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Bulldog Hotel Group (Issue 1, SS 2014)_Layout 1 15/06/2014 17:01 Page 1

Magazine The Bulldog Hotel Group

Free of Charge for Our Customers

On Thee! Hous

issue 1, summer 2014

r gazine fo Free Ma tel Group o H Bulldog omers Cust

lasT Of THe summer Wine

Pay a visit to the home of the longest running TV comedy series just a stone’s throw from Holmfirth’s Old Bridge Inn

beTTer TO Travel THan TO arrive?

Enjoy a weekend in the Cotswolds and classic car motoring from Moreton in Marsh’s White Hart Royal

THe besT fOOd & drink

Meet our local suppliers and find out how even a cup of coffee has incredible provenance

introducing our seven high quality coaching inns for drinking, dining and accommodation 1


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. . . e m o c W el up Hotel Groished g o d ll u B The e newly refurb tel... irector of o th ManaginghaDri ty is picturedeinstern White Har t H Kevin C f The Best W restaurant o

zine, of our in-house maga ...to the first edition r rs up to date with ou keeping our custome ed joy en e g inns. If you’v seven quality coachin nce a rie ’d love you to expe one of our hotels, we too! e of our sister hotels warm welcome at on

erly ing - at least, not prop go t ge n’t es do g nin mor ike most people, my ly complicated ffee. It’s a deceptive co of p cu st fir y m d until I’ve ha we all know how I get it right, because nt rta po im it’s r lie te product, but as a ho d one is. w disappointing a ba ho d an , be n ca e ffe co good well-prepared tel Group, it’s the out at The Bulldog Ho ab re ca we s ing th g It’s not just the bi el welcome. ake our customers fe m at th s he uc to e nic little things too - the to keep in touch with blish this magazine: pu to ed cid de ’ve That’s why we p - like our we’re up to as a grou at wh ow kn em th our customers, let great days But also to suggest ts. en itm m m co ity ar suppliers to environmental and ch so you can meet our d an ls, te ho r ou at ying out whilst you’re sta r us, in order to tention they go to fo at d an rt fo ef e th t find out abou y in one of our hotels. rience when you sta pe ex t ea gr a re su en th our behind the scenes wi ing go ’re we , en th n In this editio ts and ’s, which imports, roas coffee partner, Bewley p of oduction of every cu ensures the ethical pr r e some great ideas fo coffee we serve. We’v s oring in the Cotswold days out, classic mot our newly refurbished to a TV pilgrimage at Old Bridge. Holmfirth hotel, The

L

y reading! Best wishes and happ

Kevin Chari ty

Managing Director of the Bulldog Hotel Group.


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s t n e t Con

summer issue 2014

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This Issue’s Special Features...

56 The Romantic Road

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Grand Days Out

66 A History Lesson

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Treesleep

A roundup of the latest news from The Bulldog Hotel Group. Enjoying the opportunity to grow old gracefully with a trip to Holmfirth - home of TV’s hallowed sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine.

Cover Photo: Melissa Turner offers visitors to Holmfirth’s Old Bridge Inn and Coffee House a warm welcome - find out more about our real ales later in this edition!

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48 Business & Pleasure

6 Bulldog Newshound 10 TV Pilgrimage

Use our hotels as a base to explore some of Britain’s most beautiful places and enjoy some grand days out this summer.

Sleeping soundly, thanks to Bulldog Hotel Group’s eco-initiative, launched in conjunction with naturalist David Bellamy.

Making the case for mixing business with pleasure with comfortable hotels for those on business. A trip to the Cotswolds in a classic car proves that sometimes it’s better to travel than to arrive.

The surprising history behind some of The Bulldog Hotel Group’s premises.

76 Weddings 84 Bulldog Fact File

Trends for 2015 weddings at The Bulldog Hotel Group’s venues. All about our hotels...


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You’re reading the in-house magazine of The Bulldog Hotel Group which includes the following: Three Swans Hotel, High Street, Market Harborough, LN16 7NJ. Tel: 01858 466644 Best Western Admiral Rodney Hotel, Horncastle, North St, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, LN9 5DX Tel: 01507 523131

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The Talbot Hotel, New St, Oundle, Northants PE8 4EA. Tel: 01832 273621 White Hart Royal Hotel, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0BA. Tel: 01608 650731 The Old Bridge Inn and Coffee House, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, HD9 7DA. Tel: 01484 681212 The George Hotel, Piercebridge, Nr Darlington, County Durham DL2 3SW. Tel: 01325 374576

Head Office: 1-5 High St, Boston, Lincolnshire, PE21 8SH Telephone: 01205 355522. www.bulldoghotelgroup.co.uk office@bulldogmail.co.uk

Magazine The Bulldog Hotel Group

24 Food and Drink in this Issue...

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Best Western White Hart Hotel, 1-5 High St, Boston, Lincolnshire, PE21 8SH. Tel: 01205 311900

A Good Roasting

Coffee has usurped tea as the UK’s most popular drink. We find out how beans are given a good roasting for The Bulldog Hotel Group.

20 The Three Swans

Market Harborough’s newly refurbished Three Swans, now open with its patisserie cabinet and brand new menus.

34 The White Hart

A brand new restaurant and revamped menu at The White Hart in Boston.

38 On the Real Ale Trail Enjoy a local pint with our favourite breweries to discover the trade secrets behind real ale.

42 50 The Old Bridge 54 The Taste of Quality 62 The Talbot Hotel 72 The Admiral Rodney 80 The George White Hart Royal

Enjoying a meal in Moreton in Marsh, in the heart of the Cotswolds. Holmfirth’s inn and coffee lounge has enjoyed a full makeover.

Published for the Bulldog Hotel Group by Pride Magazines Ltd, home of Lincolnshire, Rutland and Market Harborough Pride Magazines Editor - Rob Davis editor@pridemagazines.co.uk Features Editor - Ceri Jackson ceri@pridemagazines.co.uk Publisher - Julian Wilkinson julian@pridemagazines.co.uk

We meet one of our artisan suppliers, specialising in quality meat.

Enjoying the hospitality of Oundle’s historic hotel.

A traditional Bulldog Hotel in a really pretty little antiques town. Piercebridge’s coaching inn.

All prices quoted in this publication were correct at time of going to press. All material is copyright to Bulldog Hotel Group and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission. EO&E.


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Bulldognews Admiral Rodney staff run 10k for colleague Lucy-Anne Lumb Eleven team members of Horncastle’s Admiral Rodney ran in their local Lincoln 10k event recently, in memory of our colleague Lucy-Anne Lumb, who died in January at just 19 years of age. “Lucy-Anne was a very popular member of our bar and waiting team.” says The Bulldog Hotel Group’s Lily Charity. “She contracted Glandular Fever in early December 2013 and the virus responsible for that is the Epstein-Barr virus.” “This immediately let in a very aggressive form of

Lymphoma cancer, which swept through her body, and Lucy-Anne sadly and very shockingly passed away in January 2014.” Her parents, Steve and Judy Lumb, have spoken at length with Cancer Research UK and become incredibly well-informed about this condition. Staff ran the Lincoln 10k Marathon in May to raise money for Cancer Research UK. This will directly focus on ongoing research and trials into the links between Epstein-Barr virus and Lymphoma cancer, in the

hope that a possible vaccine could be developed that will totally eliminate young people developing Epstein-Barr. “The team raised over £2,600, which is testimony

A new look for the Old Bridge and a fresh restaurant for Boston’s White Hart Hotel... It’s been a busy few months at two of Bulldog Hotel Group’s hotels - the Old Bridge in West Yorkshire and Boston’s Best Western White Hart Hotel. The Old Bridge opened its doors to customers on April 18th following a complete refurbishment which has cost over £250,000 and has seen the relocation and extension of the hotel’s bar and coffee house, plus a newly designed restaurant and the creation of a new terrace outside, overlooking the River Holme.

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“It’s really broadened the appeal of the venue. It looks good and has given us a really great new opportunity to extend our customer base with a range of quality coffees and patisserie treats.” says Bulldog Hotel Group’s Mat Charity. Meanwhile, the Riverside Restaurant of Boston’s White Hart Hotel was affected by flooding following a tidal surge in the town. It has now reopened to customers with a brand new kitchen, twice the size of the previous one, and a brand new restaurant.

Top/Above: The Old Bridge in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. Right: There’s a new dining room at Boston’s Best Western White Hart Hotel.

to just how terribly LucyAnne will be missed.” says Lily. “Her family were at the finish line with Champagne to celebrate the occasion and to remember LucyAnne on the day too.”


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Have you enjoyed a meal or stay at one of our hotels? We love your feedback - email it to office@bulldogmail.co.uk

Waggy tails all round as Bulldog celebrates ‘Dog Friendly’ Status We’re delighted to confirm that each of the Bulldog Hotel Group’s seven venues are Dog Friendly, offering customers the opportunity to enjoy a short break with their well-behaved pet. Dogs are welcome in bedrooms on the ground floors of each of our hotels, with first and second floor rooms designated as pet-free areas. All of our venues provide bowls of water and our furry friends receive dog

biscuits and a squeaky toy on check-in. Many of the Bulldog Hotel Group’s premises have gardens and terraces so pets can stretch their legs during their holiday too. “We love dogs,” says the company’s Mat Charity. “They’re part of the family, so it’s important that our four legged guests are made just as welcome as our two legged ones.”

A luxurious experience with new, high quality toiletries... H2K of Harrogate’s bath and body products are really luxurious, so they were our first choice when we came to choose new products to put into all of our guest bathrooms. The brand uses infused tea, herbs and oils to create natural skincare products. They’ve been created by Hazel Barry and her team, who wanted to create a series of products that are naturally moisturative and help to

calm and rebalance the skin. We’re rolling the brand out across each of Bulldog Hotel Group’s venues with immediate effect. In addition, our rolling programme of room refurbishments mean you’ll always enjoy a modern, plush bathroom.

Bulldog Hotel Group’s 2014 Awards Ceremony The Bulldog Hotel Group recently held its annual in-house awards ceremony, with Moreton in Marsh’s White Hart Royal taking the title of Hotel of the Year 2014. General Manager of the Year was Beth Horton of Piercebridge’s George Hotel, whilst the Three Swans’s Greg Prangnell picked up the group’s Chef of the Year title. Other awards included Best Team Spirit, which went to the team at the Admiral Rodney, and Wedding Venue of the Year, which was awarded to Oundle’s Talbot Hotel. Individual staff honoured in the awards included The White Hart in Boston’s Jo Cunningham as

Receptionist of the Year, and Jared Lyons of the White Hart Royal in Moreton for Customer Service Specialist. Matt Urbaniek and Chris Newton were awarded Front of House Staff Member of the Year and Bar Person of the Year. The Old Bridge’s Philip Walton won Night Porter of the Year, whilst Angie Atkin of The White Hart in Boston was named Housekeeper of the Year. “The awards are really important to us.” says The Bulldog Hotel Group’s Kevin Charity. “It’s a chance to recognise all of the effort that ensures we can continue to offer the very best levels of customer service.

Pictured here are staff from Moreton in Marsh’s White Hart Royal.

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Bulldognews Bulldog Hotel Group - finalists in The Publican’s National Best Accommodation Award in 2014 Sleep soundly in the knowledge that you’re enjoying quality accommodation.

We all love rewards. So, at Bulldog, we’re keen to reward our most loyal customers and thank them for their business.

The Bulldog Hotel Group was recently a finalist in The Publican’s 2014 National Best Accommodation Award.

That’s why we’ve created BHG Deals to offer our regular customers the best deals before anyone else.

The awards ceremony took place in London and was hosted by comedians John Bishop and Keith Lemmon.

BHG Deals is an area of our website specially reserved for customers with a log-in, which alerts VIP customers of the best offers and promotions. Membership is free; all you need to do is call 01205 355522 to sign up or see www.BHGdeals.co.uk.

The trade publication has over 20,000 subscribers so to be a finalist was really impressive!

Admiral Rodney team kicks off for charity football match Horncastle’s Admiral Rodney recently took place in a charity football tournament with their Best Western colleagues. The Bulldog Hotel Group’s Three Swans, White Hart in Boston and Admiral Rodney are all part of the Best

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Keep up to date with BHG Deals

Western family. Ordinarily competition between BW hotels is friendly... but not when it comes to the beautiful game! Team Admiral Rodney came away with the competition’s tournament plate at the charity match, held in Sheffield.

Quality accommodation and dining...? There’s an app for that! Coming to a smartphone near you, the Bulldog Hotel Group is trialling a new smartphone app to keep its customers up to date with special offers and make booking easier. Available free of charge for iOS and Android devices, the app allows you to book both meals and accommodation, and customers can purchase gift vouchers as well as

viewing information of forthcoming events at each hotel. It also has a Coffee Collect function giving customers the chance to collect ‘stamps’ each time they order coffee to receive their eighth cup free. The app is now being tested at The Talbot Hotel and will be rolled out to the rest of The Bulldog Hotel Group’s hotels soon.


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The Bulldog Hotel Group’s

‘Green-Fingered Customer’

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reen-fingered customer Robert Paul has been watering the plants at The Admiral Rodney Hotel in Horncastle for the past eight years. Robert would often visit with his late wife for a coffee, and after suffering from a heart attack, his Doctor advised him to keep active. He now visits the hotel every morning

at 6.30 to water the plants outside in the Courtyard and inside, and enjoys a nice cup of coffee. “I wanted to keep active, but also to help keep the hotel looking nice!” he says. “There’s a grapevine in the outdoor courtyard which I look after and feed. It’ll soon be ready to harvest. It’ll makes the perfect Chablis de Bulldog!”

s e o r e H g Bulldo

“Recognising staff, suppliers and customers who go the extra mile.”


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TV Pilgrimage Last of the Summer Wine

Growing Old Disgracefully Situated in the heart of ‘God’s Own Country,’ e Bulldog Hotel Group’s Old Bridge Inn is popular with fans of TV’s Last of the Summer Wine, which was filmed in the town from 1972 until 2010. We enjoyed a weekend in Holmfirth to discover how to grow old disgracefully... Words: Rob Davis. Images: Malcolm Howarth.

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ho wants to grow old gracefully? Certainly not me; in fact, I hope in my older years I find myself copying the antics of the senior characters in one of TV’s best loved sitcoms... especially if, like Compo, Clegg and Foggy, I get to enjoy the scenery around beautiful Holmfirth. e town, in West Yorkshire, is home to just a couple of thousand residents. Yet, each year, many thousands more visit to pay homage to what remains the longest running sitcom in the world.

Keeping the Character e sitcom first aired in 1973 and at its peak, attracted 18.8m viewers. Even repeats of the show attract five million viewers, and despite being cancelled in 2010, the town still does a roaring tourist trade, with fans keen to take Colin Frost’s tour of the places which appeared in the show, from Sid’s Café to Nora Batty’s House and the Summer Wine pub. We stopped in Holmfirth for a long weekend of TV nostalgia and stayed at

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e Bulldog Hotel Group’s Old Bridge Inn and Coffee House. It’s one of the group’s longest established venues, but closed earlier this year to enjoy a £250,000 revamp.

Where Town Meets Country Come off the M1 and the last 10 minutes of your journey will feature some of the most spectacular scenery you’re likely to see in this country, with undulating West Yorkshire countryside spilling over the horizon. e town is home to landscape artist Ashley Jackson, a seven acre vineyard situated on an outcrop overlooking the Holme Valley, and e Carding Shed a retro clothing, craft and motoring museum.

A Brand New, Old Bridge When it reopened in April 2014 we were one of the first guests through the door, and despite its traditional architecture, we were really impressed to see the results of the thoroughly modern makeover with new furnishings and an extended bar and restaurant.


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Colin’s tour takes place aboard his 1930s replica Asquith coach, trickling through various villages around Holmfirth. One of the first stops is the town’s exhibition, created in 1996 by the show’s Bill ‘Compo’ Owen and based in what was the character’s house... It’s all very modern, with quirky vintage light fittings and traditional gnarled beams juxtaposed with modern leather chairs, charcoal grey tables, modern wood veneers to the trendy bar and earthy grey walls. When you’ve finished enjoying the hospitality of Bulldog Hotel Group’s brand new venue, the tour is a cinch to find; it’s right opposite the hotel on Towngate – just outside Sid’s Café which Colin also used to own. “I’m from Scholes originally, and I always loved the show.” says Colin. “As it became more popular, the show gave the town a new lease of life. People come from all over the world to go on the tours.”

Taking the Tour Colin’s tour lasts 45 minutes and takes place aboard his 1930s replica Asquith coach, trickling through various villages around Holmfirth, with running commentary and references to episodes that everyone will enjoy, whether they’re one of the many die-hard fans who attend the tours or not. One of the first stops is the town’s museum and gift shop.

