Old Downton Lodge Ludlow, Shropshire
Old Downton Lodge, Ludlow’s countryside hotel for food lovers, is deep in the heart of rural Shropshire but still close to the renowned foodie town. You’ll find the idyllic 13th Century hotel down ancient pheasant-filled lanes. With its tasting menu, it’s an ideal place for a gourmet getaway.
Old Downton Lodge Ludlow
Foodies flock to Old Downton Lodge for its tasting menu, rustic interiors and beautiful surroundings. With a dining room that’s somewhat reminiscent of a scene from Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall‘, superlative food and impeccable service, dining here is like taking a bite out of the very countryside in which the old manor house sits. Visit in September for Ludlow’s renowned food festival (the town is just 7 miles away), to walk the Hereford Trail or to shop for antiques and local produce. After a day exploring the Shropshire countryside, sip a gin and tonic in the courtyard garden or warm up by the roaring log burner with a glass of brandy. It will nourish your soul.
- Taste beautifully presented Shropshire produce
- Sit in the courtyard garden with its cottage flowers
- Enjoy stylish interiors and a sense of history
- Explore nearby Foodie Ludlow
Enjoy Fine Dining in a 13th Century Converted Barn
The dining room at Old Downton Lodge has the appearance of a grand medieval hall but was in fact, a grain barn built at the time of the Norman conquest. There are ancient heraldic hunting tapestries adorning the walls which are in keeping with the Lodge’s popularity with shooting parties. Head chef, Karl Martin, sources his produce from local markets or from foraging expeditions, preparing a 5 or 7 course tasting menu for guests. He teases diners with a simple list of ingredients making meals something of a magical mystery tour.
Take Your Apéritifs in the Courtyard Garden and Admire the View
Each individual guest room at Old Downton Lodge looks out onto a pretty courtyard. It’s hard to believe that this tranquil garden was once used for noisy cattle auctions. Today, you’ll find clipped box hedges surrounding fragrant perennial borders of cottage flowers and herbs. Relax under the sunshade, sip an apéritif and admire the views across to the rolling Herefordshire Hills.
Sink Into The Tartan Sofas In The Old Dairy Sitting Room
On arrival, you may be welcomed by Willem Vlok, the hotel owner, and treated to a complementary pot of tea and homemade lavender shortbread. On a wet and windy afternoon, you can take your tea in the cosy sitting room situated at the far end of the courtyard in what was once an old dairy. There are stone floors, oak beams, tartan furniture, a roaring log burner and, of course, a well stocked honesty bar for that warming tot of Hereford Cider brandy. Visit The Ludlow Food Centre and you can take home your own bottle.
Sleep in a Four Poster Bed Under Gnarled Oak Beams
The 9 bedrooms at Old Downton Lodge are all individually styled. Some have oak beams, stone walls and stylish modern oak furniture and others, antique four poster beds and heraldic wall hangings. The beds are supremely comfortable and the linen sheets so crisp, you’ll have difficulty dragging yourself out in the morning for breakfast. Perhaps the thought of delicious Hereford apple waffles with bacon and maple syrup or a traditional breakfast with Wenlock Edge bacon, sausages, black pudding, free range eggs and field mushrooms, will do the trick.
- Take a peek at the Lodge’s mysterious museum with its old cider press
- The restaurant at Old Downton Lodge is also open to non residents (advance booking required)
- Walk from Old Downton Lodge to the nature reserve along the Hereford Trail and you may spot otters and red kites
- Visit in August for the MagnaLonga, a tasting walk for foodies organised as part of the Ludlow Food Festival which takes place every September
They tell me that dogs are allowed to stay on request but a fee may be charged.
How to Find Old Downton Lodge Ludlow
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The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.