Eat, drink, sleep and be happy

WARM welcomes were promised by The Stanneylands, and they certainly delivered. Smiles greeted us as we checked in and the helpful staff couldn’t do enough for us as we were taken up to our room – a newly refurbished and nicely decorated generous suite complete with seating and dining area, giant standalone bath and fluffy bathrobes, just made for a relaxing getaway.

Perfect for the time of year, the fire was blazing and the Chesterfield couches were very tempting, so we kicked back with a set of Dominoes and some red wine and JW Lees Manchester Ale.

Ideal for a decent drink and a slap-up meal, followed by a good night’s sleep and no need for driving or cabs, The Stanneylands is a classic and comfy country house hotel, and myself and my husband were looking forward to a proper chill-out. Set in four leafy acres of Cheshire countryside and with cool, quirky and quintessentially English décor – think mounted deer heads, Alice in Wonderland-style artwork, statement wallpaper and lots of checked fabric – it offers a great escape from life’s hustle and bustle, and you wouldn’t think that Manchester city centre is only half an hour up the road. 

Once unpacked, we headed to the lounge so we could take in the views across the tranquil terrace to the landscaped gardens and woodland beyond. Perfect for the time of year, the fire was blazing and the Chesterfield couches were very tempting, so we kicked back with a set of Dominoes and some red wine and JW Lees Manchester Craft Lager. No mobile phones, no television – it all felt very wholesome and cosy. (If you do want TV, however, back in your room you can stream from your device, both Apple and Android, which is handy – let’s face it, United won 5-1 while we were there.)

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With dinner booked for 7.30pm, we made our way to the Tap & Pantry, a stylish but relaxed, light and airy dining room filled with pot plants and flickering candles for a real ‘inside-outside’ feel. We were shown to our window table by general manager Jamie Thistleton, who recently moved over from sister premises the Alderley Edge boutique hotel. Taking us through the menu – which focuses on freshly prepared, honest and hearty, best of British home-cooked food – Jamie recommended a couple of dishes and, while they weren’t something we would usually go for, they soon became firm favourites.

One was a vegetarian starter of pickled beetroot tart with blue cheese beignets – great flavours that worked well together. We also picked the chicken liver pâté plus the tiger prawn tempura in a light batter with a sweet chilli dip and salad – with five juicy prawns per portion, it was great to share, but you can also order three for a starter for one. 

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For mains, we both had steak from the grill: a 10oz ribeye and 8oz fillet served with seasonal greens and onion rings. We both love blue cheese sauce, and although it wasn’t on the menu (choices listed include peppercorn, Béarnaise, Diane, red wine jus, and smoked bacon and shallot), the chef was happy to make us one specially, which was a really nice touch.

For dessert, we had the crème brûlée – a classic with shortbread biscuits and the perfect ‘break’ – and a thick, rich chocolate pot with honeycomb. Finally, we had the cheeseboard, which included Brie, Cheddar and Shropshire Blue, plus artisan biscuits, chutney and grapes.

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With the selection of gin and all the garnishes on offer at The Stanneylands, it would be rude not to give at least one a go, so we rounded off the evening with a G&T in the bar.

The comfortable and roomy bed made for a great night’s sleep, and we awoke feeling refreshed – especially as breakfast is served until 11am, allowing plenty of time for a lie-in. Heading back to the Tap & Pantry, with its views of the estate, we could pick from both hot and cold breakfast (The Pantry Table offers a continental buffet of meat, cheese, pastries, cereal, fresh fruit and yoghurt), and we ordered a full English and a ham omelette with toast, along with fruit juice and a fresh pot of coffee.

A great way to start the day and round off a lovely stay!

Find out more about The Stanneylands here.

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