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e museum was created in 1996 by the show’s Bill ‘Compo’ Owen. Based in what was the charecter’s house, the property above is Nora Batty’s place, reached by the stone steps down which Compo would be chased by the subject of his affections. Bill retained his love of the town and eventually settled in it. Whilst in the series he always looked unkempt, he was actually quite smart in appearance and could, as a result, walk around Holmfirth quite anonymously.

e Exhibition Today, the exhibition is curated by Chris Gardner, who has recreated Compo’s living room and filled it with the series’s more famous props – the submarine from Treasure of the Deep and Compo’s runaway go-kart for example. ere’s also a wall strewn with interpretation, from facts and figures, episode guides and a list of cast and crew. A gift shop is packed with the show’s official stills, taken by Malcolm Howarth, as well as mugs, tea towels and the usual gift shop merchandise.


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TV Pilgrimage Last of the Summer Wine

Left: Compo’s ‘living room’ in the town’s exhibition, just below the Wrinkled Stocking tearoom - Nora Batty’s house in the series. Filming in Sid’s Café.

Above: Holmfirth is a pretty West Yorkshire town perching just above the Pennines. Filming took place in and around the town.

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Meanwhile Nora Batty’s house is now a café known as the Wrinkled Stocking headed up by Tricia Bowman and daughters Louise & Kate, serving afternoon teas and homemade cakes.

Other Attractions Wherever you venture around the town, steeply raked hills with wonky dry stone walls provide a lovely English backdrop, whilst the proximity of the Pennines creates ample opportunities for walking or for brave cyclists who have the calf muscles to cope with the hills. Also in the town is e Nook, Holmfirth’s microbrewery which, from time to time, also supplies e Old Bridge with its speciality ales. Visit the Carding Centre as well, to explore the area’s heritage, and in May and September respectively, a Folk Festival and Food & Wine festival both provide lots to do too. is September will see the Tour de France pass through the town as well,

with the tourist board assuring us that plenty of plans are afoot to ensure the whole town can celebrate the event. e town will, though, forever be inextricably linked to the TV series and locals like Colin remain keener than ever to impart their enthusiasm both to those from this country, and to tourists from as far afield as the US, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Colin proudly boasts that he has every episode of Last of the Summer Wine on DVD, and his knowledge is encyclopedic, with myriad tourists asking many questions over the years. e little town is proud of its heritage, and that’s understandable; despite being cancelled in 2010, the show still has legions of fans of all ages.

A New Generation of Fans “ere’s a whole new generation enjoying the programme.” says Chris. “School children love it because it’s pantomime. e humour is timeless. It doesn’t date or

Wherever you venture around the town, steeply raked hills with wonky dry stone walls provide a lovely English backdrop, whilst the proximity of the Pennines creates ample opportunities for walking or the brave cyclists who have the calf muscles to cope with the hills... 14

Fine Wine Gets Better with Age...

1972

Filming for the series - originally an episode for the Comedy Playhouse - began in 1972 and lasted until 2010.

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There were 295 episodes over the show’s 31 series.

18.8m

At its peak the show attracted 18.8m viewers repeats still draw in five million viewers. The First episode was entitled Of Funerals and Fish, whilst the final episode, which aired on 29th August 2010, was How Not To Cry at Weddings. There were also 24 Christmas specials, four New Year’s Eve specials and special episodes for the show’s 25 and 30 year anniversaries. Last of the Summer Wine followed ex-Water Board official Cyril Blamire, scruffbag Compo Simmonite and Norman Clegg, a widowed Co-Op lino salesmen. Compo (Bill Owen) was 85 when he left the show, Clegg (Peter Sallis) was 89 and Truly (Frank Thornton) was 89 years of age. Compo’s real-life son Tom also joined the cast.


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age like political humour, and you don’t need to understand it – it’s just funny.” “Children are always being told by their elders to behave, so seeing a bunch of senior folk clowning around and ‘getting into scrapes,’ evidently appeals to the younger generation.”

Norah Batty’s Tearoom above the exhibition or Sid’s Café, there’s plenty to do in the area besides. With the shopping monolith of Sheffield’s Meadowhall just half an hour away, the modern city of Leeds too, a weekend at e Old Bridge means being able to spend time in the countryside or enjoy a city, or go walking in the Pennines.

Other Attractions As for us, we too enjoyed clowning around in Holmfirth for a weekend and can definitely recommend the town for a weekend break. In addition to a trip to

So, no matter how lively you want a short break to be, discovering Last of the Summer Wine country will prove really satisfying, right down to the very last drop.

Where to Stay... Our break saw us enjoying accommodation and dining at Holmfirth’s newly refurbished Old Bridge Inn. The Old Bridge Inn and Coffee House, Market Walk, Holmfirth, HD97DA. Tel: 01484 681212. oldbridgeholmfirth.co.uk.

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f o l l u F

Traditionally the Great British drink has been tea - but in 2013, sales of tea fell 6% whilst retail coffee sales were up by the same amount, and some High Street coffee chains reported a 20% increase in business. The Bulldog Hotel Group relies on specialist coffee supplier Bewley’s to get the most from its roaster, so we sought the expertise of one of the company’s coffee experts, Howard Barwick, for a science lesson that would help us find out how the company ensures our hotels’ coffee remain full of beans...

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he traditional drink of choice for the British is, of course, a cup of tea. But with a more sophisticated range of coffee based drinks available to us from latté and cappuccino to macchiato, and Americano - it should come as little surprise that the tide is turning for tea and we’re becoming keener on coffee than ever before.

A Coffee for Connoisseurs e company sources its beans from around the globe, including coffee co-operatives (growing groups), milling groups and independent growers. Most people know about the Fairtrade Foundation, which provides a fair floor price and good working conditions for co-operatives. Bewley’s, however, goes above and beyond Fairtrade standards and also trades ethically with individual producers too.

Full of Beans e Bulldog Hotel Group’s chosen coffee supplier is Bewley’s, which was established in 1840, and provides the beans for the equivalent of 600,000,000 cups to over 4,000 outlets, including Bulldog’s seven hotels, every year.

e company roasts around 800 tonnes of coffee beans each year, mixing beans into different blends to produce, for instance, e Bulldog Hotel Group’s Milestone blend, which consists of Brazilian Daterra Sunrise, a Sol y Café blend from Peru and a Honduran bean too.

Bewley’s doesn’t just supply coffee, it “e beans come in smaller than you’re also supplies the hotels’ grinders and used to, they’re green-ish in colour and coffee machines, and provides education have no aroma. We roast on traditional and ongoing barista training for this Probat drum roasters, but a state of the deceptively complex product, that we as consumers have come to expect more from. art Loring Smart Roaster is used for

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Coffee Culture

Making the Most of the Roast

small batch, roast to order coffees.” says Howard. “Our experienced roasting teams make batch-by-batch adjustments to the roasting process to respond to factors which can alter the outcome of the roast. ese include green coffee condition, roastery temperature, humidity and air pressure.” “is care and attention during every roast is absolutely paramount to deliver the promise of flavour and aroma that will otherwise remain untapped, within that particular coffee. It’s a complex journey from farm, to roastery, to cup, one we’re committed to understanding, having expertise at every level.”

e Roasting Process As a rough guide, roasting takes place at oven temperatures, and beans are roasted for between 10 and 15 minutes. before being dropped and packed into 30kg, 60kg or 120kg batches. Milestone is one of around a dozen coffees under

Bewley’s Grumpy Mule brand, which is also available for consumers to buy... but if you’re expecting to produce barista-style coffee from home, you’ve a bit more to learn yet.

e Daily Grind Every member of e Bulldog Hotel Group’s Barista Teams attend regular courses at Bewley’s Yorkshire roastery. Each Coffee Champion becomes responsible for the ongoing training of all members of a hotel’s bar staff. is training covers the grinding of beans, operation and maintenance of the coffee machine itself and the process of extraction - pulling a shot of espresso. For starters, you should store your coffee in a dark, dry place at room temperature in the bag - never in the fridge as condensation forming on the inside of the bag will cause the beans to go stale.

good cup of coffee, but one thing you can control is the coarseness of the grind.” says Howard. “Too coarse and it will extract too quickly, which results in a sour, weak espresso with a thin pale créma. Too fine and it’ll take too long to extract, resulting in a bitter taste.” Domestic coffee machines - those with a ‘bean to cup’ grinder build-in, offer little control over this process, so Bulldog’s machines allow baristas complete control over the fresh grinding of beans for each cup.

e Key to Good Coffee “ere are lots of secrets of creating a

“There are lots of secrets of creating a good cup of coffee, but one thing you can control is the coarseness of the grind.” says Howard Barwick, one of Bewley’s coffee specialists. “Too coarse and it will extract too quickly, which results in a sour, weak espresso with a thin pale créma. Too fine and it’ll take too long to extract, resulting in a bitter taste.” 17


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Coffee Culture Making the Most of the Roast

“Proverbially, the secret of comedy is timing... and along with the coarseness of your grind, it’s the same with coffee. The ideal temperature for water to pass through coffee is 92° - 95°c, at a pressure of around nine bar. That should mean espresso should take 25-30 seconds to extract...” Timing is Everything Proverbially, the secret of comedy is timing... and along with the coarseness of your grind, it’s the same with coffee. e ideal temperature for water to pass through your coffee is between 92° and 95°c, at a pressure of around nine bar. at should mean your espresso should take 25-30 seconds to extract. e key to creating good cappuccino and latté is steaming the milk correctly, and a large part of this is maintaining a clean coffee machine - particularly the steam wand.

As such, UK consumers are demanding more from their coffee. Conventional coffee just isn’t enough any more - as customers we’re insisting on freshly ground beans, Fairtrade provenance and a coffee menu with a choice of espresso, cappuccino, latté and so on.

Demanding More We’re also learning more about how our food and drink is produced and coffee is one of the those products which, in terms of quality, has taken a huge leap forward as consumers learn more about it and become more quality-conscious.

at’s why, above all, Bulldog Hotel Group baristas are encouraged to keep their machines spotless.

Bulldog’s new barista coffee houses like Holmfirth’s Old Bridge and Oundle’s Talbot Hotel recognise that coffee is the new tea, and that only the best will do for its new customers.

Britain has, over the past few years, seen a fall in the amount of alcohol consumed in pubs, restaurants and hotels in favour of a café culture like countries such as France and Italy already enjoy.

at’s why, working in conjunction with Bewley’s, it’s able to provide customers with coffee that really is full of beans.

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Know your Coffee

Can you tell your ristretto from your espresso or your latté from your flat white?

Espresso

22-25ml coffee, extracted in 25-30 seconds. A single espresso will fill half a demitasse cup a double espresso will fit into a demitasse cup comfortably.

Macchiato

An espresso topped with a small dollop of foam or an equal part cappuccino styled textured milk. A latté macchiato is milk poured into a tall glass onto coffee.

Cappuccino

Espresso topped with milk to create 50%-60% additional volume. By contrast, a latté features lightly textured milk poured over espresso to create 20% more volume.

Ristretto

A ristretto is identical to an espresso in terms of volume, but is typically sweeter and punchier. Produced with an extra gramme of coffee to slow down extraction.

Americano

This is a ‘long drink’ (5oz - 12oz) rather than a ‘short.’ It’s also known as a long black, and is served with an espresso shot which is poured onto hot water.

Mocha

Whisked chocolate and textured milk, poured onto espresso. Typically served as a long drink of around 7oz. Textured milk is fresh, milk steamed to 70°c.

Other Coffee Oddities: You could also request a con panna - whipped cream on top of espresso, a café bonbon - espresso poured over condensed milk, cortado - a single espresso topped with a latté style textured milk (1:2 coffee/milk), or a piccalo - single espresso topped with 3-4oz latté style textured milk...

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Eating Out e Best Western ree Swans

Dining Fit For a King A full refurbishment is due to double the size of the bistro at one of The Bulldog Group’s flagship hotels whose previous guests include kings and queens... Market Harborough’s finest hotel, The Best Western Three Swans Hotel, features a bistro that’s really popular with locals and visitors Words and Images: Ceri Jackson.

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or over 500 years, Market Harborough’s Best Western ree Swans Hotel has offered a warm welcome to guests, travellers, and diners. A former coaching inn, it dates back to as early as 1517, when it was known simply as ‘Ye Signe of Swanne.’ Many famous guests, such as King Charles I and Queen Anne have been welcomed through its doors.

A New Beginning Since it became part of the Bulldog Hotel Group last year, it has been subject to a complete programme of modernisation, with its 44 seat bistro anticipating its refurbishment during our visit. “e bistro is very popular both with residents and non-residents alike. It becomes full up every day, so it makes sense to extend it so we can seat up to 100.” says the hotel’s General Manager Neil Gray. “We’re also updating the kitchen and adding new equipment so our chefs can build upon our already high standards and increased trade.”

Diners can choose to eat from three menus; the breakfast, main and bar menus. ese change twice a year, with the current summer menu running until October.

Spoilt for Choice As we sat at our table, we overheard a customer chatting with his wife as they decided what to order. “We’re certainly spoilt for choice!” he commented. at’s definitely the case, with a mix of modern, à la carte dishes and traditional English classics. ere’s also a Specials Board, which is updated daily and proves to be very popular. “e menu is a team effort, designed by Head Chef Greg Prangnell with help from his nine additional chefs, who all have input. Greg has been working in our kitchen for seven years, and this year he was named as the Bulldog Hotel Group’s Chef of the Year.” says Neil. Greg says he has always had a passion for cooking and baking. “My Dad was a Chef at the Connault Hotel in London

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- so I was brought up with quality food. My love for food and cooking stems from childhood!” Everything is prepared fresh in the kitchen, from desserts to breads, to sauces and stocks. e team currently has a Breasola maturing in the cellar, which has been marinated in red wine, chilli and orange peel; it’s definitely worth a visit to try this dish alone!

Starters Orders Our starters were the Brixworth pâté with plum and apple chutney, sourdough and rye crisp breads, and hot smoked salmon and chilli crème fraîche tower with avocado guacamole. Both were well presented, but it was the salmon tower that really bowled us over. For main course, we tried the pan-fried salmon supreme with crushed new potatoes, glazed fine beans and Chantenay carrots with hollandaise sauce, and a ‘gourmet’ burger. e latter was really special, and paired perfectly with the dish’s sweet caramelised onions and Sparkenhoe Red Leicester.

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Desserts included a raspberry, white peach and chocolate chip cheesecake which was created by Greg. e texture was light and creamy, with little bursts of chocolate from the biscuit base. We also tried the Dark Chocolate Nemesis, a firm favourite in the Patisserie Cabinet, and the Meringue Swan, which seems to be somewhat of a trademark at the hotel. Before you leave, make sure you also try a slice of homemade cake from the patisserie cabinet, with freshly ground Bewley’s ‘Grumpy Mule’ coffee or Teapigs quality leaf tea.

Bar Menu Bar diners have a similarly extensive menu with sandwiches, pub classics and seasonal mains, and a range of salads and sharing boards. ere’s also an extensive wine selection of red, white and rosé, and both sparkling wine and Champagne too. With local ingredients, a dedicated brigade of staff and kitchen team, plus an extensive menu, the recent refurbishment secures Market Harborough’s ree Swans’s position as the best place to dine in the area!

Above: A chocoholic’s dream come true.

May We Recommend...

To Eat: Medallions of beef, with mushroom, rosemary & white truffle sauce, mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. To Drink: We opted for the Châteauneuf-du-Pape, at £28/bottle. To Do: We recommend an afternoon shopping trip in the town’s busy centre, before making your way to the hotel’s outside courtyard where you can enjoy a glass of wine or local ale. Best Western Three Swans Hotel, 21 High Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7NJ. Tel: 01858 466644. www.threeswans.co.uk.


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The hotel is due to receive a full refurbishment, which will create a new restaurant extending The Three Swans’s downstairs dining capacity to 100. With a ‘Spoilt for Choice’ menu, this summer The Best Western Three Swans Hotel will be a great place to eat, or relax with a drink... Top: Hot smoked salmon and chilli crème fraîche tower with avocado guacamole.

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Grand Top: The Marsden Moor Estate near Holmfirth - home to The Bulldog Hotel Group’s Old Bridge Inn.


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Grand Days Out With Bulldog Hotels

Days Out USING THE BULLDOG HOTEL GROUP’S VENUES AS A BASE, YOU CAN ExPLORE SOME OF BRITAIN’S MOST VIBRANT MARKET TOWNS, BEST ATTRACTIONS, AND ITS MOST BEAUTIFUL COUNTRYSIDE. Words: Rob Davis.


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Grand Days Out With Bulldog Hotels

Living in the Past

History comes alive near The George Hotel at Piercebridge Top: Beamish Museum, is half an hour from The Bulldog Hotel Group’s George Hotel. New this year is a wartime farm, and pit pony stables. The whole village is a living museum to the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s.

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he Bulldog Hotel Group’s George Hotel in Piercebridge can claim its fair share of history, being a 16th century building with Henry Clay Work’s famous grandfather clock, but the hotel is also an ideal base from which to explore some of the UK’s history, too.

e Way We Were Beamish, e Living Museum of the North is just 30 minutes away. A 300 acre open air museum, it’s a recreation of a town from the 1820s, 1900s and 1940s. ere’s a railway station, farm, Colliery and a town with bakery, newspaper, motor garage, Co-Op, bank, pub and stableyard. It’s an immersive experience, painstakingly recreated, that also makes learning fun for children.

