Mark Bibby Jackson checks into The Runnymede On Thames where he enjoys a delightful night’s rest on the hottest day of the year.
There can be few places better to sit beside the river than The Runnymede On Thames. I first discovered the hotel and spa while taking a Le Boat trip along the river towards neighbouring Windsor. Then we had moored our boat and popped in for a spot of lunch this time I was even more fortunate as we stayed the night upon returning from my trip to Lincolnshire.
This was the hottest day of the year – actually on record – in the UK. So after checking in there was no debating where my first port of call was going to be. The outdoor pool – how many of them lie beside the Thames – was a green oasis temporarily occupied by a group of boys playing catch with a tennis ball. Recalling my own childhood I narrowly avoided joining in and dropping a clanger in the best manner of the English cricket team. Instead I took a few leisurely strokes before dipping my head beneath the water and surfacing as a new man.
Drinks Beside the Thames
The main feature of The Runnymede hotel is its excellent terrace, beside a lock on the Thames. This is where we headed for a couple of drinks before dinner. There really are few spots better in outer London for a riverside drink, even more so if you have the enjoyment of watching boats trying to navigate their way through the lock as we did on our adventure a few weeks earlier.
It was idyllic. Reluctantly we dragged our way the few yards to the adjoining terrace where we had booked in for dinner. I am not a huge fan of buffets so we decided to arrive early when the fare was at its freshest.
We tasted a veritable Babette’s Feast as we foraged our way through various courses of salads, mains, cheese and desserts, including an impromptu spicy seafood dish created especially for us by the willing staff. My favourite was the poached salmon, while my guest raved about the pulled pork and desserts.
All the time we looked up at the Heavens waiting for the inevitable storm to break, which it did just as we were finishing our diner. Perfect timing and a quite dramatic end to our day.
Breakfast at The Runnymede On Thames
After an excellent night’s sleep in the most luxurious bed, I woke myself with a coffee from the Magimix while enjoying the room’s excellent facilities, including a spacious desk and leather upholstered chair which proved a perfect base for penning this article. The previous evening I had watched English lose against the South Africans in the cricket on Sky Sports on the excellent TV in my room.
For breakfast we resumed our riverside position, watching a flurry of joggers and occasional boaters.
The Runnymede has found acclaim for the quality of its breakfasts. We were not disappointed. Our eggs – both fried and poached – were cooked to perfection, the yokes a perfect orange. In additional to full English there were healthy options including fruit and muesli sufficient to satisfy all palates and regimes.
The Runnymede on Thames Spa
If health and fitness is your thing then The Runnymede has one of the best equipped gyms I have seen attached to any hotel this side of Asia. Next to this is a lap swimming pool and jacuzzi as well as sauna and plunge pool in the changing rooms.
This makes for an attractive option for local residents, many of whom have become members. There are also tennis courts and an archery range on the far side of the outdoor swimming pool where I had commenced my most welcome stay at The Runnymede On Thames.
In addition to being located on the banks of The Thames, the Runnymede is sufficiently close to Heathrow to draw customers looking for an overnight stay before their early morning flight – or in the case of one man we met, waiting for his 16-year-old son to return from Phuket, Thailand! However, the occasional overhead flight did not disturb the calm of our stay.
History buffs will already realise that Runnymede was the location for the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. If you wish to see the spot where the basis for our judicial system was forged, then you can pop across the road to the opposite fields. To learn more about what you will discover there, read my article on Taking the Slow Boat On The Thames Through History.
The Runnymede is also a few miles away from Windsor and Eton, so if you want to pop in to say ‘hi’ to Lizzie at Windsor Castle or take a stroll around the Great Park you are perfectly located.
The Runnymede On Thames Photo Gallery
The Runnymede On Thames
For more information on The Runnymede On Thames, click here. All images by Mark Bibby Jackson.