Oulton Hall is, we learn upon our arrival, currently hosting a mad hatter’s themed afternoon wedding celebration.
This is confirmed not only by the dinky and undeniably cool little open-top motor outside the main doors but when our path is crossed by a bridesmaid sporting a fabulous but unusual above-the-knee dress.
The reason for the tea party theme probably has a lot to do with the hotel’s fabulous afternoon teas, served in the drawing room or on the terrace by butlers, no less.
The entire hall is, it seems, in party mode as guests are greeted with a glass of fizz to celebrate its anniversary of opening as a hotel.
We take our bubbly on to the impressive terrace, which as luck would have it is bathed in glorious sunshine, and check out the far-reaching views over the golf course before exploring the gardens.
Our five-year-old is delighted to discover a real live rabbit nibbling on a small shady lawn – and is even happier when he finds some little friends to scamper round the fountain with. Despite its grandeur there’s a real family feel to the place.
And grandeur doesn’t get much grander than the impressive main hall, where chaise longes and statues frame a grand piano under the twinkle of glorious chandeliers.
As the sun begins to set we head to our room to change for dinner. We’re in a Chambre Unique, an upgrade on the regular rooms that features an array of delightful extras, including Espa toiletries, a smart flatscreen television, Starbucks coffee machine and a Bose Soundlink.
Champers in the sunshine makes the vast bed hopelessly alluring, furnished as it is with quality linen and snuggly pillows.
But culinary delights beckon. It would be downright rude not to avail ourselves of the Champagne Bar for a pre-dinner tipple, so while the little one makes himself extremely comfortable on one of the swish but comfy sofas, we enjoy another glass of bubbles before heading to the Calverley Grill.
The menu, as you would expect from a two-star AA rosette decorated grill, features steaks of every description but so much more.
There’s an air of relaxed glamour about the place; service is friendly but spot-on. After the earlier champers it just seemed fitting that husband ordered oysters as a starter; they were presented beautifully with fresh lemon and chilli as accompaniment.
His main course of steak was similarly impressive and complemented by a gloriously creamy dauphinoise and root vegetable mash.
My butternut squash veloute with pumpkin seeds was a delight and served with a flourish, poured by a white-gloved waiter, as was my main of a delightfully subtle saffron with mushroom and salsify.
The children’s menu was exactly as it should be – bet I’m not the only parent relieved to see pizza and chicken goujons on there instead of small versions of grown-up dishes...
Dessert was a gloriously indulgent Eton mess with a selection of cheese and crackers.
Breakfast the following morning was a fairly relaxed affair, with a superb array of hot and cold buffet dishes on offer, from fresh mushrooms to black pudding.
It was fortunate the hotel gym, spa and swimming pool were on the same floor as our room as we attempted to work off such delicious excesses.