With options for foreign travel fading this summer, knowing the best places to stay here at home is even more important. From Devon manor houses to Lancashire inns we have some tasty suggestions for you.
New Milton, Hampshire.
Situated on the edge of the New Forest, this grand country house has been a hotel since the 60s. Before that it was the kind of country estate to inspire authors - this is where Children of the New Forest was written - and the extensive grounds run down to the sea. Although if you don't fancy a bracing sea dip you could always opt for Europe's biggest hydrotherapy pool instead.
Food and wine have always been key to the hotel's regular appearance on World's Best Hotels lists. The main dining room aims to be fine dining without the fuss - you're as likely to find barbecued cauliflower with Winchester watercress on there as Chateaubriand for two. You should be able to find wine to go with it - there are more than 1900 wines on the list. Alternatively, the Kitchen restaurant has wood-fired pizzas and wagyu burgers on the menu along with lobster and chips.
There's also a cookery school with a syllabus created by the hotel's alumnus James Martin (he worked in the kitchens here in his 20s). There are loads of classes to choose from, including fresh pasta making to perfecting the art of afternoon tea. Classes with James are also on offer, but get booked up quickly.
Rooms: Larger suites look out over the perfectly manicured croquet lawn or you could opt for one with your own hot tub out on the terrace. But the real pearls are the treehouse suites set 35 feet off the ground.
Prices: Rooms start at around £500 a night.
Set in the heart of the Lake District National Park, Forest Side has emerged, literally and figuratively, as a beacon of excellence in the area. Turning this dark Victorian villa into a light bright hotel complete with restored Victorian-walled kitchen garden has clearly been a labour of love for the team here. Heading the kitchen is Paul Leonard, who has worked under both Marcus Wareing and Andrew Farlie.
Much is made in house, from their own hams and salamis to pickles from food either grown in the garden or foraged nearby. If it's not made here, it's not from far away. Look out for Herdwick Hogget which comes from a farm just three and half minutes up the road. The fruits of foraging can even be found in the cocktails served up in the bar here if you fancy trying foraged meadow sweet-infused vodka.
Rooms: They range from cosy through to huge master suites and are designed with a light, modern touch. There are also some set aside that are particularly dog-friendly.
Prices: Stay and dine packages start at £299 for dinner bed and breakfast.
Auchterarder, Perth and Kinross
One of those marvellous grande dame hotels, Gleneagles was built by the General Manager of the Caledonian Railway Company and opened in 1924 so folk could enjoy the best hunting, fishing and shooting this part of Scotland could offer. Today it still offers most of that (shooting is now clay pigeon) but one of the big reasons people head up here is for the food.
There are several restaurants in the hotel but the one you really need to book is Scotland's only two Michelin-starred restaurant, Andrew Fairlie. The man himself may have left us, but his team are still striving for excellence. The smoked lobster is the signature dish here - it's given a five-hour infusion over whisky barrel chips. If you're looking for something a little less fine-dining, then check out the main dining room as The Strathearn, with a fresh look and a lot ot tableside trolley action going on. After dinner head on over to the hotel's clubhouse where you can pull up a seat by the firepit and sit with a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label and a Cuban cigar for the full oligarch effect.
For the summer, they've gone big on alfresco options from champagne lunches on the Glendevon Terrace to loch-side picnics and a fresh Seafood Bar & Grill in one of the Estate’s Summer Houses.
Rooms: This is a huge place. There are 232 luxury bedrooms, including 27 suites and that's before we get to the lodges in the grounds. Even the compact bedrooms are a generous size but if you're after something special the Glenmore Lodges - which come with free golf thrown in - are amazing.
Prices: Rates for a Country Double Room start from £485 including VAT and breakfast.
Originally a restaurant with rooms, this Pembrokeshire hostelry is most definitely a hotel now and a lovely one at that. Anyone searching for a place to soothe the soul will find the hotel's setting quite magical (and it's also near to plenty of beaches if you're planning any seaside trips while you're here).
They have a large kitchen garden which minimises food miles, as does the foraging in the local hedgerows and woods. Chef Douglas Balish joined the hotel fresh from having won a Michelin star at Great Fosters and says his team here are really "pushing to the next level". Dishes in the fine dining Fernery may be starkly described as "Cardigan Hogget – garlic – caper jam – goats curd" but they look wonderful. There's also more casual food on offer in the Artisan Rooms where you might try a braised featherblade from local award-winning Eynon’s Butchers or go for the all-Welsh cheese plate. If you're planning on heading out on one of their walking trails, get the kitchen to make up a hamper of local treats.
