6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Surrey Life today click here

Wotton House, near Dorking RH5 6HS – hotel review

PUBLISHED: 15:24 12 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:25 12 July 2017

The magnificent temple at Wotton House, near Dorking

The magnificent temple at Wotton House, near Dorking

Archant

In the second of our new feature exploring places to stay in Surrey, Rebecca Younger visits the former home of botanist John Evelyn, Wotton House, near Dorking

Wotton House, near DorkingWotton House, near Dorking

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2017

***

One thing is profoundly evident as you descend the sweeping drive that leads from the A25, just outside Dorking, towards the terracotta-bricked Wotton House, and that is the estate’s botanical roots. Despite our arrival being on a rather grey day weather-wise, the 13 acres of grounds that surround the mansion were no less inspiring. Earlier this year, the house – home to conservationist and naturalist John Evelyn in the 17th century – underwent a £6 million upgrade as part of a rolling refurbishment programme by hotel group De Vere.

While the house has been renovated throughout – adding a further 16 suites to the hotel and bringing the total number of rooms to 127 – the gardens have remained predominantly untouched, apart from the introduction of several commissioned sculptures by Surrey-based artist Emma Stothard.

Evelyn, who was the inspiration for toiletry brand Crabtree & Evelyn, once described Wotton as “my most cherished place on earth”. He designed some of the gardens at Wotton House – including the first Italian garden in England – and as a result, they now have Grade II listed status.

When you also have a perfectly-preserved Roman temple, which is lit beautifully at night, as well as a huge fountain and quirky grottoes within the grounds, there really is no need for change.

What’s inspired about the hotel’s revamp is how it incorporates notes of Evelyn’s expertise as a botanist, and the importance of the gardens, around every corner – from the suites that are named after plants to the tasteful décor in each room, which is heavily influenced by nature. Hanging on the walls of the corridor leading from the main reception to bar, there is also a gallery of historical portraits and tablets of information depicting the life story of Evelyn and his time at the house and, for those who want to properly get out and explore the gardens, the hotel even provides Hunter wellies in various sizes and colours for guests to borrow.

The ‘outside-in’ theme continues in the 1877 restaurant, where a beautifully-lit tree acts as a centrepiece to the room. The food, while good, was heartier than you might expect from such an establishment and the menu a little confused, part fine dining, part staple country pub. The service here was also a little muddled – a mixture of staff so attentive they were falling over themselves to ensure guests were happy and those who were perhaps a little too honest about their opinions of the menu; we were told by one waitress to stay well clear of the house wine when actually it was perfectly drinkable and possibly one of the better house options I have tasted in my time.

What it didn’t deliver in service however, it made up for in ambience and our evening was topped off with a post-meal tipple by the outside fire pit, overlooking what really makes a stay at this historical house quite special – its immaculate gardens.

***

Rooms start from £129 per room per night, based on double occupancy. De Vere Wotton House, Guildford Road, Dorking RH5 6QQ Tel: 01306 730000 Web: devere.com/deverewottonhouse

***

The Garden House at Beaverbrook, Leatherhead KT22 8QX – hotel review

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Surrey visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Surrey staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Surrey account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Thu, 06:45

People travel from far and wide to walk the Surrey Hills. We pick 10 reasons it might just be one of the prettiest places in England

Read more

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 2018, this year’s Beautiful Surrey photography competition theme is ‘capturing the Surrey Hills’

Read more
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Our county’s greens and fairways are considered to be among the very best around by some of the world’s greatest golfers. Here’s a bagful to tick off your scoresheet...

Read more

It’s known for its famous residents and posh pads but there’s much more to this charming Surrey village on the banks of the River Mole than pure glitz and glam

Read more
Monday, September 11, 2017

The weekend is fast approaching and for those still deciding how to spend their Friday through to Sunday, we pick five of the best ways to spend your weekend in Surrey

Read more
Monday, September 4, 2017

Hosted by Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards sponsors Local Food Britain at Guildford’s G Live entertainment venue, a brand new food and drink festival is bringing the best of Surrey and beyond to our county town this September

Read more
Monday, August 14, 2017

The UK’s leading French property show returns to Olympia London from 16-17 September

Read more
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

To celebrate the best of beautiful Surrey, we’ve created this inspiring 132-page coffee table magazine. In A Celebration of Surrey Life we travel across our county in search of the must-visit hotspots, via towns and villages, the best restaurants, places to stay and more

Read more
Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Whether looking to enjoy a riverside view, relax at a nature reserve or impress your barbecue guests with some scintillating treats, August’s Surrey Life magazine has got your summer in Surrey covered

Read more
Friday, August 4, 2017

From historic streets to mysterious gems, Heritage Open Day weekend throws open the doors of Surrey’s hidden heritage. Matthew Williams shines a light on 30 of the best places to visit

Read more
Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Surrey has been used as a film location for many a blockbuster movie and the county’s hotels, woods and villages are no stranger to visits from the Hollywood A-list. Here’s just a few of the movies that have been, at least in part, filmed in Surrey

Read more
Monday, July 31, 2017

From lazy days drifting down the River Thames in a hot tub to stand-up paddleboarding in a disused quarry via outdoor theatre, cinema and music festivals, we dare you to get bored in Surrey this summer!

Read more

Enjoying an enthralling mix of river life, cosmopolitan living and hidden heritage, this month we visit wonderful Weybridge

Read more
Friday, July 28, 2017

While many of these comedies will be no stranger to our TV screens, we bet they were filmed a bit closer to home than you think…

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Surrey Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search