About Time You Visited: Cannizaro HouseBy Toby Leston
“What’s the time Mr Wolf?!… and then it’s two? Or four? You can’t move when the wolf is looking because it might see you.”
In the grounds of Cannizaro House three friends are playing ‘What’s The Time Mr Wolf’. The wolf spins round and the youngest girl attempts to screech to a halt balancing on one leg. Her sway lets her down, and she ends up looking much more like a DUI case than the angel on the Shaftesbury memorial fountain. But she escapes being devoured as the wolf is quite nice.
Cannizaro House: What You Need to Know
My dinner partner and I watch this from our seats in Cannizaro House’s restaurant, whose glass-panelled walls look out across the beautiful gardens of this Wimbledon getaway. It sparks a conversation about what the hell the rules of What’s The Time Mr Wolf actually are. We used to play it, I know I did, but the technicalities are gone from our memory.
At the risk of sounding horribly, horribly clichéd, the whole situation mirrors what Cannizaro House is all about. This stunning manor house turned boutique hotel boasts some of London’s most handsomely arranged gardens, not to mention it’s positioning just off Wimbledon common. You honestly feel like you’re on a countryside retreat but actually you’re just at the end of the district line. Here’s why you should visit:
Cannizaro House: The Lowdown
The hotel is pitched as somewhere you can leave all your concerns about the Monday 9am behind, and connect with escapism without shaking your fist at South West Trains for the first four hours of your weekend. And here I am, after a short trip on the underground, trying to remember how to play What’s The Time Mr Wolf, re-engaging with a time when I had now worries at all. To me – that seems to meet the brief.
Cannizaro House: The Food
The restaurant has rightly won awards for its quality, boasting outstanding mains (we had Guinea Fowl with Artichoke Mash and 72 hour cooked beef short rib with celeriac puree – both perfect). You can choose from an extensive taster course or an a la carte menu for a three course affair and it’s all, for the quality, reasonably priced. They also have a hefty pink booklet for their wine selection referred to as “The Bible”, which was pleasing.
If you don’t fancy a hearty meal during your stay, you can visit the orangerie (a luxurious, oyster serving greenhouse style area where you can sit, relax, and again look through the glass panelled walls over another section of Cannizaro’s expansive grounds)
Cannizaro House: The Accomodation
The rooms are stunning. At the top end, four-poster beds are the focal point of pristine, spacious and period living spaces, plus walk in showers and giant villeroy & boch baths form a strong bathroom line up. You are greeted with a complimentary bottle of seasonal alchohol.
Cannizaro House: Our Verdict
If you fancy a top of the range escape, this is a great summer option. The rooms are perfect, the food is delicious, and a long stroll in the gardens will sort you out. This is a gem, in touching distance of your London life, while feeling a million miles away from it.
Then as you are leaving, by the time you check out and get your things together it will be time to start drinking again, and the Hand In Hand pub around the corner is a great place for a beer with lunch in the sun at the common’s edge.
Whether you are a spectator of a nailbiting game of What’s The Time Mr Wolf … or not, you would have a great weekend if you spent it at Cannizaro House.
Tube – Wimbledon
Dinner – around £60 per head for three courses and drinks.
Rooms start- £195-£495
In The Area: Hand in Hand, Wimbledon Common.