Eat, Drink & Learn in Essex
"This Georgian pub dates back to 1746, but inside you find a fresh contemporary feel and a tempting menu," promises Bethan of the Mistley Thorn, near Manningtree in Essex. "Defeat the winter blues by indulging in some serious comfort eating. Try smokedhaddock chowder, Debden duck with clementine sauce and chocolate mocha tart, then pop next door to Sherri's cookery school to learn her secrets. The mood is laid-back, there's a great little bar and, if you stay on a Sunday or Monday, dinner is free."
Doubles start from £80 (01206 392821; www.mistleythorn.co.uk)