Rooms: Choose between rooms and suites in the house itself which are a little more traditional in design or the more modern cottages and suites in the grounds, some of which have their own private terraces.
Prices: Classic rooms from £229 a night, including breakfast
What does a partnership between a billionaire (with great taste) and one of the UK's best chefs look like? Well, Heckfield Place is the answer. Gerald Chan, who also owns Skye's Gyngell's London restaurant Spring, brought her in as Culinary Director of this beautiful Georgian estate in Hampshire.
There are two main restaurants - Marle (which is also open to non-residents) and the more casual Hearth which is for guests only. There's also a seasonal place to eat, The Glass House in the hotel's glasshouse where you can enjoy afternoon tea and the Moon Bar for great cocktails.
When you're not enjoying the super-seasonal fare, you can be wild swimming in the lake, doing yoga in the Little Bothy or playing lawn badminton.
Rooms: There are 38 rooms, six Signature suites and a cottage.
Prices: Rooms are around £700 a night including breakfast.
Set in the heart of the New Forest, this beautiful hotel lavishes as much attention on its food offering as it does its tremendous spa. Angela Hartnett, along with Head Chef, Luke Holder is responsible for the restaurant here and often invites her chef friends over for special events. Hartnett Holder & Co restaurant is a destination spot, serving up locally-sourced, and seasonally adjusted menus with an Italian influence and there's a new tented (and heated) terrace out in the garden with gorgeous views.
Elsewhere there are lovely walks to go on, and the spa is wonderful - particularly the outside hot pool. Cookery classes are mainly on pause at the moment, but there are wellness workshops being booked for the Autumn.
Rooms: Bedrooms range from the cosy - tucked in under the eaves of the main house - to lavish forest suites in the grounds with open fires, and decks opening out over the New Forest.
Prices: Double rooms start from £395 per night, not including breakfast, but include access to the spa,.
Chef Michael Caines' actual manor is in a beautiful neck of the woods on the banks of the Exe estuary. In an ideal world, you’ll be staying here when the weather’s clement, allowing you to have a pre-dinner cocktail out on the veranda. Wine is a big deal here - they’re waiting for the vineyard Caines planted to produce its first bottles, but meanwhile, there’s a state-of-the-art Wine Emotion dispense system allowing you to try great wines by the glass. Food is firmly of the fine-dining variety - this would be a great place to come for a special occasion.
Rooms: 21 bedrooms and suites. The biggest have outdoor soak tubs and fire pits. If you can afford it, spring for one with a balcony or terrace so you can enjoy a G&T, from your complimentary gin tray, outside overlooking the amazing views of the River Exe. If you want to, you can even have the full a la carte restaurant experience served in your room.
There are also five new Shepherds Huts in the grounds complete with fire pits, walk-in showers and private terraces.
Prices: Rooms from £295 for a garden room. Lunch and an overnight stay starts at £560.
Great Milton, Oxfordshire
Raymond Blanc’s vision for his 15th century Cotswolds manor house has taken 35 years to come to fruition and he’s still innovating. The kitchen gardens here are wholly organic and have been way before it was popular, helping to direct the seasonality of the menu. It’s been the proud possessor of two Michelin stars since it opened and dining here you can see why. Throw yourself into the gourmet experience and go for one of the tasting menus of five or seven courses. Either before or after your meal here, make time to enjoy a walk in the exquisite water gardens, created by the monks who were here in the 16th century.
If you fancy learning something while you're here there are both gardening and cookery schools on-site with state-of-the-art equipment.
Rooms: There are 32 rooms and suites. We’ve stayed both in the main house and out in one of the fabulous garden suites and both rooms were amazing.
Prices: Book an Oxford Escape for around £1400 for breakfast, overnight stay and a seven-course dinner.
This 17th-century country house is in a beautiful spot, set just off the North Norfolk coast road. Owners Galton and Tracy Blackiston have been running things here since the Nineties and the restaurant's held a Michelin star for 20 consecutive years now.
