If you don't fancy risking it in Central London or looking to get a table in the jammed restaurant, the Enchanted Garden Globes at Ashridge House in Hertfordshire is the answer. An ideal festive antidote towards the year we've all had is just a short train from Euston, where you will be transported back in its history.
Once a royal residence to King Henry VIII and residential to his daughter, Princess Elizabeth I, Ashridge Home is a concealed gem in leafy Hertfordshire, only 30 miles from London and surrounded by 190 acres of quintessential English gardens. The majestic stately home and spellbinding yuletide outdoor wonderland function as the illuminated backdrop to the evening's experience.
Ashridge House: The Lowdown
On arrival, carol singers in the garden set a dark tone and ensure the Christmas spirit is in full swing. Inside the transparent domes; the no expense spared decor brings a Scandinavian twist, with log fire heaters and blankets to keep the cold out. Diners receive a delicious five-course meal, served with prosecco and wine – and also the friendly staff are on hand to describe all the experience and therefore are more than happy to explain everything from the history from the building to the menu and residence.
Ashridge House: The Menu
We began your food with a delicious starter of arancini balls inside a rich tomato sauce. Following the Scandi-theme, a fish course of cold and hot smoked salmon, prawns, rollmops and giant caper berries. The fish was incredibly fresh and delicate; it had been a generous portion which was perfect for sharing and went perfectly with the crunchy bread roll.
Then it’s to the top level – the moment you’ve all been awaiting – and this is a Christmas feast which will ensure there’s no debate over which meat is a must. Rare roast beef is served alongside a sage and onion stuffed turkey, Brussel sprouts and mini potato rosti towers. The potatoes were a genuine highlight soft and smooth having a creamy sauce (these were the sort of thing you see inside a TikTok video but never really attempt yourself). Both meats were perfectly cooked; the turkey soft and succulent the beef rich and rare.
The dinner is lb155 per person but the quality (and generosity) of the ingredients is apparent – there’s no corner-cutting here. The whole meal is completed served by a delicate medley of chocolate desserts.
With all that eating a woodland walk is a must. But this isn’t any old walk at nighttime, guests wander into an illuminated woodland with beautiful light installations, secret hideaways, tunnels of falling stars, hot toddies, glittering grottos and surprise encounters on the way. It’s an enchanting way to end an enchanting night.
Ashridge House: The Details
Taking place throughout December, with new dates in January 2022 to be added, this is the very first time ever the private gardens of the magnificent former palace is going to be changed into a festive dining experience to surprise and delight the senses. Don't lose out: each pod may take up to 6 people, ideal for homes with more residents or you can book for smaller groups too.