It is Isaac’s birthday this month and a few weeks ago he asked if we could go to Legoland to celebrate.
Now a stay at the Legoland Hotel was out of our reach so we looked into alternative options and Bel & the Dragon in Odiham, Hampshire stood out from the start.
Bel & The Dragon is a Grade II-listed former inn with features dating as far back as 1540 and from the moment you walk in the door you are made to feel at home. The 15th Century building retains many of its original features but has been renovated in a distinctive cosy and classic manner to bring it up date and offer everything modern-day travellers require.
It was a real “Wow” moment when the door opened to our room.
In our family room we had a large super king size bed, flat screen TV, large wardrobe and plenty of storage.
It was the little features that gave it a real home from home feel though. We had an old style DAB radio and funky alarm clock to admire.
We also had complimentary Sipsmith Sloe Gin in our room (delicious) or there was scotch whisky alongside the tea and coffee-making facilities in the shared area just along the corridor.
The kids area adjoined our room via a small walkway where you were greeted by books and a large wall map to keep them occupied.
There was a set of bunk beds in the room and Isaac bagged the top bunk for himself and Eliza and Sebby shared the bottom bunk.
Past their bed was a huge bathroom with the most impressive walk-in shower I have ever seen in any hotel.
There are complimentary hair and body products from Bramley in the shower and by the sink which I have come home and ordered since using them. The contain essential oils which not only make them smell divine, but my hair has never been so glossy!!
Once we had settled in, we headed downstairs for dinner. The dining room is set in a huge extension in the rear of the building, which although more modern, still offers the same comfort as the rest of the building with cushions in the booths, interesting local pictures covering the walls and relaxing, ambient lighting.
The kids were given activity sheets to keep them occupied which included games like noughts & crosses, word searches, colouring and space to draw their own pictures or there was a shelving wrack full of books and games to choose from.
The children’s menu only featured home cooked options of kids favourites like chicken nuggets, fish fingers and pasta as well as smaller versions of some of the adult options. Our A la carte menu was full of modern adaptations of traditional British classics cooked either in their Josper oven, like chargrilled steak or on their rotisserie like roasted suckling pig. Our waitresses asked if we would like the kids meals to come out first, which we accepted as by this time they were starving.
When we go out for dinner Hubby always orders steak, however, he surprised me by ordering the same dish as me – the roasted suckling pig.
I cannot rate this dish highly enough. The roast potatoes were the best I have ever tasted (I need their recipe), the pork was perfectly cooked and the crackling was deliciously crunchy.
We also ordered crunchy chilli broccoli and sugar snaps and mange tout with lemon zest, both of which were equally delicious.
For dessert the kids got a choice of two scoops of ice cream in either strawberry, chocolate or vanilla and again Hubby copied me with my choice of the Caramalised Lemon Tarte.
Full of good food we then headed back upstairs to our room to settle down for the night. The beds were comfortable, the room warm and everyone slept brilliantly and awoke fully refreshed the next morning…….after we moved Sebby back into his bed that is!
The next morning we headed downstairs for breakfast. This time we were seated at a chalkboard table which the kids could draw on until their hearts content.
The breakfast menu features options for the kids such as a boiled egg, cooked breakfast or just toast and cereal, which is the option they took.
My creature of habit husband went back to his roots and ordered a delicious looking full english breakfast which included a choice of fried, poached or scrambled egg, wild boar and apple sausage, bacon, vine tomatoes and black pudding.
I picked the blueberry pancakes and crispy bacon which also came with a caramelised banana and clotted cream.
The whole family agrees that Bel & the Dragon is the best place we have every stayed and eaten and with a family room costing from £135 per night, it is very reasonable too.
Our only regret from the stay is that we didn’t get to experience the ambience of the bar as it looked warm and inviting. Maybe we will have to return without the kids in tow!
Bel & the Dragon is about a 45 minute drive away from Chessington World of Adventures and just over half an hour from Legoland so is not on their doorstep but is close enough to be used as a base to visit one or both like we did.
You can also find Bel & the Dragon Country Inns in Churt, Cookham, Windsor, Godalming, Kingsclere and Reading.
Disclaimer: We were offered a complimentary room and meals for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.