Join fellow diners for canapes before dinner, which is served in one sitting, with a no-choice seven-course menu that changes daily. They make full use of local produce so you might find Wild sea bass from down the road in Stiffkey served up with a whey butter sauce or a dessert of Suffolk raw milk cream from Bungay with blackcurrants. Breakfasts are full-on with kidneys and fried bread on the full English or opt for the hall's own smoked salmon with scrambled eggs.
Work off the calories with a walk to the sea - you're just five minutes from a quay where they do boat trips to see the seals.
Rooms: There are 13 bedrooms in total. You'll find seven in the main house and six garden suites in the grounds. Some have separate lounges and private patios, surrounded by lavender. A lot can be made up as twins, making this a useful place to come if you're travelling with friends, not partners.
Prices: Room rates start at £180 per person for their Dine and Dream package which includes dinner, bed and breakfast.
The Newt is what happens when a South African billionaire and his former Elle Deco Editor wife lavish an eye-watering amount of money on an English estate. Local and sustainable are the prevailing ethos at this working estate - they have acres of gardens supplying the hotel with food, a working cyder press, plus a bakery, butchery and cheese room.
The main restaurant, The Botanical Rooms, serves a menu packed with local produce. But there's also a cafe and gelateria to try in the extensive grounds.
Rooms: There are 23 rooms in either the main house or stable block and each come with fully stocked larders. They're beautifully designed - so much so, you may return to London life determined to give your own home a makeover. There are also 17 rooms in the farmyard now, some with their own steam pods.
Prices: Rates start from £375 per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis and include a personalised larder as well as access to gardens, estate and spa facilities
This mediaeval building used to be a coaching inn, so its revival as a hotel and restaurant seems perfectly apt. The thoughtful makeover is extremely stylish and the arrival of Merlin Labron-Johnson (ex-Portland) to run the restaurant here, Osip, cemented its place as a foodie destination. The menu here might start with a Carrot financier with Westcombe Red cheese and end with Vacherin of wild strawberries and baked potato.
Rooms: There are 12 rooms spread across a townhouse, cottage and forge. Expect lots of thoughtful touches, including the care package every guest gets on arrival - a foodie treasure trove including truckles of cheddar cheese from Black Cow Dairy, cider by Oliver Dowding and Peter’s Yard crackers.
Prices: Rooms start at £185 for a forge bedroom. Farmhouse breakfast in Osip is included.
There are now seven hotels in the Pig group (the eighth in the South Downs opens in September) but this was the original, opened in 2011 by Robin Hutson, fresh from having sold off his Hotel du Vin chain. In keeping with the group's ethos menus here are ultra-seasonal and locally-sourced within 25 miles of the hotel. At this Pig the menu is split into dishes derived from food grown in the hotel’s kitchen garden or polytunnel, or from local ‘Forest & Solent’ produce. If you’re after something more casual grab a flatbread from the wood-fired oven out on the hotel’s terrace.
Rooms: The 31 rooms range from snug to the spacious Bert’s Box cabin in the hotel grounds. Minibars/larders serve a strong game with local beers, snacking salamis and retro sweets.
Prices: Rooms start from around £400 for the night.
Here, as the name suggests, the focus is firmly on wine. Owner Sir Peter Michael and his family have built up a cellar of 30,000 bottles from all over the world, including their own Californian winery. But food is a big deal too - head chef Tom Scade trained under John Williams at The Ritz and the large airy restaurant serves up a modern fine dining menu. Following last year's various lockdowns they added to their restaurant tally with Outside - a glorious tented restaurant serving up a more casual, sharing-style menu.
Rooms: There are 49 bedrooms in total. All are stacked with goodies like minibars filled with drinks and snacks and the larger bedrooms have four posters too.
Prices: Rooms start from £235 per room per night for a luxury double which includes a continental breakfast hamper.
Given the size of this 19th-century manor house, it’s amazing that they’ve managed to fit in not one but three restaurants. The Grey’s Brasserie menu features slightly more casual fare, and The Green Room is a counter dining spot serving up small plates prepared in front of you. But the real reason you’re here is for Niall Keating’s food.
Keating who has now picked up two Michelin stars - says his food is modern British, but you can trace influences from around the world. They also do particularly good vegetarian and vegan menus. During lockdown he set up a takeaway spot in the grounds. The Paradise Carriage now sells food to enjoy picnic-style in the grounds. And if you fancy trying Niall's dishes from the Great British Menu (where he was an overall winner), that's served at lunch on Fridays and Saturdays. Look out for guest chefs popping up too over the summer.