Art and Architecture Bowes Museum is 20 minutes away, in Barnard Castle in the midst of Teesdale. It is a French-style château with an outstanding collection of European fine and decorative art. Meanwhile the English Heritage owned Barnard Castle and Egglestone Abbey around

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a mile down the road are 12th/13th century premonistarian sites. e castle’s ruins are among the oldest in the North of England - a place of tranquillity and beauty, with a sensory garden created in 2000.

Days of Steam Whilst in the area, the nearby market town of Darlington also has Head of Steam, a railway museum on the route of the 1825 Stockton & Darlington Railway currently home to Stephenson’s original steam locomotive. With its historic attractions and lots to explore, history really does come alive in the area.


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What to Do... A Grand Day Out

Sunday 20th July 2014, 10am - 4pm, Head Of Steam Museum, Darlington Come along to the museum’s Grand Day Out, with flea circus, coconut shy, Victorian arts and crafts, Victorian bicycles, Punch and Judy, swingy boats. £1 entrance fee for all, annual family members go free. 01325 460532 www.headofsteam.co.uk

Toys From e Past

Tuesday 29th July 2014, 11am-4pm, Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle Come and join The Bowes Museum in this day of dropin activities for all the family. These include storytelling with Adam Bushnell; designing and creating a simple Jack in the Box; decorating a spinning top, making a cup and ball game and much more. 01833 690606 thebowesmuseum.org.uk

Agricultural Power

Thursday 4th - Sunday 7th September from 10am, Beamish, C. Durham Celebrating horse power, steam power, and our agricultural heritage in years gone by at the area’s living museum. 0191 370 4000 www.beamish.org.uk

Where to Stay...

Bulldog Hotel Group’s George Inn is a great base for exploring Darlington and County Durham... The George Inn, Piercebridge, Darlington, County Durham DL2 3SW. Tel: 01325 374576 www.george-ontees.co.uk.

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Grand Days Out With Bulldog Hotels

Beauty Spot: Standedge Tunnels and their nature trail are situated on the National Trust’s Marsden Moor Estate.


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The Tour de France reaches Holmfir th

For the first time ever, the World’s most famous cycle race comes to the North of England this year as the Tour de France sets off from Leeds on 5th-6th July.

The Great Outdoors

Get back to nature: stay in Holmfirth to explore West Yorkshire

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est Yorkshire enjoys an enviable position at the top of the Peak District National Park, and with craggy dry stone walls and breathtaking scenery, there’s little wonder it’s so popular with hikers, photographers, and those who want to get away from it all.

Exploring West Yorkshire From e Bulldog Hotel Group’s Old Bridge Inn, e National Trust’s 5,600 acre Marsden Moor Estate is just a 20 minute drive away, with rock climbing, hang-glider, paragliding and guided walks. e nearby Standedge Tunnels cross the Estate and extend into Kirklees - the Tunnels are a great place to

enjoy a boat trip through Britain’s longest, deepest canal tunnels, ending at the Tunnel End Reservoir Nature Trail.

Watching Wildlife Whilst around the Holme Valley, watch out for the Pennine Finch (Twite), hares, foxes, stoats and weasels - Marsden Moor is an SSSI, and at dusk you can see acrobatic bats swooping over the River Colne. e area is also great for immersing yourself in country pursuits from the Holme Valley Heavy Horses at Hinchcliffe’s Farm, to the Harden Moss Sheepdog Trials and the Honley Agricultural Show with its ‘welly wanging.’

A Different Perspective Achieve a different perspective or enjoy some rural action courtesy of Pennine Helis which offers aerial tours, or Holme Valley 4x4 which offers challenging off-road and quad biking experiences.

ere will be three stages for the route; Leeds to Harrogate, York to Sheffield and Cambridge to London Stage two’s 200km route will take in Holmfirth, on 6th July. A festival of cultural events will mark the route and will include e Holmfirth Arts Festival from 12th-22nd June and Holmfirth Art Week from 20th-26th July.

Where to Stay...

We enjoyed the comfort of Bulldog Hotel Group’s newly refurbished Old Bridge Inn & Coffee House to explore Yorkshire... Old Bridge Inn & Coffee House, Market Walk, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire HD9 7DA. Tel: 01484 681212. oldbridgeholmfirth.co.uk

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Grand Days Out With Bulldog Hotels

Beauty and the Bard

Enjoy a short break in the Cotswolds and take in the beauty

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ulldog Hotel Group’s White Hart Royal in Moreton-in-Marsh is ideally located for exploring what is arguably one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the UK. One of the principal market towns in the northern Cotswolds, it has been a traveller’s town for at least 1700 years and still retains its trademark honey-coloured stone buildings.

For Nature Lovers If you love beautiful gardens, Bourton House Garden is less than two miles away. An impressive three acre garden, with topiary and magnificent borders arranged around an 18th century mansion, it was awarded e Cotswold Tourism Awards’s Small Visitor of the Year title. Meanwhile, Batsford Arboretum was created in the 1800s and looks magnificent all year round with over 56 acres of oriental statues, English roses and perennial trees and shrubs, just a 15 minute drive from the White Hart Royal. A little further afield is Sudely Castle’s Royal Gardens whose roses look beautiful all summer long.

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Also great for nature lovers is a visit to Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, where children can cuddle the smaller animals, enjoy a farm safari and bottle feed baby animals throughout the year.

Plenty of Attractions Whilst in the Cotswolds, you can enjoy the Cotswold Falconry Centre, with its 150 birds of prey, or the Cotswolds Motoring Museum, located in the village of Bourton on the Water near e Model Village - a ninth scale depiction of the village as it was in 1937. Explore the origins of the Arts and Crafts movement less than an hour away at Kelmscott, home to William Morris, or enjoy the antiques town of Stow on the Wold. Also less than half an hour away is Stratford-upon-Avon with William Shakespeare’s birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and the RSC’s Royal Shakespeare and Swan eatres.


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What to do this Summer Shakespeare 12th July - 4th September, 1.5pm, 7.15pm, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon Shakespeare’s exuberant romantic comedy in Stratford, less than 30mins from The White Hart Royal; tickets from £16. 0844 800 1110 www.rsc.org.uk

Cotswold Show

Top/Left: Bourton on the Water with its motoring and toy museum and football in the water. Left: TV presenter Adam Henson at his Cotswold Farm Park. Above: Batsford Arboretum. Below: Stratfordupon-Avon is just half an hour away with Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s home and the RSC’s theatres.

5th - 6th July, Bathhurst Estate Country show with monster trucks, country pursuits, falconry, food and family fun family ticket £28, adults £10/ea. 01749 814089 www.cotswoldshow.co.uk

Football in the Water 25th August, Bourton on the Water A crazy game of football in the Windrush River. www.cotswolds.info

Cotswold Falconry

Weekends from 19th July - 23rd August, plus 25th/25th August Birds of prey at Cotswold Wildlife Park near Burford. 01993 823 006 cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk

Where to Stay...

Bulldog’s White Hart Royal is a great place to use as a base for exploring The Cotswolds... The White Hart Royal Hotel, High St, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0BA Tel: 01608 650731 www.whitehartroyal.co.uk

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Grand Days Out With Bulldog Hotels

Family Days Out

Knights and days out when you explore Market Harborough

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arket Harborough is the ideal place to head to for family fun. Get lost in Wistow’s Maize Maze, just eight miles from Bulldog Hotel Group’s ree Swans, located right in the centre of the market town. Alternatively, there are play zones from Mini-Mischiefs in the town to Kid’s Play and Cheeky Monkees in nearby Kettering. Also near Kettering is Wicksteed Park, with 150 acres of Grade II listed parkland and 30 rides plus playgrounds, lakeside walks and the UK’s busiest narrow gauge railway.

2014 sees a £2m Heritage Lottery funded restoration of the park’s lake, plus its new ‘beach’ and nature trail.

History for the Whole Family Just 10 minutes away from the hotel is Foxton Locks, where you can see a unique demonstration of Victorian engineering. Walk along the river and watch narrowboats navigate through a series of 10 Grade II* listed canal locks arranged as a ‘staircase’ on the Grand Union Canal.

Rockingham Castle e park is a proving ground for the play equipment that Charles Wicksteed used to manufacture and is a great place for children to run riot.

e 11th century Rockingham Castle is within ten minutes of the Hotel too, with regular events including e Knights of Nottingham jousting on 1st June, the Vikings of Middle England on Sunday 24th August, and Rockingham Fair on 20th and 21st September. Whilst in Market Harborough, stay at the Best Western Three Swans Hotel: High St, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16 7NJ Tel: 01858 466644, threeswans.co.uk.

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Top: The series of locks at Foxton just a few minutes from Market Harborough. Image: Linda Jenkins. Below: Jousting at Rockingham Castle. Left: Wicksteed Park.


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Find a home for antiques in the town of Horncastle...

Situated at the south-west foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds on the edge of the Fens, you’ll find Horncastle; a bustling and attractive market town renowned for its antique shops and fine heritage.

A Boston Pilgrimage Explore the home of the Pilgrim Fathers in Lincolnshire

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oston is a lovely, historic market town in Lincolnshire, right on the east coast, once home of the Pilgrim Fathers.

A Notable Landmark Boston’s most notable landmarks is the 700 year old St Botolph’s Church, known as e Boston Stump to locals. Take a trip up the 365 steps for beautiful panoramic views of the town from the top. Look out, too, for the Maud Foster Windmill, still working away in the town and open to visitors for a fascinating reflection of why Lincolnshire is the ‘county that feeds the country.’

A Market Town Local producers meet twice a week, at the town’s lively market every Wednesday and Saturday.

Lincolnshire is the perfect place to take in the fresh country air, and the hotel is a great place to stay to walk in the Fens, with pretty waterways and activities such as fishing on offer. Skegness is just half an hour away, worth a visit for those seeking seaside fun at a traditional resort. Whilst in Boston, enjoy the market town hospitality of The Best Western White Hart... 1-5 High St, Boston, Lincolnshire PE21 8SH. Tel: 01205 311900, www.whitehartboston.com

Make sure you visit the array of antique shops and start at the historic 12th century Church of St Mary for the perfect countryside walk. After all that exploring you’ll be in need of a refreshing drink; stop by the former 17th century coaching inn, e Admiral Rodney Hotel, where you can enjoy the natural light of the airy Courtyard Restaurant and a glass of wine or pint of ale with a light lunch or dinner.

Where to Stay...

Whilst in Horncastle, you can stay at The Admiral Rodney... The Best Western Admiral Rodney Hotel, North St, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, LN9 5DX. Tel: 01507 523131 www.admiralrodney.com

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Eating Out at Best Western White Hart

Taking Good Food to Har t High quality dining in the ‘har t’ of one of the UK’s most prolific food-producing counties

With the introduction of a brand new menu, comprising a mixture of à la carte dishes and traditional pub classics, the Bulldog Hotel Group’s Best Western White Hart Hotel, in the Lincolnshire market town of Boston, certainly takes good food to hart Words: Ceri Jackson.

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f ever a building was deserving of a little TLC, Boston’s grand dame of hospitality, the Best Western White Hart Hotel was that building. Despite its beauty, its Grade II listing, and the age of the building - it dates back to the mid-18th century. e hotel was in need of a bit of attention; that’s when e Bulldog Hotel Group arrived to take it under their wing in 2006.

section of the menu, including starters such as baked mushroom with goats cheese, spinach and sun dried tomato dressing, main courses like the guinea fowl supreme, and its summer pudding. “e hotel recently enjoyed a complete refurbishment, and the Riverside Restaurant has only just been updated making it an even more stylish place to dine.” says the hotel’s General Manager Alan Bloomfield.

Since then it has undergone a complete transformation, and it’s not just cosmetic. “We have doubled the kitchen in size, giving the Head Chef and his kitchen It’s a smarter, more stylish place to dine, team more opportunity to create the kitchen is now twice the size and innovative dishes for our customers.” there’s a brand new restaurant. e company also invested a great deal of time and energy ensuring the food it New Seasonal Menu provides in the hotel can compete with We were delighted to try the new duo of the best gastro-pubs and hotel salmon and plaice, which was infused restaurants in the county and beyond. with lemongrass and ginger, making it a

refreshing choice for a summer evening. ‘Dirty Burger’ fans will love to hear that a ‘Double Dog’ has also been added with a large Frankfurter, barbecue pulled pork, Lincolnshire Dambuster cheese, caramelised onions and barbecue sauce. ere’s also a new selection of summer salads, with a choice of, for instance, seared tuna. In total the menu offers six starters and 12 main courses as well as sharing boards and six desserts. Food arrives courtesy of Head Chef Grant Dawson, who has 36 years experience and has previously headed up kitchens in country house boutique hotels.

A White Hart Special Our starters were duck with orange and pink grapefruit salad with a juniper berry balsamic syrup, and sticky prawns with honey, soy and sesame marinade on

Summer of Love Diners will be able to choose from 10 new dishes which have been added to the new Riverside Restaurant’s menu, but can also be enjoyed in the stylish Courtyard Bar, too. e summer menu adds new seasonal dishes in the more formal à la carte

The hotel did a roaring trade last summer with al fresco dining and its coffee & cocktail trade proving very popular. This season Best Western White Hart will be a great place to both eat, and relax with a drink... 35


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Top: Guinea fowl supreme with mushroom fricassée, redcurrant and port sauce.

top of an oriental salad. ese dishes, straight from the new menu, exploited the best seasonal ingredients.

Right: Banoffee tart with toffee sauce.

Our main courses included the guinea fowl supreme with mushroom fricassée and a redcurrant and port sauce, and duo of salmon and plaice. ese were exquisitely cooked, vibrant and well-presented.

May We Recommend...

To Eat: Duo of salmon and plaice infused with lemongrass and ginger, steamed vegetables and rice, lime and coriander sauce. To Drink: We opted for the Caliterra Merlot Reserva at £18.50/bottle. To Do: Take a bird’s-eye view of the market town with a hike up the 365 steps of Boston Stump’s tower. Work up an appetite and take in the view of the glorious flat Lincolnshire countryside! Best Western White Hart Hotel, High Street, Boston, PE21 8SH Tel: 01205 311900 www.whitehartboston.com

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For dessert we tried a further two additions to the menu, including the new homemade banoffee tart with toffee sauce. e creamy texture and the sweetness of the sauce is enough to make the ‘hart’ flutter. Our summer pudding with clotted cream had a welcome tang, the sponge perfectly moist; and as you take a fork full you’ll find a welcome array of summer berries and lots of sauce in the centre. ose seeking a lighter bite to eat have a similarly great choice, with sandwiches and ciabattas, pub classics, and a new grazing & sharing selection. To accompany your dish, there’s a wine list with 11 reds, 10 whites, two rosés and sparkling wine & bubbly Champagne options.

e hotel aims to create a warm, friendly boutique hotel feel with plush surroundings and food that’s up to the standard of the highest quality. Our dining experience reassured us that there was something for everyone; a summer menu with its new seasonal options, formal à la carte and casual dining dishes with brilliant presentation, and for all diners, attentive service and a great environment.

A Fantastic Transformation “We’ve made further improvements by extending the kitchen, making sure we can continue to offer the most up to date dining options.” says Alan. “With an updated look for the restaurant, coupled with the renovations of the bedrooms and Courtyard Bar, e Best Western White Hart Hotel has never looked better.” With lots going on in this traditional market town, and a wealth of local food producers, there’s never been a better time to discover one of Bulldog Hotel Group’s biggest success stories right in the ‘hart’ of the town of Boston.


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Eating Out at Best Western White Hart

Main: Sticky prawns with honey, soy and sesame marinade and oriental salad.


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Real Ale Cheers!

On The Trail of a ‘Good Honest Ale’ With over 140 years of heritage, Batemans Brewery is one of The Bulldog Hotel Group’s longest par tners, supplying Good Honest Ales. We enjoy a pint with the company’s Stuar t Bateman...

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e’re standing in the so-called eatre of Beers. It’s the Old Brewhouse at Batemans Brewery, which has a permanent presence at e Bulldog Hotel Group’s White Hart in Boston, Horncastle’s Admiral Rodney, and as a guest ale at e ree Swans in Market Harborough and Oundle’s Talbot Inn.

Why XB and XXXB? “XB is a classic pale ale popular with Bulldog customers because of its golden amber colouring, hoppy scent and finish.” says Stuart. “It’s grainy and quaffable, great with the company’s range of burgers and fish ‘n’ chip dishes.” Meanwhile, five times CAMRA Great British Beer Festival winner XXXB is a tawny-coloured premium ale of 4.5% with a rich, strong, malty taste.

A eatre of Beers e room is so-called because fans of the company’s ales have purchased ‘bricks’ onto which they’ve put their name, à la Old Trafford’s eatre of Dreams. It’s testimony to the popularity of its flagship ales, XB and XXXB, which are stocked not just by many of Bulldog’s venues, but by the brewery’s 68 tenanted pubs, its 400 freehouse customers and the 30 wholesalers which give the brewery its national reach.

e working relationship between e Bulldog Hotel Group and Batemans spans three decades, making it one of the company’s longest standing relationships. It’s little surprise because, despite its size, Batemans has always managed to retain the quality and provenance of its ales.

