A Neo- Gothic re­treat hid­den in the for­est

>> EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: Laura Nightin­gale WESTY HAS AN AU­TUMN FEAST SEE PAGE 24 es­caped the hus­tle and bus­tle of life for a night of tran­quil­lity at Ash­down Park Ho­tel in East Grin­stead

Star Courier (Surrey & Hants) - - TRAVEL -

ASH­DOWN Park Ho­tel is a four star lux­ury coun­try house hid­den in Ash­down For­est.

Lo­cated on the Sur­reySus­sex boarder in East Grin­stead, the mag­nif­i­cent build­ing boasts an award­win­ning restau­rant, grand bed­rooms and sump­tu­ous spa fa­cil­i­ties.

It came as no sur­prise that Ash­down Park is a cel­e­brated wed­ding venue and we ar- rived to ex­cited guests pre­par­ing for the fol­low­ing day.

Af­ter check­ing in, we were guided up an im­pres­sive stair­case, fur­nished with rich car­pet and fab­u­lous paint­ings to our first floor room.

We were lucky enough to stay in the Lake master suite, which not only pos­sessed gor­geous views over the land­scaped gar­den, but boasted a sep­a­rate lounge area, din­ing room, Queen­size bed and a huge bath­room.

Our suite was prob­a­bly the size of our two bed­room ter­raced house.

As well as the home com­forts, we also found some lux­u­ri­ous good­ies in­clud­ing Molton Brown toi­letries and fluffy white robes.

Our enor­mous dec­o­rated in suite was Vic­to­rian Gothic style with pol­ished dark wooden fur­ni­ture, heavy drapes and clas­sic mir­rors and lamp­shades.

Ahead of our visit we had heard that din­ing at Ash­down Park was a rich and re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and this was cer­tainly true.

Af­ter fresh­en­ing up we walked back down the stairs to The An­derida Restau­rant.

The word An­derida is Ro­man in ori­gin mean­ing hunt­ing ground, which is ap­pro­pri­ate for the venue.

The name not only re­flects the wild game that roam in the for­est but also per­fectly de­scribes the head chef’s hunter’s eye for track­ing down the finest and fresh­est in­gre­di­ents for your ta­ble.

We took a win­dow seat in the fine din­ing ro­man­tic restau­rant over­look­ing the pris­tine lawns.

Our ta­ble was dressed in thick white linen, heavy sil­ver cut­lery and large wine glasses – keen at­ten­tion to de­tail that we were to see in the dishes to come.

Awarded two AA Rosettes, the a la carte menu was sea­sonal, cre­ative and at­trac­tive.

We started our gas­tro­nomic ex­pe­ri­ence with a plate of warm, freshly baked bread and a glass of crisp Span­ish white wine, as rec­om­mended by the som­me­lier.

We were graced with an amuse bouche ahead of our starters, which was won­der­fully light and el­e­gant.

There was a lovely cel­e­bra­tory feel within the busy award- win­ning restau­rant, but we didn’t have to wait long for our starters to ar­rive.

I went for a dressed crab dish, which was ex­quis­ite. Light, flavour­some and soft to eat, the crab meat went per­fectly with the salty crisp placed on top.

My part­ner en­joyed a de­li­cious ham hock, lick­ing the plate clean.

Fol­low­ing a scoop of mango sor­bet in be­tween cour­ses to cleanse our palates, I was pre­sented with an­other in-

Elite Ho­tels, Ash­down Park.

The din­ning room.

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