Country house to home in on
The estate’s history includes an owner who plotted against Henry V. Then there’s Admiral Lord Howe, an associate of Lord Nelson, and to add an exotic flavour, Imogen’s mother, Carmen, whose family came from Cuba. At various times it passed through the female line, and when her three brothers said that they did not want the house, Imogen inherited the apricot-washed Georgian mansion overlooking the Vale of Belvoir, which was, as she said, “still a home, but with good wine in the cellar”.
There is a sad footnote here, because since my stay Imogen was killed in a road accident while abroad. Her family and her style continue in the management of Langar Hall.
Budget or boutique?
Bed and breakfast rates per room are from £100, so it’s at the low end of boutique.
Wining and dining
The restaurant, once the family’s dining room, off the main stone-flagged hall, has an Adams-pillared, fireplace, but still manages to feel unstuffy and relaxed. The food is very good. Local produce features, such as the Langar lamb assiette, cheeses include Stilton from the nearby villages of Colston Basset or Cropwell Bishop, while fresh turbot and crab come up from Cornwall. And the lemon tart is made with the best Sicilian lemons. The breakfast room, by contrast, has an Indian theme, reflecting Imogen’s travels there and her fascination with the country.
There are only 12 rooms, each one individually styled. Some are grand, with four-poster beds, some have a Victorian country house look with much chintz, while others are more modern in decoration and feel. There are also two “bedrooms” bordering the croquet lawn; one, The Pod, is shaped as its name suggests, while Agnew’s is a garden chalet/summerhouse. Both have comfortable beds, fully plumbed bathrooms, and are for guests seeking total privacy.
Worth getting out of bed for
Langar village was the birthplace of Victorian novelist Samuel Butler, author of the semi-autobiographical The Way Of All Flesh, and the Vale of Belvoir is a lush and green countryside to explore. Belvoir Castle is a short distance away and worth a visit, as is Newark. A trip to Nottingham will offer many things; the impressive Old Market Square, the castle and the Lace Market, and football for starters. And the name of the garden chalet is a clue, for Langar Hall is where the BBC commentating team choose to stay when “on duty” in Nottingham for cricket at Trent Bridge. It is also where Henry Blofeld had his wedding reception in 2013.
Nottingham-born designer Paul Smith is a fan of Langar Hall Hotel and the photographs to be found here are his. While staying you may choose to borrow a pair of the Paul Smith-designed, gloriously striped wellies from reception, to explore the countryside in great style, and keep your feet dry should the weather take a turn for the worse. Langar Hall is a 40-minute drive from East Midlands airport which has a regular Flybe (flybe.com) service from Edinburgh or Glasgow, from £160 per person, return flight.
Guest book comments
The surrounding countryside is glorious and the house in décor, style and management is very much one woman’s vision of country house living which from its earliest days has appealed to a wide variety of guests, including Dame Barbara Cartland, Paul Smith, Janet Street Porter, Ed Miliband and, of course, the Test Match Special team. They were not wrong.
Langar Hall Hotel, Langar Village, Nottinghamshire, NG13 9HG, firstname.lastname@example.org, 01949 860559. Sunday and Monday rates are from £100-£160 bed and breakfast for a double room. At other times, rates for single and double rooms are from £100-£225 bed and breakfast. www.langarhall.com