxurious stay, wonderful ambience, excellent dining experiences and views to die for. I will definitely make it a point to visit the place soon.