Mark Bibby Jackson stays at the De Vere Wokefield Estate Hotel just outside of Reading for his cousin’s wedding.
Reading has never been my idea of somewhere to visit from London. A place you fleetingly pass on the M4 on the way to more interesting places. So, when my cousin announced that she was getting married, close to the Berkshire town where she was brought up I had serious misgivings. These were somewhat alleviated when I discovered that she had arranged for us to stay at the De Vere Wokefield Estate before and after the wedding.
History of De Vere Wokefield Estate
De Vere Wokefield Estate is set in 250 acres of Berkshire parkland much of which has been devoted to an 18-hole golf course. There are also a couple of football pitches and a croquet lawn as well as swimming pool and fitness centre to appeal to sporting guests of most persuasions.
The first estate at Wokefield was built for the Plowden family in the 1560s. The current Mansion House dates to the 1720s, built for Charles Parry to the style of Kinlet Hall in Shropshire.
For most of the 20th-century the Mansion House was a St Benedict’s Approved School, but in 1967 it received grade II*-listed status, and in 1984 was converted into a luxury hotel.
Today, the hotel has been completely transformed following a £20 million restoration.
The property has 87 new luxury bedrooms including 12 suites between its three buildings Wokefield Place, Wellington Lodge and the Mansion House. The property also has a state-of-the-art dedicated conference building.
A Suite at the Mansion House
I was fortunate enough to be upgraded to a Suite in the Mansion House.
My room was spacious and elegant in design, especially the comfortable chairs, large desk and my personal favourite an old map of the area above my extremely comfortable king size bed. There was also a Krupa coffee machine which I found most handy for the morning after my cousin’s wedding.
The room also afforded great views towards the croquet lawn and football pitches, and across most of Berkshire.
Dining at The View Restaurant
After checking in, and a quick survey of the facilities, I joined the rest of my family on the terrace outside the Benedict’s Bar, which seemed to double up as a clubhouse bar for the golfers. It was good to spend some time catching up with family, something that has not been so easy during lockdown.
While the rest of our family sampled the pizzas and chicken wings downstairs – both of which got the thumbs’ up –, I took my mother up to The View restaurant. There we enjoyed a meal of salt and pepper squid, and chicken liver parfait to start, followed by a pork T bone for my mother, and a pea and shallot ravioli with a smoked salmon fillet on top for myself. The latter was quite wonderful and went down very well with the bottle of tempranillo we shared.
After this we re-joined our family for a further catch up bringing our cheese platters with us. The staff were remarkably friendly and accommodating especially when preparing a table for another of my cousins who then no-showed.
Not a De Vere Wokefield Estate Wedding
Given its size and proximity to London it is hardly surprising that the De Vere Wokefield Estate specialises in weddings. Fully licensed for civil ceremonies it can cater for up to 300 wedding guests. With its dedicated wedding team, special menus and stunning views set against the 18th century mansion I’m sure that it proved a great wedding venue. There were at least two held there during my weekend stay.
However, my cousin had decided to take her marriage vows at the nearby Silchester Farm, just across the county border in Hampshire.
I might just be slightly biased, but I think it was the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended, although I do feel that the wedding video should be seriously edited to remove any image of my dancing.
De Vere Wokefield Estate Golf
The other key selling point of the De Vere Wokefield Estate is golf. The Wokefield Estate Golf Club has a 6,996-yard, par 72 championship course designed to US PGA standards. Apparently it is one of the leading golf clubs in Reading.
I am not a golfer myself, but my cousin’s fiancé played a round on his final night of bachelorhood – read of that what you will.
De Vere Wokefield Estate has a range of corporate golf days, golf break packages, and membership options to enjoy from one night with a round of golf, to a three-night stay with unlimited golf. All packages come with evening dinners and buffet breakfasts.
How to Get to De Vere Wokefield Estate
De Vere Wokefield Estate is to the south-west of London, 10 minutes from J11 of the M4 and 40 minutes from Heathrow Airport. Those arriving by train can go to Reading Station, just seven miles away. The Elizabeth Line has up to six trains an hour, taking just 50 minutes from London Paddington.
De Vere Wokefield Estate Reading
T: 01182 077471