Words by Granville Orange, photos by Granville and the hotel.
Eckington Manor is an award winning hotel and venue nestled in the beautiful Avon valley, near Pershore, Worcestershire, and is a rather special place. Founded by Judy Gardner, of Garner’s Foods fame, which specialises in pickles and dressings, Judy believes that life doesn’t get much better than good food in a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere.
In 2004 Judy bought the run down Manor Farm in the historic village of Eckington and went about lovingly restoring the farm and its buildings, diversifying to offer outstanding accommodation. With an eye for design and attention to detail Judy and her team created what is now a stunning hotel and more, not least a cookery school offering a plethora of courses, teaching everything from basics to advanced courses for experienced professional chefs.
Judy states that “I have created Eckington Manor with a core belief that we should be encouraging people to buy British, favour local produce, and honour seasonality. In doing so, we all benefit from eating healthier, more flavoursome foods. Cooking should be relaxing and fun, a shared experience which enriches our lives.”
At the heart of Eckington Manor is the farm, home of award winning herds of Aberdeen Angus and Highland cattle; Lleyn sheep; and Gloucester Old Spot pigs. The farm is recognised as part of the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme operating in a manner which protects the environment and encourages wildlife by maintaining and protecting habitats whilst farming in an ethical manner. Wherever possible ingredients for the cookery school and hotel kitchens are sourced direct from the farm, the orchards, and vegetable and herb gardens. The hotel also produces its own cider, and offers local brewed ales and local cheeses.
The farm consists of 260 acres alongside the River Avon in an area of outstanding natural beauty, and guests are welcome to walk along the footpaths surrounding the farm and River Avon, and to enjoy the farm and the farming life that each day brings. Bring your binoculars and spend time in one of the hides and watch the abundance of bird species.
Eckington Manor has achieved many awards and accolades since opening, including, more recently, a Gold by the British Tourism Authority; a Certificate of Excellence with Trip Advisor; Visit England Award for Excellence in 2016; Cotswold Life Food and Drink Awards 2017; a Mr & Mrs Smith listing; and in 2018 winner of the Luxury Lifestyle Readers’ Travel Award for Best Hotel for Food.
The hotel prides itself on offering a warm welcome with attention to detail from the team of highly trained staff who go out of their way to make your stay very special indeed. The hotel can accommodate 32 guests in 16 lovingly restored and luxurious bedrooms, including 1 suite and four deluxe rooms. Where possible original beams and flagstones have been retained, with new additions such as hand printed wallpaper. The rooms are spread over four farm buildings – Lower End House,The Cyder Mill, The Grain Barn and The Milking Parlour.
If you are attending as a group of Morgan owners and should you need the facility, then there are a range of meeting rooms for hire, including the recently opened Grain Barn and Apple Store. Groups can also have some fun in the cookery school…from a simple two hour demonstration to full on tuition… a great idea for visiting Morgan owners and their passengers to add a little extra whilst staying in Worcestershire and visiting the factory in Malvern…which incidentally is just 15 miles away.
The restaurant and cookery school are open to non-residents too. See the web site for up coming courses. The restaurant is open Wednesday-Saturday evenings and Wednesday-Sunday for lunches, and guests staying on a B&B basis can enjoy the prize winning sausages and other treats.
The hotel web site has helpful links to the local area – what to see, where to go, and forthcoming events, plus details of the special packages on offer including what is described as a “Foodie Heaven Package”…it sounds delightful…a real indulgence in luxury and top class cuisine….and more. Go on…spoil yourselves, this surely is a must for any deserving Morgan owner, and there is a large private parking area so your treasured motors will be quite safe during your stay.
The hotel recommends that you book with them direct to obtain the best rates, and in so doing, would like to offer our readers a little something special…quote MOG Magazine when booking and you will enjoy a wonderful complimentary champagne cocktail upon arrival !
For bookings call 01387 751600 / www.eckingtonmanor.co.uk