Generations of Brewers Batemans Brewery has a strong heritage, with MD Stuart Bateman now running the business with his sister Jaclyn. e two are the fourth generation of the family, with their great-grandfather George Bateman establishing the business in 1874.e brewery’s output is the equivalent of 7,500,000 pints a year, and yet, despite its scale, it remains a ‘proper’ wet-brewery, retaining an allowance cask for its three brewers and seven production staff to enjoy. Not a bad perk of the job.

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Real Ale Cheers!

“Both XB and XXXB are popular products with a really loyal following. They’re one of the UK’s best loved premium ales, and perfectly complement both the environment of a Bulldog Hotel, as well as the food they offer.” Trade Secrets e company’s ‘trade secrets’ include the time and temperature at which the malted barley is kilned, the exact blend of malts and where they’re sourced from, as well as the different hops used, and even the taste of the water at the brewery, Batemans ales have a completely unique taste, one which can’t possibly be replicated, even if you have the recipe to hand. Above all though, it’s the type of yeast used and the way in which the company’s ales are fermented that most determines the flavour of the ale.

e Perfect Partner “e result is a product that can’t be produced elsewhere.” says Stuart. “Both XB and XXXB are popular products with a really loyal following. ey’re two of the UK’s best loved premium ales, and perfectly complement both the environment of a Bulldog Hotel, as well as the food they offer.” Based in an old Georgian windmill in rural Lincolnshire, the company’s 140 years of heritage and established recipes have created much-loved ales, but the company is also keen to launch new ales too. Stuart is currently reviewing the company’s 1920s recipes with a view to

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launching a range of ‘vintage’ guest ales, and has recently launched a range of Bohemian Brews, flavoured with mocha, orange barley, hazelnut and amaretto. “We’ve a passion for real ales that suits the Bulldog Hotel Group’s keen eye for providing really high quality products for its customers.” says Stuart. “Like sourcing the best ingredients for its food, the company works with local breweries like us to ensure its wet trade offers its customers across all of its hotels artisan ales that are really special and really enjoyable!”


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Meet Our Breweries The Bulldog Hotel Group has strong partnerships with six breweries, each providing real ale, with real provenance...

Copper Dragon

Gordon Wilkinson produces a range of six fantastic ales from The Copper Dragon based in Skipton. The company’s ales are available at Bulldog’s Old Bridge Inn & Coffee House in Holmfirth.

Nene Valley Ales

Nene Valley is based in Oundle and supplies The Talbot Hotel, also based in the town with a range of eight ales including DXB, OZP, NVB and BSA and an exclusive beer, called Dick Talbot Ale.

Tom Woods

Founded in 1995, Tom Woods provides its Best Bitter and Lincoln Gold to Bulldog Hotel Group’s Admiral Rodney in Horncastle it’s easy to drink, fresh, dry and hoppy.

Hook Norton

Arranged over five floors and with a steam engine powering the process, Hook Norton Brewery in the Cotswolds serves Moreton in Marsh’s White Hart Royal with Lion and Hooky Ales among others.

Mithril Ales

Available at the Talbot as well as Holmfirth’s Old Bridge and Piercebridge’s George, Mithril’s Flower Power and A66 are satisfying golden pale ales that have won numerous real ale awards.

Batemans

Featured here, Batemans was established in 1874 and supplies Bulldog’s Boston’s White Hart, Horncastle’s Admiral Rodney, Oundle’s Talbot and Market Harborough’s Three Swans.

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Dining in the Har t of the Cotswolds If you think the place is pretty, wait until you see the food...!

Food for thought in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. This month we enjoy a trip to the Cotswolds to sample the brand new summer menus at The Bulldog Hotel Group’s White Hart Royal... Words & Images: Rob Davis.

This Spread: New for the restaurant’s summer menus is this pulled lamb dish, served in croquette form with Moroccan spiced cous-cous.


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Eating Out White Hart Royal


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f the thought of visiting one of the country’s most beautiful areas appeals, we’ve an equally appealing dining suggestion whilst you’re there.

e White Hart Royal Hotel and Eatery has been a Bulldog-owned venue for the past five years. In its previous life it languished under the ownership of successive multinationals, before a Bulldog restoration brought it up to date, gave it back its individuality and ensured Head Chef Carl Chappell could work independently enough to ensure a healthy degree of flair in the restaurant’s food.

Royal Dining e White Hart Royal dates back to 1640 and carries a Grade II listing. It has 28 bedrooms, but happily its dining is available to both residents and non-residents alike. With one menu operating across the whole venue, diners can eat in the beautiful bar, its comfortable lounge, or on its sunny cobbled terrace during the day. e restaurant is reserved for evening dining and Sunday lunch. A superb menu features quality pub restaurant-style classics, more formal à la carte main course options, as well as sharing platters.

Top: The White Hart Royal’s new Traditionally British sharing platter. Above: Chocolate Delice with tuille and home-made ice cream.

‘Traditionally British’ In the latter category, there’s a brand new dish in the form of Traditionally British, which we couldn’t wait to try it certainly suited the quintessentially English setting of the Cotswolds. Served on a board, there was a smashing mini-Yorkshire pudding with beautifully cooked pink roast beef and horseradish, a small newspaper cone of fish ‘n’ chips, a mini-shepherd’s pie and a clever canapé sized ham and eggs. It was outstanding! Other options on offer during our visit were a rather less English but equally delicious pulled lamb croquette with Moroccan spiced cous-cous and a delicious cod loin served with a frothy lobster bisque.

Leave Room for Dessert Our dessert option was a brooding, dark and absolutely fabulous chocolate parfait served with banana ice cream - made in house, of course - and home-made tuille.

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A host of side dishes plus a wine list of no fewer than 39 bins complemented our meal beautifully, whilst the option to stay overnight in one of the superbly furnished rooms boosted the hotel’s appeal further - especially as there’s plenty to do in the Cotswolds.

Local Suppliers What’s more, with fish delivered daily from suppliers on the south west coast, plus ingredients sourced from artisan suppliers like Kelmscott Pork there’s plenty of provenance in the ingredients the brigade employs so skilfully. e dining room offers a superb experience from starter to dessert in a location most hoteliers could only dream of. Just over an hour from London, e White Hart Royal doesn’t just provide residents with great cuisine, it provides you with all the excuse you need to pay a visit the beautiful Cotswolds.

May We Recommend..

To Eat: We have to recommend the Traditionally English sharing platter; it’s innovative, delicious and suits the honey-stoned Cotswolds perfectly; £14. To Drink: Accompany your sharing platter with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It’s a deep, satisfying Cotes du Rhône, at £35/bottle. The White Hart Royal, High St, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 0BA. Tel: 01608 650731. www.whitehartroyal.co.uk


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With one menu operating across the whole venue, diners can choose to eat in the beautiful bar, a comfortable lounge, or on the sunny cobbled terrace during the day. The restaurant is reserved for evening service and Sunday lunchtimes...

Left: Head Chef at the White Hart Royal is Carl Chappell. The venue has three AA stars and an AA rosette for its accommodation and dining respectively. It has been voted the third best hotel in the whole of the Cotswolds. Carl is pictured here with one of our starters; tomato ravioli with crispy goats cheese and basil oil.

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Going Green Treesleep

Saving the Planet One Sleep at a Time

TV’s David Bellamy was interested to hear about Treesleep, The Bulldog Hotel Group’s simple, generous carbon offset initiative... Whichever of the Bulldog Hotels Group’s venues you stay in, you can sleep soundly, knowing the company’s Treesleep initiative will plant a tree every time a guest stays the night. Image: Lily with David Bellamy during the opening ceremony of Jenny’s Wood.

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he Bulldog Hotel Group is very proud of its unique Treesleep initiative. Most of us have concerns about the environment and as a company we really wanted to do something to help reduce our own impact on the environment and help offset our own carbon footprint.

It takes just one, simple idea... “We came up with a simple, yet heartwarming, idea for how we could help.” says the company’s Director Lily Charity. “rough our unique Treesleep scheme we donate the cost of a new baby tree to our local Woodland Trust, from the room revenue we receive from each hotel bedroom sale.”

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Fully Funded “Our Treesleep scheme is at no additional cost to our hotel guests and is fully funded by e Bulldog Hotel Group.” adds Lily. “By making these donations we not only contribute towards a great local ‘green’ cause, we also provide our hotel guests with a wonderful feel-good factor of knowing that just by choosing to spend the night in one of our seven hotels, a little tree will grow!” “To date, we have funded the planting of over 80,000 new baby trees, in areas such as ‘Jenny’s Wood’ which was officially opened by Dr. David Bellamy OBE, as shown here.”


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“We donate the cost of a new baby tree to our local Woodland Trust from the room revenue we receive from each hotel bedroom sale.� 47


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Open for Business Make the Bulldog Hotel Group your business partner for comfortable conferencing and accommodation that’s a home from home for anyone who works across England...

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hen you work across the UK, it’s imperative that you have a hotel partner which can provide comfortable accommodation, facilities for formal meetings and conferences, as well as informal meetings over lunch. e Bulldog Hotel Group is just that partner.

Easily Accessible e group’s seven venues are located across the East Midlands and North of England, providing bases from which to access cities like Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and Leicester.

We’ve ensured our restaurants consist of smaller areas in which to dine rather than a single large dining room, ensuring a quieter feel more conducive to conversation.

A Good Night’s Sleep Ongoing programmes of refurbishment and big investments in our hotels also mean our guests enjoy modern comfortable rooms with more personality than motels, whilst still enjoying modern comforts like free Wi-Fi, and in our Superior rooms, a lounge area with plenty of space to work.

Convenient Conferencing With coffee houses in venues like our Old Bridge Inn in West Yorkshire and Oundle’s Talbot Hotel, plus a lunchtime menu that runs across all of our venues providing good quality food, quickly, they’re ideal for meeting clients and different branches or personnel across your business, even at lunchtimes.

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Meeting Places...

Well-located, well-equipped and comfortable venues for conferences and meetings...

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Many of our hotels also offer both small and large conference rooms to accommodate practically any number of delegates. So, no matter where you are in the UK, you’ll find a good business partner in e Bulldog Hotel Group; great meeting places and a home from home for those who work across the UK.

Where: The Old Bridge, Holmfirth Why: Well-suited for informal meetings with coffee house and patisserie. Salads and lunch menu, convenient for Leeds, Sheffield & Manchester. www.oldbridgehotel.com

Where: The Three Swans, Market Harborough Why: Convenient for Northampton, Birmingham and Leicester. Three conferencing rooms plus bistro restaurant and bar for lunchtime meetings. www.threeswans.co.uk


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Doing Business with Bulldog

Travel in Style... Ideas for business travellers who want to pack light and enjoy a bit of luxury... Right: Meisterstück Triple Gusset Briefcase With Laptop Holder, £1,250, www.mont blanc.com. Below: Lamy Dialog 3 pen, a retractable fountain pen with no cap to lose, leak or come off, £205, www.bureau direct.co.uk.

Right: Apple Macbook Air, as light as an iPad but with more functionality, from £749, www.apple.com. Left: Business lunch at Holmfirth’s Old Bridge. Above: Comfortable accommodation at Oundle’s Talbot. Meeting rooms at The George Hotel in Piercebridge & Horncastle’s Admiral Rodney hotels.

Where: The George Hotel, Piercebridge. Why: Accessible from North Yorkshire, County Durham and Tyne & Wear, just five minutes off the A1. Ballroom, Pavilion & Library meeting rooms. www.george-ontees.co.uk

Where: White Hart Hotel, Boston. Why: Great for larger meetings, with a first floor conferencing and function room for up to 100 delegates. www.whitehartboston.com

Above: Shirt Shuttle - an integrated folding board, collar stiffener and hanger to prevent wrinkled shirts; £35, www.urbanetraveller.com.

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New Dining at the Old Bridge An impressive makeover means thoroughly modern dining at Holmfir th’s grand old coaching inn Keeping up with modern dining trends is crucial in the hotel and catering industry. So, when The Old Bridge in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, was treated to a comprehensive makeover, Head Chef David Boosey wanted to make sure his menus were just as up to date Words: Rob Davis.

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tanding in the middle of the little West Yorkshire town of Holmfirth, e Old Bridge Inn and Coffee House has a really varied customer base. From friends meeting for morning coffee and a cake, from the patisserie cabinet, to a busy lunch trade comprising tourists, to a brisk afternoon trade as customers meet on the newly created decking area to enjoy the restaurant’s grazing platters over a glass of wine or pint of real ale.

customers can eat and drink that wouldn’t look out of place in a modern, cosmopolitan city.”

Food and Drink David and his brigade have created a patisserie cabinet with treats that change daily; including recent crowd-pleasers like chocolate fudge cake, muffins, pastries and scones which all create a superb teatime treat.

A New Experience e venue has just been the subject of a £250,000 makeover which has seen the extension and relocation of the bar area and the creation of a new restaurant. Dining at e Old Bridge will be courtesy of Head Chef David Boosey, and when we visited, the Inn & Coffee House had re-opened just a day or two earlier, but was already proving popular. Also busy was General Manager Rachel Armstrong, who was busy taking care of a throng of new customers. She paused briefly to tell us what underpinned the

makeover and what customers could expect from e Old Bridge’s new dining experience.

Keeping the Character “It was really important that we retained the character of the place.” says Rachel. “e changes we’ve made have modernised the place without removing its character. We still have traditional beams and open fireplaces in the restaurant but with a really modern bar and terrace, we’ve also gained an environment in which our

Customers enjoying the late afternoon sunshine - and there were plenty of them during our visit - can supplement their choice of 16 wines by the glass, with chicken and chorizo skewers, olives served in the hotel’s own marinade, or with one of four salads. e main menu features Bridge Classics - favourites inspired by the quality pub restaurant era - as well as grill options like Piri-Piri roasted chicken with its rich capsicum bite. A traditional fish ‘n’ chip supper sees the hotel hand-batter its fish in Golden Pippin ale from the Copper Dragon brewery in Skipton, whilst meat is sourced from G Haig, one of the area’s most renowned butchers.

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During our visit we enjoyed a lunchtime treat in the form of e Old Bridge ‘Dirty’ Burger; ignore the unpalatable name, this 5oz home-made burger was hewn from high quality beef and combined with caramelised onions and Wensleydale cheese, served with hand-cut skin-on fries, smoked bacon and fried egg. After exploring Holmfirth, we later tried the venue’s flagship Old Bridge Pie on a Plate, too. Having photographed a few dishes that day, a couple of customers had wandered past and asked us if we’d tried it. We were intrigued!

Our Recommendation Evidently it’s quite famous locally, and when it arrived at our table that evening we understood why. e menu immodestly states that ‘It’s huge!’ and that’s not an overstatement. e crust covers the entire plate, whilst underneath there’s a generous quantity of prime cut steak, cauliflower, Savoy cabbage and potatoes

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all lurking amid real ale gravy. It’s pretty challenging in scale but really well cooked too, with lots of flavour.

Relaxed Quality “Good food doesn’t need to be complicated.” says David. “Fish ‘n’ chips or burgers or pies can be immensely satisfying when there’s a lot of time, effort and quality ingredients put into ensuring the fundamentals of chefcraft are present. Good food is about ensuring our customers go away having really enjoyed their experience.” Holmfirth’s Old Bridge may have provenance in the town dating back years, but with modern dining and plenty of provision for sharing and enjoying food - from patisserie to platters and from new dishes to traditional favourites - its reputation for the future has definitely been secured with its menu makeover.

Above: Our 5oz ‘Dirty’ burger; with Wensleydale cheese, caramelised onion, smoked bacon, fired egg, BBQ sauce, skinson fries and coleslaw.


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Eating Out Old Bridge, Holmfirth

Left: The £250,000 makeover has included a new outdoor terrace with rattan and metal furniture and decking.

Below: The newly extended bar and patisserie cabinet. Bottom: Ice cream sundae with chocolate brownie and marshmallow.

May We Recommend...

To Eat: Our recommendation has to be The Old Bridge Pie on a Plate - with a pastry that reaches right across the plate, it’s filled with prime cut beef and real ale gravy. To Drink: Enjoy it with a pint of Copper Dragon Cobbler’s Cask. Old Bridge Hotel, Market Walk, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire HD9 7DA Tel: 01484 681212 oldbridgeholmfirth.co.uk

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s k a e t S h g i H

How do you source the best steak? Bangers that are simply sizzling? The beautiful beef for Bulldog’s Burgers? We found out by meeting third generation butcher Gordon Ward, a Bulldog Hotel Group supplier...

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ulldog spirit. at’s how Gordon Ward describes his grandfather’s move to Lincolnshire. Butcher, Wilfred Ward was from Sheffield, and had both his business and home there, until they were bombed in the war. With both destroyed, Wilfred picked up his knives, packed up his horse & cart, then moved to the county to set up a new business.

140 other customers, mostly restaurants and hotels. It prepares 1,000 steaks a week and hand-links 500,000 sausages a year.

Brilliant Butchery

“All of our meat has true traceability.” says Gordon. “We can trace each steak or sausage back to the animal.”

