Restaurants with rooms
Dreaming of a foodie getaway? We've scoured the Muddy counties for hotel stays with serious culinary credentials for when lock-down lifts. Tuck in.
BEDFORDSHIRE BERKSHIRE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE CAMBRIDGESHIRE CORNWALL DEVON DORSET ESSEX GLOUCESTERSHIRE HAMPSHIRE HERTFORDSHIRE ISLE OF WIGHT KENT LEICESTERSHIRE NORFOLK NORTHAMPTONSHIRE OXFORDSHIRE RUTLAND SUFFOLK SOMERSET SURREY SUSSEX WARWICKSHIRE WILTSHIRE WORCESTERSHIRE
The Market House, Reading
Reading’s most Instagrammable hangout. Take the cool urban vibes of London’s street food scene – think Dinerama and Hawker House – throw in the boutique rooms of Artist Residence and you can settle in for the long haul. Slap bang in the centre of town, The Market House is sandwiched between London and Oxford (both 25 mins by train) with a kitchen and bar paying tribute to local producers. You’ll find an ever-changing selection of delicious street food, a seasonal cocktail menu and a seemingly endless list of craft beer and wines. There are 24 rooms available, and each one is individually decorated. The tastefully framed bits of Reading paraphernalia, Bramley bathroom toiletries and yoga mat leant against the wall are a nice touch. Prices start at £89.
Hurley House, Hurley
A country crash pad that’s big on comfort, and the restaurant is a foodie destination in its own right. Hurley House – nestled between Marlow and Henley with the Chiltern Hills just to the north – serves modern British dishes and superb sushi, too. The menu is a celebration of ‘there there’ dishes with a twist, all celebrating British produce and exceptional flavours. Need a lie-down? Ten boutique rooms are available on two levels and they’re dreamy – monogrammed bedding, large bathrooms with bubblicious freestanding baths and rain showers, plus all with high tech stuff that customers now expect: Wi-Fi, Smart TVs, and capsule coffee machines. If you need to escape to the country for great food and quality zzz, you’ll love Hurley House. Rooms from £110.
The Mash Inn, Radnage
Tucked away in the Chiltern Hills (bring your wellies for exploring), The Mash Inn is a 300-year-old foodie haven that looks like something straight out of a vintage postcard. The menu is unquestionably the main attraction here, with head chef Jon Parry slaving over the open wood-fired grill with freshly foraged, locally farmed ingredients for mouth-watering lunches and dinners from Wednesday to Saturday, plus a Sunday lunch. Not one for picky eaters, set and tasting menus are the way of the life here, but with trad dishes given a seasonal twist, there’s something here for the fussiest palette – all washed down with sparkling wine from Marlow’s own Harrow & Hope, naturally.
The six guest bedrooms are minimalist luxe, with the newer and more spacious rooms in the Garden Annexe (although lovers of a traditional beam will prefer the cozier rooms above the restaurant). Whichever you choose, you’ll be treated to a night in a king-sized Hypnos bed, a soak in the free-standing tub with L:A Bruket toiletries and breakfast delivered to your room the next morning. You won’t have room for much (trust us!), so the freshly-baked croissants, homemade granola and tea and coffee are a delightfully light way to start the morning. B&B doubles from £110.
The Hand and Flowers, Marlow
It’s not often you find a pub with two Michelin stars – largely because Tom Kerridge’s Marlow gem The Hand and Flowers is the only one. Locals will be au fait with this quirky bolthole and its deceptively simple menu, as will the various foodie tourists clamouring to get a table (it’s first come, first served here), but while you may not be able to make a dining reservation, you can book one of the bedrooms on offer.
The Hand and Flowers isn’t a hotel, but instead books out heart-stoppingly gorgeous rooms in cottages dotted around Marlow, all a stone’s throw from the restaurant (although if you’re worried about dragging your suitcase about, don’t fret – you’ll be dropped off and picked up). We’ve got our eye on the brand new Robinswood Hill room (above) in Sunset Cottage, but all rooms come with luxe perks such as vast free-standing baths, outdoor hot tubs and rainfall showers, and include a cooked breakfast in the pub in the price. Do we have to leave? B&B doubles from £240.
