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Great Fosters, Egham, Surrey
Regal reigns at this 16th-century former royal hunting lodge where exquisite gilt furnishings, Flemish tapestries and Michelin-star dining combine seamlessly with fanciful topiary and Saxon-moated gardens. On entering the charming low wicket door, you'll find traces of its royal pedigree in the ornate crests and coat of arms (1598) - King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I were regular visitors here. Curl up with a book in front of splendidly carved Jacobean fireplaces once you tire of exploring the 50-acre Arts and Crafts gardens whose sundial (1585) is said to have been donated by Sir Francis Drake. For the ultimate indulgence, stay in one of the historic bedrooms lavishly appointed with Italian Rococo and Renaissance furniture - you'll feel like you're in a palace.
We love exploring the Arts and Crafts gardens with their beautifully sculptured topiary, pretty moat and 'secret' knot, rose and kitchen gardens.
The hotel is just outside the M25 in north-west Surrey. Royal Windsor and the River Thames are both within a half-hour drive away.
By car: 1 hour from London, 1 hour 20 mins from Brighton and 2 hours from Birmingham and Bristol. There is free parking on-site.
By train: Egham is on a direct line from London Waterloo, the journey takes 40 minutes. The hotel is a three minute taxi ride from Egham station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
We love the grandeur and history oozing from every creaking corridor, secret staircase and perfectly carved piece of period furniture and antique. Great Fosters will suit couples and families with young children, who'll enjoy the gardens. The historic rooms are perfect for a romantic or indulgent weekend.
Service & Facilities
The service is really personal; we're offered coffee while our TV fuse is replaced and the receptionist rings to check our room is ok. Rooms in the Cloisters and Coach House are dog-friendly and come with bed, bowls and treats plus there are grounds to romp around (£30 per stay).
- Extensive gardens
- Swimming pool
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
- Facilities for disabled guests
Among the Historic suites, the Italian Suite's regal Rococo furniture, ruby damask covered walls, charming cherub-sculptured bed posts and decorative mirrors create a gorgeous retreat. Intricately patterned, stunning Quattrocento doors and highly decorative tiles in the spacious bathroom add to the feeling of being in a palace.
Cosy, Comfy and Luxury rooms; Spacious, Splendid and Historic suites
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with L'Occitane toiletries, free Wi-Fi, TV, tea and coffee facilities
Food & Drink
We love the wine flight that accompanies the tasting menu, and the intense flavour of the scallop in a tomato, watermelon and kafir lime tea is a highlight.
Tony Parkin at the Tudor Room: Michelin-starred, formal dining. Open for dinner Wed-Sun and lunch Thurs-Sun. Tasting menu £90.
Estate Grill: two AA Rosettes, informal dining. Serves lunch and dinner. Three courses £40.
Cocktail Bar & Terrace: garden views. Open all day. Plates from £9.50, afternoon tea £37 per person.