All the rooms have recently had a full refurb. The gardens here are lovely, and the spa - currently closed - does a good job of destressing frazzled urban folk.
Rooms: There are 23 rooms ranging from classic up to Grand Suite. We stayed in a suite which, frankly, was bigger than our flat in London and much better appointed.
Prices: Bed and breakfast starts at around £320 and there are packages that include dinner and breakfast.
If you haven't heard of Tommy Banks and this Yorkshire restaurant with rooms, where exactly have you been for the past five or so years? Liberally festooned with awards - it has a Michelin star and was voted the UK's Best Fine Dining restaurant by Tripadvisor last year. It's very much a family affair. The Banks have farmed these here parts for years and Tommy's brother James is head of front of house.
As for the food, it's a real field to plate operation - they grow loads of their own. There's just one tasting menu on offer with dishes like Raw Beef, Truffle and Darling Blue Lobster with Green Strawberries to whet your appetite. The best thing about staying over is that you can enjoy some of the really inventive cocktails on their list using foraged ingredients they've then distilled, frozen or dried. Breakfasts are also a highlight.
Rooms: All nine rooms are out of the main building and have been designed by Tommy's mother Anne. Expect cosy interiors, the odd four-poster bed and copper baths.
Prices: From £240 per person - all bookings are for dinner, bed and breakfast.
This Cornish farmhouse combines a restaurant and bakery with a guesthouse. The folk behind it are chefs Tom Adams (Pitt Cue) and NYC’s April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig) and it’s one of our own favourite places to be. Spend the day, wellies on, roaming the 66 acres before heading back to dinner in their converted barn where you’re likely to find meat from their own Mangalitza pigs on the menu in some form. Afterwards, hit up the marvellously stocked honesty bar. Breakfasts are legendary and there's now a farm shop in the courtyard so you can take loads of lovely produce home with you.
Rooms: 11 - a mixture of twins and doubles in both the farmhouse itself and adjacent grain store along with a self-contained cottage with two bedrooms that sleeps four. Bedrooms are comfortable and homely - on our second visit, the one we were in (Room 5) had beech leaf gin and fudge waiting for us.
Strachur, Argyll & Bute
Could there be a prettier spot than this Scottish restaurant on the shores of Loch Fyne? Looking out over the lake and with a charmingly ruined medieval castle in the background, it's the perfect - dare we say it - Insta-friendly getaway. Luckily the food more than lives up to its setting. Chef Pam Brunton is ex-The Greenhouse and took over this rural restaurant with her husband Rob back in 2015. There is an a-la-carte menu if you're hiking past here and want to pop in for a glass of great wine and oysters, but what you really want to do is book in for the full experience along with the tasting menu. Dishes might include wild sea trout and green strawberries or local Isle of Bute Lamb served up with new season garlic and kale.
The dining room is gorgeous. On a summer's evening when the sun barely sets, it's flooded with light. On a winter's evening, you can hunker down next to the wood-burning stove. Before or after dinner, make sure to spend time in their lovely bar - where you can try their own beer, brewed in partnership with the local brewery Fyne Ales.
Rooms: Overnight accommodation is in four luxury bothies next to the restaurant. The best thing is that you'll be brought a picnic breakfast basket in the morning with their homemade sourdough bread, fresh local eggs, and juices from the fruit and veg they grow themselves.
Prices: Dinner bed and breakfast £355 for two.
Ormskirk, West Lancashire
Moor Hall is so old they think it pre-dates the Norman Conquest. But while the building is ancient, its transformation into one of the UK's top restaurants with rooms is very much of the moment. Chef Mark Birchall was formerly Executive Chef at L’Enclume and in the two years he's been here, the main restaurant has picked up no fewer than two Michelin stars, 5 AA Rosettes and is currently the best restaurant in the whole of the UK according to the National Restaurant Awards.
The main 50-seat restaurant serves up modern British cuisine, wherever possible using produce grown on the five-acre Moor Hall site, or from local suppliers - think dishes like Baked carrots served up with Doddington cheese, chrysanthemum and sea buckthorn. The Barn is their 65-seat informal dining room if you’re after Herdwick lamb rump and shoulder with purple sprouting broccoli and wild garlic, and you'll find a children's menu here too. There's also a small dairy, bakery, meat-aging and curing room and a mini brewery on site.