Coombeshead Farm, Lewannick, Nr Launceston
Coombeshead Farm is a proper foodie destination (co-owned by chefs Tom Adams & April Bloomfield) with the added bonus of having somewhere totally delightful to rest your weary self. Small but perfectly formed, there are just five bedrooms in the gorgeous Georgian farmhouse, meaning peace and tranquility abound. In addition to the farmhouse, guests have the run of the 66-acre working farm and can explore the woodlands, meadows and farmland to the heart’s content as well as to work up an appetite. Wellies and Seasalt raincoats are even provided, so you can pack light – save your suitcase space for your elasticated eating pants.
The farm has been sympathetically and cosily renovated with dinner served in what was once a barn and now is part open kitchen, part restaurant tables (the best sourdough bread ever is made in the bakery next door). The food rightly focuses heavily on produce grown and raised at the farm, expertly, lovingly and innovatively cooked by Tom and his team. Snacks and drinks are served in the farmhouse sitting room at 6.45pm and then guests move to the restaurant tables, all beautifully laid with sheepskin rugs on the chairs, for the five-course set menu. After spending the night sampling the homemade tipples at the honesty bar, you can indulge in the splendiferous breakfast only available to residents the next morning.
The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor, Nr St Ives
The Gurnard’s Head is many things to many people, given the location miles from anywhere between St Ives and Land’s End on the South West Coast Path. Set among the wilds of Penwith, the area offers some of the most spectacular walks in Cornwall. While for some the gorse yellow exterior signals their local pub, serving up roasts and decent drinks from the inviting but rustic bar, The Gurnard’s Head is also a proper foodie destination in its own right. Choose a table in the more formal dining room at the back and you’re a long way from anything you ever thought of as a country pub.
The kitchen is headed up by chef Max Wilson (formerly of sister Inn The Felin Fach Griffin, in Wales) serving up simple, fresh, seasonal Cornish food. As a founding member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, all the produce used at The Gurnard’s Head is sourced as responsibly and locally as possible.
Eat your fill and then stagger upstairs to one of the seven bedrooms that are all stylish and comfortable with cosy details, ensuite showers and views of either the sea or the moor. They are filled with Bramley toiletries, a Roberts Radio and beds you won’t want to get out of – but you must, for to miss the breakfast would be a crime.
The Royal George, Irsha Street, Appledore
Tucked down Appledore’s best insta-spot on Irsha Street overlooking the Taw and Torridge Estuary, The Royal George was saved from dereliction and re-opened by Garth and Sascha in 2018 and is fast becoming North Devon’s most sought-after booking. Serving classic pub burgers, fish and chips and veggie options, this 2019 Muddy-award winning is all about local. Owner Garth can tell you exactly where and how everything, including the grass-fed beef and lamb on the menu, has been raised and the 23 food miles it’s travelled right down to the decimal point. Four upstairs rooms, three with sea views, are all individually designed and upcycled in fresh, seaside style by Sascha. It’s buzzy, with a cool child and pooch-pleasing vibe with plenty of local-friendly monthly supper clubs, gin clubs, and new for 2020 a monthly tasting menu. Yum.
Broomhill Art Hotel, Muddiford, Barnstaple
Food at Devon’s artiest hotel is a Mediterranean affair, carefully sourced and made by owner-chef Rinus and Aniet van de Sande, and as beautifully created as the modern art and sculptures inside the hotel and the 12 acres of leafy parkland around you. Made in slow tradition, the menu is full of top-notch local ingredients, much of the artisan wine is vegan and sulphite-free and it’s served in a gorgeous gallery-style setting. The upstairs rooms are just as thoughtfully curated, adorned with abstract prints, paintings and cool furniture, and sooo comfortable thanks to its pared-back Scandi style. A total treat for anyone who hankers after quality, simple food made with love in an unpretentious, arty setting. Go, go, go!