Remarkably though, Mel Ward Butchers keeps the quality of its produce high enough to satisfy even the demands of Bulldog’s chefs such as Greg Prangnell, the group’s Chef of the Year.

Keeping Quality High Wilfred built a successful business and was joined by son Mel, who took over in 1971, and by third generation butcher Gordon in 1987 too. e business butchers beef, pork and lamb for the Bulldog Hotel group and around

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“We also work with suppliers who really care about their animals. If an animal is distressed, adrenaline courses through their body and makes the meat tough.

Being humane and caring for our animals improves their quality.”

Hanging for Flavour “Hanging our meat improves its flavour too. When meat is hung for up to 28 days, enzymes break down the meat and help to develop both flavour and texture.” “A respect for our animals and an understanding for the science behind producing quality meat helps us to produce the best quality beef, pork and lamb - and our restaurant & hotel customers will only accept the best. “Some of our butchers have over 40 years experience, so when you enjoy a steak at one of the group’s hotels, you know it’s been prepared with respect and skill literally from farm to fork.”


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Our Suppliers Finding e Best Steak

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A g n i v i Dr I

’ve always agreed with the saying that it’s better to travel than to arrive, but if anything was ever going make my belief in that saying waver, it was arriving in the beautiful Cotswolds town of Moreton in Marsh. e place is nothing short of stirring – so quintessentially English with its honey-coloured stone and undulating pastoral countryside you can almost hear Elgar’s Nimrod being whispered by the swaying trees as we wound our way along the Fosse Way. Unlike the composer, who spent a good deal of his life in the Cotswolds, I was a first-timer and thus far, my belief in travel rather than arrival, was certainly

challenged. But then… travel had an ace up its sleeve that weekend too, in the form of a classic sports car delivered to me in order that I could spend a weekend exploring one of the most beautiful parts of the English countryside.

A Place to Stay I would stay at e Bulldog Hotel Group’s 16th century White Hart Royal, right in the centre of Moreton, with its doily-festooned tea shops offering afternoon tea, its myriad posh arts galleries, antiques dealers and artisan food retailers. ere are several classic car hire companies operating out of the Cotswolds. Great Escape (01527 893733) provide the

Alfa Romeo Spider feature on our opening spread, whilst Classic Motoring (01452 864050) has a brace of E-Type Jaguars for hire, and Rob Glasspool from Cotswold Motoring (07598 237515) can provide a beautiful 1970 MG. ese firms will deliver their vehicles right to the door of your hotel, as was the case upon my arrival at e White Hart Royal.

Handed the Keys I was handed the keys to Rob’s MG and my journey through one of the most English parts of England, with one of England’s most English sports cars, began. “My father was into vintage cars, so I’ve always had classics too.” Rob says.


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Classic Cars

s n o i t i b m A

In the Cotswolds

A long weekend in the Cotswolds, a classic car, the English countryside, and the hospitality of The Bulldog Hotel Group’s White Har t Royal.Is this the recipe for the perfect weekend break...? Words & Images: Rob Davis.


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Classic Cars In the Cotswolds

“Having always been a very keen classic car enthusiast, I was looking to expand on my interest and the opportunity arose to combine classic car hire with the Motoring Museum in Bourton on the Water. e MG has proved really popular and the customers really appreciate the central and beautiful location.” Rob’s MG can be hired for £170 a day, with subsequent days charged at £120 each day. Insurance is included, so there’s nothing else to organise.

e Romantic Roads e local tourist board have even provided a choice of three routes through the Cotswolds – known as e Romantic Roads. More helpful was the fact that our route began right in the centre of Moreton. Rob has another suggestion for where to drive the car too – the Cotswold Motoring Museum in the centre of Bourton on the Water.

right/Below: We stayed at The Bulldog Hotel Group’s White Hart Royal Hotel.

museum. Originally a private collection and founded as a museum in 1978, the museum was acquired by the Civil Service Motoring Association in 1999. It attracts over 60,000 visitors each year and has 37 cars, 16 motorcycles, 800 enamel advertising signs plus a collection of classic toys which have diversified from toy cars to encompass a whole range of non-motoring exhibits. Divided into different galleries, the museum is aimed at showing off the social impact that motoring has had through the ages. In addition to permanent exhibits, there are also annual ones – this year’s is

The local tourist board has provided a choice of four routes through the Cotswolds – known as The Romantic Roads. More helpful was the fact that our route began right in the centre of Moreton...

Whilst modern cars concern themselves with power, speed, technology, life is simpler, more sedate in a classic. Driving quickly through the Cotswolds would be pointless – after all, who’d want to miss out on all that the scenery?

Wind in the Hair Instead, it’s better to drop the roof, drop your speed and waft along, with the wind in your hair and sunshine illuminating the pretty cottages and crystal clear streams of villages like Bourton on the Water, where the Motoring Museum is based. Even if you’re not a classic car fanatic you’ll find something of interest at the

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Glad All Over, with music memorabilia, pop art and a 1964 Zephyr flanked by two Royal Enfield motorcycles.

Motoring Museum “Cars are intrinsically linked to class and lifestyle.” says the museum’s Curator, Michael Tambini. “We’ve been careful not just to cater for real enthusiasts but to broaden our appeal too, so that we’re as much about using each car to reflect the social context of when it was created.” e village of Bourton itself is known as the Venice of the Cotswolds and is absolutely beautiful, with local pubs,


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A Trio of Catursrefo..r. your Adven Jaguar E-Type, 1969

Finished in signal red, this roadster was a favourite of Frank Sinatra and George Best. It can still achieve a brisk pace by today’s standards, and will turn heads wherever it goes thanks to achingly beautiful looks and a raspy 4.2 litre engine. £660/48hr hire, from Classic Motoring; 01452 864050 www.classicmotoring.co.uk

MG MkII, 1970

A cheeky MG with an 1800cc engine makes buzzing around the Cotswolds an immersive experience. The car’s soft top is a cinch to operate, and with a black leather interior and wooden steering wheel, it’s a really great driving experience. £170/day first day; £120/day thereafter. Rob Glasspool Cotswold Motoring 07598 237515 www.cotswoldmotoring.co.uk.

Alfa Spider, 1990

The Alfa’s a modern classic, but still retains the slippery Pininfarina-styled shape made famous by Dustin Hoffman in 1967 film The Graduate. A 1992cc fuel injected engine and five speed gearbox, plus a few modern creature comforts in the cabin make for a really relaxed drive. £260/48hr from Great Escape Classic Car Hire, 01527 893733, www.greatescapecars.co.uk.

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Classic Cars In the Cotswolds

Drop the roof, drop your speed and waft along, with the wind in your hair and sunshine illuminating the pretty stone cottages and crystal clear streams in villages like Bourton on the Water, where the Cotwold Motoring Museum is based... tea shops, arts and antiques shops all nestling besides the pretty river. So, whilst the museum will form the mainstay of your visit, there’s plenty to do besides, and of course, the journey to look forward to as well. With plenty of time left, you can also explore the Slaughters, home to Copse Hill Road, named as the most romantic street in Britain, or Stow on the Wold, or even Winchcombe, home to the 1,200 acre Sudely Castle with its award winning gardens.

and a hood that’s easy to operate in the event of the shower, as was the case during our trip. e simple pleasure of being able to drive around at our leisure, stop for a drink and explore the Cotswolds was epic, and when we returned to they White Hart Royal, my co-pilot and I both agreed that the pace of the day had been just right. We’d spent a really relaxing day together, and yet, had still worked up a sufficient appetite to thoroughly enjoy an evening meal in the hotel’s dining room.

A Weekend Fling

Unmistakably English

Our trip in Rob’s MG was a hoot! Compared to the sanitised drive of a modern car, there was so much more character, so much more to enjoy. e car is comfortable and easy to drive and as weekend flings go, this was one was nothing short of brilliant. One of the reasons Rob chose an MG is because of the modern configuration of the car - a decent gearbox with overdrive

With much to explore, and the perfect place to stay whilst you’re doing so, whether it’s better to travel by sports car or arrive at the White Hart Royal is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself. However, if you’d like to experience a weekend break that’s unmistakably English, classic motoring in the Cotswolds will definitely provide a romantic drive anyone will love!

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Four Routes for Driving Pleasure... The Cotswolds Tourism Partnership has rather helpfully produced its Vintage & Modern Tours leaflet, which provides four great suggestions for your vintage drive through the Cotswolds... Va Va Vintage: The Partnership’s Vintage North red route consists of about three hours driving - but you should allow a full day for two or three stops along the way.

Top Left: The museum’s curator, Michael Tambini. Left: We spent an enjoyable weekend exploring the Cotswolds in an open top 1970s MG courtesy of owner Rob Glasspool from Cotswold Motoring. Rob is affiliated with the Cotswold Motoring Museum and hires this classic car to those wanting to explore the area in style.

Where to Stay...

Our weekend in the Cotswolds included accommodation at The Bulldog Hotel Group’s White Hart Royal Hotel High St, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 0BA. Tel: 01608 650731. whitehartroyal.co.uk

The route takes in Tewkesbury and Winchcombe - two charming Cotswolds stone towns. Sudely Castle, and Tewkesbury’s Heritage Centre can be seen along the way too. After that the route takes in Broadway, with its lavender farm, and Moreton in Marsh, as well as Stow on the Wold. An extended route includes Bourton on the Water. Retail Revival: Meanwhile, the area’s green Vintage West route concentrates on shopping. Best taken over two days, the route features Cheltenham Spa, Gloucester and Painswick.

Highlights include the home of Arts & Crafts movement, plus The Quays Designer Shopping outlet and Gloucester’s Miss Silver vintage shopping boutique - book a slot in advance for this though. Roman to Retro: The blue Vintage East route makes a particular feature of the area’s rich Roman history. Beginning in Northleach and including Burford, Lechdale on Thames, Fairford and Cirencester, the route incorporates the home of William Morris, and the Cotswold Woollen Weavers. Contemporary Cotswolds: For those who prefer more contemporary surroundings, the Partnership’s yellow route is best seen over two days and includes bohemian Stroud, and Nailsworth, a lively artistic town with loads of independent food retailers.

To Obtain Your Guide:

The Cotswolds Vintage and Modern Tours is available via www.cotswolds vintagetours.co.uk or by calling 01608 650881 or 01451 820211.


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Eating Out e Talbot Hotel

A Summer of Love in Oundle You’ll love the array of summer dishes and the patisserie cabinet at Oundle’s Talbot Hotel With summer comes new menus for The Talbot Hotel, comprising both à la carte dishes and pub favourites, this Bulldog Hotel Group venue is truly satisfying Words: Ceri Jackson

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f you find your stomach begin to grumble or you’re feeling a little parched after a shopping trip or a stroll around the historic town of Oundle, be sure to visit the incredibly welcoming Talbot Hotel. Don’t be fooled by the historic exterior of the former coaching inn; although it has seen guests come through the doors since 638AD, it has also been treated to a complete makeover costing over £1.3m, creating a stylish and chic place to enjoy a drink, a spot of lunch or dinner.

Flexible Dining Head Chef David Simms, along with his brigade of chefs, creates modern, á la carte and traditional English pub classics that taste as delicious as they look. “At the Talbot, we pride ourselves on using the finest, high quality local fresh ingredients and seasonal produce to create the menus - Mytton Meats and Severn Wells Butchers, for instance. We also make everything in our kitchen from ice creams and sorbets, to our bread except for the multiseed bloomer which we source from Kingscliffe Bakery, at the special request of our customers.”

ere are three areas in which to dine: the Snug Bar, Lounge or Courtyard Restaurant. You can also enjoy al fresco dining if the sun is out. e main menu is available all day, every day, with an array of well-conceived dishes. These include light bites such as olives or toasted rosemary focaccia; perfect with a glass of wine or local ale. There’s an impressive selection of starters and platters, mains and traditional English classics like the Lincolnshire Black Angus beef rib-eye, Stilton pie and fish ‘n’ chips - you’ll definitely find something you’ll enjoy! ere’s also a breakfast and brunch menu until midday, serving anything up to e Grande Talbot; two Oundle sausages and smoked bacon, stone-baked bread, flat cap mushrooms, grilled tomato, black pudding and two eggs on the side... the perfect fuel for a day spent exploring the area. e Talbot Hotel’s patisserie cabinet is every sweet-toothed diner’s paradise with a selection of homemade cakes and sweet treats all prepared in house by the

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kitchen’s pastry chefs. e selection is updated daily, so we recommend you pay a regular visit to see what’s on offer. Some of the more recent crowd pleasers are the chocolate & marshmallow brownie, carrot cake and coffee & walnut cake. ere’s also a menu of platters to share, hot or cold sandwiches and afternoon tea - we recommend the famous Talbot Afternoon Tea Royale which includes a glass of champagne or speciality cocktail.

A Talbot Hotel Special David has worked in the industry for 18 years, since he left school at the age of 16. In total his menu offers seven starters and 14 main courses as well as sharing boards, and seven desserts. Using his artistic flair, David crafts each of his menus, making sure diners always enjoy the most imaginative dishes. To start, we were excited to try a new addition to the menu; the grilled asparagus and crispy egg with Farrington’s Gold aioli and Parmesan. As we pierced the egg it was perfectly runny,

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complementing the crunchy outer layer. Our other starter was the hot and cold goat’s cheese with chutney and leaves. For main course, we tried another new addition: slow-braised shoulder of lamb on a colourful mound of smashed minted peas, with white and orange Chantenay carrots, fondant potato and red wine sauce. We then tried the fillet of cod with peas, broad beans, chorizo, rösti potato and a tomato salsa. Our lamb was exquisitely cooked, tender and well presented. For dessert, we enjoyed the white chocolate iced parfait with peanut butter, popcorn ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce.

A Talbot Hotel Special We also sampled the hotel’s impressive afternoon tea - three tiers of perfection with finger sandwiches, raspberry jam, cookies, cakes and other sweets, which was impressive and beautifully presented too. With its makeover yielding a great environment to dine in, and with its new menus, e Talbot is ideal for enjoying high quality food and drink, all summer long.

Above: Hot and cold Goat’s cheese with chutney and leaves.

May We Recommend..

To Eat: Slow braised shoulder of lamb, on smashed minted peas, with white and orange Chantenay carrots, fondant potato and red wine sauce. To Drink: The Varej Barolo, full bodied red with rich juicy fruit, £44/bottle. The Talbot Hotel, New Street, Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 4EA Tel: 01832 273621. www.thetalbot-oundle.com.


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The Talbot Hotel has been treated to a complete makeover worth £1.3m - creating a stylish and chic place to enjoy a catch up with friends over lunch, or a dinner date. And with their vibrant new menus you’ll be spoilt for choice... Top: One of The Talbot’s lovely afternoon teas. Right: Fillet of cod with peas, broad beans, chorizo, rösti potato and tomato salsa.

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On the Trail of Queen Mary ...and other quirky stories!

Because The Bulldog Hotel Group enjoys restoring historic coaching inns, many of its grand old buildings have intriguing historical footnotes. So, here’s a tale from the Talbot, a story from the Swans and a new world saga that comes right from the Hart... Words: Ceri Jackson.

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f you are intrigued by things that go bump in the night, then e Bulldog Hotel Group’s Elizabethan Talbot Hotel in Oundle is guaranteed to give you goosebumps with a tale of the ultimate family feud. Born Mary Stuart in 1542 in West Lothian, Scotland - she became the Queen of Scotland following the death of her father, James V. She latterly led a terrifying life, spending 20 of her 45 years imprisoned, or at least on the run. Mary’s turbulent relationship with her cousin Elizabeth I, then Queen of England, inevitably led to her execution. After years of rebellion in Scotland, Mary crossed the Solway into England in 1568 seeking support from her cousin

Elizabeth. But what she didn’t realise at the time was that she would never again return to Scotland. Following e Babington Plot - the ruse assassination plot of Elizabeth formed to trap her - Mary was tried at Fotheringhay Castle, where she was found guilty and beheaded on February 8th 1587. e Talbot Hotel has existed since 638AD, and is where Mary Queen of Scots’s executioner stayed prior to her execution. After Elizabeth’s death, Mary’s son became James I and ordered the demolition of the castle in 1630. Fotheringhay’s stonework and its main staircase were then purchased by the owner of the Talbot Inn and taken from the castle to be installed in the hotel. So, it was down the hotel’s very steps that Mary walked to her execution, and the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots is said to still haunt the hotel today. e staircase, which leads to e Talbot’s Mary Queen of Scots feature room, is believed to show an imprint of the Queen’s ring, where she gripped the banister as she was led to her execution.

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A History Lesson

From Kings & Queens to Haunted Portraits!


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A History Lesson

From Kings & Queens to Haunted Portraits!

A RIGHT ROYAL CHEEK

The King who didn’t pay his bill... O

f all the guests who have stayed at Moreton in Marsh’s White Hart Royal, you’d think that King Charles I could pay his bill... apparently not!

e Battle and e Bill It was back in July 1644 that King Charles I was sheltering in the hotel following the battle of Marston Moor. e battle took place about ten miles

away and lasted around two hours, and rather unfortunately for the King, it resulted in a decisive victory for the Parliamentarians. Even so, there should be no excuse for walking out without paying, and the King’s unpaid bill is still on display, framed in the hotel’s reception. e building itself is not without historical interest either. Built of sandstone in the early C17th, it was extended in 1773 and 1782. Its original walls and a window frame remain in the hotel’s bar area, its architecture intact despite its comfortable 21st century facilities.