Rooms: They have seven bedrooms - five located in the main Hall with a further two in the gatehouse by the lake. They're beautifully decorated - cosy up in one of their window seats while you gaze across the lake - and have all the mod cons like a Nespresso machine too.
Prices: Prices for a room are £220-£375
Paul Ainsworth is synonymous with Cornwall seaside town Padstow (as well as a certain Rick Stein), where he has three places to eat. His main restaurant is Paul Ainsworth at No 6 - the Michelin-starred restaurant in a Georgian townhouse that focuses on British cuisine while using all the local produce that Cornwall produces. Alternatively, he also runs Caffè Rojano serving up seasonal small plates and, just across the bay, is his pub The Mariners.
While these places don't have rooms themselves, Ainsworth also owns the nearby Padstow Townhouse. There's no full restaurant on the site (although breakfast is served) but there is a stocked kitchen with an honesty box system, and you're delivered a flask of hot chocolate in the evening. It's only a short 5-minute walk to No 6 from the Townhouse, they'll take you there in an electric BMW if you fancy.
Rooms: There are six suites in the Townhouse, with each room given an individual theme - and each room has a huge TV with an Apple TV if you need a lie-in.
Prices: Rooms from £245 per night for bed and breakfast,
It's relaxed, but also Michelin-starred, and big on local produce whilst also taking a modern approach to dishes. In other hands, this could be a bit Jack of All Trades, but Chef Proprietor Geoffrey Smeddle manages to delight everyone. You can lunch at this countryside restaurant with rooms incredibly well on a lunch set menu that comes in at just £29, but if you've come all this way you might as well push the boat out with their tasting menu. Recent dishes have included Crisp basil langoustines with maple glazed carrot, warm cucumber and satay sauce and a Hot soufflé of Scottish bean to bar chocolate with coconut sorbet.
Rooms: There are eight suites, all light and bright and most with sitting areas. Best of all you're met with a decanter of sherry and chocolate brownies. Breakfast is served in your room and it's a continental affair which is a good job as you'll probably still be full from the night before.
Prices: Rooms start at £225 for a single room per night, including breakfast. Dinner bed and breakfast mid-week is £390.
If there's one thing that's always mentioned in pieces on Sat Bains, it's the unprepossessing location for the chef's Nottingham-based restaurant. But while it might have views of electricity pylons rather than rolling hills, a visit here is a must for any UK restaurant obsessive. With two Michelin stars under their belts, Sat and his Head Chef John Freeman curate an amazing food experience. There are just two tasting menus to choose from - seven courses or ten courses and a meal here might include Steamed-fried potato with Rossini Baerii prestige caviar and seaweed velouté and finish with a dessert called Our first Honey with creme fraiche, pollen, grains and chamomile celebrating the restaurant's first honey harvest.
If you really want to get in on the action, book either the Chefs Table or Kitchen Bench. The first is private dining room style looking onto the Savoury Kitchen, the other is a high bench actually in the pastry kitchen. If the weather's good, you might have time to have pre or post-dinner drinks in the restaurant's courtyard garden - ask to see their kitchen garden which, even in this tiny urban space produces almost half of the salad and herbs they use here.
Rooms: There are eight bedrooms. Some are upstairs from the restaurant, others are accessed through the garden. You'll find homemade biscuits waiting for you and Aesop toiletries in the bathroom.
Prices: Rooms start at £180 for bed and breakfast.
The opening of The Seafood Restaurant back in 1975 was the start of the transformation of this fishing port into Padstein - a place of pilgrimage for foodies who worshipped at the altar of TV chef Rick Stein. Now the restaurant is run by Head Chef Peter Murt who uses Rick's recipes on the super-fresh seafood that's brought in by local fishermen every day. Kick off a meal here with some freshly shucked Oysters Charentaise before moving onto lobster thermidor or maybe Singapore Chilli Crab. If you prefer to see a bit of food as theatre - there are walk-in spaces at the seafood bar for a spot of counter dining and the newish rooftop terrace is super in the sunshine.
Love the food so much you'd like to learn how to cook it? Then you can always book yourself in for a lesson at the cookery school here too.
Rooms: There are 16 rooms upstairs from the restaurant, all designed by Jill Stein. Some have private rooftop terraces, many have glorious Estuary views and all are stocked with Jill Stein's own-label toiletries and homemade biscuits. If there's no room at the inn/restaurant, the Steins have seven other locations around the village to choose, some of which are self-catering. It's dog and family-friendly and if you fancy going crabbing yourself, they'll provide you with lines and buckets.
