Combining a long weekend with beautiful English countryside and oodles of delicious food and wine sounds like just the type of weekend we are totally into. From Michelin-star restaurants with rooms, to country retreats with uber-chic eateries, we have travelled the country over to bring you our favourite venues, outside of the capital. 

If you are thinking of taking a culinary-themed break, and are looking for a bit of inspiration, then read on, and make this the start of your foodie-inspired retreat.


If somewhere remains number one on The Good Food Guide’s Fifty Best Restaurants list four years running, then it must be pretty good, right? Well, we certainly think so. Simon Rogan’s Cumbrian hideaway at L’Enclume offers the perfect destination for some innovative eats and breath-taking hiking excursions in the heart of the Lake District.

The rooms are simple, yet elegant, perfectly complimenting the food, which follows a farm-to-table philosophy. Most ingredients are grown in their own dedicated, twelve-acre farm, along with carefully selected produce from other farmers in the surrounding Cumbrian region.

Opened late last year, Rogan launched Aulis as a further addition to the restaurant – a new and exciting private dining experience, which caters for up to six guests. As part of the Aulis experience, diners are treated to a culinary theatre show, performed by a team of passionate chefs, who prepare the food in an almost magical sequence, culminating in the creation of dishes that have since included hay-baked beetroots, apple and pickled rosehips, and chicken skin with thyme.


Lucknam Park

If it’s a part-foodie, part-spa break that you fancy, then Lucknam Park sounds like the perfect venue for your forthcoming indulgent weekend. With an award-winning spa and wellness centre, as well as Michelin-starred restaurant and prestigious cookery school, the offerings at Lucknam are exceptional, not to mention its five-hundred-acre estate with equestrian centre, tennis courts, croquet lawn, and football pitch.

Based just six miles outside of Bath, the hotel is set in a Palladian mansion dating from 1720, and the rooms and suites offer grandeur luxury, with four poster beds, refined English furnishings, and fantastic views across the estate. Lucknam offers an impressive calendar of cookery courses throughout the year, including The Modern Man’s KitchenDesign a Dinner Party, and The Perfect Steak, and can be booked and integrated as part of your culinary adventure.

The main restaurant, Hywel Jones, named after it’s dedicated head chef, offers fine dining in an opulent setting. With ornate ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and original artworks as a backdrop, guests can enjoy sophisticated culinary creations such as Brecon lamb, spring peas, Wye Valley asparagus and morels, and pot roast squab pigeon, caramelised turnip, pickled cherries and pistachio. For something a little more relaxed, there is the Brasserie, located next to the spa, where you can choose to eat al fresco in the gardens, or inside to admire the handsome open kitchen. Here you can enjoy fresh pizza or meat from the wood-fired oven or indulge your sweet tooth with banoffee churros with salted caramel dip, or a Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée.


Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

Thirty years ago, Raymond Blanc OBE converted his manor house in Great Milton, Oxford, into a hotel, restaurant and cooking school. Impressively, just one year later, he received two Michelin star which he's managed to retain through his impressive menu & service. The ‘manor’ remains one of the most cherished gastronomic destinations in the UK.

Enclosed by stunning lawns, pruned flower borders and fruitful orchards, the hotel offers thirty-two chic guest rooms and suites, some with private gardens, and most with sinkable roll-top baths to relax in after a hearty lunch.

Days are spent meandering around the grounds, observing the impressive vegetable and herb plots, which provide for the restaurant kitchen, as well as, of course, plenty of eating and drinking. The restaurant offers a five or seven course taster menu at lunch and dinner, allowing you to try a sample of the chef’s signature dishes, including the finest local meats, seasonal vegetable and delicious deserts. Take the accompanying wine flight, paired by the hotel’s expert sommelier, or take your own pick from the hotel’s wine cellar, which is home to around six hundred fine wines and champagnes from around the world.


The Hand & Flowers

The only pub in England to be awarded two Michelin stars, The Hand & Flowers in picturesque Marlow also offers eight swanky guest rooms within its adjoining cottage buildings, featuring huge beds, round tin baths and luxury hot tubs. So, not only can you experience possibly the greatest roast beef and Yorkshire pudding ever created on a Sunday, but you also needn’t worry about designating a driver to transport you home, once you have reached the ultimate food coma state.

The lovechild of Tom and Beth Kerridge, The Hand & Flowers offers unpretentious cuisine, a sociable and informal setting, and remarkably modest prices. The menu is a fusion of British tradition combined with some French influence, and diners can sample anything from Fish du Jour with caviar and beurre blanc, to loin of Cotswold venison with black pudding and salt baked carrot. A three-course set lunch is served during the week and a special version on a Sunday, offering the best seasonal ingredients, and accompanying wine suggestions.

Guests can enjoy luxury spa treatments in the comfort of their own suite, during their stay, and groups of friends and family can make reservations at The Shed, a chic private dining room, which offers seating for up to nine special guests. Perfect for birthday or anniversary celebrations.


The St Enodoc Hotel

Laidback Cornish chic is what you will find at the privately-owned St Enodoc Hotel, located in Rock, Wadebridge. With panoramic views of the protected Camel Estuary, and a short stroll down to the Rock Sailing and Waterski Club, this place is certainly one for water-lovers, as well as lovers of exquisite gastronomy.

Bedrooms are quirky, zingy and fresh, complementing the seaside location, and create a calming space to retreat, in between gourmet dining and spa treatments.

In keeping with the rest of the hotel, the restaurant is informal and bright, and in the height of summer, guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner alfresco on the terrace with top-notch water-side views. Head chef James Nathan focuses on a menu featuring ingredients from a ‘Cornish larder’ and the menu regularly features local Porthilly oysters and Padstow lobster throughout the summer, and local venison and game in the winter months. The children’s menu is also particularly noteworthy, with options such as grilled hake with garlic mayonnaise, seasonal vegetables and new potatoes or Porthilly moules with mariniere of parsley, garlic cream & skinny fries – a most refreshing change from the usual nugget and goujon alternatives.

Tuesday 29 August 2017