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Best hotels with cookery schools in the UK: Brush up on your culinary skills during a staycation

Learn tips and tricks from the best during a short break

Kate Hilpern
Wednesday 06 September 2023 17:08 BST
An increasing number of hotels, such as Lainston House in Winchester, have some tasty-looking cookery classes on offer
An increasing number of hotels, such as Lainston House in Winchester, have some tasty-looking cookery classes on offer (

Whether you’re looking for a break amid the peaceful locks of Scotland, the rugged coast of Northern Ireland, the picture-postcard villages of England, or the rolling hills of Wales, staycations are clearly here to, well, stay.

But, for many of us, a short break needs to deliver not just a change of scene, but also the opportunity to be pampered and coddled at a swanky spa, indulge in our favourite hobbies, such as golfing or clay-pigeon shooting in glorious grounds, or learn new skills from esteemed experts, such as a renowned chef heading up a hotel’s cutting-edge kitchen.

So, if you’re after a gourmet culinary break, during which you can not only eat great fodder but learn how to prepare and make it too, then a trip to a hotel with a cookery school should be right up your street.

Fortunately, the UK is abundant in hotels that boast destination restaurants, which are more than happy to open up their kitchens and recipe books to guests, and share their skills and tricks of the trade.

From grand hotels with Michelin chefs to cosy country kitchens with skilled and friendly tutors, take your pick from our round-up of the UK’s best hotels with cooking classes – many of which offer day courses, too.

The best UK hotels with cookery schools are:

Best for a small and cosy course: Northcote

Location: Langho, Lancashire

The Northcote has retained its Michelin star for two decades

This is arguably the most talked-about foodie hotel in the North West, with the restaurant having retained its Michelin star for 20 years.

In the cookery school, you can learn how to master everything from bread and seafood to spicing and Mexican fare with a range of different courses run by Rick Ogden and Ben Hinchliffe, along with guest chefs.

Up to six dishes will be demonstrated, and you’ll get the chance to cook at least four yourself, as well as enjoying a two-course lunch as part of the experience.

Best for a friendly vibe: Lainston House

Location: Winchester, Hampshire

Classes at Season use local produce where possible (Lainston House)

This magnificent 17th-century William and Mary country house hotel is home to Season, a state-of-the-art cookery school, located in the characterful old well house. It runs half- and full-day courses, covering everything from stocks and sauces to French classics and much more.

There’s a relaxed, friendly vibe and an emphasis on provenance, where possible using local produce, much of which is grown in the on-site kitchen garden.

There are 50 individually designed guestrooms in the hotel, plus a three-AA Rosette restaurant, The Avenue.

Best for Michelin-star restaurant: Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Location: Great Milton, Oxfordshire

This hotel has a high-end kitchen, serving a two-Michelin-starred restaurant

The Raymond Blanc Cookery School, set in the glorious grounds of his 13th-century manor house hotel and restaurant, caters for beginners right through to experienced cooks, and is one of the only cookery schools in the world that enables you to learn in the kitchens of a two-Michelin-starred restaurant.

The head tutor, Mark Peregrine, is one of the best in the business (he helped Blanc get his first Michelin star) and the kitchen itself is as high-end as you can imagine.

If you can afford it, unwind in one of the luxurious bedrooms of the hotel afterwards and feast on the hotel’s renowned cuisine.

Best for seafood fans: Rick Stein

Location: Padstow, Cornwall

Raise a glass at Rick Stein's seafood school (Rick Stein)

Preparing fish in Rick Stein’s bold yet simple style in this stunning kitchen overlooking the Camel Estuary is as good as it gets when it comes to seafood cookery – this is serious cooking in a relaxed environment.

You can stay in one of the 16 coastal-inspired rooms of Stein’s flagship seafood restaurant a short walk away, or opt for one of his other hotels. Either way, you can dine in one of his many eateries in this charming seaside harbour town, which is increasingly known as Pad-stein.

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Best for a relaxing course: Llanerch Vineyard

Location: Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

Llanerch Vineyard

This stylish hotel is located on a working vineyard just 12 miles from Cardiff, with 10 chic rooms and suites spread across the main farmhouse and an adjacent annexe, as well as separate cottages. The hotel is also home to a fabulous bistro, formal dining restaurant and the Angela Gray Cookery School.

Angela runs classes lasting from a few hours upwards, in which she promotes cooking as relaxing and even meditative, yet packs in the prepping and cooking of plenty of dishes. Choose from themes ranging from pastry to Italian fare, all of which will see you taking some of your culinary delights home with you at the end of the day.

Best for a castle-based course: Swinton Park

Location: Masham, North Yorkshire

A course fit for royalty and set in 20,000 acres on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales (

Set in a 17th-century, 30-bedroom castle hotel within 20,000 acres of grounds in the Yorkshire Dales, the cookery school is run by chef tutor, Luke Palmer.

It’s housed in a converted Georgian stable wing and offers an impressively wide range of courses, all of which include an element of hands-on, practical cookery, using locally sourced food where possible.

Best for Aga fans: Eckington Manor

Location: Eckington, Cotswolds

Courses at Eckington Manor range from Aga cooking to bread making (Eckington Manor)

This cookery school blends beautifully into the rural background, based as it is in the Dutch barn of a 26-acre working farm and hotel.

Courses are designed to be challenging but fun, and range from modern British classics to Aga cooking, and from restaurant dishes at home to bread making.

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