Prices: Package prices for stays including dinner at the restaurant start at around £450.
For more than 30 years, the team at this magical Scottish restaurant with rooms have been serving exceptional food in extraordinary surroundings. And what a setting it is, overlooking Loch Dunvegan. Running the kitchen is Head Chef Scott Davies whose gorgeous food won the restaurant The Good Food Guide 2018 Editor's Choice for UK Restaurant of the Year. In practice, that means dishes like cured salmon with Douglas Fir and local Black Isle beef with parsley and onions.
Rooms: There are six large suites in the separate House Over-By next door to the restaurant. Guests enjoy loads of lovely touches, like afternoon tea trays in the room, binoculars for seal spotting and a full Scottish breakfast.
Prices: Rooms start at £365 per night, including a full Scottish breakfast and afternoon tea tray with home baking on arrival.
Chef Chris Harrod came to Wales from Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and was rewarded for his work here with a Michelin star not quite a year after opening. Here, the commitment to cooking locally embraces foraging, with ingredients found in the nearby countryside in every dish. It’s a handy place to stay if you’re planning on coming to the Abergavenny Food Festival, but don’t want to be right in the madness. Don’t forget to pop into Trealy Farm’s shop just down the road for some top charcuterie too.
Rooms: There are eight rooms and lockdown enabled the programme of refurbishments to cover them all. A really nice touch was the appearance of warm Welsh teacakes and tea served in local pottery mugs in our rooms after we checked in.
Prices: From £360 to £425 for dinner, bed and breakfast, based on two sharing
Ingredient Led, Flavour Driven, Fat Fuelled, Meat Obsessed. That's how Ynyshir sets out its stall. Chef Patron Gareth Ward wants his restaurant with rooms out in the heart of the Welsh countryside, to be somewhere all foodies have on their to-do lists. Right now he has a Michelin Star and five AA rosettes to show for his efforts. The intimate dining room has room for just 20, or you could opt for the kitchen table set within the pastry section or book the bench table right in the heart of the kitchen. Expect a multi-course dining experience (the kitchen tables get up to 19 courses on their surprise menu) using amazing local produce - this is the kind of place that distils its own birch syrup and pickles wild garlic from the local woods harvested for pickles.
The house itself is in an amazing setting if you want to get away from it all - bordered on one side by the Cambrian Mountains and on the other, by the Irish sea.
Rooms: There are 10 bedroomsl, seven in the main house and three out in the garden. All are beautifully decorated - the bathrooms are given particular attention - and some even have log burning stoves in them. New for this season are the three tipis in the grounds -
Prices: Dinner, bed and breakfast starts at £320 per person.
Hetton, North Yorkshire
This already-famous inn got a big boost (and a Michelin star) when chef Michael Wignall bought the place with his wife. Wignall, who was previously at Pennyhill Park and then Gidleigh Park has been running two Michelin-starred restaurants for over two decades. As for food, a starter might be poached and roasted veal sweetbread with grelot onion, parsnip & spiced coconut while a main of local Yorkshire duck breast comes with boudin noir, turnip, pak choi, Japanese BBQ and soy nuts.
Breakfast has also been given an overhaul and if you're a vegetarian who wants a full English, you can here with a platter that includes a beetroot black pudding.
Rooms: There are now 15 bedrooms here, spread across the main house, an adjoining barn and cottage. There are also family suites too and a children's menu is available in the restaurant.
Prices: Gourmet getaways which include breakfast and dinner start at £162 per person.
The Bull Inn is the fourth organic pub to be opened by Geetie Singh-Watson, who you may know from being responsible for London’s first organic pub, the Duke of Cambridge in Islington. Here, as you might expect, the food is all about what's local, season and ethical. Of course, it doesn't hurt when it comes to finding those great suppliers, that Geetie’s husband is Guy Watson of Riverford Farms.
Lunch is tapas-style, and for dinner it switches up to a two or three course menu with dishes like Salt cured pollock, fennel, tomato salad, pangritata or Crispy polenta with king oyster mushrooms, wild garlic, nettle pesto and millstone. There's also alfresco dining outside in the town square.
Rooms: There are eight rooms in total, some big enough for families. They're simply furnished, but very comfortable.
