Lusso’s Judith Baker explores the Melbourne Lodge at Brocket Hall…

The Brocket Estate in Hertfordshire is home to the imposing Brocket Hall, one of the country’s loveliest stately homes.

It was visited in the 1500s by Elizabeth 1 while she was under house arrest at nearby Hatfield House.  She would stroll down the banks of the River Lea to chat with John Brocket, her confidante who she knighted when she came to the throne. These days you are more likely to run into golfing royalty who flock to the Estate’s two Championship golf courses, The Melbourne and The Palmerston, a Golf Academy and state of the art swing studio. But the estate is not just for golfers and is home to a beautiful lodge with fabulous rooms, a first class restaurant and acres of manicured grounds just 20 miles from London.

In the beautiful grounds you will find the Melbourne Lodge, where guests can stay in one of 16 luxurious country house style rooms.  From the window of my spacious room I had views of the lodge itself, the lovely lake with swans and geese and the lush parkland. The bedrooms are elegantly decorated with cool ivory drapes and some original period pieces from the Estate itself. There are huge comfortable beds, a stylish bathroom and lots of special touches, such as tiny bottles of fresh milk to have with my morning cuppa.

I risked dodging golf balls to explore the grounds and took a scenic stroll down to the stylish Auberge du Lac, the recently refurbished restaurant set in the estate’s former hunting lodge.

I kicked off my evening with a Negroni in the relaxing Lounge Bar. There is a lovely alfresco terrace next to the lake which would have been idyllic had the weather permitted.

L’Auberge Chef John Barber says his mission is to make fine dining accessible and relaxed. He succeeded the evening I dined there, with a seven course tasting menu featuring some delicious dishes including seared Orkney scallop and fallow Deer.  Reluctant to leave the intimate, romantic ambience at L’Auberge I lingered over the final glass of wine, a lovely Riversaltes Ambre dessert wine which accompanied my 74% chocolate tart.

For pure indulgence, guests can also have a glamorous afternoon tea in the Ballroom of Brocket Hall itself and live like a lord with traditional butler service .

The golfers were out early the next day enjoying a hearty breakfast in the Watershyppes Clubhouse with much golf talk going on, all Greek to me.  (Watershyppes was the original name of the Hall before the Brocket family moved in in 1440) But we non golfers were made to feel felt perfectly at home. The clubby atmosphere is welcoming and jolly and the friendly staff here couldn’t be more obliging.

And if you are tempted to give golf a go, the Estate has rental shoes and clubs for those that suddenly get the urge and guests are welcome to use the practice facilities for a charge.

Dogs and children can also be accommodated. The estate has rooms specially allocated for dog use.

Rooms from £165 per night including breakfast. For details and booking, visit the Brocket Hall website


Melbourne Lodge
Brocket Hall
Hertfordshire AL8 7XG

Tel: 01707 368700