Location: Gloucestershire countryside
Perfect for: Countryside romance
Glorious rural pastures, rolling hills, honey-coloured cottages in quintessentially English villages, romantic walks and breathtaking views, rich fertile soils and fantastic local foods, and the beautiful Forest of Dean. You’ll find it all here in Gloucestershire. It’s a landscape that inspired JRR Tolkien when writing Lord of the Rings, and right at its heart is the Tudor Farmhouse. With parts dating back to Tudor times, rooms stylishly designed with warmly coloured decor, sturdy oak furniture, and plenty of thoughtful touches, it serves excellent food (made from ingredients sourced within a 20-mile radius), offers exemplary service and makes for the perfect weekend in the country.
“Did you pack a crinoline?” asks Monsieur 2 as we sip lattes in the Virgin Trains lounge. “No darling.” “A ruff?” he persists, as we settle into our ample First Class seats on-board. “No.” “A cod-piece?” he enquires, as we pull out of Euston. “NO, my love,” I snap, “we’re going to a hotel called Tudor Farmhouse, not a Tudor fancy-dress party!” I blame Philippa Gregory; ever since reading The White Queen, Monsieur 2 has been obsessed with all things Tudor.
A couple of hours, one change of trains and a cab ride from Lydney later, we arrive in the chocolate-box pretty village of Clearwell in the beautiful Forest of Dean.
“Where are the beams?” cries Monsieur 2, sounding a tad disappointed, as we pull up outside the very attractive, but admittedly not particularly Tudor-looking Tudor Farmhouse. “Don’t worry poppet,” I console him, “I’m sure you’ll be beam-ing when we see our room.” He groans. gay friendly luxury hotel in gloucestershire
“Hello there!’ calls out the lady behind reception who, a sign above the desk informs us, is called Ruth. Checking us in, she asks, “Would you like to go straight to your room, or have a drink first?” She’s clearly got the measure of us and we pull up stools at the bijou bar for a pint of local golden ale.
The treats keep coming – a charming hunky blond chap is assigned to show us to our room.
Leading us out of the main building towards a sloping garden he tells us, “Lucky you, you’re in The Loft – it’s my favourite room!” Even from outside we can see why, it’s a gorgeous little cottage, and separate from the rest of the hotel.
“Oooh!” I gasp as we enter; it has a high beamed ceiling, warm green-and-cream décor, and smart, sturdy oak furniture.
And, as well as a great big bed, there’s a lounge area with a sofa luxuriously upholstered in wool, and double doors opening onto a pristine tiled bathroom. It is beautiful!
“Fancy a coffee, Your Majesty?” I offer, discovering a Nespresso machine in a sideboard, “there’s fresh milk in the fridge too?” His Grace graciously accepts and we settle onto the sofa for a little rest before dinner.
We stroll across the lavender-scented courtyard to the main building for dinner. The dining room is a lovely, flagstone-lined lounge with deep comfy chairs and attractively-dressed tables; ours is in a cosy, quiet corner.
“You like to eat local don’t you? You’ll have no trouble here!” Monsieur 2 smiles, pointing at the section of the menu that explains how all produce comes from within a 20-mile radius wherever possible. “Brilliant!” I say, “but what to order when it all sounds so delicious?”
We’re very pleased with the dishes we eventually settle on. For starters I have a clever duck dish which combines delicious duck ‘ham’ with confit leg and a soft poached duck egg. Monsieur 2 meanwhile enjoys a meaty rabbit terrine with home-made piccalilli.
Then, while Monsieur 2 tucks into beef sirloin from Cowshill Farm (just 2 miles away!) with an indulgently rich bone marrow croquette, I keep things light with an elegant dish of courgette-wrapped Devon hake. I’m glad, as it means I have room for pud – a wonderful banoffee ‘pie’, the components of caramel, cream and biscuit laid out prettily on a plate.
Even the wine is local-ish – a wonderful rose from Wales, just a few miles away as the crow flies!
After dinner we corner owner Colin to learn more about the hotel’s Tudor connections. “The front of the building is actually thirteenth century,” he tells us, “but the main house is Tudor – look!” and gestures towards a staircase with a very low door. Peering up it we can see that, yes, it is Tudor alright. We talk with Colin a little more, and discover that there was a farm here until the 1980s, when it became a B&B and then a hotel.
Back at The Loft we settle on the sofa and Monsieur 2 channel hops – there’s an unusually wide range of channels and we find a great movie to watch until it’s time for bed.
“Morning darling,” yawns a well-rested Monsieur 2 waking from a very sound night’s sleep. “Mnnrrgh” I mumble, struggling to rouse myself from the comfort of the luxuriantly-soft covers.
“Hey! Are you ready for a carwash?” my loved one calls from the bathroom. Wondering what he could possibly mean I go to investigate and see straight away – the shower (which is directly behind the bath) is ‘walk-through’, indeed just like a carwash! We give ourselves a full valet service with the White Company products provided.
Back at reception Ruth is as chirpy as ever, and hands us our Sunday paper before showing us to our breakfast table. Coffee and toast (with lashings of local butter to spread it with) arrive quickly, full English breakfasts are ordered, and then we help ourselves from the cold buffet.
“You’ll like this!” I say, pointing to an ice-bucket where there are several varieties of apple juice, Monsieur 2’s morning tipple of choice, chilling. “And you’ll like this!” he replies handing me a bowl of steeped prunes, which I love and smother in fresh yoghurt.
Our cooked breakfasts are great, not too big, which is welcome, but enough of everything to savour – particularly thick back bacon, crumbly black pudding and eggs laid by the hotel’s own hens!
Deciding it’s only right to thank them for their delicious produce, we take a stroll past the chicken coop in the grounds, through a field of very friendly horses (who we feed with sugar-lumps ‘borrowed’ from the breakfast table), and head out into the village.
After a very pleasant walk round Clearwell, taking in the gothic church and imposing Clearwell Castle, we check out of Tudor Farmhouse ready to go and explore the Forest of Dean.
“How was everything?” Colin enquires as we hand over the key to The Loft somewhat reluctantly. “Fit for a Virgin Queen!” Monsieur 2 quips, and although I roll my eyes, I’m glad his Tudor fix has been such a memorable one.
We were spoiled rotted by Virgin trains which carried us along a lovely route from from Euston to Birmingham. We then took the CrossCountry train (which covers more of the country than any other train company) from Birmingham to Lydney, the closest station to the Tudor Farmhouse. Buy tickets for any train journey in Britain at crosscountrytrains.co.uk or by downloading their free Train Tickets app. Gay travel in Gloucestershire and a great place for a luxury gay holiday in this gay friendly luxury hotel in Gloucestershire