Prices: Rooms are £120 for two, inclusive of breakfast but with a minimum stay of three nights.
The honey-stoned Churchill Arms is one of those pretty pubs in an equally comely Cotswolds village that must make tourists swoon. It does a pretty good job on jaded Londoners too. You might recognise owner and chef Nick Deverell-Smith from his appearances on Saturday Kitchen. He trained up under Eric Chavot at the Capital and was head chef of Soho House and Dean Street Townhouse before abandoning the big smoke for this rural idyll. Here the menu focuses on classic dishes with a seasonal and local focus. In summer you might find Roast rump of Cotswolds lamb with Jersey Royals and Evesham asparagus, while a year-round classic is their calves liver with confit bacon, cider onions and mash. They've put up a lovely tent over the terrace too, making it great for alfresco dining.
Drinks maintain a similarly locally-sourced theme - the house ale comes from The North Cotswold Brewery just three miles from the pub and they also stock spirits produced at the Cotswold Distillery.
Rooms: The pub has four boutique rooms - think modern country cottage feel mixing exposed beams with ﬂat screen TVs and espresso machines.
Prices: Rooms start at £120 for a double room
Lower Chicksgrove, Cotswolds
Given owner Ben Maschler's background, it should come as no surprise that this Cotswolds pub is worth a trek for foodies. Maschler was part of the team that reinvigorated The Drapers Arms in Islington, his mum Fay was The Standard's food critic for decdes and even his Aunt, Beth runs an award-winning pub - The Wells in Hampstead. Hospitality and a keen sense of what people want to eat runs in the blood.
The menu changes daily, so you're always sure of something new to try whether it's Stilton Welsh rarebit with apple and raisin chutney, salad and chips or steamed mussels with coconut, lime leaf, lemongrass and coriander. Desserts sound amazing - we'd kill for one of their sticky date, cranberry and pecan puddings with toffee sauce. Head Chef Paddy Davy also has form in the Scotch Egg Challenge. If there’s a scotch egg on the bar snacks menu, make sure you order it. The wine list is similarly impressive - and it's nice to see so much available by the glass and carafe.
New for this season, and the current times we're in, is a huge tented terrace which looks out over sheep pasture.
Rooms: There are four rooms above the pub - three doubles and a family room - along with a separate cottage next to the pub which sleeps four. All are simply but beautifully decorated - think sisal floors, old beams and wool blankets on the beds.
Prices: Rooms start at £120 for a double room with breakfast.
The Street, Little Dunmow, Dunmow CM6 3HT
Chef Paul Croasdale is newly in charge of the kitchen at this history country pub. The former head chef of Alyn Williams at the Westbury is serving up a local, seasonal menu in an informal setting. The set lunch is an absolute bargain, but you'll get the really good stuff if you go for the tasting menu. Outdoors, their summer terrace menu uses the best of what's good at the market that day with menu options changing daily.
Rooms: Each of the three rooms at the inn is named after a rare breed of pig. Choose from Oxford Sandy & Black, Gloucester Old Spot or British Saddleback. They all have Nespresso machines and flat screen TVs.
Prices: Book a gourmet overnight escape with a five course tasting menu from £275 for two.
This Lancashire hostelry dubs itself a pub with rooms and sometimes a restropub. Unlike many other gussied up inns, it's still very much a place where someone can sit down with a pint and a bag of crisps if they choose. But if they do decide to opt for chef-patron Steven Smith's food, they'll be glad they did. There's a reason why this has been in the top 10 of the UK's Top 50 Gastropubs list for a while now. Smith takes locally sourced ingredients but isn't afraid to go further for produce or influences - so a courgette flower might be filled with with native lobster along with courgette and basil puree while slow cooked chicken leg comes with a buttermilk fried thigh, smoked egg noodles and sauce Albufeira.
The newish Mr Smith's interactive kitchen space also offers two ways to experience the heart of the action with a kitchen table and a kitchen bench open for bookings.
Rooms: There are four rooms at the pub, from £160 a night. The biggest have their own dressing rooms, but all have the same luxuries you'd expect in any good hotel.
