Combermere Abbey – Review
Combermere Abbey, Whitchurch, Shropshire
by Rachel McAlley
Having heard good things about Combermere Abbey from a friend who had attended a wedding in the summer of 2012, I really wanted to experience it for myself, along with my daughter and fiancé.
I look up the Abbey online and do a little research prior to booking and I know that it has 1000 acres of land with a lake. It should be perfect for walking around. I also know that the cottages where guests book in to are all facing the old courtyard where the horses used to rest many years ago and that visitors could pre-order a breakfast basket full of treats for the morning after arrival. It looks like a magnificent, peaceful, and relaxing place to stay for a couple of nights in late Summer, early Autumn. But is it?
We book for two midweek nights and drive for a few hours from North Yorkshire to the border of North Wales and Cheshire to Combermere Abbey, located at Whitchurch. When we arrive at the grand entrance, we are presented with a vast electronic gate. Upon entering our code it opens and we head down the very long, driveway until we reach the cottages and the Abbey itself. Everything is signposted perfectly and we find our cottage with great ease at the very rear of the courtyard.
“Pre-order your breakfast”
Poole Cottage has its own quaint garden, plenty of roomy parking spaces and a front door to rival that of a manor house. We open the door to find possibly the largest cottage we’ve ever seen. It has a dining room that could easily seat eight guests, a living room with plump cushions and a kitchen with our pre-ordered breakfast basket. It contains homemade jam from the Abbey, fresh crusty bread, local eggs, local bacon along with local sausages, large homegrown tomatoes, a large bottle of fresh apple juice (again made at the Abbey itself) and plenty of locally churned butter and fresh milk. Wonderful!
It is late when we arrive and the baby needs to be in her cot. This has been set up by the Combermere Abbey staff, complete with blanket and positioned next to the rather large and comfy looking double bed. This overlooks the great arched courtyard windows, and down into the dining room. Before long we are sleeping and anticipating the next day.
“Large lake to walk around”
When we wake the birds are singing and we look out to the courtyard where we watch the world go by. The breakfast is, needless to say delicious, and even more perfect as my fiancé does all the cooking. After breakfast we take to the grounds of Combermere and go for a walk around the lake. The fresh air does all three of us the world of good. We venture to the walled gardens, which were unfortunately closed, but it doesn’t put us off.
A day in nearby Nantwich and Whitchurch ensues, with plenty of shopping. All the staff at Combermere are very helpful as we need directions to both towns. They also tell us that Chester Zoo isn’t too far away either. So, we decide that the zoo is to be the destination for our second day at Combermere.
“Farm shop on hand”
After spending two nights at Combermere Abbey and feeling very settled, both myself and my fiancé leave feeling refreshed and relaxed. Usually this is quite a difficult thing to achieve with a one-year old in tow. Even the baby has a great time. She is walking around the cottage as if it were her own.
I have nothing but praise for Combermere Abbey; from the staff, to the grounds, to the breakfast basket, the bed linen, the pretty garden and the courtyard store room. Here, guests could purchase ready meals, made by a local farm shop, and DVDs on hand to borrow at no cost. It really was a two-night break that we enjoyed to the max.