Muddy reviews: Lawn House B&B
This bucolic B&B in the grounds of Hatfield House in Herts makes an ideal stopover for those looking for a relaxing, rural bolthole, with plenty to explore on the doorstep.
Lawn House is a luxury B&B in the grounds of the imposing Hatfield House estate, ideal for those looking to visit the house for a tour or special event (whether on the estate calendar or a private wedding – yep, you can get married here), or it acts as a handy gateway into London (being just a short walk from the train station) if you’d rather avoid staying in the city.
We arrived under the cover of darkness (well, 5pm in deep midwinter!) via George’s Gate – the main entrance to the house, and tentatively took the right-hand fork away from the car park, and up a gravel track to a quaint row of cottages. Lawn House was the last in the row – the most imposing of them, with it’s gabled roof and pretty frontage, but understated and subtly lit.
It feels a world away from the suburban bustle of Hatfield town centre, which we were only reminded of when we opened the curtains in the morning to see a couple of distant high rises beyond the farm park and green fields surrounding us.
Stepping inside felt much like being welcomed into someone’s home, which is what most people sign up for with a B&B – a home from home – so that’s a big tick. It’s a characterful property with a cosy snug area for reading, decorated in William Morris wallpaper, set off by soft yellow and duck egg furnishings. There are leaded windows throughout, wood panelling, and a staircase at either end of the property, giving it that slightly olde worlde feel.
And the house backs on to woodlands affording just a glimpse of Hatfield House through the bare winter-stripped trees – when the leaves return in spring it must feel more secluded than ever.
It’s all about subtlety here – nothing is out of place or unexpected – just calming, comfortable and very countrified.
There are 14 en suite rooms, each with a slightly different style of décor, from the King-size bridal suite to a cosy single for lone travellers or perhaps older children who might appreciate their own space. Our double room had a nice mix of contemporary and period pieces, and was done out in lovely soft hues of sage green and soft grey. Mod-cons are available but don’t jar with the characterful tone of the place – there’s a small tv and a simple tea and coffee tray with everything you might need.
The room itself was spacious and while the bed could have been a teensy bit bigger to fill the space, it was extremely comfortable. As our heads hit the pillow we had that slightly unnerving awareness (that you might get if you don’t live totally out in the sticks) of, well, complete silence, but we soon got used to it and drifted straight off into a deep slumber.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The first thing to mention is that there’s nowhere within the grounds to get an evening meal, so you will need to venture into Hatfield if you arrive hungry. On the plus side there’s a 20% discount for Lawn House guests at the Red Lion – a vibrant, family-friendly pub with a varied menu, just around the corner. It’s an easy amble on foot in the warmer months or if you fancy having a couple of drinks, but equally it’s only five minutes by car.
Then during the daytime check out the River Cottage Kitchen and Deli in Hatfield Park. There’s 20% off here too for guests, and you can get anything from a Sunday Roast to afternoon tea (Tues-Sundays).
Now for the breakfast – the bright and fresh breakfast room is filled with sunshine come morning and has that quaint farmhouse feel. Plus it extends into an airy conservatory, with patio doors onto the garden, to accommodate more guests. We had a selection of continental options, including cereals, pastries and juices, as well as cooked full English and more modern café-style dishes like smashed avo on toast and harissa eggs. We kept it simple with eggs and bacon, which were all nicely cooked and served with a smile.
Yep, there’s the option to book a double which converts to a family room, or a double, twin and single which can be separated into their own annexe for larger groups. Plus there’s the Hatfield Park Farm just opposite, with plenty to see and do for littlies.
OUT & ABOUT
Obviously the main attraction is Hatfield House (re-opening for the season on 4 April), with its acres of landscaped gardens and treasures within the walls to explore, as well as extensive walking trails around the grounds. There’s also a busy calendar of charity events, exhibitions, music and theatre performances held in the grounds throughout the year, including the popular summer Battle Proms and Folk by the Oak festival, plus Mr Bublé will be performing in July, so if you’re keen to make it to one of those it might be worth booking a room early!
The Stable Yard – you’ll find River Cottage here and a cute little complex of shops including a gunmakers, jewellers and pottery café – is lovely to explore year round, and is a very short (and pretty) walk from Lawn House.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Those after a rural base to explore Hatfield Park and further afield into Hertfordshire, or even hop on a train to London will find Lawn House comfortable, convenient and cosy.
Not for: If you’re used to the facilities of a country house hotel, like an on-site restaurant or spa – this won’t be for you. It’s a luxury B&B without unnecessary frills or fuss.