HIX Oyster House & Fish House & HIX Townhouse, Lyme Regis
The views of the Jurassic Coast from the HIX Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis are stunning – just like their fish and seafood – and, very handily, the boutique HIX Townhouse is just a short stroll away. Local boy Mark Hix knows all the best local suppliers, so fish and seafood comes from the Dorset coast, wine from local vineyards, and Palmer’s brewery makes HIX’s own label beer. The HIX Townhouse’s eight luxury, en-suite rooms are individually themed by Mark and/or local artists and friends. So one’s decked out with sailing paraphernalia, another has walls covered with hats… get the picture? A HIX Hamper filled with goodies arrives for breakfast, there are Nespresso machines in the rooms (or make toast and coffee in the communal kitchen) and there are Black Cow Vodka, Salcombe Gin and other local tipples in the mini bar. You can even borrow a pair of Hunter wellies. Rooms from £120/night – or hire the whole place. Guests get a 10% discount at the restaurant. A 3-course meal with wine, coffee and service costs around £50.
The Ollerod, Beaminster
With former Michelin-star chef Chris Staines (Mandarin Oriental Hotel) and his partner Silvana Bandini (The Pig Hotels) at the helm, you know you’re going to get something special (their recent Three AA Rosette award is a clue, too). Located in the pretty market town of Beaminster, and oozing with atmos (the building is medieval), the restaurant serves up seasonal à la carte and small plates menus combining West Country ingredients, international know-how and Chris’s signature Asian twists. Thirteen en suite, individually decorated bedrooms – from cool contemporary to classic English – have fine Italian Frette bedlinen and organic toiletries. Children and dogs can come too. The icing on the cake? Treat yourself to a Lovegrove Essentials wellness experience while you’re there. The Foodie Escape: 3-course lunch, 5-course tasting menu dinner, B&B for two from £309 from 1 April to 30 June 2020.
Flitch of Bacon, Little Dunmow
If you’re searching for a decent bite in Essex, you can’t miss out on the county’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, Tim Allen’s Flitch of Bacon Inn. Tucked away in the tiny hamlet of Little Dunmow, this grade I-listed 16th century inn is certainly worth a detour for foodies – especially as you’ll have one of three sumptuous en-suite rooms to collapse in after you’ve finished sampling the wares. The food is proper farm-to-table seasonal fare, and very reasonably priced for a restaurant of this calibre – all the more reason to splash out on the 7-course tasting menu, £70pp. Special occasion? Try the Gourmet Experience package, which includes an overnight stay with breakfast, a five-course tasting menu (plus a Bellini to wash it down with), handmade luxury chocolates to finish and a signed menu by chef Tim Allen. £250 for 2 people on Tues-Thurs, £325 for 2 people on Fri.
Wild Garlic & Wilder, Nailsworth
Regarded by those in the know as foodie heaven, Nailsworth in the picturesque Cotswold hills is the ultimate dine ‘n’ dive destination. This fabulously friendly, family run eatery boasts 2 AA rosettes for its incredible year-round seasonal food and wine list, and has five rooms to choose from when you are ready to roll yourself to bed. Head for the luxurious Loft Suite, with its enormous superking bed, walk-in rainforest shower and free-standing bath. You can also dine at Wild Garlic’s sibling Wilder, just a stone’s throw away which serves up blind-tasting menus depending on what has been sourced from local markets that day, from artisan sharing plates to locally produced pasta. And if you’re coming en-famille book into The Nest, a family suite which has a separate bunk bed area for the kiddos.