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e Haunted Portrait... ...AND HOW THE THREE SWANS IN MARKET HARBOROUGH GAVE US TV’S BASIL FAWLTY!

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e all remember Basil Fawlty, the irascible Torquay hotelier, but did you know that he was actually based on real life hotelier John Fothergill?

Confessions of an Innkeeper e original celebrity chef, John Fothergill was vain, quick-tempered and irritable. He was a snob, and a terrible name-dropper too, and when he came to Market Harborough’s ree Swans Inn, now owned by e Bulldog Hotel Group, back in 1934, he pulled no punches about what he thought of the building and the town itself. Nonetheless, John ran the hotel until 1952 when, at the age of 77, he retired to Rugby, where he died in 1957. His book, Confessions of an Innkeeper, was published in 1931, with two further volumes in 1938 and 1949. In them, he cut down customers, and destroyed his diners with barbarous putdowns, generally exercising his quick wit and even quicker temper.

A Haunting Legacy e hotelier was a forerunner of Basil Fawlty and inspired the latter, but whilst he left the ree Swans, his legacy remained not just in terms of his notoriety, but as an oil portrait that still hangs in the hotel today. e trouble is, the hotel can’t remove the picture, for each time the picture is moved, minor accidents befall the hotel a flooded cellar, staff experiencing minor injuries and crashing computers! Even during a complete refurbishment of the hotel this year, those involved in

the refurbishment were given strict instructions not to move the portrait under any circumstance.

Ghostly Goings-On Other guests have reported ghostly goings-on too; moving furniture and numerous glimpses of shadows. Local spook-hunters Haunted Harborough even host regular paranormal investigation nights at the hotel. Were we scared during our recent visit? Not for a second. Today the hotel is modern and comfortable - a far cry from how it appeared in Fothergill’s day. It even boasts one of the UK’s best preserved examples of an C18th wrought iron sign, which is mentioned in its Grade II* listing. We’d like to think, then, that rather than haunting the ree Swans, Fothergill is just looking after the old place!

“The hotel can’t remove Forthergill’s portrait, because each time the picture is moved, minor accidents befall the hotel - a flooded cellar, staff experiencing minor injuries or crashing computers. During a complete refurbishment of the hotel this year, those involved were told not to move the portrait under any circumstances...!” 69


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A History Lesson

From Kings & Queens to Haunted Portraits...

CREATING A BRAVE NEW WORLD

The Pilgrims who sailed to America... B

oston in Lincolnshire is the home of e Best Western White Hart, one of Bulldog Hotel Group’s oldest hotels. It’s also home to the Pilgrim Fathers.

A Place in History During a time of religious intolerance, the Pilgrim Fathers were brought before the magistrates in the town’s Guildhall, just across the river from e White Hart, for trying to make an unsanctioned escape from the country in 1607. 20 men, women and children were rounded up near e Witham and seven of the ringleaders were detained for a month. A year later, they sailed to the New World via Plymouth aboard the Mayflower, landing in Boston, MA. Another influential Bostonian, so far as the founding of America is concerned, was the Rev John Cotton, appointed the

vicar at e Stump in 1612. Together with Cotton, the Pilgrims sailed to America in 1630, 1633 and 1634, and the so called ‘Boston Men’ dominated the colony for its first 85 years and founded the Boston Free Latin School the foundation of state education in America, and modelled on the Boston Grammar School they had left behind.

A Moving Story At this time, e White Hart Hotel was located elsewhere in the town, on what is now the street known as New Street. It moved to its current location in 1805 and the hotel was also the first building in the town to have electricity. e White Hart is also said to be haunted by the ghost of Sarah Preston, who jumped to her death from the adjacent St Botolph’s Church after bringing e Black Death to the town.

“The White Hart Hotel was located elsewhere in the town, on what is now the street known as New Street. It moved to its current location in 1805 and was also the first building in the town to have electricity...” 70


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THE FAMOUS GRANDFATHER

CLOCK

Henry Clay Work wrote this famous poem in 1876. The clock in the poem rang an eerie alarm to let the family know that their grandfather - who diligently wound it each week - was close to death. When grandfather died, the clock stopped too... My grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf, So it stood ninety years on the floor; It was taller by half than the old man himself, Though it weighed not a pennyweight more. It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born, And was always his treasure and pride; But it stopp'd short, never to go again When the old man died. In watching its pendulum swing to and fro, Many hours had he spent while a boy; in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know And to share both his grief and his joy. For it struck twenty-four when I entered at the door, With a blooming and beautiful bride; But it stopped short, never to go again When the old man died. My grandfather said that of those he could hire, Not a servant so faithful he found; For it wasted no time, and had but one desire At the close of each week to be wound. Ninety years without slumbering (tick, tock, tick, tock), His life's seconds numbering, (tick, tock, tick, tock), It stopp'd short, never to go again, when the old man died. The very same clock is now kept in the bar at The Bulldog Hotel Group’s George Hotel in Piercebridge. It’s a nice piece of furniture... though it’s not much good for telling the time!

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Eating Out e Admiral Rodney

Main Course: Piri-Piri chicken with hand-cut chips.


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Our Shipshape DiningExperience Named after one of the area’s famous sailors, The Best Western Admiral is now shipshape thanks to a dramatic makeover With the introduction of new dishes for the Summer menu comprising both à la carte dishes as well as pub favourites, The Admiral Rodney Hotel in Horncastle offers diners a satisfying experience... Words: Ceri Jackson

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hen you visit Horncastle, be sure to stop by at e Best Western Admiral Rodney Hotel. A 17th century former coaching inn, it has been the subject of a major refurbishment and redevelopment scheme, such as the sort e Bulldog Hotel Group specialises in, and now offers the highest standard of accommodation and cuisine. e hotel has gone from strength to strength, and it provides a smarter, more contemporary place to dine. e Bulldog Hotel Group has also invested a lot of time ensuring they use the finest locally sourced ingredients, offering a mix of à la carte and English pub classics.

Refreshing Change

Dan prepares all of the dishes with his brigade of chefs, using local suppliers for high quality, fresh ingredients. He then creates contemporary English dishes, from traditional pub classics to a range of grill options. ere is also an extensive cellar of specially selected new and old world wines with nine white, nine red, and rosè, sparkling wine and champagnes. You can also enjoy a beer from the hotel’s Batemans and Tom Woods suppliers. “e menu changes every six months and I try to be influenced by our customers. Creating new dishes requires passion and quality ingredients: it’s a process of invention and it’s always nice when you get good feedback from diners. It shows people enjoy what we are producing.” says Dan.

Diners can enjoy an ever changing and evolving menu, thanks to Head Chef Dan urling’s passion for food and his desire to create innovative dishes for the hotel’s customers.

Diners can eat in the Courtyard Restaurant, which is flooded with natural light from the vast ceiling light, eat al fresco in the outside courtyard, or enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the Rodney Bar.

Starters, main courses and desserts are made on-site, as are the homemade cakes, served with Dennetts ice cream.

We were delighted to try a new summer starter; smoked trout with poached egg and hollandaise sauce, but there are

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Eating Out e Admiral Rodney

plenty of options to choose from. In total the menu offers six starters and 22 main courses as well as sharing boards. ere are 11 desserts, and a patisserie cabinet full of homemade cakes. Food arrives courtesy of Head Chef Dan, who has 12 years experience working in both the hotel and its kitchen. He’s certainly found his calling as Head Chef, and has enjoyed leading his eight-strong brigade for nearly three years at e Admiral Rodney, after first working as Sous Chef, Food and Beverage Manager, Assistant Manager and then returning to the Kitchen as the Executive Head Chef.

Admiral Rodney Special Our starters were smoked trout with poached egg & hollandaise, and pan fried halloumi cheese on sliced peppered tomato with pesto oil. Both exploited the best summer ingredients, creating fresh and vibrant dishes. Our main courses included a fillet of sea bass whilst the popular Rodney

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homemade beef burger was exquisitely cooked, and its onion marmalade added a sweet twist. Desserts included the chocolate heaven for two, or a dreamy pot of gloopy chocolate with homemade shortbread biscuit fingers.

Something for Everyone Our dining experience reassured us that there was something for everyone; a grill menu with a selection of steaks and homemade burgers, formal à la carte dishes with brilliant presentation, and for all diners, attentive service and a great environment. e hotel has seen many improvements, recently from a major refurbishment of the bedrooms, to the renovation of the Courtyard Restaurant and Rodney Bar. Feedback since the changes has been excellent, making it the best hotel in the town for anyone wanting to explore the pretty market town and enjoy its brisk antiques and collectables trade.

Above: The Rodney homemade beef burger, served with hand-cut chips.

May We Recommend...

To Eat: Beef Wellington - fillet of beef wrapped in pancake, mushroom duxelle and puff pastry with a red wine sauce. To Drink: We opted for a Aimery Cabernet Sauvignon from Vin de Pays d’Oc, at £16.50/bottle. To Do: Work up an appetite and visit the array of antique shops in the quaint town centre before a relaxing drink and lunch in the bright Courtyard Restaurant. Or, visit for a pint of real local ale or cup of freshly ground Grumpy Mule coffee in the Rodney Bar. The Best Western Admiral Rodney Hotel, Horncastle, LN9 5Dx. Tel: 01507 523131, www.admiralrodney.com.


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Far Left: Summer Fruits Pudding. Left: The hotel dates back to the 17th century.

Bottom: Three Grazing & Sharing choices; Goat’s Cheese & Tomato Salad, Battered Cod Goujons and BBQ Pulled Pork.

The hotel’s Courtyard Restaurant provides a contemporary place to eat, with lots of natural light. An ideal location for dining al fresco, this summer The Best Western Admiral Rodney Hotel will prove to be a great place to eat, or relax with a drink...

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Weddings with e Bulldog Hotel Group

r u o Y g n i Creat ’ r e t f A r e v E y p ‘Hap Planning a wedding is daunting and exciting in equal measure - that’s why e Bulldog Hotel Group allows its brides to takes advantage of the experience of Wedding Champions like Jo Cowley, who’s based at e George of Piercebridge. Here, Jo offers some great advice on how to make your wedding planning much easier, and how to enjoy creating your happy ever after... Words: Rob Davis.

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aying “Yes!” to a marriage proposal is a dream come true for all brides-to-be. But to create the happiest day of your life without the stress associated with wedding planning, it’s important to take advantage of the advice of a seasoned professional like Jo Cowley.

in September or October.” says Jo. “ese are an opportunity to see our venues with no obligation or pressure to book. We set up a top table as an example, and let couples see our function rooms and bedrooms too.” e events allow brides to meet each hotel’s Wedding Champion, sample different dishes from the menus, and ask questions. ey’re not wedding fairs, so brides aren’t bombarded by different

At Horncastle’s 17th century coaching inn e Admiral Rodney, for example, the hotel’s £1,999 package includes a civil ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening buffet, with room decoration, for up to 40 guests, plus overnight accommodation for the couple. Darlington’s George Inn offers a package for 80 guests for £4,995.

“It’s important that your chosen venue We Love Weddings makes it easy to work out the cost of “We love weddings!” says Jo. “ey take a your wedding.” lot of time and says Jo. effort to organise but they’re the “Each of our venues hosts two open days each year, in “Budgeting is most important early spring and once again in September or October.” a big part of day in our couples’ lives so says Jo. “We set up a top table as an example, and let your wedding planning and it’s important couples see our function rooms and bedrooms.” having an that they run inclusive package smoothly and makes it easier to without stress.” companies, and staff have plenty of time plan your day and to work out the cost of to answer a bride’s questions. additional guests if your guest list grows.” is year, the group will host over 150 weddings, and each venue has its own “It’s also important, though, that a Wedding Champion to ensure every Wedding Packages venue’s packages aren’t too rigid. one is brilliantly organised with lots of Unlike some venues which have compliat’s why we also make it easy to add attention to detail and warmth. cated pricing policies, all of Bulldog’s extras like an increase in the number of venues provide an upfront package price guests. It’s about finding a venue which “Each of our venues hosts two open days with everything you need for your doesn’t make the finances complicated, each year; in early spring and once again wedding included.

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whilst still enabling you to tailor the day to suit.” Jo also recommends choosing a venue with lots of different suppliers. Unlike a bride, Wedding Champions like Jo have a really good idea which photographers, DJs, videographers or venue decoration specialists in their area will provide a really good service, so taking advantage of their knowledge is a good idea. “It’s also important not to feel pressured.” says Jo. “We have a policy of holding a date for two weeks for a bride and groom who express interest in a particular date, before we take a deposit. at means they’re not under pressure to decide to have their venue with us there and then.”

Great Looking Venues “Another factor that should feature in your wedding planning is the look of your venue.” says Jo. “Bulldog Hotel Group venues tend to be old coaching inns with beautiful grounds; e George is right next to a Roman bridge on the River Tees, for example. at makes our hotels great for your photos and gives your wedding real character. It helps us to work with our brides to create wedding days that are really individual, really well organised and always really special.” n Wedding brochures for each of The Bulldog Hotel Group’s venues are now available at www.bulldoghotelgroup.co.uk. Alternatively, visit the Bulldog Hotel Group’s hotels for our Wedding Open Day Events: 12th October Talbot Hotel, Oundle. 19th October: Best Western White Hart Hotel, Boston. 26th October: Best Western Admiral Rodney, Horncastle, and Best Western Three Swans, Market Harborough. 27th & 28th September White Hart Royal, Moreton in Marsh.

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Perfect Venues

For a Fairytale Wedding Day... 78

Where: Admiral Rodney, Horncastle. Why: Weddings for less than £2,000 for up to 40 guests, including three course meal, civil ceremony, evening buffet and overnight stay. Find Out More: www.admiralrodney.com.

Where: The George Hotel, Piercebridge. Why: Magnificent ballroom or pavilion for weddings, £3,000 package for 50 guests, amazing riverside location. Find Out More: www.george-ontees.co.uk.


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Five Wedding Dress Trends for 2015... We’ve the perfect venue for your wedding... and now all you need is the perfect dress. Here are five wedding dresses that our experts say will reflect 2015’s biggest trends... 1. Volume: Big voluminous dresses like this example, Madrid, by Amanda Wyatt, will be hot for 2015 weddings. Lots of layers and heavy embellishment, with an ‘A’ line cut that flatters most body shapes.

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2. Capped Sleeves: Capped sleeves are ideal for weddings in the cooler months, or for brides conscious about exposing their shoulders. This example is from Caroline Castigliano’s English Heritage. 3. Short Dresses: A quirky alternative to traditional lengths - great for showing off your wedding shoes. This is Nora from Charlotte Balbier. 4. Gatsby: 1920s themed ‘Great Gatsby’ weddings are very much on-trend. This is a designer example from Anna Campbell. 5. Jackets: Bolero jackets will be popular in 2015. This example is Justin Alexander. For stockists see www.ukbride.co.uk.

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2015 Wedding Trends: Our main image shows bridesmaids’ dresses with lace overlay by Kelsey Rose in lemon, white and pink. Left: One of the on-trend colours for 2015’s weddings is this orchid colour. Shown here is a three tier cake with mixed tiers of sponge and fruit. Flower girls dresses; for similar try Veromia. Venue styling is available from each Bulldog Hotel - at The George, Jo’s preferred expert is Lucy from Party On Direct.

Where: White Hart Royal, Moreton-in-Marsh. Why: Amazing Cotswolds location, mostly C18th Georgian coaching inn. Self-contained bedroom suites, some with private gardens. Find Out More: www.whitehartroyal.co.uk

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Eating Out e George Hotel

Fine Din i


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Starter: A trio of Scallops with pancetta, pea and mint purée and black pudding.

Bulldog Hotel Group’s Routiers award-winning chef Suzi Pickard cooks for us at Piercebridge’s George Hotel, located in beautiful countryside on the border of Yorkshire and County Durham...

n ing by George


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S

ituated in the pretty village of Piercebridge, next to the River Tees, with its stone Roman bridge, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the provision of food at e George is really traditional. In fact, thanks to the efforts of Head Chef Suzi Pickard and her brigade, the pretty 16th century coaching inn offers beautifully modern dining. Suzi herself was recently awarded Les Routiers’s Recipe of the Month award for a chocolate fondant dish, and her other offerings during our shoot included a modern, innovative Pear & Almond Tart and a ‘Milk & Cookies’ dessert. e George’s daytime service takes place in the Farmhouse Bar and the library, with its bar menu available seven days a week. is provides hot and cold sandwiches and home-made pizzas as well as grazing & sharing platters. e 40 cover Riverside Restaurant is reserved for evening dining and the restaurant’s popular Sunday carvery. e main evening à la carte menu comprises eight starters, a meat and grill menu with five options plus quality pub-restaurant inspired George Classics. Flat iron steaks and burgers marry the five-strong brigade’s chefcraft to locally reared beef, lamb and pork from County Durham’s family owned Country Valley butchers. “Good food doesn’t need to be complicated.” says Suzi. “I think what we do best as a brigade is to provide simple flavours and simple dishes but with real skill, quality ingredients and good presentation.”

