When it comes to Sunday lunch, it just has to be a roast dinner. And if you don't have to cook it yourself, so much the better.

The Norfolk Royale Hotel in Bournemouth's Richmond Hill offers an unbeatable one-course carvery for £10.95, two courses for £14.95 or three courses for £18.95, every Sunday from 12.30pm to 4pm.

Its bright and airy restaurant, a contemporary design of white walls and plush, velvet banquettes, was bustling with parties of varying sizes when we visited, despite it being a rather humid weekend.

Attentive, welcoming staff took our drinks order before we were left to peruse the menu.

I chose the Roasted Beetroot and Goats Cheese Salad to start, while my husband opted for a classic – Norfolk Prawn Cocktail. The meals were quick to arrive and attractively presented.

My salad was served with rocket and a balsamic reduction, flavours which beautifully complimented, while not overpowering the rich cheese and sweet beetroot. The perfect, light starter ahead of a hearty meal.

The prawn cocktail, served in a striking blue glass, was topped with a creamy, Mary Rose sauce and served with crisp, Iceberg lettuce. Pleasingly familiar – just what you expect when ordering such a classic dish.

We were invited to go up to the heaving carvery counter in our own time but, with the tantalising aromas of roasted meat and vegetable wafting over to our table, we found it impossible to wait for too long.

Diners can choose from two of the three meats on offer – lamb, pork and turkey on the day we visited – as well as Yorkshire puddings, gravy and as many roast potatoes and fresh seasonal vegetables as you can eat.

There was also a huge variety of sauces and accompaniments to choose from, including apple sauce, horseradish, cranberry sauce and mint sauce. Not to mention pigs in blankets, stuffing and, my absolute favourite, cauliflower cheese.

With plates piled so high we couldn't fit anything else on, it was time to get stuck in.

Like many people, I am quite particular about my roast dinners — meat has to be tender, roast potatoes crispy and the gravy thick and flavoursome. And I wasn't disappointed.

The lamb and turkey I selected were both cooked to perfection, while the potatoes were golden on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The parsnips and carrots were pleasingly sweet, while the broccoli and French beans were full of flavour. The pigs in blankets were wrapped in deliciously crispy bacon, the cauliflower cheese was suitably (ie, extremely!) cheesey, and the whole thing was smothered in a tasty, thick gravy.

We agreed the Yorkshire puddings were also just as we liked them – light, but with plenty of substance.

Having tried to be sparing in loading up my plate, I still found I couldn't quite get through it all, much to my disappointment. But I did want to leave room for dessert.

There was a choice of Apple Crumble, Baked New York Style Cheesecake, a Dorset Cheese Plate or Purbeck Ice Creams and Sorbets.

I was tempted by the raspberry sorbet, while my husband went for three scoops of ice cream – rum & raisin, strawberry and honeycomb.

The sorbet was topped with chocolate sauce and had a strong flavour, but was wonderfully light, while the ice cream was rich and creamy. A perfectly sweet end to a hugely satisfying meal.

Norfolk Royale's carvery is offered every Sunday from 12.30pm to 4pm. Booking essential.

Norfolk Royale Hotel, Richmond Hill, Bournemouth 01202 551521 thenorfolkhotel.co.uk