Tudor Farmhouse, Clearwell
If you go down to the woods today, be sure to book into Tudor Farmhouse. This idyllic restaurant-with-rooms is a boutique foodie retreat set off the beaten track, in the magical Forest of Dean near the Wye Valley. Visitors come for the food, which is renowned for miles around, and stay for the rooms which feature roll top baths, monsoon showers and beautiful 13th century beamed ceilings. Don’t just take our word for it, Tatler recently described the Farmhouse as a ‘culinary oasis’. They take their food pretty seriously here and guests can go on year-round Foraging Trips with resident naturalist Ed Drewitt – a theme, as newly-appointed Michelin-trained head chef Joe Williams sources all his ingredients within a 20 mile radius. As a result, the vibe is always seasonal, simple and utterly delicious. Highly recommended for a romantic break – The Loft Suite is the perfect hideaway for two – but also great for families with sofa beds available in the suites.
The Jack Russell Inn, Andover
Dog lovers, this one’s for you! In case the name wasn’t a dead giveaway, The Jack Russell is a pooch-friendly bolthole tucked away in the super-cute rural village of Faccombe on the Hants/Berks border. Four-legged friends get a warm welcome here – look out for the landlord’s canine companions, Barnie and Betty – and the North Downs location means you have excellent walks right on your doorstep (4000 acres worth, at last count). Even the country chic bedrooms are named after dogs! We’re partial to the palatial Great Dane room (above), a deluxe super-king suite located on the top floor of The Dog House complete with a private balcony. Even Fido will appreciate those sunset views.
The food here is certainly something to howl about – the Jack Russell has a strong environmental focus, so the kitchen’s ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced from Faccombe Farm and Estate and Hollington Farm down the road in Highclere. The result is unpretentious but utterly delicious gastro-pub fare, with sample dishes including venison ragu, wild mushroom gnocchi and pheasant and chorizo scotch egg (don’t mind us, we’re just dribbling onto our keyboard). B&B doubles from £100.
The Mayflower, Lymington
Weekend getaway, ahoy! Don your best sailor’s blues and head to this nautical-but-nice inn on the southern edge of the New Forest, on the double. With the picturesque cobbled streets of Lymington at your disposal, not to mention rambles in the New Forest and water sports at the nearby water park, The Mayflower makes for a stellar mini-break for both couples and families.
There are six mega-comfortable en-suite rooms, all named after historic sailing ships and decorated in the prerequisite sea blues and stormy greys, but don’t let the theming put you off – think sailor chic rather than theme park pirate ship. Food-wise, the mantra is best of British and super fresh, with menus changing seasonally to reflect what the Hampshire countryside and coastline has to offer. Expect gastropub classics with plenty of excellent seafood. Rooms from £93 per night.
HERTFORDSHIRE & BEDFORDSHIRE
Farmhouse at Redcoats, Hitchin
Fancy something a little rustic? How about slurping (sorry, but it is) down Brancaster Staithe Oysters before tucking in to the Woodview Farm Pork Plate of Roast tenderloin, rolled belly pork, black pudding & thyme pommes, in the bucolic barn-like restaurant space of the Farmhouse at Redcoats? After one of the chef’s delightful puddings, head back to your characterful room in either the Farmhouse itself or one of the barn spaces. And relax.
Brocket Hall, Welwyn
Would you like to know a little secret? Salubrious 18th century estate and events venue Brocket Hall has a really rather amazing gourmet restaurant perfectly positioned on the side of the lake. This former hunting lodge has glorious views – either from the light and airy dining room or the sophisticated terrace – and even more glorious menu options. And once you’ve scoffed and quaffed yourself into a coma, just roll along the lakeside (not too close to the edge, mind) and back to your room at the beautifully appointed Melborne Lodge.
ISLE OF WIGHT
The Little Gloster, Gurnard
This lively hangout takes the name ‘restaurant with rooms’ seriously – you’ll need to nab one of only three stunning suites if you want to stay overnight at The Little Gloster. You’ll thank yourself for booking early though when you see those coastal views (especially if you get one of the two front rooms, which boast either a private balcony or a garden terrace). If you’re feeling generous, children can be accommodated in the same room on a zed-bed, but – whisper it – we’re keeping this one to ourselves for a romantic stay.
