Enjoy a summer lunch at historic Surrey retreat


Great Fosters is a 16th century former royal hunting lodge, which once hosted King Henry VIII.


Nestled away in a pocket of Surrey, just a short drive from London (and Heathrow), is this historic home where splendour abounds and history seems to seep through its walls, and this summer you can make the most of the home and its grounds with a horticultural or heritage lunch.

The well coffered 50 acres belonging to Great Fosters includes an Art & Crafts garden, a Saxon moat with Japanese bridge and a grassed amphitheatre and lake. Indeed, a stroll through the grounds is reminiscent of a scene from Phillipa Pearce’s novel Tom’s Midnight Garden, with sundials and hidden statues creating a haunting atmosphere.


Its historic credentials are impressive, too, Henry VIII was known to have visited and later his daughter Elizabeth also came. Proof of this can be seen in the original royal crest of Queen Elizabeth I dated 1598 above the main porch.

As you enter the building through the small wooden door it’s like stepping into a museum, albeit a charmingly welcoming one. To the left of the front hall is the Anne Boleyn Room, with its beautifully ornate ceiling decorated with the emblems of the notorious consort, while upstairs you can stay in such historic rooms as the Tapestry Room, with its Jacobean carved wooden chimney piece, or Panel II with its four-poster bed.


Not everything about this building is stuck in the past though, and the hotel’s two restaurants, The Estate Grill and The Tudor Roomwhich both opened in 2013, are testament to this, with the former serving a simple and seasonal menu, while the latter provides a more sophisticated experience with its taster menu.

If you’re looking for a good spot for lunch this summer, then take a look at one of the special lunches hosted by Great Fosters, outlined below.

Horticulture and Meet the Bees lunches
If you’ve ever fancied trying your hand at that peculiarly British pastime of beekeeping then now’s your chance. Enjoy a one-hour tour of the exquisite gardens with head gardener Russell Dixon, followed by a one-hour tour of the estate’s beehives with beekeeper David Arpino. This will be followed by a champagne and three-course lunch in the Estate Grill or on the Terrace.
When? 29 May, 27 June, 21 July and 15 August.
Price £65 per person or £60 for VIP Club members or RHS members.

Horticulture and Heritage lunches
Enjoy a one-hour tour of the gardens with head gardener Russell Dixon followed by a two-course lunch in the Estate Grill or on the Terrace.
When? 24 June and 9 July.
£45 per person or £40 for VIP Club Members and RHS members.

To book your seat go to Great Fosters.

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