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A weekend escape in my opinion is one of the great pleasures in life, especially when you are locked in a city like London that seemingly makes it as hard as possible for you to break out of it. Driving or nudging your way through traffic on a Friday is a painful process but when you do get out not one person in the history of weekend breaks has said afterwards 'we should have stayed in London!' A weekend break is important and we have done our fair share to nice hotels around London where you hole up on the weekend, enjoy the hotel facilities and visit a few nearby attractions.
Our destination this weekend is located deep in the Surrey Countryside and as we broke off the A3 we were immediately winding our way down the enchanting tree lined country lanes to reach our destination. An impressive dragon sculpture signalled our arrival at the country inn/restaurant, Bel & the Dragon, Churt.
The 14 bedrooms are all Jane Austen-themed because of she wrote a lot of her work whilst based in the area. We were shown to our room, Fitzwilliam, which was tastefully decorated with teal walls and traditional features such as old books lining the shelves. This is all interspersed with a modern fresh twist including a Roberts radio, power shower, flat screen TV and a welcome aperitif of damson vodka. There were also the added luxury comforts of crisp White Company sheets and a variety of soft pillows.
The restaurant has a relaxed and informal atmosphere but the food is top notch. We began with some crispy Cornish whitebait whilst enjoying a superb Whisky Sour and Elder Bubble cocktail. To start we opted for poached duck egg with avocado and seared yellow fin tuna with wasabi. They were both fresh, colourful and tasted fantastic. For main was duck on a bed of pak choi, blood orange and radishes and a crab linguini all washed down with a delicious pinot noir. Dessert was decadent chocolate mousse topped with raspberries and popping candy. I couldn't resist a spoonful of the Eton Mess too!
Bel & the Dragon isn't a fancy hotel with a swimming pool, gym or spa but it made for the perfect break. What it lacks in facilities it more than makes up for with its charm, its restaurant and bar, the small touches like free whiskey and coffee making facilities, its friendly staff (especially Mike the General Manager) and its location which is 5 minutes from some amazing walks - one of which is the National Trust site the Devil's Punch Bowl where we got happily lost for hours on Saturday wandering through the trees.
I only wish we had stayed two nights so we could have collapsed back at the inn and enjoyed their beer garden in the afternoon. I always say you have to leave something you didn't do so you can go back so that's on the cards for next time.
Jumps Road, Churt, Farnham, Various-Locations, GU10 2LDView Larger Map
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