Gardenpinks' Blog

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Chateau Impney

Chateau Impney Hotel

The Chateau Impney Hotel has always been my fairy castle. When Rod and I were courting back in 1973  he would drive me, in his red VW Beetle, back to my home in Birmingham from Gloucestershire at night. At one point the Chateau Impney Hotel could be see from the motorway as it was lit up at night giving it the appearance of a fairy castle. The one hour’s drive back to my parents home was highlighted by the view of ‘my’ fairy castle and the inevitable discussion of one day staying there.Time went on and one day the subject of the Chateau came up in conversation and we thought why not go there for our wedding anniversary; our house was soon going on the market and when we moved further south it could possibly mean not realising my dream.Last year for our 37th wedding anniversary our daughters clubbed together and paid for a room for us as a present. To make the event even more nostalgic one of our daughters loaned us her silver VW Beetle, her pride and joy! This Beetle is one of the last 300 plus made and has a numbered plaque on the dashboard to record this information. Yes there are newer versions of the VW Beetle but this silver one is the real McCoy! (Shelly if you look closely at the top photo in the bottom left hand corner you will see the Beetle).The Chateau Impney really is a fairy castle and you can have a feel for the splendour of the building when you step inside even though more modern additions have been added to the original and there was never a hotel reception desk in the Chateau! The grand sweeping staircase of solid wood is sill there though and if you have a good imagination you can ‘see’ the elegant ladies in their beautiful gowns descending that magnificent staircase.

road leading up to the Chateau Impney

 The Chateau Impney was built by a chap who made his money from salt mines. He visited France and fell in love with a French governess. They both admired the chateaux of Versailles and he decided to build his own château for him and his wife. The Chateau is surrounded by 150 acres of land in a parkland style with large trees dotted around and lovely lattice style bridges over the many streams. Immediately around the Chateau are formal gardens; one garden (seen above to the left of the road) contains a ‘canal’ with a fountain, a little further along is a small bridge over an equally small stream. To the front of the Chateau is a set of stone steps with more formal gardens leading to a large ornate fountain. During the 1800s fountains, canals and streams were still very much in vogue in the gardens of the wealthy; water features were a status symbol.

Ornate Fountain

 Standing by the fountain gives a view across parkland to the road. Much of the parkland is now home to grazing animals – sheep, horses and cattle – it would be far too costly these days to hire grass mowers but during the heyday of the chateau labour would have been plentiful and cheap.

Lambs

 

Sheep and lambs

I have no idea what breed of sheep these are, they certainly all looked content and well fed!

 
When we booked in and were settling into our room there was a knock at the door, on answering it the manager came in and said he understood one of the bathroom taps wasn’t working properly and could he please check it. He found it wasn’t working and apologised profusely saying he would put us into another room. Off he went to get keys for another room and within a few minutes he was back with the under manager, between them they carried our luggage and escorted us to another room still profusely apologising. On arrival at our ‘new’ room the manager asked if the room was suitable for us because if not we could have a suite for the same price – this we declined as the suite was in the newer buildings and we wanted to stay in the Chateau proper – and we said that the room suited us well so the manager insisted on us having a bottle of wine ‘on the house’ with our evening meal! Just couldn’t fault the service at all.
After our evening meal we were served coffee in the lounge area of the bar and then we had a stroll around the gardens and watched the lights coming on to light up the whole facade of the chateau.
 
We had a lovely time at my fairy castle; the service was excellent, lovely food and very friendly staff all in  beautiful surroundings. We couldn’t resist parking the Beetle in front of the hotel entrance.
Hotel entrance

Just for you Shelly!!!!

 
 
 Himself  with his favourite vehicle. VW Beetles are much-loved in our family and certainly nostalgic as far as Rod and I are concerned – Rod proposed to me in a Beetle! He also spent many years of his working life as a Volkswagen trained mechanic working on them and other continental cars such as Porsches, Mercedes, VW Transporters and VW Campers (Caravettes).
Hope you realise your dream Shelly. We once went on a week’s holiday with three children and all our luggage in a Beetle!
 
Thanks for reading x 
 
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11 thoughts on “Chateau Impney

  1. Oh Lynn!! This was a wonderful post! Yay for a wonderful stay in your fairy castle! I love it! I also love the Beetle, as I share an affinity for them! When I was a teen my brother, cousin, and friends each had a classic that they restored. My brother still has his…but with 5 kids it stays parked in the garage! lol As for your fairy castle, it reminds me of where we stayed on our honeymoon in Victoria, B.C. Although your’s is much more impressive! It’s gorgeous! Thank you for sharing all the beautiful pictures, and the wonderful history!
    I’m off to try to finish a challenge page! “Talk” to you soon, my friend!
    Love & Prayers,
    Nancy 🙂

    • Thank you for your lovely comments Nancy 🙂 Isn’t it funny how the little Beetle has become such an iconic car. Our daughter’s Beetle is worth a few thousand pounds now, she doesn’t drive it in the winter months especially if the roads have been salted against ice as that can cause rust to the underside. When she does take it out on the road then the car gets lots of admiring glances 🙂
      I bet your ‘fairy’ castle was as good as mine with the beautiful scenery of British Columbia.

