Ashridge House is more than just a wedding venue – with a restaurant, cocktail bar and Bakehouse open to the public, it’s now a destination for visitors.
Ashridge House has been visited by plenty of locals over the past couple of years – most of them heading there for a festive trip to see the Christmas light display.
But the historic venue aims to welcome visitors all year round – offering a fabulous restaurant, cocktail bar and bakehouse.
The Living team attended a recent event, where we experienced all three.
First, we were given a mini tour by the fabulous Nigel – if you get to go on a tour of the house, do so – he has plenty of entertaining tales to tell about the house and its former occupants.
We also explored the courtyard area where you’ll discover the fabulously fragrant florist Hanako – where as well as offering wedding flowers and bouquets for all occasions they run floristry workshops – the next one is a floral hat box workshop for Mother’s Day.
The courtyard is also home to the Bakehouse, which serves fabulous pastries and bakes, most handmade on site, with breads delivered fresh from the local Culture Bakery.
Favourite with little ones are the Smarties cookies – but you can also devour Rolo brownies, raspberry and white chocolate blondies – we tried all three and they were delicious! There’s lots more to choose from, including filled baguettes, huge doughnuts, light snacks and fresh coffee.
The Bakehouse is open daily from 8.30am-5pm. Sit inside or out in the courtyard. We were delighted to hear that it’s dog friendly too!
Next we headed to the Vault bar. This cosy space is richly decorated and a great spot to enjoy an aperitif before dinner, or cocktails.
The bar sits next to the Acres restaurant – a beautifully decorated space, where we enjoyed ham hock terrine with a fabulous celeriac remoulade (I could have eaten a bowl full of that!), a light soup, a cannelloni of squash and ricotta – a cleverly made dish designed to cater for vegetarians – and the most delicious desserts – a ginger sticky toffee pudding and baked Alaska, both of which were the stars of the show.
The menu is designed to reflect the rich history of Ashridge House, with dishes inspired by locally grown heritage foods, and served up with a modern flourish. With two courses starting at £39.50 a head, if you are looking for a restaurant for a romantic dinner a deux or a place to celebrate a special occasion, this is the venue for a memorable experience.
As we left, we reflected on how there is now so much more to Ashridge House than we ever knew, and both have made plans to return soon!