Even if you’re not staying over (uh, why?), the award-winning restaurant should be more than enough of a draw for you. As you’d expect, the seafood here is so fresh it’s practically still swimming, but it’s not all fish – there are plenty of upscale British comfort foods on the menu just waiting to put you in a carb coma. Plus, the restaurant’s Scandi-meets-sailboat interiors will look so good on your IG feed. Rooms start at £130 per night.
The Hambrough, Ventnor
This boutique B&B is a must-do for fans of a traditional seaside stay – it’s only a five-minute walk from the beach, for starters, and Victorian resort Ventnor is known for its warm microclimate, sandy beach and fabulous antique shopping (Kate Moss is said to be a fan). The Hambrough is an ideal base for exploring, but we’ll forgive you if you’d rather kick back in one of the seven sea-view rooms instead. Top tip – book Room 1 or 2 to nab a balcony. Bringing along the whole family? You can book one of The Hambrough’s private cottages or apartments for your coastal pad.
A classic B&B needs a menu to match, and The Hambrough restaurant’s head chef Ashley Randle is happy to oblige. The focus is on modern European cuisine (made with local ingredients, of course) and you’ll be pleased to hear that home-made afternoon teas are de rigueur. Rooms start at £130 per room.
The Manor House, Quorn
In a nutshell, a gorgeous country restaurant with luxury bedrooms upstairs. Owner Phil opened up a few more bedrooms last year and it’s really taken the place up a notch. The Manor House now offers 12 comfortable, contemporary and luxurious bedrooms each with their own character and decor. Sink into the plush beds or soak in the roll top baths before tearing yourself away for dinner. Food is an eclectic mix, with everything from Goan spiced sea bass to butternut squash, pea and sweetcorn risotto but their Sunday roast is not to be missed.
Eyas Resturant, The Falcon, Castle Ashby
On the site of former village coaching inn The Falcon, Eyas is named after the word for a young falcon, an appropriate term for something set to soar. This hotly anticipated new restaurant, nestled in the grand shadow of Castle Ashby House and it’s 11,000 acre country estate, is the brainchild of Lord and Lady Northampton and is headed up by chef James Gordon, formerly of Cheltenham institution The Lucky Onion. The emphasis is strongly on regional and home grown produce, and the kitchen works in collaboration with local farmers, estate gamekeepers and nurseries to present seasonal and organic feel-good food with a global twist. The rooms here are all about relaxing in luxury, so expect calming, earthy palettes and natural materials with the idea of connecting guests to the surrounding countryside, plus you’ll find luxe organic products from La Eva. Prices start from £360 for a two night stay. Eyas is currently due to launch on 6 April, watch this space for more details.
The Hopping Hare, Duston
Hop to it! The Hopping Hare is a buzzing, contemporary restaurant on the edge of Northampton and we are loving their commitment to using carefully selected ingredients from local producers. You’ll be grazing on Olney asparagus, Moulton honey and Litchborough quails eggs, as well as fresh produce grown on the nearby allotments and homemade ice-cream. The cosy rooms are well located for some of Northamptonshire’s best attractions: Althorp House, Siverstone Circuit, the Royal and Derngate Theatre and Franklin’s Gardens, home of Northampton Saints, are all a stones throw away. Rooms start from around £70 a night, so this is fine dining and relaxed accommodation without the hefty price tag.
The Miller of Mansfield, Goring-on-Thames
It’s no wonder that The Miller of Mansfield on the Oxfordshire/Berkshire border is hailed as a gourmet retreat, with Fat Duck Group alumni Mary and Nick Galer at the helm (apparently Heston has visited, and he’s a big fan). The vibe here is fine dining in a casual setting – the quirky, cozy interiors make The Miller a more than comfortable setting to while away an afternoon while you tuck in to Nick’s 9-course signature menu.
Once you’ve put your best elasticated waistband to the test in the restaurant, roll yourself to one of the 13 individually designed en-suite bedrooms to sleep it off. With original features, marble bathrooms (complete with rain showers and baths big enough for two) and plenty of design pizzazz, we can’t think of a better place to be.
