Catherine Huckerby heads to Richmond Hill’s Petersham Hotel for a gastro hotel with a Gothic flavour
It goes without saying that Brighton is one of the most colourful and exciting cities by the sea but I sometimes long for some peace and quiet. To sit quietly, sipping the perfect G&T, sharing a romantic moment miles away from my computer, maybe even a little retail therapy without the crowds…
A little bird has told me about the perfect place: stunning views, lots of pampering, posh boutiques in Richmond town centre only 10 minutes walk and G&Ts galore, beautifully made and elegantly served.
Standing high on Richmond Hill in the heart of ‘London’s Country’ and only eight miles from the city centre is the Petersham Hotel. Designed by architect John Giles and built in 1865, this Italian Gothic-style hotel is owned by the Dare family and has that reassuring feel of a family business – staff, who are welcoming and attentive without being intrusive, excellent service and a quintessential English charm.
There are 60 classically styled bedrooms, no floral designs or chintz in sight, and luxurious marble bathrooms where you can soak your troubles away. Under Head Chef Alex Bentley, the award-winning restaurant offers lunch, afternoon tea and dinner seven days a week. Every table has views of the picturesque Richmond Park, with the Thames winding its way through.
For wine lovers, the unique cellars beneath the hotel offer some of the finest wines from around the world, along with private dining for up to 16 guests, using only the highest quality seasonal ingredients. There are also tutored wine dinners, where expert winemakers have been invited to guest host.
After relaxing on the terrace, we went walking in Richmond Park and took a boat on the Thames, discovering plenty of cultural treasures nearby that merit a visit. At the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew, we marvelled at the famous Glasshouses that contain rare and exotic plants from around the globe. Or there’s Hampton Court Palace, where we got lost in the famous maze, where it takes 20 minutes to reach the centre of the seven-foot high yew tree walls – although that depends on how many G&Ts you’ve consumed beforehand. It took us an hour.
WHERE TO STAY
The Petersham Hotel, Richmond. Double rooms from £170 per night (including English breakfast), 020 8940 7471, www.petershamhotel.com
WHERE TO EAT
The Petersham has launched a gastronomic Degustation menu in the cellars beneath its restaurant, showcasing the talents of Head Chef Alex Bentley. The six-course taster menu, including fine wines from around the world, is priced from £60 per person for up to 16 guests. Tutored wine dinners from £75 per person. To book call 020 89391066, or visit the website.
• Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, open Mon–Sun, 10am–4.30pm, adults £14, 0844 482 7799, www.hrp.org.uk/hamptoncourtpalace
• Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Open Mon–Sun from 9.30am. Adults £13, 020 8332 5000, www.kew.org