Yesterday’s episode of this story was cut a little shorter than I had intended because supper and wine beckoned. With no real likelihood of this happening this evening, let’s settle down and continue the story.
We are up to the morning of Sue’s Birthday, which was Saturday and it was breakfast time. We set out on the long walk to the restaurant area and by the time we eventually arrived it was getting close to 10am, when breakfast is no longer served. Initially we were directed into Fenocchi’s restaurant where we had enjoyed last night’s fabulous meal. However, all was not well. The dishes for cereal and yogurt had all gone and there were no glasses for fruit juice. It also seems that the calm efficiency of the previous night’s service had taken a break because we waited for a while, waiting to see a waiter so that we could order our breakfast.
Eventually, Sue disappeared, returning a few minutes later with the news that we were to move to the Pierrepont restaurant where breakfast was available at the self-service buffet. This proved to be a good move because we were welcomed by quickly welcomed by a young lady who took our order for tea and directed us to the food. And what food. My breakfast included egg, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, beans, black pudding, hash browns and bread. It was a great sufficiency that certainly set me up for the day. We resolved on the spot that we would return to the Pierrepont restaurant for the following day’s breakfast.
But hey, let’s not jump too far ahead, there’s a lot still to tell about Saturday.
After a laid back breakfast, it was time to explore the grounds and gardens of the magnificent building. We started with a visit to the courtyard which must have been the hall’s original stable block, but we were a little early because most of the shops had not yet opened. So we wandered out to an amazing old circular building that is now used as a plant sales centre, but must have had an original function to do with horses. We don’t have a photograph, but this building was like a donut. It had a circular open space in the centre with a series of doors that opened into the building which had corresponding doors on its outside wall. The only online factsabout it I can discover from a cursory google are that it is a unique 17th century roundhouse.
After exploring this area, we off set out around the outside of the hotel and arrived at the main gates to what would have been the main entrance to the house.
We then set off up a mysterious stone staircase that emerged into the terrace gardens. This took us around the side of the old building where we discovered a matched pair of old stone gazebos.
Perhaps I should have included the photo of the fountain, but you get the idea, all-round opulence.
We retraced our steps to the courtyard for an excellent lunch at the Bay Tree Cafe.
After lunch came another of the high spots of our weekend. My first ever Spa experience. You can consider yourself fortunate that there are no pictures of Chuffing Hog in swimming shorts or wrapped in a fluffy white dressing gown, wearing a pair of white fluffy slippers.
The experience itself was probably the most chilled-out I have ever been. We spent a fair amount of time being gently massaged by the bubbles of the hydrotherapy pool before a spell in a hot steam room. After a quick shower, it was time to for the ice cave where I went for the full experience and rubbed handfuls of ice over myself.
After some more bubble battering, we made our way, via an aromatherapy steam room, to the relaxation area where I stretched out on a convenient bed and went to sleep for an hour or so. Sue wandered off and visited some more steam and went for a swim, but I was quite happy on the bed for the rest of the afternoon.
I would just add a word of warning to future users of the hydrotherapy pool at Thoresby Hall. Beware of the effect of the bubble streams. I had my shorts inflated many times and Sue’s bathing costume also trapped some air at one point. It wasn’t so much the air being trapped, but the impact of releasing it in a large bubble whilst underwater.
To anyone who witnessed these eruptions in the pool, I can promise you that this is all it was.
After the Spa experience, it was time to return to our room, via a latte in the Pavilion bar, to make ourselves beautiful for the evening meal. From the various photos that I have posted with this story, it will be clear that Sue succeeded at this rather well.
In part 4, we experience the Blue Room Restaurant.