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.
Hotel and restaurant in a village. Deep in the heart of the rolling Wessex countryside and near the dramatic rocks and fossils of the world renowned Jurassic Coast, little has changed from the days it was immortalised in the novels of Thomas Hardy. Set in nearly two hectares of idyllic gardens, with a croquet lawn, health spa, and a collection of richly furnished guest rooms and suites, Summer Lodge is a small world in itself. Add in a restaurant of international repute, one of the best cheeseboards in the UK, a cellar boasting over 1 400 wines, and the 300 whiskeys and 100 brandies that are on offer, and it’s easy to see why guests come from so far and wide. ... 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
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. There is a certain magic about staying on a private island and Eriska is no exception. Located on the West Coast of Scotland, Eriska has gorgeous views overlooking Loch Linnhe and the Morvern Mountains. The island offers a truly unique experience. Highland cattle graze, badgers visit, grey seals and otters swim in the surrounding waters and countless birds, including the Golden Eagle, can be observed. The hotel offers unique levels of personal service, with décor masterfully blending the old with the new. Distant islands form a stunning backdrop to Eriska’s golf course and guests can enjoy sailing or other activities. ... 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. With its breath-taking west coast scenery and incredible views of the loch, Airds Hotel is the perfect spot to soak up the beauty of Scotland. Port Appin, where the hotel is located, provided the opening for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Kidnapped”. This exquisite 18th century lochside hotel with charmingly decorated rooms represents the very best of Scottish elegance. Excellent service is combined with the finest cuisine and a wine list that is just as impressive; admiring the spectacular views of the atmospheric loch and iconic mountains is a highlight at the restaurant. The Hebrides, a remote and wild paradise, is only a five-minute boat trip away. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the woods. Gravetye Manor is a truly enchanting place; both close to the pleasures of London, yet far from its hustle and bustle. This beautiful Elizabethan manor sits proudly amongst the winding pathways and abundant flower beds in the English natural and wild gardens created by William Robinson, the father of the English natural garden and a former owner of the estate. This quintessential English country house’s charm is evident in the wood panelled restaurant with crackling log fires. All year round, the sweeping countryside views, first-class cuisine and attentive yet unobtrusive service ensure an unforgettable experience. ... 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 a village. Set next to a 13th Century church and nestled amidst beautiful gardens, Buckland Manor is one of the finest manor houses in the Cotswolds and a unique retreat for peace and reflection. If not relaxing in surroundings of timeless beauty and elegance where crackling log fires warm the cosy lounges then you will be able to expend some energy on the tennis court or try your hand at horse riding, hunting and hiking. Savour its top hospitality, fine wines and exquisite food whether a sumptuous dinner or a light alfresco lunch amidst glorious vistas where the sun falls on honeyed stone. With its air of classic English charm, it’s your perfect few days away and popular for exclusive house parties. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. The garden boasts magnificent views over the lush, green Ribble Valley. Food lovers will delight in the salads, herbs, fruits and vegetables which find their way onto their plates. Northcote restaurant is renowned for its fine cuisine and serves traditional Lancashire recipes with a modern twist, created from local produce: to add to the experience, the Chef’s Table, in the kitchen, offers insights into how the kitchen really operates. The guest rooms and living areas are decorated with contemporary sophistication and are relaxed and comfortable – the perfect accompaniment to this delightful, characterful country house. ... 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