This was our second reunion meeting at Lilleshall and standards of service do seem to have slipped over the past two years. The location is stunning, with the National Sports Centre being set in the glorious,extensive and wooded grounds of an old hunting Lodge. Our spacious room in Kent Hall had magnificent views over the beautifully maintained gardens so this should have been a wonderful stay. Also it is an honour to share the Centre with dedicated athletes and there are opportunities to watch training events. There are however no sports/swimming or gym facilities that are open to non athletes staying at the Centre.
When we arrived our room was really cold. There is no written information to say when the central heating system comes on but when it got to 5 pm we complained and were given a portable heater. We were also told that the boiler had broken down but given no indication when it would be repaired. The heating did start to work the next day but then didn't work on the following two days.The bar was also cold and our special reunion dinner was spoilt by the low temperature in the Chapters restaurant, combined with rather "hit and miss" service. Not all the meals came out together and we were expected to remember what we had ordered several months earlier.You have to buy any wine at the bar adjacent to Chapters and take it to the table yourself. However this wasn't explained and it took some time to work out what the system was.
The self service restaurant is reminiscent of school but we had the privilege of eating alongside the athletes. However the quality of the food was not as high as on our previous visit. Also the opening times are quite restricted. For example breakfast is only served between 7.30 and 8.30 am and staff don't encourage you to linger. When one of our party asked for a coffee mug to get a drink from the self service machine she was told to use a paper one as it was near to closing time. The attitude of staff across the centre was variable. Some were very helpful but others were so indifferent and unhelpful that they were almost rude.
Our room and the whole Centre appeared to be very clean but the accommodation is "no frills". There were just about enough towels in the bathroom but while there was a shower gel dispenser by both the bath and the shower, there was no bar soap or soap dispenser by the basin.
There was no phone in our room and so any discussion with reception staff involved a short walk out of our block to the main hall. We had reasonable mobile signals but some of our party didn't. The Wi Fi however was excellent.
You can't buy newspapers or anything other than a few basic toiletries at the Centre so be prepared to drive the five miles or so to Newport to get anything that you need.
The main purpose of the Centre is to provide training facilities for a wide range of sports and perhaps it is difficult to balance this with the other side of the business; weddings, meetings and events where guests have different expectations.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Lilleshall was originally built in 1831 as the hunting lodge and family retreat of the Duke of Sutherland. It first became a National Sports Centre in 1951 and was opened by the then Princess Elizabeth II with the original plaque still in place in the entrance to the main hall. It was Lilleshall's connection with Association Football that brought the Centre to the attention of the nation. The England team trained for two weeks at Lilleshall prior to their success in the World Cup of 1966. In 1967, Sir Alfred Ramsey returned to the Centre to unveil a plaque to commemorate his team's stay and endorse the view that Lilleshall could justly claim some credit for England's famous victory. In 1984 The Football Association's School of Excellence was established welcoming young talent such as Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher, Sol Campbell and Joe Cole to name but a few. Today Lilleshall is an elite training centre for some of the country's leading sportsmen and women and regularly welcomes use by numerous sports bodies. With its unique and rich heritage and commitment to providing a World Class Experience, Lilleshall is a certainly a place where you can wake up and feel inspired. Lilleshall is situated among the spectacular and secluded surroundings of the Shropshire countryside within 134 hectares of English Heritage Grade II listed grounds. The main house (Lilleshall Hall) overlooks the beautiful Capability Brown inspired gardens. As well as a range of world class facilities available for use (bookable in advance), the Centre has two walking routes. The 2.5 mile Discovery Trail will provide you with the chance to discover some of Lilleshall's many gems including the Italian Water Garden, the Pet Cemetery and the World Class Sports Facilities. The 6 mile Adventure Fitness Trail enables you to discover these gems but also provides you with the chance to test your fitness, taking you through the woodland belts alongside the estate's 2 mile sweeping drive to the golden gates (an exact replica of those at Buckingham Palace), before returning (a steady climb all the way!) to explore the heart of the estate. Work is also underway on a nature trail which is due to be open in the Summer. Visitors can reserve rooms in one of three purpose built accommodation blocks, a short walk from reception, the dining room and bar. (Sorry no rooms available in the main house). Room facilities include tea & coffee making, digital HD television, hairdryers and free WIFI along with ample free parking. There is a cafe bar open from 7:30 - 23:00 where you can enjoy hot and cold food and drinks. Beyond the site, Lilleshall is well placed for many local attractions including Weston Park, Ironbridge Gorge and Museums, Hoo Farm, Telford Town Park and Wonderland, The Wrekin, RAF Museum Cosford, Telford Ski Centre and Telford International Centre. The historic market town of Newport, where you will find many independent shops, pubs and restaurants, is approximately 4 miles away. Telford, with its many tourist attractions, shopping centre, cafes, bars, restaurants and cinemas, is within a 15 minute drive. The towns of Stafford, Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury are all within a 25 minute drive. Room prices start from just £38.50. Check in is from 1.30pm Monday - Saturday and 5.30pm on Sunday. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, Ebookers and Evoline ltd so you can book your Lilleshall National Sports and Conferencing Centre reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.