Attention to Detail Keen to ensure lots of effort goes into their customers’ dining experience, the brigade prepares its own bread, desserts, and petit fours. Right down to freshly ground coffee, made from beans roasted near e Bulldog Hotel Group’s Old Bridge Inn, every aspect of dining at e George reflects the care Suzi has put into the venue’s provision of dining during her two year tenure as Head Chef, and the care that General Manager Jo Cowley and her team take to ensure a great experience.

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Pudding: Pear and almond tart with crème anglaise, mulled wine and poached pear sorbet.

A Summer Break Diners can also enjoy the riverside grounds of the hotel, dining outside as livestock graze by the river, overlooked by the village’s bridge. Meanwhile in the cooler months, open fires and real ale help to provide a welcoming, comfortable place to enjoy anything from a casual meal in the bar to fine dining from one of e Bulldog Hotel Group’s most dedicated brigades. Situated just five minutes from the A1, e George is popular with business people travelling up and down the country. However, the hotel is also well-positioned, on the border of Yorkshire and County Durham, for exploring the collection of fine art at Bowes Museum or the sensory gardens of the 12th century Barnard Castle. County Durham’s Beamish is less than an hour away, whilst the historic city of Durham is within half an hour. at makes the George of Piercebridge an ideal base from which to explore the area’s heritage.

Timeless Hospitality Standing in e George’s bar is the old clock that was the subject of Henry Clay Work’s 1876 poem. e clock stopped when its owner died, but time hasn’t stood still at the hotel and its provision of modern dining and newly refurbished rooms are testimony to that.

May We Recommend... To Eat: During our visit we enjoyed the hotel’s ham hock starter, and cod supreme with sautéed potatos and beetroot gel. Save room for one of Suzi’s superb desserts, too!

To Drink: Local brewery Mithril ales is based at nearby Darlington and are CAMRA members. We recommend their light, citrussy Flower Power pale ale. The George Hotel, Piercebridge, Darlington, County Durham DL2 3SW Tel: 01325 374576 www.george-ontees.co.uk


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Eating Out e George Hotel Below/Centre: Ham hock terrine with candied walnuts and apple jelly and brioche.

Below: Milk & Cookies, and a main course of cod supreme with sautĂŠed potatoes and beetroot.

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BulldogFacts

Below: The hotel is Grade II listed and dates back to the mid-18th century. Right: Enjoy locally sourced produce like this flat iron steak with hand cut chips.

Best Western White Hart BOSTON, LINCOLNSHIRE

Located in the market town of Boston, next to the town’s St Botolph’s Church, the Grade II listed Best Western White Hart is a medieval masterpiece providing a luxurious stay...

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s you walk on the cobbles of the High Street in the busy market town of Boston in Lincolnshire, you’ll find a medieval masterpiece. A Grade II listed building originally built in the mid-18th century as a coaching inn, The Best Western White Hart Hotel and restaurant is situated on the riverside with stunning views of the famous 700 year old St Botolph’s Church - or as it’s known colloquially, The Boston Stump. With quaint charm and character from the cobbled courtyard and outdoor terrace, to the stylish bar and restaurant, The White Hart Hotel provides the

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perfect place to stay for a luxurious weekend away or business trip.

Accommodation

With 26 newly refurbished en-suite bedrooms and executive rooms over three floors; you are definitely spoilt for choice. Each room is finished to a very high standard with a chic contemporary feel. There are six different bedroom styles to choose from, including the classic single, spacious double and twin rooms up to Superior rooms with a lounge area and the executive feature room has a luxurious roll-top bath at the end of the queen-size bed. Your home away from home, each bedroom has its own individual shape and size in keeping with the

character of the hotel, and has a real feeling of comfort – with flat screen TVs, desks and en suite bathrooms. There are also biscuits, and tea & coffee making facilities.

Food & Drink

The hotel has two settings to create the perfect place to eat; food is served from 9am to 9pm in the Courtyard Bar, and from 6.30pm to 10pm in the Riverside Restaurant. Whether you are meeting friends for a light lunch, looking to spend time together with the family, seeking a cosy dinner for two, a place to relax and unwind or you’re away on business, Best Western White Hart Hotel can cater for all your needs.


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Located in the busy market town of Boston, next to the town’s most prominent landmark, Best Western White Hart Hotel takes the area’s reputation for field-fresh food to its heart with high quality dining... You will be able to savour the taste of the local area as, where possible, the hotel sources ingredients from local suppliers. With a satisfying menu on offer, from sharing boards, pub and grill classics & light bites, sizzlers & salads to sweet treats – you will be spoilt for choice. As well as a large selection of wines and champagne, you can also enjoy a cup of freshly ground Bewley’s coffee or a pot of high quality Teapigs leaf tea.

Weddings & Business

Best Western White Hart’s spacious function room, The Boston Suite, features impressive high ceilings, chandeliers and large bay windows, all creating a grand setting for your wedding day or function. With seating up to 80 for formal dining and 120 for buffet dining,

there is plenty of room to enjoy a delicious wedding breakfast using locally sourced ingredients, before dancing the night away on the dance floor; with its fully stocked bar and own facilities, it’s a completely self-contained venue. You can also take advantage of the extensive wealth of expertise and knowledge of Wedding Co-ordinator Alan, who along with the hotel’s friendly staff, will help you create the perfect wedding day. The hotel can host Civil Ceremonies, which include Civil Weddings and Partnerships, and it’s available for business functions and conferences.

What to Do Nearby

If you’re looking for things to do nearby, Boston has lots to offer; the chance to climb its 272ft tower for panoramic views over the fens, and the Lincolnshire coast with its nature reserves.

Quick Facts

Rooms: 26 en suite rooms, six different bedroom styles. Executive rooms offer a superior level of comfort with spacious lounge areas, air conditioning, large flat screen TV’s and both bath and shower facilities. Food & Drink: À la carte dining in the Riverside Restaurant, with food served 6.30pm-10pm for both residents and non-residents. Courtyard bar with cocktail menu and lunch. Weddings & Conferencing: Licensed for Civil Ceremonies, function suite for up to 120 guests with private bar. Contact Details: Best Western White Hart Hotel, 1-5 High St, Boston, PE21 8SH. Tel: 01205 311900. www.whitehartboston.com whitehartboston @bulldogmail.co.uk www.facebook.com /thewhitehartboston twitter.com /whitehartboston

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BulldogFacts

Below/Right: The Inn and Coffee House has recently benefited from a full refurbishment, creating a modern place to enjoy morning coffee or à la carte dining.

The Old Bridge

HOLMFIRTH, WEST YORKSHIRE The latest Bulldog Hotel to enjoy a makeover, Holmfirth’s Old Bridge Inn & Coffee House is a stunning venue from which to explore the area, or just enjoy coffee and a cake...

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enefiting from a recent refurbishment, Holmfirth’s Old Bridge Inn and Coffee House is now one of the smartest venues in The Bulldog Hotel Group’s portfolio, but also one of its most versatile. Just half an hour from Leeds and only a little further to Manchester, York and Sheffield, it’s ideally located for those seeking business accommodation, and yet, with lots of Pennines countryside to explore, and plenty of TV heritage, ideal for those seeking a relaxing break with plenty of pastoral countryside or vibrant cities to explore nearby. As is name suggests, it’s located right on the River Holme with its rocky bed, in the Holme Valley.

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A new terrace affords guests views of the river, the stone buildings and the town’s Picturedrome. Take a seat under a parasol and you can enjoy anything from a pint of ale or coffee with a pastry from the Inn’s patisserie cabinet, to full à la carte dining. A choice of grazing and sharing dishes are especially suitable for those looking to enjoy the hotel’s terrace, and being a Bulldog Hotel Group venue, dogs are welcome too.

Accommodation

With twenty-one bedrooms, each room in the three hundred year old building is unique, and subject to the group’s rolling programme of refurbishment.

The hotel’s traditional look is mitigated with modern features like free Wi-Fi provision, flat screen TVs, whilst Superior and Executive rooms include balconies, riverside views, minibar and living areas with sofas.

Food & Drink

Along with the refurbishment of its bar and restaurant, The Old Bridge Inn also has a new menu offering home-made food from lunchtime provision of sandwiches, side dishes and options for grazing and sharing. There’s also a meat and grill selection, plus The Bridge classics, including daily roasts, fish ‘n’ chips, and The Old Bridge Pie on a Plate. A selection of salads mean healthy eating isn’t a chore, whilst the


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The hotel’s traditional look is mitigated with modern features like free Wi-Fi provision, flat screen TVs, and Superior and Executive rooms include balconies, riverside views, minibar and living areas with sofas... sweet-toothed contingent are kept happy with a daily changing selection of patisserie made on site. Examples include a banoffee pie, chocolate & marshmallow brownie and freshly baked home-made muffins. The restaurant and lounge area have contemporary décor, with low beamed ceilings – a great place to relax with a glass of wine or a pint. From time to time Holmfirth’s microbrewery, The Nook, even supplies speciality ales. With a selection of up to six ales at a time, you’ll be spoilt for choice, whilst wine-lovers will appreciate the choice of 16 wines available by the glass.

What to Do Nearby

Holmfirth is the largest market town in the Holme Valley, right on the doorstep of the Peak District

National Park. With the Tour de France passing through the town this summer and exhibitions by renowned local artist Ashley Jackson there’s plenty to enjoy in Holmfirth. The town is also the home of Last of the Summer Wine - see our feature earlier in this edition - so there’s plenty to see if you’d like to pay homage to the show. With a Food & Drink Festival and the Holmfirth Arts Festival held each summer, the whole town hosts regular events that tourists love, whilst the proximity of The Old Bridge to the Pennine Way and nearby Marsden Moor - an area of outstanding natural beauty the hotel is well-placed to provide a relaxing break for couples, whilst at the same time providing a convenient place for business people to access the area’s large cities.

Quick Facts

Rooms: 21 en suite rooms, with standard, executive and superior rooms available. Food & Drink: Newly revamped menus with daytime offerings including grazing and sharing dishes and sandwiches. À la carte menu includes Bridge Classics plus meat & grill options and salads. Contact Details: Market Walk, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire HD9 7DA. Tel: 01484 681212. oldbridgeholmfirth.co.uk oldbridge@bulldogmail.co.uk Top/Left: The Meat & Grill menu’s Dirty Burger - 5oz burger made in house from freshly ground British beef. Above: The hotel has 21 newly refurbished rooms. www.facebook.com /oldbridgehotel twitter.com /oldbridgeHD

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BulldogFacts Below: The hotel is a former coaching inn dating back to the 17th Century. Right: Enjoy à la carte dining in The Courtyard Restaurant, which is flooded with natural light.

The Admiral Rodney HORNCASTLE, LINCOLNSHIRE

Named after a British Naval Officer, The Admiral Rodney Hotel is situated in Horncastle, in the Lincolnshire Wolds. It’s a bustling market town with a keen antiques trade...

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ituated on the southern tip of the Lincolnshire Wolds in Horncastle, The Best Western Admiral Rodney Hotel is a former 17th century coaching inn ideally situated between the cathedral city of Lincoln and the East Coast, with plenty of things to do and places to visit.

beautiful market town of Horncastle; the so-called antiques capital of England.

The hotel has recently enjoyed a major refurbishment, enabling it to provide the highest standards of accommodation and quality dining.

If you’re looking for something a bit more spacious and luxurious, there is also a first floor suite, which boasts a large double bedroom with its own dedicated lounge area.

The Hotel is purported to be named after George Brydges Rodney, a brave and noble British Naval Officer. With a sophisticated country chic feel, it makes the perfect place to rest after you have had a busy day exploring the

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Accommodation

There are 31 en suite bedrooms, and five different bedroom styles including double and twin rooms, and both small & large family rooms.

Each bedroom comes with complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, office facilities, free Wi-Fi and a flat screen LCD television.

Food & Drink

Ideal for relaxing and dining with friends, family, your partner or serving as the ideal place to host a business lunch, The Courtyard Restaurant is a light and spacious environment. The large roof glass windows mimic that of an orangery, allowing an abundance of natural light into the restaurant. Guests can also enjoy al fresco dining in the warmer months, or you can eat in the relaxing Rodney Bar. The hotel’s kitchen team pride themselves on using fresh, local ingredients to create contemporary English, à la carte and traditional pub classics. Head Chef Dan has 18 years experience under his belt,


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A former 17th Century coaching inn, the recently refurbished The Admiral Rodney Hotel has a country chic feel, boasting a contemporary à la carte menu and the highest standards of accommodation... which he utilises to create an innovative and ever-changing menu. There is an extensive cellar with new and old world wines, and a patisserie cabinet full of delicious homemade cakes.

alternative, atmospheric location for your business meeting, The Best Western Admiral Rodney Hotel and Eatery is the perfect venue.

Weddings & Business

Horncastle is renowned for its selection of antique shops - there are over 200 dealers in and around the town - making it ideal for those seeking furniture or collectables. Nearby Lincoln also hosts regular antiques events by AS Fairs at the county’s showground, and there’s a large centre at Hemswell, just north of the city, too.

The Admiral Rodney Hotel has a choice of three function rooms, each offering the perfect place to celebrate your wedding or business meeting. They can accommodate anything from 12 to 90 for formal dining. With different wedding packages available, from under £2,000 for 40 guests, it’s the ideal location for Civil Ceremonies and other events. The hotel’s function rooms can also be used for business meetings, including seminars, training programmes or board meetings. So, if you are looking for an

What to Do Nearby

On top of an array of antique dealers, there is a wide variety on offer on the county’s East Coast, including Cadwell Park, home of The British Superbikes. The hotel also has a partnership with Woodhall Spa Golf Club’s Hotchkin course - one of the UK’s best courses.

Quick Facts

Rooms: 31 en suite rooms, five different bedroom styles, family rooms and suite room offer a superior level of comfort with spacious seating areas, large flat screen TV’s and both bath and shower facilities. Food & Drink: À la carte dining in the Courtyard Restaurant, with food served for both residents and nonresidents. Rodney Bar has an extensive cellar, and local ales available. Weddings & Conferencing: Licensed for Civil Ceremonies, function suite for up to 90 guests for formal dining. Contact Details: Admiral Rodney Hotel, Horncastle, LN9 5DX. Tel: 01507 523131. www.admiralrodney.com admiralrodney @bulldogmail.co.uk www.facebook.com /bwrodney twitter.com /bwrodney

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BulldogFacts

Below: The hotel is Grade II listed and dates back to 1517. Right: Be spoilt for choice with the hotel’s menu, which includes locally sourced produce.

The Three Swans

MARKET HARBOROUGH, LEICESTERSHIRE Right in the heart of Market Harborough, The Three Swans Hotel has been offering a warm welcome to guests, travellers and diners for over 500 years...

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or over 500 years, the Three Swans Hotel has been offering a warm welcome to travellers and diners, including King Charles I before the famous battle of Naseby in 1645, and Queen Anne in 1688. The former 16th century coaching inn dates back to as early as 1517, and has an exceptional blend of modern comforts and traditional hospitality. It’s perfectly placed in the centre of the market town of Market Harborough, providing a great place for a spot of shopping or sight-seeing before enjoying a light lunch or dinner in the hotel’s very popular bistro. Since becoming part of the Bulldog Hotel Group, the hotel has enjoyed

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a modern refurbishment, and the bistro is being refurbished as we go to press, too.

Accommodation

There are 61 bedrooms, with six different bedroom styles to choose from, including single, double and twin rooms to superior rooms with separate seating areas, and family rooms. For the ultimate luxury stay, choose a suite with king sized bed, separate dressing room and Jacuzzi bath. Each room has a real feeling of comfort, with flat screen TV, iron and ironing board, trouser press and tea and coffee making facilities included. The hotel’s Conference Centre has also been updated to

include 12 executive bedrooms, which, for an £20/night extra includes bathrobes and slippers, fruit, home-made chocolates, high quality tea & coffee, toiletries and Sky TV.

Food & Drink

A favourite amongst the local town people of Market Harborough, the Conservatory Bistro has a relaxed and informal atmosphere offering a mixture of fine dining and English classics. There are three menus to choose from which offer a Spoilt for Choice selection, too. Enjoy a spot of lunch from the bar menu with a glass of wine or real ale, before finishing off with a slice of homemade cake from the patisserie cabinet.


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The Best Western Three Swans Hotel is perfectly situated in the town of Market Harborough, and has recently under gone a complete transformation creating a high quality, relaxed yet chic place to stay... This Bulldog Hotel prides itself on providing high quality coffees, so make sure you try a cup of freshly ground Grumpy Mule coffee sourced using Fairtrade beans. In the evening, the main menu selection is on offer as well as the hotel’s pub classics, tossed salads and sharing boards. There is also an outside courtyard area where, in the warmer months, you can enjoy al fresco dining. Food is served every day from 9.30am to 9.30pm in the Conservatory Bistro.

