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 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 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. Amberley Castle’s idyllic setting beside the River Arun places this medieval survivor in some of the loveliest English Countryside. The majority of guest rooms and bathrooms have been individually designed by the Brownsword family to provide the highest standards of luxury and comfort. Enjoy the calm and warm ambience of our lounges and library complete with roaring log fires on cold winter days. Amberley Castle is renowned for the quality of its cuisine – superb locally sourced seasonal ingredients are matched with whatever is fresh that day. Feeling serene and secure behind the castle’s portcullis and battlements, many of our guests venture no further than our beautiful gardens which include a putting course, croquet lawn and tennis court. ... 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. 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. 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. The Vineyard has been described as a temple to Californian wine. Just outside Newbury, about an hour from London, it certainly deserves its reputation and more. The cellar holds over 30,000 wines from both the New and Old Worlds, as well as the unique and award-winning estate wines of the owner, Sir Peter Michael. It is also celebrated for its contemporary French cooking with a Mediterranean touch, using seasonal sustainable produce prepared by the executive chef. The hotel lives up to expectations, too: traditional bedrooms, spacious contemporary suites, spa and a private art collection to die for, make it a delightful retreat for gourmands and the curious alike. ... 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 on a lake. A Victorian House, elegantly converted into a prestigious hotel, Hambleton Hall is hidden away in the heart of the Midlands, in Rutland. England’s smallest county is also home to the largest artificial lake in Europe. A geographical detail which further enhances the seductive powers of this hotel perched on a hill overlooking the water. You will appreciate the incomparable hospitality of Tim and Stefa Hart and succumb to the charms of the sumptuous interior décor and the cuisine that is quite simply unique. When departing this magnificent setting, each guest has only one thing in mind… to return as soon as possible for another interlude of calm and well-being. ... Learn moreless