I had a bit of a pants week last week, so on a whim on Friday, I decided to book us a country pub for a night, just to get away from it all.
I spent the whole of Friday morning on Booking.com, looking for an inn that could accommodate four of us in one room, that wasn’t too far away, that exceeded 8.5 on the review score and was at least four star. It was no easy task, as you can probably imagine. I eventually chose The White Lion in Weston, about an hour from us in the Crewe/Cheshire countryside.
It ticked all the boxes and despite not having any availability online, the super helpful manager arranged a suite for us over the phone. (I always try ringing for availability, even if it looks like there is none and more often than not, we get a better rate over the phone) Ok, so alarm bells did start ringing…very faintly, way off in the distance…when I heard the price. £68 for a suite plus breakfast! But. it was late notice and quite frankly I was desperate.
We arrived at 2pm and first impressions were how idyllic. The White Lion is a black and white (Tudor? architecture is not my forte) low rise country pub. It has a huge car park which also services the bowling green in the pub grounds and the quaint country church across the road.
The kids were first to spot the wedding in the church, the guests were spilling out into the car park and the flower girls were running around tossing rose petals in the air. It was picture perfect. Except I didn’t get a photo, because my battery was dead. Blogger faux pas No.1.
The pub itself was lovely, all original beams, open fireplaces and low ceilings. Check in was smooth and after feeling increasingly apprehensive, actually, the room was pretty nice. Aside from the peach 1980’s bathroom suite, which I could ignore partly due to the price and partly due to feeling relieved just to be away, the suite was huge, with a sofa, dressing table, king size mahogany tester bed, a large wide screen television and two single put up beds with plenty of room to spare. We were happy.
We had a drink in the bar, which fused old with new effortlessly before heading out to watch the FA cup final. (The White Lion doesn’t show football, much to their credit in my opinion).
If I can rewind twenty four hours, this is how ten minutes of Friday evening went.
Me: ‘I’ve booked us a night away tomorrow after this shitty week.’
Husband: (dejected face) ‘Oh, right, well the FA cup final’s on’
Me: (dejected face also now)’ok, well we can catch it in a country pub somewhere.’ (in the spirit of compromise)
Husband: ‘But I don’t want to watch it with you and the kids.’
Me: ‘*$^& string of expletives *&^%, are you serious?’
So the football was non-negotiable. It was fine, bearable almost. For me, not him. I’m sure it was almost unbearable having to watch it with me and the kids.
Fast forward, back to our night away. We ate in the restaurant of the White Lion as I’d read so many rave reviews about it and certainly they were totally packed to the rafters all night. We had to settle for a table at 9pm, due to our late booking, so I fully expected the girls to be past their best by then and came armed with colouring and top trumps. I’m not going to go into too much detail because this is a supposed to be a positive review, however the restaurant experience was seriously lacking. We had an incident with a member of the bar team which wasn’t resolved adequately until I raised it the next morning and the food was actually quite bland. My husband said the same and he will pretty much eat anything.
It was one of those experiences where you are left feeling ‘if I’d just ordered the…’. I had the swordfish and Rob had the pork belly. At £15.95, I expect presentation and flavour and the two dishes were lacking in both. We left after forty minutes and took our drinks back to the room. The meal cost £60.00 with one drink each and we would have stayed longer and spent more if not for the daggers we were getting from the bar staff.
All in all though, it was the only downside to the whole trip and on all other occasions the staff were helpful, polite and accommodating. Perhaps, the chef was having a bad day or was simply snowed under on a Saturday night. And as for the bar issue, if you will employ 18 year old college students, then my feeling is you’re hardly going to be giving the best levels of customer service possible.
On a chirpier note. Breakfast was good and plentiful. There was a selection of continental buffet items to help yourself to and a the usual hot items. I had the full breakfast with poached eggs, which were perfect and the sausage was the best sausage I’ve ever had.
We checked out and watched a game of Sunday bowls before heading to Wheelock Farm.
I’ve been here before, but each time I come, they’ve expanded and added something new. The first thing I will say is, if you are looking for a farm, i.e. mainly animals, lots of them, feeding time etc. this is not the place to go. It does have a few animals. Cows, pigs, goats and donkeys and you are left to wander around and feed them as you please, but the main attraction here is the play area. For the kids at least. It’s huge, spans two fields and has a zip line, go karts, an obstacle course and much much more. It’s £4 per child to get in and adults are free. Bargain!
(Wary was definitely the word – she did it though, which is more than can be said by me.)
(Slide in a maze, of sorts)
(Their favourite thing…check out that irresponsible mum….)
If you don’t want to go in the play areas/animal areas they is an amazing farm shop selling fresh local produce as well as divine ice-cream. They even had pistachio, but I refrained! A small, well priced garden centre and tea rooms, which we didn’t eat in, on account of our stuffed bellies from breakfast, but which the bottomless pit (Noa) said smelt ‘fit’. Love my little Mancunian.
(you look a little bit in love with that ice-cream Noa!)
I highly recommend this place for a DRY family weekend/holiday day out. Remember your wellies and camera and some pennies to buy freshly cut meadow flowers!