A while ago now, I was invited to Sopwell House for the day to try their afternoon tea and have a tour of the hotel.
Situated in St. Albans, it's approximately a 30 minute train journey from St. Pancras International in central London, and a short 10 minute drive from St. Albans train station.
(Be aware though that if you are travelling in by train from St. Pancras that contactless payment/Oyster cards are NOT accepted at St. Albans station and you will have to buy a ticket before travel. Even though I asked at the St. Pancras information desk whether contactless payment was accepted and I was told yes, which I then found out the hard way when I had to pay a fine, that it wasn't!)
The afternoon tea itself was particularly enjoyable, and we opted for the champagne afternoon tea. This included a glass of champagne each, a tea of your choice, 4 finger sandwiches per person, 2 scones pp with clotted cream and Tiptree Jam (this really made me happy, a little taste of home!), as well as an assortment of cakes and macaroons to share.
One thing that I found a really nice touch was that the staff were always offering us more sandwiches, scones and cakes etc. Sometimes (being the pig that I am) I want more sandwiches to balance out the sweet and savoury, but feel a pain in the bum to ask for more. The fact that these were offered to us made it much more relaxing!
The staff also could not be faulted. We were served by two very kind gentlemen who could not do enough for us.
After eating, we were given a tour of Sopwell House and the grounds of the hotel.
The rooms took my breath away - particularly the outside "Mews" area where you are able to have more of a maisonette style apartment with a hot tub in your own private "garden" area.
This whole area of the hotel can also be hired out for events such as wedding parties, so the whole entourage can stay in one area.
As well as hiring out parts of the hotel for wedding parties, the hotel also boasts a number of events rooms which have moveable walls, creating one large events room if need be.
Sopwell House has been a particular favourite for footballing events, with the England team having resided there on a number of occasions.
There is something for everyone at Sopwell House though - there is a full spa with treatment facilities, a gym, and a swimming pool. There is also a golf range near by for all you golf fanatics - hosts to the Ryder Cup!
Overall, if you are looking for a quiet, peaceful sanctuary to get away from the hustle and bustle of London, then this is the place for you. It is complete luxury in a scenic setting, and you don't have to travel far outside of London to get it.
Prices start from £154 per night for a superior suite, to £250+ per night for a Mews Suite.
For more information, you can check out the Sopwell House website here.