Amongst the honey coloured stone buildings of leafy Broadway in the Cotswolds stands the very regal looking Lygon Arms that celebrities adore.
Maybe that’s because of the privacy of nooks and crannies, where Richard Burton wooed Elizabeth Taylor back into his arms. Or it could be the splendour of the quintessentially English dining room, where Britain’s Got Talent estimate Amanda Holden has had a morsel or two while chattering with friends.
Hugh Grant stayed at this Worcestershire hotel and restaurant several times, with Liz Hurley when attending the wedding of Henry Dent-Brocklehurst at Sudeley Castle and later with Renee Zellweger while filming Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Read more: Celebrities who live or hang out in Worcestershire – and where to find them
It’s a charmingly creaky historic building that has attracted Dustin Hoffman, Bryan Adams, Gazza and rugby players from across the Midlands. already the Duke of Edinburgh was a guest, continuing a Royal tradition, as this is where Charles I famously stayed over. There’s already a secret passageway from his room down to reception.
So what is it about the Lygon Arms that brings the high and famous back by its doors? I went along with my husband to find out.
Luxurious decor in this Broadway restaurant
Originally a coaching inn in the 1300s on the main route from London to Wales, this was once an overnight resting place for passengers, so it’s got 700 plus years of hospitality under its belt.
There’s two options to dine at the Lygon Arms – the main Bar and Grill restaurant or the more casual and dog-friendly Russell Room.
When I say casual, it nevertheless has the grandeur of a special event but in a cosy way that makes diners feel relaxed. Afternoon tea is often served in this room at the rear of the building but there’s the option for lunch or dinner too from the Bar and Grill.
At the front, overlooking the High Street, is the main restaurant that you go into by a wood panelled room. It opens up into a grand dining hall that has been modernised to brush off the stuffiness of the past and make it more easy to reach to all generations.
Gone are white table cloths and candles in favour of a brasserie feel. current dark blue walls, marble effect tables and a huge arty wooden chandelier are set amongst old gems like a wall of historic portraits with a small Tudor window.
It works well and makes dining at the Lygon Arms feel special from the moment you go into the room.
already cocktails give a nod to Lygon Arms’ celebrity guests
Before you get to the food, it’s worth tasting one of the many specialist cocktails. There’s plenty that stand out for being different to the norm, priced at £12 each. The Moscow Mule has a rosemary and thyme overhaul while the Smoked Bloody Mary uses smoked vodka.
A Marmalade Negroni mixes Aperol and rose vermouth with Chase marmalade gin from the Herefordshire farm company. There’s also a wide range of low or no alcohol cocktails too, from £8, like the Virgin Mary, Low-groni or No-sin and Tonic.
But the main must-try cocktail has to be The Taylor/Burton Affair. Inspired by the romance of Hollywood stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, it is the colour of Taylor’s famous violet eyes and looks divine.
Made with violet gin, parfait amour liqueur, lemon and gomme syrup it has a uncommon taste with a hint of parma violet flavour and is two-tone in colour. Only the best for the glamorous starlet that Burton seemingly called ‘Squidgy’.
Food at the Lygon Arms
The Bar and Grill has earned two rosettes and four silver stars for its modern fine dining, which includes a wide range of vegan and vegetarian dishes, which fits in with its many celebrity guests.
Under Head Chef Ales Maurer, the menu is varied with mainly British classics plus burgers and an additional touch of finesse. Food is sourced locally from Cotswold farmers and you can really taste that in the flavour of the dishes.
Keep up to date with all restaurant reviews from the vicinity here.
Famous for its iconic Cheese Soufflé, I tried that as my first option. The soufflé is twice-baked using Emmental and has a soft spongey quality with a satisfying strong cheesey sauce. It is slightly crunchy on the edges, which I liked and I noticed that at the minimum half of the starters coming out the kitchen to tables were a soufflé. A popular choice, but I can see why.
My husband plumped for the small plate of Smoked Ham Hock and Rabbit Terrine is complete of high standard meat that is packed with flavour. There’s a tart gooseberry jam accompanying it, which may not be to everyone’s taste but has a delicious sharp contrast to the high terrine.
The sourdough accompanying it is hugely chunky, so bear that in mind if going for the three courses as it is a hearty starter.
