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The pretty Talbot Hotel is a Grade I listed building situated in the picturesque village of Oundle. The timber frame of the building dates back to 638AD and the hotel is said to be haunted by the ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was executed at the nearby Fotheringhay castle.
The stonework of the hotel is said to come from the ruins of nearby Fotheringhay castle, when the hotel was rebuilt in 1626. Mary, Queen of Scots was executed at the castle in 1587 and it was this that caused her son and grandson to undertake a thorough demolition of the castle.
The staircase at the Talbot hotel is thought to have come from Fotheringhay castle, along with the stonework. It’s said that Mary walked to her execution down those stairs and she left her mark by gripping on the staircase to keep her balance. Her ring, in the shape of a crown, apparently left an indentation in the shape of a crown on the staircase.
Mary’s ghost has apparently been seen on numerous occasions walking down the staircase. Furniture has also been moved around the hotel and a picture of Mary’s execution has been known to suddenly jump off the wall on which it hangs. A large amount of paranormal activity has also been felt in the room named after Mary, with one guest in particular feeling a clammy hand pushing them against the bed.
The bare bones of the Talbot have been standing since 638AD, which is a mind-bogglingly long time. When Mary Queen of Scots’ son and grandson demolished nearby Fotheringhay castle after her execution, the stonework and the staircase were taken from the castle and used to rebuild the Talbot in 1626. The hotel now boasts a number of traditional period features including oak beams, open fires, leaded windows and beautiful white-grey stonework.
The Talbot boasts 35 en-suite bedrooms, compromising of a mixture of standard and superior singles, doubles and twins, and three feature rooms. Each room is individually designed and decorated in a modern yet sympathetic style and all of the beds are dressed with quality Italian linen.
The restaurant at the hotel offers a full English breakfast in the morning along with a sophisticated menu served between 6pm and 9pm in the evening. All food is cooked fresh to order and the menu follows a distinctly high-class style – starters include salmon three ways & chicken liver and fois gras pate. Main courses include rack of lamb and homemade pasta, and desserts include frangipane tart and ginger crème brulee. An extensive bar menu is also available to go alongside some fine wines and ales. The Talbot makes a point of using produce from local suppliers and they have a deep-rooted belief in eating green – this green mentality also extends to their bedrooms. For every room they sell for a night, they will plant a tree – for more information on this, go to http://www.bulldoghotelgroup.co.uk/buy-a-tree/default.html.
Weddings, civil ceremonies and receptions can also be hosted at the hotel. Conference space is available for business guests, and well-behaved dogs are allowed to stay at the hotel in some of the ground-floor rooms. For a relaxing stay in one of the prettiest villages in England, the Talbot makes an excellent choice.
Oundle itself is a small village with just a few shops, but travel a little bit further out and you’ll find numerous historical places of interest, including the ruins of Fotheringhay castle, the Prebendal Manor house, one of the oldest properties in the county and the nearby Lyveden garden lodge. There is also a preserved railway nearby as well as a number of gardens and country houses. For shopping, bars and restaurants, try exploring Northamptonshire.
You can get £25 per person to spend on the dinner menu for that evening. This gives you a saving of £10 per person on dinner.
After making your booking, inform the staff at the hotel if you’re planning to bring a dog so they can allocate your room accordingly.
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