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 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
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 in the country. Not far from Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, Mallory Court is charming for its understated beauty and dedicated staff. This country manor house cultivates British elegance down to the slightest detail, from the perfectly mown lawns to the organic herb garden and traditional herbaceous borders. This is an ideal place to restore yourself. Another must is a visit to the house where Shakespeare was born. Perhaps a woodland creature will whisper into your ear a verse composed by the great bard himself: “With this field-dew consecrate, Every fairy take his gait”, so that your time here will forever remain a memory like a midsummer night’s dream. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. The mysterious waters of the lochs, surrounded by the misty mountains that rise out of the earth in this part of Scotland, never fail to make visitors dream. With its very own loch, Inverlochy Castle offers one of the most stunning Scottish panoramas. Queen Victoria said she “never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot”. At the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the United Kingdom, this charming castle with its billiard room and stately interiors is an ideal base from which to explore Fort William, the “Outdoor Capital of the UK”, and surrounding areas in the west coast of Scotland. ... Learn moreless
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. 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 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
Hotel and restaurant in the country. Standing high above a dramatic coastline overlooking the Irish sea, in the south west of Scotland’s historic lowlands, Glenapp is a family owned and occupied baronial castle set in an area of outstanding and unspoiled natural beauty. Underneath its fairytale turrets and towers there are oak-panelled rooms, rich fabrics and fine antiques, as well as modern award winning cuisine and impeccable service. The castle is hidden from the rugged landscape by 15 hectares of magical gardens filled with specimen trees and plants, including a fine collection of rare and unusual rhododendrons. ... 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