Chef and owner Stephen Terry trained up under Marco Pierre White at the legendary Harvey's and used to own the nearby Walnut Tree here in Abergavenny before taking on The Hardwick. Here he turns out modern Welsh food that's unfussy but very well executed. It's not a taster menu kind of place, it's got a much more informal vibe, and you can choose from a range of small plates, plus they're very well geared up for vegetarians and vegans here. Dishes can be classic fare like Grilled bacon chop with pease pudding and parsley sauce or you might find a panzanella and puntarelle salad made with grilled Bristol halloumi. If you overindulge, and it's easily done, there are plenty of epic walks and hikes in the nearby Brecon Beacons to keep you active.
Rooms: There are eight double rooms - one of which can be made into a twin - set in a modern extension to the pub. They're fresh and modern, with views over the countryside and the biggest have walk-in showers. And yes you get, what they describe as "a tidy full Welsh breakfast".
Prices: Rooms start at £160 a night, room only.
If you're desperate for a break from city life, but want to stay somewhere that serves up the kind of dishes cooked over wood that you know and love from your favourite London restaurants, then The Mash Inn is the place for you. Set in the stupidly pretty hamlet of Bennett End in Buckinghamshire, this 18th-century inn has, over the past few years, redefined what the English country inn has to offer. Owner Nick Mash's family have farmed in this area for over 150 years so he was keen to create a place where much of what they serve up could be plucked from the inn's kitchen garden just hours before.
Chef Jon Parry is the man firing up the wood-burning stove and learned his trade at Tom Aikens before working at award-winning gastropub The Bull and Last and with Adam Byatt down in Clapham at Trinity and Bistro Union. Here in his open kitchen, overlooking the small but perfectly formed dining room, the tasting menu might feature chilled wild garlic soup, or wagyu beef cooked on the grill, or maybe Norfolk asparagus with bog butter - and no, that's not a typo.
This year they upgraded their alfresco offering, by creating a tented terrace with views over the gardens which was so popular, they've extended it to the rest of the summer.
Rooms: The inn has six bedrooms - four above the restaurant and two new Garden Rooms. They're simply furnished but have gorgeous toiletries. Best of all, staying here means breakfast in bed the next morning with croissants and homemade jams, buttermilk yoghurt, house granola or pinhead oatmeal porridge and freshly made Rare Company tea or coffee.
Prices: Rooms start at £150 a night for a snug room with dinner.
Newton in Bowland, Lancashire
Guests arriving at this Lancashire pub might from the exterior or interior be expecting a standard rural pub experience, but the food here by chef and owner Stosie Madi is guaranteed to blow them away. Recognised both by the National Restaurant Awards and 50 Best Gastropubs for the quality of its food, it regularly attracts foodies from all over the country eager to try its regional and global dishes. There's always a pie on the menu - and you will want to order it - but the daily changing offering also features options like a wild garlic custard tart which sounds equally great.
The bar snacks are amazing - if you think potato skins sound a bit 'meh' then you need to try the ones here. There's also a quite spectacular beer garden with views for miles.
Rooms: There are just two double rooms at the pub but they're beautifully decorated, have amazing views and you'll find homemade biscuits waiting for you when you arrive.
Prices: Midweek three-course dinner plus overnight stay for two starts at £90 (£10 extra per person for a cooked breakfast). But they're not taking new bookings until they clear their backlog.
Currently No 2 in the Top 50 Gastropubs list, this medieval thatched roof pub matches Michelin-starred food with a distinct sense of place. Right on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors, its Chef/Patron, Andrew Pern focuses on modern Yorkshire food and lets "the seasons write our menus". A glimpse at the pub 'snacks' menu gives you an insight into what to expect. They had us at "Ravioli of ‘Loose Birds of Harome’ chicken and North Sea lobster with village wild garlic, salted puff grains, ewes cured and bitter hedgerow shoots."
For beer lovers, they even offer a beer-matching service for the dishes. Don’t forget to take a proper look at the bar itself - it was made by the famous craftsman Robert Thompson, the ‘Mouse Man’ of Kilburn. And, if you prefer dining outside, there's loads of areas to choose from, including their vegetable garden.
Rooms: Cross House Lodge plays hotel to the pub and is just across the road. They have 13 bedrooms, all of which are quite different. If you're into quirky interiors, this will be right up your street. One has a bed hanging from the ceiling with ropes, another has a full-sized snooker table. There's a lounge here complete with a wood-burning stove but there's limited access to that for the moment. New to the range is a quartet of barn rooms that were finished in 2020.
Prices: Rooms start at around £210 for a night including breakfast.
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