Becci Clubb reveals why luxury hotel The Runnymede On Thames will steal your heart
A 30-minute walk from the Magna Carta Memorial, The Runnymede On Thames in Windsor is the perfect place to escape everyday life, where the pace slows down and you can truly relax. As you walk in, the beautiful interiors – including a wall of characterful ducks – and relaxed vibe ensure you are instantly put at ease.
As its name indicates, the hotel boasts a stunning riverside location. Minimoon here and you can while away the days enjoying long walks along the river, feeding the ducks, geese and swans as you stroll by – bags of seeds are available from the hotel.
Enjoy a lazy day in one of the hotels self-drive riverboats or soak in the riverside hot tub, champagne in hand. Feeling energetic? Head to the fully-equipped gym, where among plenty of other Technogym fitness equipment, you’ll find state-of-the-art bikes with a small television screen fitted to them, which play your chosen programme when you start pedalling – just the kind of incentive you need after an indulgent breakfast!
Scheduled swimming and dance classes will leave you ready to relax in the spa lounge, which overlook the riverside gardens, or to take advantage of the hotel’s spa, which includes an indoor pool, whirlpool bath, sauna, ice plunge pool and (in the summer months) the heated outdoor pool. Pamper yourselves and drift into a relaxed state of bliss with a spa treatment, you deserve it after planning the wedding day of your dreams!
If you can tear yourself away from the hotel, there is so much to explore in the local area. Windsor Castle is just a 15-minute drive away, so take your time exploring the Queen’s home with a guided tour, view the castle from one of the many coffee shops in Windsor town centre or experience the changing of the guard. Windsor town centre has lots of lovely shops as well as a picturesque, old Victorian railway station.
Looking to get an adrenaline boost? Thorpe Park is no more than 10 minutes away by car, and for a different kind of rush, Ascot Races is a mere 20 minutes away. There are plenty of other attractions, too, from Virginia Water Lake to Hampton Court Palace and Eton College to Warner Brothers Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter, all less than 50-minutes’ drive from The Runnymede On Thames.
Back at the hotel, when it comes to meal times you’ll be spoilt for choice. The hotel boasts three fairly diverse restaurants – The Lounge serves up light bites, lunches and delicious afternoon teas. The Lock Bar and Kitchen, on the other hand, offers delicious evening meals (the Gurnard with saffron and white wine sauce is not to be missed!) and homemade desserts. Finally, The Leftbank Restaurant plates up a huge variety of delights in an informal buffet dining style, and dishes are laid out for both lunchtime and dinner.
In the morning wander down to the the Leftbank Restaurant, where you will also find a huge selection of breakfast treats, from fresh pastries, cereals, continental options and full English offerings, all while looking out over the Thames. In the summer you can sit outside and watch barges drift by.
You can also tie the knot at The Runnymede On Thames, choosing from two ceremony and reception locations. The Grand Union Suite can seat up to 140 for your civil ceremony and as many as 250 for your wedding reception. With a separate entrance, the spacious suite gives you the feeling of exclusive hire and total privacy. Work with the chefs to create a bespoke menu, or if you need a little inspiration, check out the sample menus, which can be tweaked to suit your tastes.
If you have slightly smaller numbers (no more than 70 people for your ceremony and up to 100 people for your wedding breakfast), you can choose to marry in The Riverside Suite. The view of the river here stole my heart, with an under-cover al fresco dining area that can be used on sunny days and a conservatory, too – ideal if you’re dreaming of an informal barbecue wedding breakfast.
The relaxed atmosphere, beautiful location and delicious food combine to create a truly magical wedding day. And after the dancing has finished, head up the stairs to your Duplex bridal suit, where you might find your own Mr and Mrs ‘ducks’ to welcome you into married life. Wedding Ideas Facebook page, and ‘Follow’ on our @wimagazine Twitter account to join in the conversation.