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. Behind its imposing period façade, this grand 17th century stately home boasts interiors brimming with English charm. Exquisite antique furniture and oil paintings contribute to creating a warm and very intimate ambiance. Not surprising that it has hosted many famous names throughout its history, and some of them, such as Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill, have even lent their names to rooms. Cliveden House, in the heart of Berkshire, is renowned for its magnificent 376 acre estate overlooking the River Thames offering tranquillity and exquisite dining just outside London and a stone’s throw from Windsor, Ascot and Heathrow. ... 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 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
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 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 country. It was on the island of Jersey that exiled Victor Hugo wrote some of his most beautiful poems. This is readily understandable upon visiting this magical island edged by wild beaches. A poetic atmosphere envelops you the moment you pass through the gates of this 14th century manor house. In the grounds there are majestic fountains and delightful little wooden bridges, and the suites boast silky soft fabrics and state of the art bathrooms. The old crypt is now a smoke house for the kitchen’s smoked fish and meats. You can find your self-imposed exile between a game of lawn tennis and a stroll through the woodland amongst hundred-year-old sycamores and oaks. ... 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. 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. 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
Restaurant and hotel on a river. The creative and definitely French cuisine of Chef Alain Roux includes pan-fried lobster medallions with a white port sauce, or fillet of salmon cooked “en papillote” with pine needles and served with a star aniseed sauce. In the idyllic village of Bray, on the terrace, in the shade of the willow tree or in the inn’s cosy rooms, let yourself be soothed by the calm of the River Thames flowing by the inn. And if you ever wish to explore the surrounding area, you can visit Windsor Castle or stroll around Savill Garden, one of Britain’s greatest ornamental gardens. ... Learn moreless