Red Lodge Country House , Narford
Nestled in the West Norfolk countryside, Red Lodge is the type of place you feel has been hidden from the world and frozen in time. This 16th Century Georgian house oozes rustic homely charm, with creaky floorboards, open fires, wrought iron bath tubs and four poster beds for the full country pile experience.
The restaurant has a formal feel befitting the period of the house but never fear -it’s an overall relaxed experience. Owner and head chef Peter encourages his guests to savour every minute of the menu, so there’s no rush here – adjust your inner clock to ‘chill’ and sit back and enjoy a gourmet meal where virtually everything on the menu is grown or reared on the neighbouring estate. Don’t forget to partake of the slightly retro corner bar next door before rolling upstairs to bed.
Red Lodge is dog-friendly and can be booked by the room, or you can hire the whole house for a luxe getaway. Game is a speciality and if you fancy learning a few of Peter’s secrets, check out the private cookery courses.
The Ingham Swan, Ingham
This former 14th Century Coaching inn has been recently restored to all it’s former glory and with Chef Patron Daniel Smith (who you’ll recognise from BBC2’s Great British Chef) and Head Chef Alex Clare at the helm this fine dine restaurant with rooms is definitely one to add to your list if you like a place with accolades.
Daniel Smith worked under Michel Roux Jr at two Michelin-starred restaurant La Gavroche in London before achieving his very own Michelin Star aged 23 at Morston Hall. Now he lends his touch to the menus at The Ingham Swan, where you can choose from Lunch & Dinner Du Jour, A La Carte, Sunday Lunch and Tasting Menus.
The Stay and Dine experience is what you really want, and starts at a very reasonable £125 per night per room. Split between the converted stable block and neighbouring cottage, all rooms have walk-in showers, flat screen tv’s, luxury bed linens, coffee machines, parking on site and WiFi.
The PIG at Bridge Place, Canterbury
As with all the restaurants in this legendary hotel group, the theme is rustic-charm with a cool, cosmopolitan edge. Less than an hour by train from central London, this old building has rock-n-roll in the very heart of its red brick – having played host to some renowned parties and gigs including the likes of Led Zeppelin. Twaaaang! There’s several options for accommodation – all with bags of character – including bedrooms in the main house, the Coach House, family friendly lodges and The Barn – a rustic romantic two-storey hideaway in the old stables. Or, keeping up our county’s tradition, there’s even Kentish Hop Pickers’ Huts to stay in too. But the main focus here, of course, is on fine dining – expect The PIG‘s unique cult classics alongside original dishes created from their own kitchen garden.
The Wife of Bath, Wye
One of the esteemed Mark Sargeant group of restaurants and pubs, this eatery exemplifies the perfect marriage – modern dining and a richly period setting. The name is a nod to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (but you twigged that, right?) because this striking restaurant sits pretty in rural Wye – traditionally a place of rest for weary travellers en route to the historic city of Canterbury. Today it’s one of Kent’s finest food destinations and also boasts six stunning guest rooms, three set above the restaurant and bar and three in the cottage annexe – where the furnishings are most definitely more modern luxury rather than medieval. I feel a pilgrimage coming on.
Sheene Mill, Melbourn
Can’t decide who’s going to be the designated driver and miss out on washing down a delicious meal with a few glasses of wine? No-one has to draw the short straw at Sheene Mill in Melbourn in South Cambridgeshire, because this pretty 16th century mill has ten bedrooms for you to choose from to rest sore heads after a night in the award-winning restaurant. Wake up to wonderful views of the River Mel and the old mill pond, plus a gourmet breakfast and all hangovers will be forgotten.
The Northgate, Bury St Edmunds
It’s no secret in Bury St Edmunds that The Northgate is the place to book for a gourmet night out in a stunning setting. The restaurant is home to Suffolk’s only Chef’s Table experience and regularly has guest chefs joining the award-winning team. If you’ve had one too many of the cool and inventive cocktails during dinner though, which include sharing drinks for four people served in a watering can, then you might want to make the most of the nine, characterful and calming bedrooms upstairs. As The Northgate is a former Victorian home, each of the rooms are individually styled and unique, but all come with luxurious interiors and traditional features, as well as a delicious full Suffolk breakfast the next morning.
Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk
Tuddenham Mill is a gastronomic oasis in the Suffolk countryside between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. Restaurant settings don’t get much more spectacular than the entire floor of an historic mill, with beams and original features galore. The locally-inspired and sourced food here has been awarded three AA rosettes, so a delightful dinner is a given. Really enjoy the sublime countryside setting though and make a night of it in one of the 21 boutique bedrooms, which range from contemporary chic loft suites and characterful mill rooms to romantic meadow nooks and mill stream rooms in the gorgeous grounds.
The Japanese Grill at Beaverbrook, near Leatherhead
When Jay Rayner, The Guardian’s notoriously hard-to-please restaurant critic, comes away from a dining experience raving about it, you know it must be good. He says it’s “shockingly good” – which is high praise indeed! Beaverbrook was once the home of the press baron Max Aiken, AKA Lord Beaverbrook, but is now a country house hotel with 25 boutique bedrooms and a luxury spa. The Japanese Grill is in the Main House, in an elegant dining room next door to Sir Frank’s Bar, named after Sir Frank Lowe who is responsible for the opulent Gatsby-esque art deco interiors in the house. Ex-Nobu executive chef, Taiji Maruyama, is the man at the helm offering a locally-inspired Japanese menu of sushi, sashimi, and nigiri, and meat and fish from the Josper grill. There are set tasting menus from £60-£95 per person, as well as an a la carte and a lunch bento box menu.
The Cat Inn, West Hoathly
This characterful pub is a Muddy award winner, scooping Destination Pub last year. It’s the sort of place that gets the balance between local eatery and destination for foodies just perfectly, helped along the way by the four cosy rooms, should you want to stay over after you’ve filled your boots.
Owner Andrew used to be general manager at Gravetye Manor, and he’s brought everything he knows about hospitality (spoiler: a lot) to The Cat. The result is top notch food, fresh seasonal and local natch, from a menu that changes regularly and includes specials such as the recent seafood dinner featuring chalk stream trout tartare and poached wild skate fillet, matched with wines, and upcoming vegan dinner. Once you’re full of comfort food, retire upstairs to one of the smart and comfortable hotel-standard rooms.
If you’re doing an overnighter, The Cat is on the edge of the Ashdown Forest and close to National Trust properties, the Bluebell Railway and more. It’s also well within range for a pre-flight stopover if you’re heading out from Gatwick. But it’s not one to do with the kids, unless they’re over 7.
The Crab & Lobster, Selsey
Come for the locally caught seafood and locally reared meat, stay for more of the seafood! Situated next to Pagham Harbour, within easy reach of Petworth and Chichester, this is a traditional and cosy destination pub that does a good local trade as well as catering for the travelling foodies. Stay over in one of the luxury rooms or even book adjoining two double-bedroom Crab Cottage to crash afterwards with your besties. When Muddy visited we went on a crab rampage but the menu (a la carte or set) has plenty of other non-crustacean choices too.
Bistro Lotte, Frome
Manger on classic French dishes – steak frites, moules mariniere, bouillabaisse, galettes and more – in the buzzy bistro, a former grocery store, on the ground floor and then climb the escaliers to one of the 10 comfy en suite B&B rooms above, two of which are family rooms and others will welcome your chien. Situated at the top of Frome’s groovy Catherine Hill with the town’s myriad delights – independent shops, cinema, art galleries and the Frome Independent market (first Sunday of the month) – all there for the taking, a stay here makes for a very bonne night or weekend away. Spring Getaway: a mid-week dinner and B&B for two £130, throughout March, April and May 2020. Read our review.
