Old Downton Lodge
Nestled in the rolling green South Shropshire hills, Old Downton Lodge has been here so long it almost feels part of the landscape. It's a mixture of timbered medieval and Georgian houses, barns and outbuildings that have been ingeniously converted into one of the most comfortable rural boltholes imaginable – and with a Michelin-listed , three-AA-rosette restaurant that was recently voted one of the best 100 places to eat in the UK, atmospherically housed in the lodge's grand and sturdily fortified Norman hall, where chef Karl Martin prepares different tasting 5- and 7-course menus every night from Tuesday to Saturday.
There are only nine guest rooms (plus a bridal suite in the separate building), grouped around a herb- and flower-filled courtyard which provides an appealing sense of seclusion; there is a deliciously comfy sitting room fashioned out of the old stable, with a wood-burner and a bar squeezed into a corner, and a mighty timbered roof that echoes the look and feel of the guest rooms themselves. These are as different from each other as you might expect, from spaces that were once stables and barns, and as well as the high-timbered ceilings many have stone walls and wonderful flagstoned floors covered with Turkish rugs. Most of the bathrooms have been recent re-furbished: some have en-suite showers, others have en-suite baths; but all have Noble isle toiletries, comfortable beds, including three four-posters, and well-chosen bits and pieces of furniture – as well as wifi, Freeview TVs, CD and DVD players, tea and coffee-making facilities, home-,made biccies, complimentary water and all the stuff you would expect in a place of this standard.
As for the location, it couldn't be better, with glorious walks and countryside right outside the door, and the renowned foodie town of Ludlow just ten minutes' drive away. There are also any number of suggested circular walks you can do in the glorious surrounding countryside (for which they will provide a picnic if ordered in advance), and they have a couple of electric car-charging points too. So... just throw away those keys, charge up your car, and... relax!
Nine individually furnished en-suite double rooms.
Most double rooms cost £155–£175 a night, including breakfast, but it's often possible to snag one for as little as £100 midweek (£120 on weekends) so look out for offers.
Open all year.
From Ludlow, take the A49 towards Shrewsbury and when you get to the Ludlow Food Centre take A4113 left, signposted Knighton. Follow this for 1.9 miles then take the left turn signposted Downton; follow this for 3 miles until you see the Old Downton Lodge sign. From Shrewsbury, take the A49 towards Ludlow. Continue through Church Stretton, then Craven Arms and in Bromfield take the A4113 right toward Knighton. Follow this for 1.9 miles, and then take the left turn signposted Downton. Follow this for 3 miles and you will see the Old Downton Lodge sign.
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