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 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
Hotel and restaurant in the country. Lucknam Park, the very name conjures up images of trees and stately nature. This country retreat boasts sumptuous bedrooms and outstanding cuisine, to be savoured in the grand atmosphere of The Park Restaurant or in the less formal setting of The Brasserie. Luxuriate in The Spa & new Well-being House, enjoy a beautiful horse ride over the estate, take a one-day course in our cookery school or simply enjoy the 202 hectares of gardens and the magnificent avenue of 400 lime and beech trees planted in 1827. If you want to venture out of this retreat, the lovely city of Bath is just 9 km away, but most who leave Lucknam Park find themselves wanting to return very soon. ... 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
Restaurant and hotel in the country. Just outside Oxford, Chef Raymond Blanc presides over a magnificent manor house, renowned for its hotel, cuisine and stunning gardens. For Blanc, “if the work itself is transient, the memory of the flavour remains”. Amongst the abounding lavender, Blanc grows almost 90 varieties of vegetables and over 70 aromatic herbs, which you find on your plate, in one way or another. Blanc swears only by organic produce. The suites of the hotel, which all have evocative names and distinctive feels, the exoticism of Opium, the haven of tranquillity of Blanc de Blanc, the exuberance of Vettriano, are just as sublime. Enchantment in the land of Lewis Carroll and J.R.R. Tolkien. ... 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. Greywalls Hotel and its restaurant Chez Roux are situated on the edge of the Muirfield championship golf course with breathtaking views over East Lothian and the Firth of Forth in Scotland, not far from Edinburgh. Overlooking the world-famous greens of the ninth and 18th holes, and with ten golf courses nearby, it is a golfer’s paradise. Greywalls was originally designed by Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901 as a “dignified” holiday home for his clients and today is renowned for retaining its original charm. The building still has all of its Arts and Crafts’ period charm. Guests can also explore the hotel’s historic walled gardens designed by Gertrude Jekyll. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. Hartwell House, one of England’s stately homes just forty miles north west of London. Hartwell House is a picture-book country house set within magnificent landscaped grounds. While the actual building dates from the 17th century, the history of the property itself, once host to the court of Louis XVIII in exile, goes back to Edward the Confessor, almost one thousand years ago. Its architecture bears the traces of successive periods and styles, from the rococo marble chimneypieces to the baroque style of the grand hall, and yet retains an elegant integrity. Its opulent rooms, with their high ceilings and period furniture, are perfect examples of quintessential English charm. ... 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
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 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