Weddings & Business

The hotel has four function rooms to choose from with knowledgable and friendly hotel staff always on hand to share their expertise – making sure you will be able to plan your perfect wedding day or business meeting. The Cromwell Suite is a modern room which can

seat up to 160 guests for a formal meal and 220 guests in the evening and comes with its own lounge, bar and cloakrooms. The Cygnet suite is a beautiful room in the original coaching inn, ideal for smaller celebrations. The wood-panelled Pen Room for private dining can seat 14 guests. Tucked away on the first floor, as well, is the Cob Room. This is a delightful room full of charm and character, ideal for reception drinks and canapés.

What to Do Nearby

Surrounded by rolling hills, the town of Market Harborough is the ideal location to enjoy the countryside. As well as the town’s stylish boutiques and independent shops, visit Foxton Locks, to watch the narrowboats on the waterways, or get lost in the Wistow Maize Maze before heading back to the Three Swans to put your feet up.

Quick Facts

Rooms: 61 en suite rooms, six different bedroom styles. Suites are available to offer a superior level of comfort with spacious lounge areas, air conditioning, large flat screen TVs and both bath & shower facilities. Food & Drink: Dine in The Conservatory bistro, with food served 9.30am to 9.30pm for both residents and nonresidents. Outside courtyard area, and bar are available for dining. First floor private dining rooms available. Weddings & Conferencing: Licensed for Civil Ceremonies, function suite for up to 220 guests with private bar. Contact Details: Best Western Three Swans Hotel, 21 High Street, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7NJ. Tel: 01858 466644. www.threeswans.co.uk threeswans@bulldogmail.co.uk

www.facebook.com /threeswans

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BulldogFacts

Below: The bar area features the original window frame, a huge stone fireplace and flagstone flooring. Right: The hotel’s fillet of beef with celeriac purée.

The White Hart Royal MORETON IN MARSH, COTSWOLDS

Situated in the gorgeous Cotswolds, The White Hart Royal is Bulldog Hotel Group’s honey-coloured stone hotel dating back to the 17th century. Ideal for a romantic weekend away!

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former 17th century royalist coaching inn, The White Hart Royal is located in the heart of Moreton in Marsh. At the head of the beautiful Evenlode Valley, the hotel is surrounded by Cotswolds countryside providing a fantastic location in which to relax and unwind. Once a coaching inn, King Charles I stayed at the hotel following the battle of Marston Moor in 1644 – and on arrival you can even see a copy of the King’s (unpaid!) bill. The original buildings have been lovingly restored, five years ago, and you can see a collection of old photos hung throughout the hotel’s bar.

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Accommodation

The perfect place for a business meeting or family celebration, the hotel’s Oxford function room can seat up to 55 delegates, and there are two private lounge rooms available to hire, too.

The luxurious contemporary or traditional suites offer four poster beds, private gardens, spacious wet rooms and roll top baths.

Food & Drink

You can choose from 28 beautiful bedrooms, with 13 bedroom styles to decide upon, from the classic single, twin and double rooms, to the feature rooms.

All individually designed, each bedroom offers gorgeous Beltrami linen, flat screen LCD television, free internet. There are iPod docking stations and tea and coffee making facilities, and in the morning, you can also enjoy a full English breakfast cooked using the best local produce.

Dine in the two comfortable lounges or Courtyard Restaurant, or enjoy a pint of ale or glass of wine in the traditional Snug Bar with flagstone floors and original stone fireplace, which has been used since 1627. The hotel creates the perfect place to relax and unwind with friends and family, a romantic meal for two, or a business meeting. The AA Rosette awarded restaurant uses fresh local ingredients to create contemporary


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The hotel’s bedrooms are all individually designed choose from rooms with their own courtyards and gardens, more modern bedrooms with double baths on raised plinths, or traditional four-poster rooms... English à la carte cuisine with traditional pub classics. The White Hart Royal also has an extensive cellar boasting specially selected new and old world wines.

relax, and the courtyard is ideal for pre-reception drinks and photos. On arrival, you can also enjoy a red carpet and champagne welcome to celebrate in style.

New to the restaurant this season is a sharing platter with Traditionally English offering mini-main-courses, a whole Camembert option as well as a charcuterie board with continental meats - ideal for dining during the summer months on the hotel’s pretty courtyard

The hotel offers a personal wedding service, which starts from the moment you contact the hotel.

Weddings & Business

The Oxford Suite provides the perfect setting for weddings or meetings in the late 18th century Georgian extension, with floor to ceiling windows. It can seat up to 65 guests for formal dining with its own private bar. The Evesham and Oxford Lounges also provide great breakout areas to

You can take advantage of the extensive wealth of expertise and knowledge of a dedicated Wedding co-ordinator, who, along with the hotel’s wedding team, will help you create the perfect wedding day. The hotel can also provide Civil Ceremonies and Partnerships.

What to Do Nearby

Moreton in Marsh is one of the principal market towns in northern Cotswolds. Visit Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, Batsford Arboretum, or take in the beauty of villages like the Slaughters.

Quick Facts

Rooms: 28 bedrooms, all en suite, with a choice of traditional and modern decoration. Feature rooms include the Garden Rooms and Stable Rooms, some of which come with private gardens. Food & Drink: Relaxed dining in the Evesham Suite of the hotel’s snug, eat in the historic bar, or enjoy an à la carte meal in the Courtyard Restaurant. Private dining is available in the Evesham Suite. Weddings & Conferencing: Licensed for Civil Ceremonies, with wedding packages available for up to 80 evening guests; dedicated coordinator. Contact Details: The White Hart Royal Hotel and Eatery, High Street, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 0BA Tel: 01608 650731. www.whitehartroyal.co.uk whr@bulldogmail.co.uk www.facebook.com /whitehartroyal twitter.com /Whitehartroyal

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BulldogFacts

Below: The hotel is Grade I listed and dates back to 1623. Right: Enjoy a sweet treat from the patisserie cabinet, or Talbot Afternoon Tea.

The Talbot Hotel

OUNDLE, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE In the centre of Oundle is a historic gem; Grade I listed, and one of the town’s principal buildings, The Talbot Hotel is full of character, charm and Elizabethan history...

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hen you visit the pretty market town of Oundle, it makes sense for you to stay at the equally charming The Talbot Hotel. It’s one of the town’s principal buildings and was one of the first in England to be Grade I listed. Full of character, with oak beams, open fires and a wealth of Elizabethan history, the former coaching inn has been welcoming guests through the doors since 1623.

Accommodation

There are 34 bedrooms to choose from, including classic single, double and twin rooms. For something a bit more extra special, try one of the feature bedrooms, which are all individually designed and furnished

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with their own unique character. For history lovers, The Mary Queen of Scots Superior Double Room with its four poster bed, leads directly to the staircase where the Queen walked down to her execution. For real luxury, there are also a number of suites, boasting more luxuriously appointed bathrooms and separate seating areas. The Oundle Suite comes with a roll top bath, perfect to enjoy a relaxing soak before heading to The Eatery restaurant to dine. Each bedroom comes with complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, mineral water and biscuits, Wi-Fi and LCD television.

Food & Drink

Locally sourced fresh ingredients make for an exciting menu at The Eatery which, during the day, doubles up as a coffee shop serving freshly ground Grumpy Mule coffee. Be sure to visit the patisserie cabinet, with home made cakes and afternoon tea available. During the summer months, the Garden Room is the perfect place for al fresco dining. There are four menus on offer; breakfast, sandwiches and light bites, à la carte and dessert menus. Each has a range of delicious dishes to choose from. With the option to dine in the lounge, restaurant or bar and with a number of fantastic reviews under its belt, the restaurant has an


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Locally sourced fresh ingredients help to create an exciting menu at the hotel’s Eatery restaurant, which doubles up as a coffee shop during the day, with Grumpy Mule coffee and a patisserie cabinet... AA Rosette, and a 9 out of 10 rating from the Peterborough Telegraph’s Joni Ager; another good reason that you’re assured of a comfortable stay.

Weddings & Business

There’s a choice of two beautiful function rooms at The Talbot; The Whitwell Room is a traditional oak-panelled room, with a stone fireplace, suitable for 60 guests. The Westgate Suite, meanwhile, has been exquisitely refurbished, and is located adjacent to the hotel’s courtyard. It has a private reception area, bar facilities and dance floor with access to the inner garden. It has seating up to 70 guests for formal dining, and 100 for buffet dining. Take advantage of the extensive wealth of expertise and knowledge of the hotel’s wedding co-ordinator Bruno who, along with the hotel’s friendly staff, will help you create the perfect wedding day. The hotel

can provide Civil Ceremonies, including Civil Partnerships. There are also three individual private meeting rooms for hire – including The Drummingwell Room which seats 10, The Whitewell Room which can seat 60 and The Westgate Suite, the largest of the three which seats up to a 100 delegates. Each of these meeting rooms boast natural daylight, and the hotel can also cater for all of your banqueting requirements.

What to Do Nearby

There is plenty to do in the quaint stone built market town. There’s a market place full of independent shops, and a lively market every Thursday where you can buy local produce, and a Farmers’ Market every Saturday. There is a museum displaying history about the town, and you can enjoy a walk along the River Nene to Barnwell County Park.

Quick Facts

Rooms: 34 en suite rooms, five different bedroom styles. Feature rooms and suites offer a superior level of comfort with spacious lounge areas and large LCD TV’s. These are individually designed with their own unique character. Food & Drink: Fine dining in The Eatery, with food served all day until 9.30pm for both residents and non-residents. Private dining is available. Upper and Lower Bar. Weddings & Conferencing: Licensed for Civil Ceremonies, function suite for up to 100 guests with private bar. Contact Details: The Talbot Hotel, New Street, Oundle, Northamptonshire, PE8 4EA. Tel: 01832 273621. www.thetalbot-oundle.com talbot@bulldogmail.co.uk

www.facebook.com /talbotoundle twitter.com /talbothotel

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BulldogFacts

Below: The hotel’s comfortable bar. Right: Quality local butchers provide the hotel’s meat.

The George Hotel

PIERCEBRIDGE, NORTH YORKSHIRE In the heart of Teeside, on the border of County Durham and Yorkshire, Piercebridge’s George Hotel offers a quality stay whether your visit is for business or pleasure...

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hen you’re relaxed, time can often appear to stand still. But at Piercebridge’s George Hotel, the old grandfather clock really has stopped - never to go again - since Henry Clay wrote his poem about that very same item. The hotel is just a few minutes from the A1, affording great transport links: Newcastle, York, Durham, and Leeds are all within an hour or so of the hotel. The venue is also flanked by both the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors, providing, at the same time, easy access to some of the most breathtaking scenery the UK has to offer. The hotel dates back to the 16th century, carrying a Grade II listing,

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and is located beside the River Tees. Timeless as its appears though, The George still appeals to a thoroughly modern contingent of businessmen making their way up or down the country, and equally to couples seeking a rural retreat for a weekend away.

Accommodation

There are 29 bedrooms, all with their own individual character. Many of the rooms boast beautiful river views, and with a selection of rooms on offer and a rolling programme of refurbishment, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep in a modern room. Whilst the hotel itself boasts traditional charm, you can still

expect 21st century comforts like free Wi-Fi and Superior rooms also boast even more luxurious decoration and king size beds.

Food & Drink

Food and drink in the hotel arrives courtesy of Head Chef Suzi Pickard. Even those seeking a quick bite to eat will be impressed with the sandwich menu, with steak ciabattas, Croque Monsieur, Riverside Sausage and Hot Beef options. There’s also a choice of homemade pizzas and grazing & sharing platters. Meanwhile, à la carte dining options mean a choice of George Classics gastropub style favourites with the emphasis on big flavours - and a meat & grill menu with 10oz flat iron


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Dine in the riverside restaurant with its picturesque views of village’s Roman bridge, or in the library or bar. In the summer months, you can also enjoy outdoor dining out on the terrace with its idyllic views of Tees... steaks, and thick gammon cuts offered besides healthy options like the Super Salad. Dine in the riverside restaurant with its picturesque views of the village’s Roman bridge, or in the library or bar. Meanwhile two dedicated function rooms facilitate private dining and on Sunday, you can enjoy the hotel’s popular carvery option too. In the summer months, you can also enjoy dining outdoors on the terrace with views over the river.

Weddings & Business

The beautiful and stylish Ballroom has a sweeping staircase and views overlooking the river and gardens, accommodating up to 180 guests. Meanwhile, the Pavillion is a real dream wedding location for more intimate celebrations with up to 70 daytime and 100 evening guests.

What to Do Nearby

Quick Facts

Rooms: 29 en suite rooms with many newly refurbished. Standard and superior rooms available, Wi-Fi provision, hospitality trays and flat screen TVs all standard.

One of the most compelling aspects of The George Hotel is its proximity to many of the North of England’s key cities.

Food & Drink: Newly revamped menus provide light lunchtime and evening dining courtesy of Bulldog Hotel Group’s Suzi Pickard.

From just one hotel you can enjoy luxury shopping in Leeds, the beauty of County Durham including Beamish, less than an hour away - or Barnard Castle, just 20 minutes away. with its 12th century architecture and sensory gardens.

Weddings & Conferencing: Ballroom and Pavilion rooms available for weddings of up to 180 guests. Civil licensed.

Bowes Museum is located just adjacent to Barnard Castle too, with its nationally renowned collection of fine art. Meanwhile, Darlington is just ten minutes away from The George Hotel with its railway museum, and the 200 acre Raby Castle with its walled gardens and deer park, meaining plenty of attractions within a short drive.

Contact Details: The George Hotel, Piercebridge, Darlington, County Durham DL2 3SW. Tel: 01325 374576. www.george-ontees.co.uk george@bulldogmail.co.uk Top: A rolling programme of refurbishment means you’re assured a modern room. www.facebook.com/pages /George-Hotel/154793527871650

twitter.com /thegeorgetees


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Best Western Three Swans Hotel

21 High Street, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LN16 7NJ

01858 466644

Best Western White Hart Hotel

1-5 High St, Boston, Lincolnshire, PE21 8SH

01205 311900

www.threeswans.co.uk threeswans@bulldogmail.co.uk

www.whitehartboston.com whitehartboston@bulldogmail.co.uk

The Talbot Hotel Oundle, Northants

The White Hart Royal, Moreton in Marsh

The Old Bridge Inn & Coffee House, Holmfirth

01832 273621

01608 650731

01484 681212

New St, Oundle, PE8 4EA www.thetalbot-oundle.com talbot@bulldogmail.co.uk

High St, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0BA www.whitehartroyal.co.uk whr@bulldogmail.co.uk

Market Walk, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, HD9 7DA

www.oldbridgeholmfirth.co.uk oldbridgehotel@bulldogmail.co.uk

We offer seven individually styled hotels for your enjoyment. Each of our hotels has earned itself a great reputation for stylish and comfortable accommodation, offering tempting food and drink menus in a relaxed setting.

Best Western Admiral Rodney, Horncastle North St, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, LN9 5DX

01507 523131

www.admiralrodney.com admiralrodney@bulldogmail.co.uk

The George Hotel, Piercebridge Piercebridge, Darlington, County Durham DL2 3SW

01325 374576

www.george-ontees.co.uk george@bulldogmail.co.uk

We are proud of our great staff teams who take pride in offering our guests a warm welcome upon arrival and high levels of hospitality throughout their stay.

Enjoy a cup of coffee... on us!

Download our app on Apple & Android!

Keep in Touch; we love your feedback!

Pick up our loyalty card and make sure you have it stamped. Collect seven stamps and you’ll have your eighth cup on us!

Download our App for your tablet or phone to make bookings, collect loyalty points and enjoy special offers.

We’d love to hear your feedback if you’ve enjoyed a meal or a stay with us. Write to us at The Bulldog Hotel Group, 1-5 High St, Boston, Lincs PE21 8SH. Call 01205 355522 or email office@bulldogmail.co.uk.


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BEST WESTERN

The perfect choice for your perfect wedding day

Sitting prominently on the riverside in the centre of the historic market town of Boston, the Grade II listed BEST WESTERN White Hart Hotel offers the perfect atmospheric alternative to modern hotels. The beautiful first floor Boston Suite is fully licensed for marriages and civil ceremonies and has its own private bar and facilities. There are 26 en-suite bedrooms, including feature, executive and superior rooms, which are situated on the first and second floors. When it comes to organising your special day the team of friendly staff have a wealth of experience to help you create your perfect wedding day. They can individually design your wedding breakfast and will happily cater to suit your precise requirements, from light canapĂŠs to a five course celebratory dinner. Contact the Hotel Manager on 01205 311900 to book your visit and see for yourselves just how wonderful your wedding day could be.

BEST WESTERN White Hart Hotel & Eatery 1 – 5 High Street, Boston, Lincolnshire, PE21 8SH T: 01205 311900 E: whitehartboston@bulldogmail.co.uk www.whitehartboston.com www.facebook.com/thewhitehartboston

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Bulldog Hotel Group (Issue 1, SS 2014)_Layout 1 15/06/2014 17:15 Page 100


Bulldog Hotel Group Magazine Issue 1