The fact that it was located in a gorgeous country manor made it even more appealing. The Grim's Dyke Hotel is a 19th Century Tudor-Style manor located on 40 acres just 12 miles from the center of London.
The home was built in the 1870's and designed by Richard Norman Shaw. Sir William Gilbert of Gilbert & Sullivan fame purchased the house in 1890 and turned it into his dream home. He lived there for over 20 years until he tragically drowned in a the lake on the property. For a while the house was a sanatorium and rehabilitation center. It's also been a popular movie and television set. It's been a hotel since the 1970's.
After a 20 minute tube ride and a short taxi ride, we arrived to a red carpet welcome. It was hard to believe that we were so close to London. It felt, smelled and sounded like a different world.
A guided tour by a very knowledgeable volunteer introduced us to the property and building and all of the stories it holds. The original plot was over 100 acres and the hotel now sits on 40 acres or manicured gardens and woodlands paths. There's a manicured terrace and a croquet lawn.
The house is large, but once inside it's so cozy. Plenty of places to sit by a window and enjoy the atmosphere. I felt like I was visiting a friend rather than staying in a hotel. That's right. I brought along my suitcase and decided to make a little weekend getaway of afternoon tea. Best decision ever.
The afternoon tea easily compares to any I've had in London. Plentiful, fresh food and efficient, friendly service at only £15.95 per person, a fraction of what you pay in the center of London. Just the setting alone is worth that.
Very generous portions of all of the Afternoon Tea staples, triangle sandwiches and scones. There were also some extra treats like a warm mini-quiche. The kitchen gardens, beehives and greenhouses supply the restaurant at the hotel.
There was so much food that I boxed up my sweets and took them to the room for an evening snack.
I did have one of these sweet swans made of choux pastry. It tasted as delightful as it looked.
After saying goodbye to the other bloggers I checked into my room for the night. I stayed in one of the seven master bedrooms in the main building. The hotel has 48 rooms the rest located in a garden annex. This room was perfect and I wanted to stay for a week.
I threw open all of the windows and curled up on the four-poster bed for a little rest after that amazing tea. After a stressful week, I really needed this little mini-break. I couldn't have found a better setting.
I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting outside, reading and exploring the woodlands that surround the manor. Or tucking into one of the public rooms to color or just sit quietly with a glass of wine from the Library Bar.
The sounds of London that are constantly buzzing around in my head quickly faded away and were replaced by the song of birds and bees and a restful calm. It was the perfect place to just unwind and think.
After room-service dinner and a soak in the tub, it was early to bed where I slept like a baby. The next morning I woke up and had another woodland explore after a light breakfast.
I then spent about an hour in the sunken rose garden with the macro lens. I was completely alone. Well, just me, the camera and lots of fat bumblebees. You can see the photos here.
I left reluctantly and I was home in just half an hour. It was such a great little getaway. I will definitely return to Grim's Dyke someday.
If you are looking for a very special afternoon tea and a little break from London, Grim's Dyke is the perfect choice. I can not recommend it highly enough. I went home feeling restored and my ears buzzing with the sounds of nature.
Where do you go to getaway from the noise of daily life?