My dear parents in law, every year and usually in lieu of a Christmas gift, present husband and I with a ‘virtual voucher’ of Gran and Granddad time with the children. So we get a very precious weekend or 2 away on our own and the children get to do back to back Gran and Granddad proper fun with treasure hunting in the woods and games of boules and lawn croquet and the like…
And so a couple of weekends back pre-Easter madness we found ourselves (just husband and I, not a fun sized human being in sight) on the 17.25 ferry out of Lymington and heading towards Yarmouth for our w/e of romantic bliss in a boutique hotel (peace).. or too much food, good wine and not enough exercise. We had 2 books to read (each) with us and the race was on it seemed to the finish as soon as we got on the ferry….seems a bit unfriendly but we barely get time to sleep these days never mind read before we get there so needs must …The feverish reading waned after an hour or two of relaxing. I was slightly nervous when my husband declared it made much more sense to leave the car on the Lymington side. For a girl that likes to run I don’t do functional walking (ie the walking 500 metres or so with heavy suitcases sort of striding out) …but I need not have worried as the George hotel is barely a stones throw away from the quayside at Yarmouth and it soon becomes clear (the ferry crossing is only half an hour from Lymington) that a car for a w/e in Yarmouth is a very unnecessary accessory, quirky shops, tea shops, pubs and restaurants are all just there.
The George Hotel is a very fine Georgian townhouse and is literally just beside the pier and quite close to Yarmouth castle, built to protect the Solent from Henry VIII in 1547 ….which I am ashamed to say between the shops, tea shops, pubs and restaurants...we failed to visit. The George is lovely, even if you wouldn’t want your house decorated in the complete William Morris wallpaper collection it is a very comfortable space for a weekend with husband.
We quickly inspected our little room overlooking the Solent, booked a table for supper ventured over the road to The Kings Head, an old (very in fact- 16th century) cosy snug type pub with an open fire, where we enjoyed a glass of wine for a quick pre dinner drink.
I was very much looking forward to dinner at the George, I had heard chat locally re their wonderful Sunday lunch and menus and was cutlery at the ready to dig into my Isle of Wight Seabass tartare. The kitchen is in the capable hands of Liam Finnegan who was previously sous chef at The Bath Priory and the two starred Michelin Gidleigh Park in Chagford, Devon. I am never 100% sure of what it translates as when a kitchen that says that they offer a modern European slant but it was all certainly very colourful and well proportioned! My Dunsbury lamb rump and then a lemon tart with spiced winter berries was plenty. We followed with some unnecessary but always obligatory cheese (when married to my husband, lover of all things cheese) …I wouldn’t shout about the tiny selection platter of fairly average cheese but the rest was v good food and wine.
We woke on Saturday to watch from our window the ferry casting off from the pier and then civilised reading of the papers alongside coffee and Eggs benedict in the dining room was the treat that followed. We pottered about for the day exploring the quirky shops and galleries that Yarmouth offers. I found a wonderfully stylish little clothes shop most of the labels I had never heard of (quite a boast for me) and bought a gorgeous little dress which I will remember as my Yarmouth dress…a bit like children and their souvenirs, I like to have something to remember! We found time to enjoy scones, coffee and the boats from the The Gossips Café in the afternoon (the George would do well to check out the coffee suppliers here).
We probably should have stayed put at the George for supper on Saturday evening but instead thought we wandered a little further down the high street and booked The Forrester Bistro. I have to say reviews on Tripadviser rating it as the no 1 restaurant in Yarmouth, we were very disappointed. I fear the chef may have been having an evening off but enough said. Sunday morning we marched out of Yarmouth town and headed down the coast to build up an appetite for the infamous (mostly amongst my school mums friends) Sunday lunch at the George. Pack your wellies…(not for lunch) but the walk is bracing but the paths are hard to follow and the route is muddy!
We had finished all 4 books by the time we got to the ferry, objective led that we are! and made our way back home and to our children that hadn’t missed us for a second…far too busy adventuring with Gran and Granddad. I think it is always good to take a little time out from children and life and remember why we got married all those years ago and our ‘virtual voucher’ system is the perfect solution!