Archive For The “UK” Category

The Garden House – a stay with friends – hotel review

The Garden House – a stay with friends – hotel review

The Beaverbrook Estate is vast. The main house (to be completed as a hotel of distinction later in 2017) is baronial. But there is another hotel which is part of this well-appointed complex and it’s unique. The Garden House is on a more human scale than the main house which was once the home of…

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The Garden House Restaurant, Leatherhead – review

The Garden House Restaurant, Leatherhead – review

This truly is a ‘garden’ house with the intimate character of a cosy cottage. (Read more about the Garden House here.) It’s part of the Beaverbrook Estate and the smaller of two hotels, the other being the lavish and imposing main house which was once the home of Lord Beaverbrook, one of the most influential…

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Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill, Windsor – restaurant review

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill, Windsor – restaurant review

Marco Pierre White has long been considered the wild child of the culinary scene, although he actually seems like a rather charming character in interview these days. For those who don’t hail from these shores, Marco is a celebrated British chef, restaurateur, and television personality, and was perhaps the first British celebrity chef; he was,…

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Castle Hotel, Windsor – hotel review

Castle Hotel, Windsor – hotel review

Windsor is just 23 miles (37 km) from Central London with convenient transport links. It’s not far from Heathrow Airport and many visitors are lucky enough to get an aerial view of Windsor Castle from the plane. It’s a shame that a relatively small number make it out of the capital to come and get…

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Luton Hoo to Stay – hotel review

Luton Hoo to Stay – hotel review

Luton Hoo is an English country house and estate with easy access to London. But what is a ‘hoo’? The unusual name “Hoo” is a Saxon word meaning the spur of a hill. Luton Hoo is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, but a family called de Hoo lived on the site for four hundred…

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Champagne Taittinger at Luton Hoo – restaurant review

Champagne Taittinger at Luton Hoo – restaurant review

Champagne is the quintessential celebration drink. We enjoy it with friends and loved ones, accompanied by fine foods, perhaps in a drawing room with high ceilings, Grinling Gibbons wood carvings and sumptuous drapes. Well, OK, most of us can’t manage that stunning setting …but Luton Hoo can! Luton Hoo is an English Country House Hotel…

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The Talbot, Ripley, to Stay – hotel review

The Talbot, Ripley, to Stay – hotel review

Visitors to London are tempted to stay just in the city. There is plenty to see and do, so why roam? It’s the same for us Londoners – we tend to stay in town, but there is more to England than that and it’s on our doorstep. You must visit The Talbot. Ripley is a…

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The Talbot for fine dining – restaurant review

The Talbot for fine dining – restaurant review

The Talbot has history. It’s typical of coaching inns all over the country and this one, in particular, has a story – well, probably many. It is said to have provided the venue for assignations between Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton in 1798. There is a brass plate bearing Nelson’s name on one of the…

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Hotel TerraVina for Bed and Breakfast – hotel review

Hotel TerraVina for Bed and Breakfast – hotel review

We are blessed with many fine hotels in the UK. All the 5* chains are well represented in all major cities. But we also have a wealth of boutique and Country House hotels and each is unique and characterful. The New Forest is beautiful and mostly unspoilt and it also has hotels which reflect the…

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Balmer Lawn: New Forest Stay – hotel review

Balmer Lawn: New Forest Stay – hotel review

Following the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror designated this wooded corner of southern England as a royal forest for the pleasure of the king and his court. The area was cleared for regal entertainment at the expense of more than 20 small hamlets and farms; hence it was considered a ‘new’ forest, although it was…

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Hotel TerraVina Dining – restaurant review

Hotel TerraVina Dining – restaurant review

Hotel TerraVina is a gem. It’s a well-appointed house – well, it seems like someone’s home (read the accommodation review here). A line of colourful wellies in the hall welcomes the arriving guests. The rooms are individually designed and the beds are the best I have ever slept on! One might not want to leave…

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Bel, the Dragon and the Village – hotel review

Bel, the Dragon and the Village – hotel review

Sounds like the title of an improbable fable or fairy tale but here it all is and not far from London. Yes, there is more to Britain than just the tourist attractions of our Capital. It would be a shame to come here and just visit those well-publicised spots. Churt is an old village even…

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Brooklands Hotel for dinner – restaurant review

Brooklands Hotel for dinner – restaurant review

Brooklands is rather unique. It straddles contemporary design and the historic connections that its very name evokes. One might not be familiar with Brooklands Hotel but almost everybody will have heard of the Brooklands Racing Circuit. The restaurant is called 1907 and that doesn’t refer to seven minutes past seven in the evening. It’s the…

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Brooklands Hotel Surrey – travel review

Brooklands Hotel Surrey – travel review

I live in West London but whenever I consider a weekend break I turn right instead of left at the end of the road. That takes me to central London with the thronging crowds, fuss and rush. Lots of excitement, it’s true, but it hardly constitutes relaxation, and perhaps if I turn left there could…

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The Terrace at The Montagu Arms – hotel and restaurant review

The Terrace at The Montagu Arms – hotel and restaurant review

The New Forest is a beautiful and ancient area in the south of England and is in fact very far from ‘new’. It was a royal hunting estate and was created in 1079 by William I. You will likely know him as William the Conqueror who took possession of that tract of land and everything…

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Careys Manor Hotel in The New Forest – hotel review

Careys Manor Hotel in The New Forest – hotel review

This is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt corners of the British Isles. The New Forest is an area in southern England with an expanse of open pasture, heath and forest and it covers south-west Hampshire, south-east Wiltshire and on to east Dorset. The New Forest was created as a royal hunting ground by…

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Ivy Roost Cottage, New Forest – travel review

Ivy Roost Cottage, New Forest – travel review

My first taste of self-catering was as a 7-year-old and it did rather taint my expectations of that style of holiday for the following half-century. It was a ‘chalet’ (3-metre square prefab) in Sackets Grove. It had a wealth of ornithological interest, being situated next to Clacton’s municipal dump which was the feeding ground for…

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Chef Matthew Tomkinson, The Terrace, Montagu Arms, Beaulieu – interview

Chef Matthew Tomkinson, The Terrace, Montagu Arms, Beaulieu – interview

He is a Michelin-starred chef and a Roux Scholarship winner but Chef Matthew Tomkinson seems untouched by his celebrity. He is a nice bloke who loves his work, and the rest is just the proverbial icing on the well-presented cake. I asked Matthew if he came from a cheffy background. Did his family have anything…

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The French Horn at Sonning – hotel and restaurant review

The French Horn at Sonning – hotel and restaurant review

Sonning! It sounds ancient and smart and indeed it is just that. It’s a chocolate-box pretty spot that is so quintessentially English and timeless. That same quality is found at The French Horn. St Andrew’s Church, in the centre of the village, was founded in Saxon times – probably by Birinus, first bishop of Dorchester-on-Thames….

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Chef Josiane Diaga at The French Horn – interview

Chef Josiane Diaga at The French Horn – interview

The French Horn is iconic, quintessentially English and has a celebrated restaurant. The chef has an equally enviable reputation but she isn’t English. This is, after all the ‘French’ Horn. The owner is Michael Emmanuel and he knows what makes a good chef. “We’ve always been about good food cooked well and delivered properly. I’ve…

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