Other options instead range from Red Pepper and Tomato Hummus to Crispy Squid and Tuna Tartare with avocado, radish, lemon and pine nuts, all for between £7 and £12.
There’s also a wide range of salads for a starter or main option that are refreshingly different. Based around Charred Sweetcorn that comes with quinoa and avocado or a BBQ Cauliflower Salad with sweet potato, red pepper and bulgur wheat to liven up a meal for those trying to be healthy.
Sides like BBQ Pulled Jackfruit and Chilli and Coriander Tiger Prawns give you the chance to create your ideal mix and match plates too.
When it comes to the main course fish and meat menu, there’s eight options that make for a tough choice. Steaks, burgers and fish and chips are staples while for those wanting to experiment more there’s the ever-changing Catch of the Day, Honey Glazed Old identify Pork Belly and a Lamb Cannon.
I tried the lamb, which is a Greek-influenced dish with beautifully roasted sliced lamb in a gravy with distributed pieces of feta and black olives on top. There’s crunchy charred baby gem and peas to balance it out and I additional a side of Hasselback potatoes with chive sour cream.
The highlight of the meal, this was an clever dish with elements I would not have thought to put together. An almost high end deconstructed kebab, but much much tastier and perfected.
My guest chose the Local Ale Battered Cod and Chips, which came with a large, chunky piece of crispy battered fish as the centrepiece. Crushed peas, a healthy portion of piled fries, a burnt lemon and tartare sauce were its backing singers but the fresh cod was the all singing and dancing star of the show.
Definitely save room for dessert as there are six mouth-watering offerings, plus a plate of Three Counties Cheese, to ruminate over. There’s already a Plant-Based Sundae with salted caramel brownie, vanilla ice and raspberry gel.
Choosing between desserts like a Sticky Date and Toffee Pudding with a butterscotch sauce or a Honeycomb Parfair with biscotti and bitter chocolate mousse is the thing of first world nightmares – but the Lemon and Elderflower Custard Tart won out. We shared it as we were so complete by then.
As pretty on the plate as it was delicious to the tongue, the creamy custard had a creme brulee style crunch topping and crisp pastry that Paul Hollywood would no doubt have given a handshake for in The Great British Bake Off tent.
A bright pink ball of raspberry sorbet hung on top of the tart and additional welcome sharpness along with dots of gin and tonic sorbet.
The menu is priced a touch higher than High Street eateries but serves up good quality and large portions of food.
Small plates and salads are priced between £7 and £12 a dish and puddings are £7 to £8.
Main course dishes are between £19 and £29. The fish and chips is £20, a vegetable or beef burger with fries is £19, while lamb, steaks and halibut offerings are upwards from £25. If you want additional sides on top, they are £4 each for additions from maple glazed carrots to hasselback potatoes with chive sour cream.
If you want to push the boat out, there is already a Lygon Arms Beef Wellington for two people that comes in at £69. A three course meal for two would set you back around £75.
The restaurant was complete when we dined but the service was always very attentive and friendly.
There are plenty of waiting staff, who are personable and happy to get any additional you need. The restaurant seemed to run seamlessly, despite being busy, and well run by the discreet managers.
There’s no doubt that the Lygon Arms provides special surroundings to dine, dating back to 1377. Its history has long been associated with Britain’s most famous from Charles I and Oliver Cromwell to Prince Philip, Elizabeth Taylor and in more recent times, Renee Zellweger and Amanda Holden.
Its reputation, no doubt, helps attracts A list guests in the Cotswolds, but the welcoming and charming Lygon Arm is a haven for all. The food and service was superb and cocooned you into a luxurious air, which made it worthy of 5 stars.
There’s a friendly, cosy ecosystem that has been refreshed for the 21st Century while managing to continue a nod to its past. It’s the best of both worlds and the best of meals that is no longer just a celebrity secret.
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During the meal, Alison and her guest ate the Cheese Soufflé and Smoked Ham Hock and Rabbit Terrine starters; Lamb Cannon and Local Ale Battered Cod and Chips for mains and shared a Lemon and Elderflower Custard Tart.
Lygon Arms, High Street, High St, Broadway WR12 7DU. 01386 852255
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