      How did your weekend away with your daughter go?
      Love and hugs
      Lynn xx

  2. I’ll have to send you pictures of a few of my castles! 🙂
    I hope to send you an email very soon all about my weekend! I’ve posted my page and now I’m all tired out! Such hard work, you know!! haha
    Have a great night! 🙂

    • I look forward to seeing some photos of your lovely castles and some of that beautiful scenery please 🙂
      Can’t wait for your email, you cheer me up no end.
      I will have a look at your page tomorrow as my bed awaits me lol
      love and hugs
      Lynn xx

  3. Shelly on said:

    I love it Lynn 🙂 Than is the kind of bug I want I just love the sound the engine makes. The bug at the castle LOVE IT !!! a prince and princess arriving in their majestic carriage to their wondreful fairy castle. And Rod a vw nechanic how cool is that!! He must have gotten to work on lots of them how lucky.I am just green with envy everyone has had a bug but me…….WAAA ……..I know what a bit of drama…….. I do have a nice collection of diecast hot wheel and match box buggies every color we can find. When we lived in Sacramento California I got to see so many BAJA style bugs and there they don’t get rusty cars since it’s warm most of the time. I will be patient and one day I will have one but with five kiddies to haul around I’m I have to be content with the mini van for now. Thanks for sharing your photos WOW a real castle huh we dont have anything close to a castle around here I bet it was just amazing to see in person. That is one thing I really admire about your area of the world it is so rich with structures from long ago, We have some older homes and have been able to see some impressive buildings but nothing to compair to a castle. Another Wow 37 years !! How awesome is that 🙂 We have our 27 anniversary this year so we still have a few to catch up to Rod and you. Happy to see your post. Thanks for thinking of me 🙂 have a great day I;m off to check my email then to bed myself.
    Hugs and love to you,
    Shelly

    • I so hope you get your Bug one day Shelly. We love watching 60s and 70s films and seeing how many Beetles and VW Campers we can spot! We have all the Clint Eastwood (swoon) Dirty Harry films and there are so many of these cars in those films so the VW Beetle and Camper were very well liked in America 🙂
      You and Brian are doing well with 27 years of happy marriage and all my friends are always in my thoughts. I think of you as you come to terms with your daughter’s problems, your mum’s illness and your own health problems; I think of Nancy with her poor head in miserable pain and I think of Leslie as she does battle with the big wheels and hope all goes smoothly for her and Joe.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving lovely comments:)
      Love and hugs
      Lynn xx

  4. First thing I noticed was your new banner for Spring with the lambs. Love it!! Absolutely love your banner.

    Give your Rod a hug around the neck from me 🙂 I’m a softy. As I read your entry I had happy tears falling. You got to spend the night inside your Fairy Castle with your Knight In Shining Armour. Being treated as royalty when a problem was found in the room, getting to stroll freely through the gardens and actually be up close when the evening lights came on. This time, instead of driving by and wishing you could be inside you actually were. AWESOME, totally awesome.

    Then to be driven to your Fairy Castle in style. I think it is wonderful for your daughters to give you guys that kind of an anniversary gift and your husband to make your dream come true.

    37 years. Awesome. And to be loved so much to make a childhood dream come true for you. I’m thrilled for you. Thanks for sharing your photos and the time at your very special place with us. Also, I’m really glad the place exceeded your expectations and made this childhood memory worth the wait.
    Love you – Leslie

    • Rod loved your hug Leslie! We have just recently celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary which reminded me of our Chateau Impney stay and thought you all would like to be included.
      We are so very lucky that we have made it to 38 years with no regrets, some tears but much happiness especially as my mother reckoned we would only last 3 months lol
      We are also extremely lucky to have two very thoughtful, loving daughters who are always free with their hugs and kisses.
      Thank you for your lovely comments Leslie
      Love and hugs
      Lynn xx

  5. I just had to change that banner for something so springlike and banish the snow scene! Aren’t those lambs just darling as they lie there basking in the early spring sunshine?
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

  6. Sarah on said:

    Hello Lynn,
    How lovely to read this. I actually came across your post because I googled ‘fairy lights at the Chateau Impney in the 70’s’. My family moved to Australia in 1976 when I was a 10 years old. Prior to that we lived in Sollihull and my Aunt lived in Droitwich. Like yourself, it was a huge treat to see the fairy castle from the motorway in the dark driving home. I am going over for a trip back to the UK early next year and was telling a friend over there that I finally wanted to stay at the Chateau Impney and explained why. She promptly phoned them and asked if they still had the fairy lights, unfortunately there was no-one around who remembered them and she laughingly accused me of being a fantasist 🙂 I’m going to send her a link to your blog.
    Take care
    Sarah XX

    • Hi Sarah and welcome to my blog.
      You will love the Chateau Impney and if you go on their web site to book there are some marvellous offers, when our daughters booked for us it cost about £30 for a room! Not bad for these days.
      Doesn’t the world get smaller every day! Someone who once lived in Solihull and now living in Australia visiting a blog of an ex Brummie 🙂

      I hope your friend will now believe you! Not a fantasist at all. To see the Chateau Impney all lit up at night was magical and it is still magical. Most of the staff working there are East Europeans and so friendly and kind; I hope you are able to stay there and thoroughly enjoy it especially the superb staircase. You could believe yourself to be a celebrity walking down that staircase 🙂 I can understand why many couples have their wedding reception there.
      Have a great trip to the UK early next year.

      Hugs
      Lynn x

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