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Special Report – Lunch at Calcot Manor and Garden Tour of Highgrove in aid of Hospitality Action
Design Restaurants were delighted to support the Hospitality Action fundraiser earlier this week and we sent along two reporters in the form of Mrs R and Mrs R Snr to bring us back the inside story!
Well, it wasn’t so long ago that Mrs R Snr and I were making the same journey along the M4 to Wiltshire when we reviewed The Manor House Hotel earlier this year, so we rather followed our nose to the delightful Calcot Manor near Tetbury.
The Champagne reception catered by fellow sponsors Berry Bros & Rudd was a welcome refreshment after a rain-sprayed drive up the M4 and we were both served a lovely glass of Gaston Chiquet.
The three course menu catered by the team at Calcot included the most delicious Cornish Mackerel with leek and lime salad as a starter which was a hit with everyone on our lively table! This was followed by Roasted loin of Gloucestershire pork with chorizo and finally Red wine and summer berry jelly. Served alongside were a red and white Bordeaux from Chateau Lestrille and the water served was courtesy of supporters of the charity Wenlock Spring.
The auction got underway after lunch, hosted by Edward Bagnall from Tayler and Fletcher, and lots included a stay with our hosts at Calcot and also at their sister property the Lord Crewe Arms. The raffle followed, which rewarded the lucky winner with a three course lunch at the Michelin starred The Bath Priory among other treats. Lovely Penny, CEO of Hospitality Action, then announced the good news that the event had raised over £11,000!
We were then up to don coats and sadly umbrellas to board the waiting buses to the main event at Highgrove. Over 30 years in the making, the organic gardens at Highgrove are some of the most creatively inspiring and innovative in the United Kingdom. TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall open the gardens to visitors on selected dates between April and October each year.
Unfortunately due to strict security we were not allowed to take photos of our tour, but I can share some of the ones that Highgrove have released of the gardens at this time of year. As you can imagine (despite the drizzle) we were met with an astonishing display of fabulous spring blubs.
Photographs by Andrew Lawson
The tour was truly fascinating. The Prince of Wales was a forerunner of the organic movement and is still considered its patron saint. This extraordinary series of gardens including The Stumpery, the stunning wildflower meadow and the impressive walled garden were a fascinating insight into the self-expression of our future monarch, each a highly personal and inspiring reflection of the interests and enthusiasms of His Royal Highness. My personal favourite was the incredible ‘Wall of Gifts’ – a solution to a small part of the dilemma associated with the Prince’s life of duty—what to do with all the gifts. Julian Bannerman designed this, incorporating random pieces of masonry given to the Prince over the years.
If you get the opportunity to visit these wonderful grounds I recommend you take it!
After the tour we were all ready for afternoon tea back at Calcot, served with finger sandwiches and delightful pastries including shortbread, eclairs and slices of Victoria sponge.
All in all this was a tremendous day out and with the support of the partners it represented great value also at just £95 a head. Do look out for more events in aid of Hospitality Action which we will be bringing you and remember it is also all in a great cause. Our thanks finally to all our members who supported this event – thanks to you it was a sell out with a waiting list!
Hospitality Action is trade charity offering a crucial lifeline to people of all ages, working and retired from the hospitality industry. For more info on the charities work and events coming up go to www.hospitalityaction.org.uk.
Design Restaurants is an online guide and membership club. Members receive dining benefits in both Calcot Manor and The Bath Priory as mentioned above. For details of how to join please go to www.designrestaurants.com.