An uninterrupted country lane, stately stone-fronted manor house and the promise of chef Orlando Murrin’s fine-foody-feast led us all the way from London to the newly opened Langford Fivehead – a warm and inviting medieval manor house deep in the Somerset countryside – for a romantic mini moon weekend.
Hosts Peter Steggall and Orlando Murrin turned their flair for originality from their successful manorial pad in France to this equally charming set-up in the English countryside – ideal for first nights, mini moons and small wedding parties in search of something special and unique.
We swept down the impressive drive to the front of the house, taking in a neatly trimmed lawn and tennis court on one side and beautiful little woodland on the other (there are seven acres in total), in front of which is a sizeable space for an elegant marquee. Aside from the main house – which has seven double rooms – there’s also Dukie’s Cottage next door, a country-cute 17th century hideaway that’s perfect for guests in need of more privacy (or to send the groom and his men off to as you prepare in the main house)!
Room for romance
In the main house, each bedroom is named after famous locals or major historical events – we headed straight for Nathaniel Barnard (named for a former Langford Fivehead owner); the stunning bridal suite. At one end we spied a beautiful roll-top bath, and at the other a neat little seating area, perfect for hanging all your wedding-day finery. There’s also a sizeable en suite which we clocked as the perfect inner sanctum for you and the girls to prep in peace on your big day. It’d make the perfect romantic hideaway for first nighters, too.
The other rooms are cheery, fresh and tastefully decorated in neutral tones with touches of country-cool florals and light tartans. The house is built around a T-shape, so half the rooms are on one side and half on the other – great if you hire the lot and want to keep any overzealous family members at bay!
Wine & dine
When it comes to food, Orlando is the star of the show. His passion for fine dining keeps him busy day-to-night in the country-style house kitchen – although he gladly stops for a natter to talk through the day’s dishes or to recruit a few willing volunteers.
He’s a real dynamo, and served up canapés of Stogumber potted shrimps, smoked trout tartlet, mini bacon and thyme gougères. For the main, we feasted on Brixham scallops with black pudding and a cauliflower cheese sauce, followed by 24-hour-roasted shoulder of pork with a potato galette, before indulging with a perfect chocolaty raspberry sachertorte with coeur a la crème.
Peter became our sommelier for the evening, recommending a delectable, light bottle of French white, followed by the perfect Italian red (a 2007 Tenuta Zagaria Vigna Grande – £15 a bottle) to accompany our main. For first nights or mini moons, you’ll be encouraged to sup sociably as a group with other house guests. For larger wedding parties – as expected – the space is taken over in its entirety.
The next day we also enjoyed a Sunday brunch of homemade kedgeree, fennel-infused sausages and the lightest and fluffiest Yorkshire pudding you’re ever likely to taste.
Peter and Orlando’s attention to detail, how much guests adore it (most of the people we met had been to stay before), their spot-on wine list and our big, impossible-to-leave bed.
We don’t love
We love to hate Orlando for telling us all his Langford Fivehead ghost stories before we went up to bed (well, we did ask)!
The stunning panelled drawing room, which looks out onto the Ladies’ Garden, is an elegant pre-wedding dinner reception hotspot. There’s even a grand piano that can be tinkled into life by the multi-talented Orlando.
Plan a mini moon or wedding reception…
Price for a meal for a bridal party of 20 persons, from £2000 including champagne for toasts, meal and wine; for room only rates or individual bookings, depending on time and season visit langfordfivehead.co