Furs, fire and ice at Dewsall Court
PUBLISHED: 16:31 11 January 2016 | UPDATED: 17:00 11 January 2016
It was dark, cold and the rain was pouring down. So a warm and welcoming trip to Dewsall Court was just what the doctor ordered.
Nestled within 15 acres of beautiful Herefordshire countryside lays Dewsall Court – a spectacular building that once lay in ruins; painstakingly and sympathetically restored to its former glory by the Robinson family. Rather than turn the previous family home into a guesthouse, daughter Samantha Vaughan and her husband Julian, have marketed the property as an exclusive and charming rural retreat.
The ten-bedroom house is often used for weddings, weekend escapes and occasionally plays host to some unique and fun-themed supper clubs. We were delighted to receive an invite to the Furs, Fire and Ice Party which took place on a rainy, cold evening in December. From central Gloucestershire, the hour long drive to the venue took my partner and I through the deep hills of Herefordshire to the remote village of Callow. As we entered the gates, the long driveway to the house was lit by beautiful burning torches. And in defiance of the bitter weather outside, first impressions of Dewsall were warm and welcoming.
We were taken in by our friendly host Emma who would take care of us for the rest of our stay. She invited us to help ourselves to tea and coffee from the kitchen and after a quick tour around the living areas, we were shown to our room. Although small, it was very snug and what it lacked in size, it certainly made up for in charm! The views over the grounds of Dewsall and the countryside beyond were simply stunning and the antique furniture that adorned the room suited the personality of the building perfectly. In the bathroom there was a deep, roll top bath and luxurious Aromatherapy Associates toiletries – suddenly the party didn’t seem so appealing, I just wanted to get in the tub!
But we were glad we made the effort to venture out into the cold December evening. The Furs, Fire and Ice party took place just across the yard in the handsome Wainhouse Barn and upon arrival; guests were treated to delicious canapés and Williams Sloe and Mulberry Gin with Prosecco. The barn was extremely cosy and festively decorated with fur throws, hundreds of candles and log fires.
We sat down to a wonderful three-course dinner cooked onsite by Dewsall’s team of talented in-house chefs. The entrée was potato blinis, smoked trout and salsa verde, followed by a mouth-watering 12 hour Hereford beef cheek bourguinon, horseradish mash and savoy cabbage for the main. And despite not having a sweet tooth, the apple and calvados creme brûlée with a crunchy cinnamon cookie, made a delicious finish to the meal. The evening continued with some fantastic live entertainment from The Brotherhood, a band from Newport who covered Christmas classics and other popular numbers.
At midnight it was a short stroll back to the comforts of our room and despite leaving the party a little earlier than most, our sleep was undisturbed by the continuing celebrations.
In the morning, we awoke to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the burning embers of a log fire in the drawing room. I finally grabbed my chance to unwind in the roll top bath whilst my partner George took the opportunity to grab another precious hour’s sleep before we made our way to the kitchen.
Downstairs, Emma greeted us with a tasty breakfast and we relived the events of the night before to the comforting sounds of the radio. Our time at Dewsall had felt like a home away from home, with some festive activities thrown into the mix. We’ll certainly be back and next time we plan to bring friends as a supper club at Dewsall Court is the perfect occasion to catch up with close companions over delicious food and cocktails.
Thanks for having us Dewsall, we can’t wait to come back.
Do you fancy attending an event at Dewsall Court? Keep 23 January free for a taste of the highlands with Pol Roger. Find out more here.