Great gourmet getaways

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

British breaks to dine for are closer than you might think. From cookery courses to Michelin-starred inns, Andy Lynes selects the best from a mouthwatering menu

What's the attraction?

The days when British food-lovers had to travel to Provence or Tuscany for a gourmet getaway are long gone. Artisan food production is on the increase and world-class home-grown culinary talent can now be found the length and breadth of the country.

There is also an increasing number of residential cookery schools (see the website for the latest courses) and hotels offering gastronomy-themed breaks. Even Britain's wineries have got in on the act, offering tours and courses.

Celebrity chefs at hotels

Angela Hartnett's menu for Hartnett Holder & Co at Lime Wood in the New Forest (023 8028 7167; reflects the chef's Italian heritage, with pasta made fresh twice a day for dishes such as linguini with goat bolognese. The evening à la carte menu costs around £40 for three courses. Beyond the dining room, the foodie-centric hotel features a David Collins interior in shades of Farrow & Ball and tastefully refined rooms that start at £255, room only.

After nearly 30 years, Raymond Blanc is still wowing diners at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons (01844 278 881;, his converted Oxfordshire manor house. Here, his obsessive attention to detail shows in every aspect of the hotel and the restaurant, where he serves produce from his own gardens in exquisite dishes such as ravioli of langoustine with summer garden herbs. A double room costs from £545, including breakfast. The evening à la carte costs about £120 for three courses.

On 19 October and 2 November, Le Manoir is offering hosted mushroom foraging day-trips in the Chilterns. The price of £240 per person also includes a champagne reception and lunch at the hotel.

Michelin-starred inns

Geoffrey Smeddle is a true champion of Scottish produce. The menu at The Peat Inn, Fife (01334 840206;, a converted 18th-century pub on the crossroads of a hamlet near St Andrews, is packed with regional game, beef, seafood and cheese.

The "Epicurean Indulgence" deal costs £295 per couple and includes a one-night stay in a luxury suite, with bed and breakfast and dinner from the six-course tasting menu, without wines.

In the late 1980s, Shaun Hill was part of the vanguard of modern British cooking. He remains an influential figure as chef-proprietor of The Walnut Tree Inn, Llanddewi Skirrid (01873 852797;, a simple but stylish Welsh rural inn. More importantly, his food is fantastic. Hill applies accomplished technique to the highest quality ingredients to create dishes such as calf's sweetbreads, pig's head cromesqui and mustard dressing.

Accommodation in one of the inn's two cottages costs from £180 including breakfast. The evening à la carte costs about £45 for three courses.

Residential cookery courses

Uncover the secrets of the professional kitchen by becoming chef for a day at Blackaddie, Dumfriesshire (01659 50270; The price of £150 includes lunch and a full day in the kitchen, joining top chef Ian McAndrew and his team for their morning menu-planning meeting, then assisting with the "prep" and at the lunch and dinner services. An optional one-night stay with four-course dinner for two people sharing a double room costs an additional £204. Dates by arrangement.

The recently refurbished cookery school at luxury castle hotel Swinton Park, Ripon (01765 680969; offers a range of classes led by Stephen Bulmer, formerly of the Raymond Blanc Cookery School. Courses include the two-day Cooking with Star Quality masterclass from 8-9 October. The price of £310 includes two days' tuition covering breads, starters, main courses and desserts. A double room costs from £160 including breakfast.

Sample English wine country

The Marquis at Alkham, Dover (01304 873410; has acquired its own vineyard a short walk from the restaurant with rooms. The plot is planted with pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay grapes, used to make Chalksole Vintage Reserve sparkling wine. Drink a glass (£8.95) with one of chef Charlie Lakin's gutsy and delicious dishes, such as Dover-caught crab, green peppers, sea arrowgrass and bloody-mary dressing. Double rooms start at £89, including breakfast.

English wine making isn't confined to the south. You can drink Holmfirth Winery's (01484 691861; rosé and sparkling wines at the Yorkshire vineyard's restaurant with a plate of pan-seared queenie scallops with boudin noir (black pudding), cauliflower purée and cumin caramel. Two nights in a one-bedroom, self-catering apartment costs from £180. Go for a Gastrotel

You're just as likely to spot off-duty chefs as gastro-tourists dining at Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham (0115 9866 566;, where the eponymous chef's experimental approach is like catnip to professionals and punters alike. You never know what you might be eating but recent dishes have included Goosnargh duck with treacle, parmesan and sweetcorn. A mid-week package including a double room, seven-course tasting menu and breakfast costs from £135 per person.

Gastronomic break

Take a culinary-themed break at The Priory Bay hotel, Seaview, Isle of Wight (01983 613146; where former Noma chef Oliver Stephens is making culinary waves. The price of £580 for two nights includes a tutored wine tasting, cookery demonstration or a foraging trip around the estate, two dinners (one including complimentary wine), one lunch and breakfast both mornings.

In the city

L'Enclume (015395 36362;, Simon Rogan's Lake District restaurant with rooms, has just replaced The Fat Duck as No 1 on The Good Food Guide's 50 Best list. You can also sample his food at the Midland hotel in Manchester, where the £79, 10-course tasting menu at The French (0161 236 3333; blends foraged ingredients with futuristic techniques. A double room costs from £85 including breakfast.

Two-Michelin-starred French chef Claude Bosi knows a thing or two about running a pub, as the refurbished The Malt House, Fulham (020 7084 6888;, proves. The signature bavette steak with hay scented hollandaise sauce is a revelation. The evening à la carte costs about £40 for three courses; a double room costs from £125 including breakfast.

Simpsons, Edgbaston (0121 454 3434; a luxurious Michelin-starred restaurant and cookery school with rooms, is one of Birmingham's leading culinary lights. Modern Mediterranean dishes on the £90 tasting menu might include pigeon with cherry, chocolate, pistachio and chicory. A double room costs from £160 including breakfast.

Strap yourself in for a wild gastronomic ride at 21212, Edinburgh (0131 523 1030; where chef Paul Kitching exercises his imagination with dishes such as "Fancy A Smoke" – smoked salmon, mackerel, haddock with caviar, olives and curried cream. A five-course menu costs £68; doubles from £150 room only.

Insider Information

"There's a lot of money being put into pubs and pub bedrooms. The Gunton Arms in north Norfolk (01263 832010; is a brilliant example. The chef, Stuart Tattersall, used to work for Mark Hix so it's very simple, gutsy, ingredient-led cooking. They've got a big open fireplace in the restaurant where they grill meat. It's the country house hotel idea, but with all the warmth and buzz of a pub." Elizabeth Carter, Consultant Editor, The Good Food Guide (; £17.99)

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
Life and Style
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: MI Developer

    £35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...

    Recruitment Genius: Fitness Manager

    £20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Manager

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...

    Recruitment Genius: Learning Team Administrator

    £17500 - £20500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for a great te...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions