Stepping inside Langshott Manor is like stepping back in time. There’s a fire crackling in the bar, rugged exposed beams jut in all directions, and small, leaded windows offer glimpses into the manicured gardens beyond. The boutique hotel is steeped in history and exploits that past to offer guests a quiet and relaxing break.
Langshott Manor – part of the Alexander Hotels group – is a quintessentially English historic house hotel. The higgledy-piggledy brickwork and stacked roofs and chimneys make this Tudor building look like something straight out of Midsomer. Dating back to 1580, the hotel embraces its history and heritage with antique furniture and art adorning the walls.
We stayed in the Moat Mews, a new wing with large King-size rooms. And it’s not just the beds giving the hotel the Royal feeling – each room is named after famous Tudor dignitaries like Henry VIII and his wives. Our room, the Jane Seymour suite, was of ample size and tastefully designed, decorated traditionally with pops of vibrant, modern colours to compliment the conventional tones.
Unfortunately, there were parts that were a little tired and could do with some updating (the blinds were stiff and one fell down while we were at dinner!). The suite had a large, deluxe bathroom with a big bath and huge shower, his and hers vanity sinks and mirrors, and provided lovely L’Occitane shampoos. (It even passed my flannel test!)
Stepping outside onto the wooden balcony we had a beautiful view across the pond, the frozen surface shimmering in the moonlight, and to the hotel’s boundary – once marked with a grand moat – with birds singing in the trees and stars sparkling overhead. The early morning frost layered the hotel and gardens in a sparkling shimmer like a scene out of Frozen.
The approach to Langshott Manor is more school bus than horse and carriage but, while the hotel lacks a grand, sweeping drive like many historic house hotels, once you’re within the enclosed gardens you feel a million miles away from the small Surrey town of Horley and the busy Gatwick Airport nearby. The moat may no longer exist any more but parts of the waterway are still visible with picturesque ponds around the site.
We visited Langshott Manor just a few weeks before Christmas so the hotel was lit up beautifully and ready for the festive season. The historic house looked lovely as we approached at nightfall, the twinkling Christmas lights sparkling inside and the Christmas tree standing proud at the entrance. The grand, winding staircase was embellished with draped ivy and flickering lights.
The hotel’s original building takes pride of place but Alexander Hotels have tastefully updated and extended with a wing of modern suites and a new restaurant to expand the facilities. We made our way into the recent addition to take our seats for dinner in The Mulberry Brasserie. We opted for a warming bottle of Malbec for our wintry evening before perusing the menu to make our choices.
The Mulberry’s staff were helpful and friendly, and the quiet restaurant soon welcomed table after table of chatting, laughing guests creating a fun and relaxing atmosphere for the night.
I chose to start my meal with the mozzarella, tomato and basil salad while my husband opted for the prawn and avocado salad, both complimented with fresh, warm bread. The rolls were soft, fluffy and delicious, and the salads were a light and refreshing start to the meal.
For our main course we selected the turbot with cream and brandy sauce, mussels, and creamed potato, and rib eye steak with peppercorn sauce and triple-cooked chips. My husband was happy with the cooking of his steak and my turbot was very tasty – the sauce was the star of the plate; rich and full of flavour. But the highlight for me was the over-the-top side we decided to sample: dauphinoise potato bon-bons! To finish we went for chocolate fondant with white chocolate ice cream and the cheese and biscuit platter.
We returned to the brasserie bright and early for breakfast the following day. The restaurant was busy but not full so it was a little disappointing that the service was particularly slow – we had to order our coffees and toast twice as nothing arrived for a good 15 minutes. However, the buffet boasted lots of continental options from cereals, fruits and yoghurt to pastries, and the menu offered lots of traditional and alternative options.
The restaurant also offers Sunday lunch and afternoon tea for guests and visitors while there are lots of comfortable lounge and bar areas to enjoy a drink or a quiet sit-down with a newspaper or magazine. While the temperature was close to freezing outside we wrapped up warm to go for a short walk around the gardens.
Langshott Manor sits on the edge of Horley. While the town is anything but quaint and picturesque, unlike the hotel, it borders Gatwick Airport and the M23 so is a great spot for anyone heading to the airport or venturing further afield to explore London to the north or Brighton to the south. The hotel offers a relaxing and charming retreat for locals looking for a bit of a weekend treat or a luxurious alternative to the bleak, soulless airport hotels for holidaymakers.
For us, we visited Langshott Manor as a Friday night treat in order to escape the hustle and bustle of a house renovation and busy work schedules. Visiting at Christmas-time was magical and our stay was successful in offering us a break from everyday life to put our feet up.
Rooms on a B&;B basis priced from £179 for a Splendid Suite.
Address: Langshott Manor, Ladbroke Road, Horley, Surrey RH6 9LN