Escape to the Country at The Vicarage Freehouse & Rooms

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Living in the city can become quite hectic at the best of times, but it’s usually nothing that a relaxing weekend won’t cure. I checked into The Vicarage for a stylish stay in the countryside.

In the heart of Cheshire lies The Vicarage, a stunning 17th Century grade II listed country pub and hotel that oozes countryside living. Situated in the quaint Holmes Chapel – you may recognise that name as it’s the hometown of Harry Styles – The Vicarage takes around an hour and a half to drive to from the city centre, making it the perfect destination if you don’t fancy straying too far from home.

Just a mile away from the M6 with an easy connection to Chester, Nantwich and local tourist destinations, you can use your stay at The Vicarage as a base for exploring its beautiful surroundings or for venturing further afield – the choice is yours.

First impressions always count and The Vicarage doesn’t disappoint. Stepping inside from the cold I immediately felt at home surrounded by timeless interiors, grand fireplaces, comfy armchairs and little touches of luxury here and there.

The hotel has recently launched six stylish new rooms, each complete with everything you could possibly need and more; a comfy bed, flat screen TV, Nespresso machine, bottled water, delicious homemade biscuits that just melted in our mouths as soon as we tucked into them and a modern bathroom.

Downstairs you’ll also find a games room and three dining areas including a chic conservatory where you can enjoy breakfast and afternoon tea. After dropping our bags off in our room, we made our way to the bar where we opted for a hot chocolate – best enjoyed by the fire in one of the many armchairs with a magazine in hand.

What I quickly noticed about The Vicarage was its relaxing atmosphere; at no point did I feel uncomfortable or that I needed to rush in drinking my delicious hot chocolate which was much-needed due to the weather taking a turn for the worst. If you need somewhere to simply kick back and relax, it doesn’t get much better than this.

After taking some time to wind down after our journey, we returned to our room to get ready for an evening meal. Headed up by Executive Chef, Steven Tuke, The Vicarage prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients to create the some of the most exquisite food that I’ve tasted.

With the new menu launching debuting on the night of our stay, we were lucky enough to try some of the brand new dishes on offer. Of course, we kicked our meal off with a bottle of wine. Opting for a bottle of the crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, recommended by our server. With hints of passionfruit and a subtle sweetness, it was the perfect accompaniment to our meal, pairing beautifully with our courses.

The menu itself is broken down into Tidbits – ideal for sharing before while you make the important decisions – we ordered the Tzatziki with warm pita bread.

Due to the menu being brand new, I was left spoilt for choice from the stunning array of meals on offer, thankfully our waitress was more than happy to share her recommendations. I opted for the Parfait of smooth chicken livers served with red onion chutney, while my guest selected the Hummus and breadsticks. Both big lovers of food, there was little conversation – always a sign a meal is good, and we were only just getting started.

For me, the stars of the show were the main courses. I went with the recommendation of our server of the Lamb Shoulder, which she assured me was divine. She wasn’t wrong. This lamb was by far one of the best I’ve had in a long time. Celebrating the best seasonal ingredients, the slow-cooked meat was served accompanied by creamed local potatoes, pan roasted root vegetables, and a rosemary jus. My guest’s selection of the Wild Mushroom Risotto went down a treat too, with big chunks of mushrooms and crispy leeks, it was the perfect hearty meal.

As full as we were, no meal is complete without dessert and with eight to choose from we were once again spoilt for choice, but it was the Lemon Posset special and Pecan Pie that made it to the table to finish off our spectacular meal. Had I lived closer to Cheshire, I know I’d be spending many nights this winter indulging in a delicious meal and kicking back by the crackling fires in The Vicarage.

Price-wise it’s very reasonable, with courses ranging between £4 – £21. And if you’re staying for longer, The Vicarage also offers lunch between 11am – 5pm and serves afternoon tea in the conservatory with prices starting at £15 for the classic option.

With dinner over and done with, we retired to our room to climb into the comfy bed that was piled high with fluffy pillows and cushions – if you want more, all you have to do is give reception a call and it’ll be cushions galore.

As dinner was such a triumph the night before, we awoke the next morning with high expectations for our breakfast; expectations which were definitely met. We cast our eyes over the selection of hot options – smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, crumpets and preserves, porridge and of course a full English with a vegetarian option available too. We took advantage of the continental options of toast, pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals and so many choices of preserves that you want to try everything on offer.

There are so many things that I loved about staying at The Vicarage, but the staff were so exceptional that they alone would make me want to come back for another getaway. Incredible attentive and friendly, they showed a lot of interest in where we’d travelled from if we’d enjoyed our stay and what we were planning to do with the rest of the day. Nothing was ever too much trouble and it’s that care and attention to detail that makes The Vicarage such a pleasant and relaxing place.

After checking out, we said our goodbyes to The Vicarage before taking a short drive back into Holmes Chapel for a quick look around. There may not be much there, but the village itself is incredibly picturesque with a stunning church square surrounded by cottages, a bakery which a young Harry Styles used to work in before shooting to super stardom on the X Factor and a handful of local pubs and national parks right on the doorstep of the hotel.

My stay at The Vicarage is something that I will never forget as myself and my guest left Cheshire feeling relaxed and ready to take on the week. If you’re looking for a weekend retreat to step away from the hustle and bustle of city living, I totally recommend you take a trip here.

Want to know more about The Vicarage? Book your stay here!

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