September 2018

The Thoresby Hall Hotel in Nottinghamshire is a Grade 1 listed stately home, located on the edge of Sherwood Forest. The present house was completed in 1871 and sold to the National Coal Board in 1979, due to a threat from coal mining subsidence, after which it was acquired by Warner Leisure and opened as a hotel and spa following a £21 million pound restoration.

Thoresby Hall and Spa is a resort for grown-ups, so you have to be over 21 to visit or stay there. As we fitted the bill and had not visited before, we were invited to pop over for the relaunch of the Blue Grill Restaurant and try an overnight stay in the hotel.

First impressions were good. The newer parts of the hotel had been sympathetically merged into the original buildings, the gardens were beautifully maintained and the welcome at reception was warm and friendly.

Due to the nature of the building, it can feel a little bit like a rabbit warren if you are staying in the original hall and the lifts are a little bit creaky but we navigated the corridors successfully and were delighted to discover that we had been allocated a Historic room. These rooms are larger than the standard ones, with period features and little extras including a bottle of wine and snacks. An added bonus was the view – we overlooked the gardens, which were an absolute delight and did a great job of helping to transport us back to a bygone age. The beds were sizeable and I can confirm, very comfortable.

The original living rooms at Thoresby Hall are nothing short of magnificent and have been sympathetically restored. The Library is jam-packed full of books and it would be easy to lose yourself just soaking in the atmosphere there. However, we had food to eat and the beauty of the dining room awaited us. Fully restored with a copy of the original blue silk damask wallpaper, this room is elegant, beautiful, stylish and yet warm and welcoming. With views over the grounds the tables are arranged in such a way to offer privacy (I dislike sitting too close to other diners) and comfort.

The menu is succinct, with a couple of fish, poultry and meat options for each of the 3 courses, including grilled lobster (£21) and open lasagne (£15.95) up to the most expensive offering of Ridings Reserve 6oz fillet at £29.95 (served with your choice of sauce).

For my starter, I chose the pan seared scallops, served with pea puree and prosciutto (£8.50). Arriving arranged in a shell, the scallops were well cooked, tender and tasty. For my main I went for the 8oz Ridings Reserve Sirloin (£24.00) with red wine gravy. Cooked to my specifications and served with chunky chips, a large grilled mushroom and tomato, the steak was succulent and most enjoyable. To finish, I chose the Chocolate plate at £7, which offered chocolate mousse, brownie, white chocolate ice cream and macerated cherries. Again, no fault could be found with any aspect of the food, which was beautifully presented.

The Thoresby Park Hotel and Spa offers live entertainment every night and is reminiscent of a few cruises I’ve been on. We missed the comedian in the main showroom but very much enjoyed the singer in the lounge, who belted out a range of songs from across the eras. There's a wide range of musical entertainment from the 50s, 60s and 70s, as well as Big Band, Top Tributes and Rock Anthems throughout the year, so the hotel tries to cater for most ages and musical tastes. There are also lots of other activities you can take part in, including archery, croquet and bowls and, of course, there’s the spa on top of all that!

Although the Hotel and Spa seems to be a destination for short breaks, I hadn’t realised that you could book in to the restaurant without being a resident so it’s definitely one to consider if you’re looking for somewhere a bit special to eat and don’t mind a drive out. There’s loads of free parking on site and it’s a fantastic place to chill out and enjoy the views.

The Blue Grill Restaurant is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 6pm and 9pm. Please click to visit the Thoresby Hall Hotel website and find out more about what’s on offer at the Thoresby Hall Hotel.

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