Little Barwick House, nr Yeovil
A stay at this elegant and relaxed Georgian country house restaurant with rooms, set in three and a half acres of luscious landscaped gardens just south of Yeovil, feels rather like friends have invited you to their home for the weekend – albeit friends with Three AA Rosettes, Five Star Inspectors Choice Restaurant with Rooms, a César Award and more. Flip through Country Life with a drink by the fire in the cosy sitting room. Eat in the Michelin-listed, fine dining restaurant, where owner Tim Ford is in the kitchen. Slumber under luxury white cotton sheets, White Company wool blankets or a goose and duck down duvet, in one of seven double bedrooms (one converts to twin) with private bathrooms and mostly overlooking the gardens. Could it be more relaxing? Midweek Sparkler: afternoon tea, 3-course dinner and B&B £130 per person/per night. Last minute break: 3-course dinner and B&B £130 per person/per night Read our review.
The Bower House, Shipston on Stour
An arty restaurant with six unique rooms in a handsome Grade II listed building in this historic Warwickshire market town, north of the Cotswolds. The destination restaurant, bar and kitchen are overseen by Sukhjinder Aujla, who previously worked at Nobu, The Savoy and The Metropolitan. An inventive cocktail list heavily features local spirits while the wine list focuses on small, family run-vineyards. The restaurant is open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a hugely popular brunch on Saturdays, and a Sunday roast named one of the UK’s 50 best by Tom Parker Bowles in the Mail on Sunday. The rooms were described by The Sunday Times as “six-star havens” with comfy super-kingsize beds, dreamy Hypnos mattresses and beautifully decorated with a mix of antique, vintage and contemporary furniture. Indulgent and enormous, bathrooms feature cast iron baths and monsoon showers, and are all stocked with Cotswolds-made Ila spa products. Cosy and Attic Rooms start at £99.
The Townhouse, Stratford-upon-Avon
An excellently-located restaurant with 11 lovely, individually decorated boutique rooms in the heart of Stratford upon Avon. Set inside a 400-year-old, Grade II Listed building opposite Shakespeare’s school, The Townhouse is just a two minutes’ walk to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Enjoy a light lunch or relaxed dinner in the attractive restaurant. The dinner menu is designed to suit all tastes, with tasty vegetarian options. A pre-theatre set menu runs from 12pm – 3pm & 5pm – 6.30pm every day. The bar has a great selection of wines, whiskies, craft beers, champagne and a bespoke gin menu. Every Monday to Saturday at 5.30pm, there’s live piano played by students from Shakespeare’s old school, King Edward’s School. Rooms are en-suite with Nespresso machines, WiFi and a nightcap of port. B&B starts at £80 per night midweek and £130 per night at the weekend.
Pythouse Kitchen Garden, Tisbury
Pythouse Kitchen Garden is an enchanting 18th Century walled garden and restaurant set in the stunning landscape of South Wiltshire. Whether you are savouring homegrown produce in the restaurant, celebrating warm summer nights under canvas or letting your imagination run wild in the garden, there’s no corner of England quite like this one. Stay overnight in their magical glamping village, tucked away in the secluded orchard.
The Peppermill, Devises
We love The Peppermill in Devizes, an AA 5* restaurant with rooms, offering a contemporary British menu, always using fresh, seasonal ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible. Upstairs are 9 gorgeous places to rest your weary head, including a honeymoon suite with a Queen Anne 4 poster bed.
Russells of Broadway, Broadway, Worcestershire
This boutique gourmet getaway is one of the big stars of this quintessential picture postcard town. Infact it’s worth eating at Russell’s just for an excuse to then bed down for the night. Plump for one of seven guest rooms or suites within the building – all with quirky features you’d expect in a Cotswold bolthole, and the kind of dreamy bathrooms that cry out for a glass of fizz with every dip. Downstairs, the modern British menu from head chef George Santos puts a delicious spin on familiar fish and meat dishes and it changes daily. There’s also a vegan menu and a dessert menu of dreams, featuring innovative ingredients like juniper, saffron and parsnip. And a great tip – if you stay here you also get free entrance to the nearby Gordon Russell Design Museum, also in Broadway, which is a must-visit.