When we think of England, we think of centuries of tradition, the “Commonwealth on which the sun never sets” and a style and class associated with a rather starchy people with aristocratic tendencies. While the Queen and the House of Lords irresistibly evoke this glorious Empire, it becomes evident when visiting the country that here everything looks to the future and a spirit of youth wafts over a country where every extravagances and craze becomes the height of fashion!
The city founded its power on navigation, thriving on the banks of its beloved River Thames while keeping an eye on the sea beyond. Although it lies 70 kilometers upstream from the Channel, London is a maritime metropolis, a city of docks and warehouses, a center of commercial and political conquest. Its bond with the sea gives the British capital its distinctive colors: a sky in an endless palette of grays, its streetlights casting billowy yellow pools in the misty night, its deceptively untamed parks cloaked in deep, dark greens. From the far-flung corners of the globe that once made up its empire, London has learned the art of subjugating nature. In St. James’s Park and in front of the lovely brick townhouses of South Kensington, bursts of primrose and forget-me-not blossoms adorn meticulously groomed lawns. But there’s more to West London, where earls and countesses rub shoulders with well-heeled expatriates, than its elegant avenues and squares. Contemporary art and design, a lively culinary scene… this is a hive of creativity.
The reputation of its music festival makes it easy to forget that Glastonbury, thought to be the site of the mythical island of Avalon, entered the annals of history nearly a millennium ago when local monks claimed to have discovered the tomb of King Arthur in a tree trunk. Risible as they may seem today, such fables are treasured here as timeless truths. This is Celtic country, a land of traditions where legends are as real as the rock stars who grace the stage here every summer. Even though little is known about the great Arthur, the people of Glastonbury are firmly convinced that his remains were brought here in the early 6th century after his death on the battlefield. With the Saxon Wars a distant memory, today’s certainty is southern England’s warm and pleasant climate, which produces a rich harvest. In springtime, orchards in blossom transform the Kentish landscape into a tableau of bright colors and delicate scents. Late summer in the so-called “Garden of England” sees more and more vineyards bearing fruit, in preference to hops, traditionally picked by East End Londoners and hung out to dry in the round towers of Kentish oast houses. The ancestral royal hunting ground of the New Forest, England’s oldest national park, is at its resplendent best in the fall.
Restaurant in town. One of London’s most loved fine dining destinations. Hibiscus is renowned for Chef Claude Bosi’s intelligently creative cuisine. Marrying seasonal produce with modern, yet grounded techniques, Chef Bosi delights guests with a myriad of flavourful dishes. Located in fashionable Mayfair, the entrance on Maddox Street leads through the reception into the stylish and contemporary interior. Italian crystal chandeliers and French oak panelling add a gentle light to the room. Service is paced and attentive, yet informal. The wine list, created by Head Sommelier Bastien Ferreri, is authentic and exquisite. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in town. This hotel was opened in 1910 just behind Buckingham Palace and has been owned and managed by the Goring family for over a century. It is a byword for quintessentially English luxury. Upstairs, each of its bedrooms is individually designed, Gainsborough silks cover the walls and bespoke furniture graces the rooms. The hotel’s stunning suites offer supreme comfort and style, with the prestigious two-bedroom Royal Suite as the jewel in the crown. Throughout, The Goring tradition is lovingly celebrated with award-winning afternoon teas, fine British cuisine and exceptional service levels. The Queen has granted The Goring a Royal Warrant. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. Cheerful sage shutters and immaculate sweeping lawns welcome visitors to Chewton Glen. A luxury country house hotel and spa set in 130 acres of Hampshire countryside on the edge of the New Forest National Park. The location, just a few minutes’ walk from the beach at Highcliffe, makes it the perfect country house resort for a family holiday. Hidden away in a wooded valley you will find the hotel’s luxury treehouses. The restaurant is as formal or relaxed as the mood takes you and is a nexus of beautiful conservatories, intimate dining spaces and a stunning wine room. The luxury health spa is dedicated to personalised service and indulgent spa experiences. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. This charming manor house was once the property of Queen Victoria, and the beautiful gardens still show her influence, especially the fine collection of ornamental trees and shrubs. The estate surrounding the hotel, is now one of Britain’s finest bird reserves. The lovely location between the mountains and beaches attracts a plethora of wonderful bird species. Located near Machynlleth, the ancient capital of Wales, the house is now run by Joan Reen and her husband, Artist Rob Reen, whose bold canvasses adorn the walls. The décor shows an artist’s eye, and each room is composed as a work of art. A warm welcome awaits at Ynyshir, where each guest is treated as Royalty. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in the country. At the iconic Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Chef Andrew Fairlie operates his eponymous restaurant. Located an hour from the coast, and surrounded by small farms, Fairlie is in a unique position to source the very best local produce, whether wild salmon from the river Tay, red grouse from the local moors or famous Aberdeen Angus Beef. In his fantastic Victorian walled “Secret Garden” he grows many products exclusively for his restaurant. The style of cooking combines classic French cuisine with contemporary ideas for an exquisite fine dining experience. Floor to ceiling silk drapes and rich, textured fabrics lend the room a touch of tasteful opulence. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. Founded in 1967 by Albert and Michel Roux, Le Gavroche quickly became a benchmark for fine dining à la française in London’s exclusive Mayfair. Continuing the family tradition, Michel Roux Jr. took over in the kitchen in 1991. A new look, a new burst of creativity, combined with the incomparable recipes, such as the Soufflé Suissesse, which cemented the restaurant’s international renown. Chef Michel Roux Jr. showcases the very best of French produce with his seasonal cuisine, with dishes that feature Challans duck and lamb from the Pyrenees. Ava Gardner, Charlie Chaplin and Robert Redford have all dined here, the clientele being as brilliant as the menu. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. The Greenhouse offers a tranquil sanctuary in the heart of London; as you walk down a tree-lined pathway, the hustle and bustle of Mayfair gently fades away. Within the restrained décor of his restaurant, Arnaud Bignon places great care into sourcing the finest produce. Drawing on classical French techniques, his exquisite, modern cuisine is enhanced by unusual flavours from around the world. From Orkney scallops, green tomatoes, verbena and samphire to organic Welsh lamb, cu-cumber, nori and black garlic, Arnaud’s unexpected combinations aim to surprise and delight diners. The Greenhouse’s menu is complemented by an outstanding wine list of over 3,400 differ-ent bins and highly knowledgeable sommeliers. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the country. Two hours from London, the Cotswolds is an enchanting world of wide-open countryside and honey-coloured stone buildings. It is known as the Heart of England, not because of its geographical location – it is in the Southwest – but because of the emotion that it inspires amongst its visitors. It is here that you will find Whatley Manor, a beautiful private manor house hotel, set in twelve acres of English country gardens that are divided into 26 areas with different themes, based on plans dating back to 1920, with manicured lawns and herbaceous gardens. There is also a private cinema and contemporary spa. In the kitchens, the two-star award-winning exceptional Chef Martin Bruge offers moders fare with a touch of French inspiration. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the country. Gidleigh Park sits majestically on the bubbling upper reaches of the River Teign within 107 acres of mature grounds which feature an acclaimed kitchen garden, croquet lawns and putting course. The house has an air of tranquillity and romance and a genuinely warm welcome awaits you. The majority of guest rooms overlook the beautiful gardens and the river, each unique with thoughtful touches and indulgent bathrooms. And of course there is the sublime food of Chef Michael Caines whose modern European cuisine is a celebration of West Country produce from land and sea. Match this with one of the finest wine cellars in the UK and a visit to Gidleigh Park will be an unforgettable experience. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. This beautiful old manor house stands in mature grounds sheltered by 100 year old trees that are now a haven of peace and quiet–but not always. In April 1837 George Stephenson’s famous “Rocket” locomotive was bought by the owning family and even ran on a test track through the garden. Covered in ivy and climbing vines that change colour with each season, the house blends marvellously into its surroundings and its presence is only betrayed when the little lake reveals its reflection. The interior design is that of a traditional country house. The local area is a paradise for walkers with the unspoilt Northern Pennines to the south and to the north, Hadrian’s Wall with the fabulous museums explaining the Roman’s occupation of Britain. ... Learn moreless