In search of a romantic and dog-friendly weekend in picturesque Herefordshire, we booked a night at Brooks Country House hotel.
Perched on a hill and set among 13 acres of grounds, the grand and imposing Georgian manor house stands proudly at the end of a pretty drive.
Confusingly, it didn’t have a street name or address, other than ‘Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, in Ross-on-Wye. And beautiful it was.
Even from the driveway and car park the views were impressive, all big trees and rolling hills peppered with sheep.
We entered through the wood-panelled lobby, the smell of crackling log fires and woody interiors conjuring up memories of ski chalets and country houses.
The interiors felt homely (the sort of home you’d never want to leave), and felt even cosier with it starting to drizzle outside. Fires were lit, sofas were plump and inviting, and the lighting was warm and dim.
There was a cosy reading room area with incredible views, a snooker room with an old record player playing music, a large and bustling bar area where a group of friends had taken up the sofas, their laughter filling the room.
A grand staircase winds up to the bedrooms of the main house, and there was a buzz of chitter-chatter as the first diners made their way into the elegant restaurant.
With our little dog in tow, certain rooms were out of bounds (like the restaurant and lounge), so we made our way to our room. The dog-friendly rooms are in the courtyard area (where there’s also a games room complete with ping-pong table and table football), and we had our own front door; number 34.
The room was modest in size but comfortable, with polished antique furniture, contemporary, textured wallpaper and a big, incredibly comfortable looking bed. There was even a little tweed dog bed for our pooch, along with a water bowl and some dog treats.
We left the pup in our room (she was already in her little bed, exhausted from all our walks!) and crossed the courtyard to the main house for dinner.
The restaurant was grown-up and tasteful, and looked like it might have once been a library, with gorgeous built-in bookcases, and grand floor-to-ceiling sash windows overlooking the valley. We’d asked for a table by the window, and I’m so glad we did.
We drank our wine, taking in the valley views. The menu was very reasonable – two courses for £19.50 or three for £25 – and although we were grateful that it was a limited selection, each course sounded delicious and left us feeling very indecisive!
We ordered the pan fried wood pigeon followed by the venison and beef burger for him, and the parsnip croquette followed by the steak for me.
The wood pigeon came on a bed of barley risotto, and my croquette came with mustard creamed leeks – a delicious combination.
The venison and beef burger arrived; a chargrilled bun with a patty of mixed venison and beef, with a side salad and fries.
My steak was pretty perfect, with not much to distract from it – just some rocket, fries and a béarnaise sauce.
Finally, we couldn’t resist dessert to round off the meal; a peanut and chocolate brownie (it tasted just like a Snickers bar!) with vanilla ice cream. Heaven.
When we returned to our room, we found our pup nestled under the bedspread! Naughty dog. She was conked out, and soon we were too.
The following morning we rose bright and early to explore some more, so we returned back to the restaurant for an early breakfast.
Aside from the breakfast buffet of yoghurts, pastries, muffins, homemade berry compote and cereals, there was also a limited menu offering cooked breakfast including Full English, eggs benedict, eggs florentine, boiled egg and soldiers, bacon or sausage sandwiches.
Still full from the night before, I stuck to the yoghurt and compote but pocketed a muffin for later, then we set off on our next adventure.
Aside from the main house and dog-friendly courtyard rooms, Brooks Country House also offers affordable luxury glamping options in their outdoor horseboxes.
If you’re looking to retreat to the countryside for a weekend of fresh air, open fires and great food, then Brooks Country House offers some serious bang for its buck.
For more information please visit www.brookscountryhouse.com/