Exteriors 24

Eat well sleep well

Anna Berrill discovers the UK’s finest temples to good food where a superb meal and a great night’s kip go hand in hand

The Rose and Crown Romaldkirk, County Durham

Set on the green in the well-turned-out village of Romaldkirk, this ivy-clad 18th-century coaching inn is an idyllic spot in which to get away from the world. After walks exploring this rugged corner of the north Pennines, bag a Windsor chair and order local real ales or a single malt from the buzzing bar. Come evening, in the candlelit, oak-panelled dining room, the unfussy, modern British menu is fully delicious. Dishes might include pan-fried fillet of sea trout with roasted baby gem lettuce and crushed peas or honey-glazed goat’s cheese with apples and hazelnut, while local Teesdale lamb is rarely off the menu. With a wine list as tempting as here, you’d be foolish not to check in for the night. All 14 rooms ooze character, but those in Monk’s Cottage, just around the corner from the pub, are particularly impressive, with their ceiling beams and exposed stone walls. Breakfasts of smoky beans on focaccia toast and smoked haddock omelette make a welcome change from the norm.

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Travel Details

Three courses from £26pp.

Doubles from £115.

01833 650 213


The Raby Hunt Summerhouse, County Durham

Talented self-taught chef James Close is the mastermind behind The Raby Hunt. Inspired by a meal at El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, he set about transforming a 200-year-old drover’s inn into a gourmet retreat and, boy, did he deliver. You’ll find it in the hamlet of Summerhouse, where, in its heyday, weary travellers knocked on the door for a place to rest en route to Scotland. In 2012 it was the Michelin inspectors who came a-knockin’, awarding the restaurant its first star. A second came in 2016, and it remains the only spot in the North East with the accolade. Today, guests come to feast. Close’s uncluttered style draws upon myriad culinary traditions from Japan to Mexico. Choose from a 12- or 15-course journey moving through the likes of Lindisfarne oyster and miso-glazed scallop to crab tacos and razor clams with almond and celeriac (above) then delicate Cumbrian lamb. Book one of the three simple, comfortable bedrooms well in advance: you’ll appreciate a place to flop after 15 courses.

The Raby Hunt Restaurant At Summerhouse County Durham Razor Clam With Almond And Celeriac From The Tasting Menu

Travel Details

12-course tasting menu from £110pp.

Doubles from £170.

01325 374 237


No. 131 Cheltenham

One of five design-led properties owned by hotel and restaurant group The Lucky Onion, this Georgian Grade II-listed townhouse is as sympathetic as it is coolly contemporary. Zinc-topped bars, beautiful tiled floors and velvet-clad sofas don’t detract from the building’s handsome simplicity. The food is serious business, from Hobbs House Bakery sourdough to tuna tartare with avocado, wasabi tobiko and crispy wontons, and Tim Johnson’s Angus sirloin with Stilton hollandaise. An after-dinner tipple in the sybaritic basement bar, Crazy Eights, with live jazz is a must. The central location makes it the ideal spot to spend a weekend – boutique-hopping in Cheltenham and walks in the Cotswolds are a stone’s throw away. With just 11 bedrooms, No.131 feels more like a hip B&B. A mini-bar stocked with wares from local producers and vast bathrooms are a high point. Request Room Six, which is tucked in the eaves and has a restored antique roll-top bath to soak in.

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Travel Details

Three courses from £29pp.

Doubles from £140.

01242 822 939


Restaurant James Sommerin Penarth, Cardiff

Restaurant James Sommerin is like no other seaside restaurant with rooms. It may be perched by the pier at Penarth, but the picture-postcard beach is not the star attraction. Here, the open kitchen takes centre stage with a glimpse of the pebbly beach peering over the tall banquettes. Dishes are bold, hearty, and showcase the very best of Welsh produce, from Barry Island vegetables to Cwmbran’s meat and fresh-off-the-boat fish from Cardiff market. Choose from an à la carte menu or a fully customisable six- or nine-course tasting menu, and devour dishes such as Welsh brill with Jersey Royals, pea ravioli doused in sage cream and Serrano ham. Don’t miss a flapjack involving pear, cinnamon and hazelnut for pud. End the evening on a high and retire to one of the nine modern, well-appointed rooms above the restaurant. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the bedrooms with light, and splashing out on one with a sea view is well worth the extra expense.

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Travel Details

Three courses from £36pp.

Doubles from £120.

02920 706 559


The Schoolhouse Comber, Northern Ireland

Eating at The Schoolhouse is an aesthetically pleasing affair. Chef Will Brown, who trained under Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay, has a creative and, at times, happily simplistic touch. British plates of pork scratchings with juniper and rosemary, wild salmon with sea beets, and marmalade soufflé with brown bread ice cream are anchored by local and seasonal produce, and offer more than the sum of their parts. Nearby Mahee Island, on Strangford Lough, and the restaurant’s extensive grounds are a forager’s playground; Brown and his kitchen team make regular visits for the likes of sand wort, sea beets, wood sorrel and wild garlic. The eight homely yet smart bedrooms complete the Comber picture, and will leave you recharged and ready to explore nearby Castle Espie Wetland Centre the next day.

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Travel Details

Three courses from £29pp.

Doubles from £70.

028 9754 1182


Simpsons Restaurant Edgbaston, Birmingham

A cradle of Birmingham’s burgeoning dining scene, Simpsons Restaurant has held a Michelin star since 2000. With chef and restaurateur Andreas Antona at the helm, this British culinary powerhouse has acted as a talent factory, churning out some of the West Midlands’ finest chefs, including Glynn Purnell. Following a spectacular refit in 2016 and the arrival of director Luke Tipping and head chef Nathan Eades, the combination of playful dishes and sleek open-plan design eliminates the formal vibe more commonly associated with a Michelin restaurant. The food is as good as ever, with traditional favourites updated with innovative flavours and Scandi influence: think halibut with fermented hispi and shellfish cream, Blythburgh pork with purple sprouting broccoli, and carrot broth with smoked cheese dumplings and black garlic. Desserts sit on the right side of traditional, such as the vibrant rhubarb crumble soufflé. Linger a little longer in this Georgian townhouse and you’ll discover the three contemporary bedrooms on the first floor. ‘The French’, with its toile de Jouy curtains, roll-top bath and enchanting views over the garden, is the pick of the pack.

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Travel Details

Three courses from £70pp.

Doubles from £110.

0121 454 3434


The Ginger Pig Hove

Escape the Brighton crowds with a visit to Hove, a sedate suburb with its own shingle beach. Once you’ve had your fill of exploring the nearby South Downs, head to The Ginger Pig’s suntrap terrace for cucumber gin and tonics. Part of the Gingerman Restaurants Group, this smart gastropub has recently had a stylish refurbishment without losing any of its laid-back charm. The menu is still a trove of perfectly executed pub classics elevated to new heights by attention to detail. Lunch menus demonstrate that the young, enthusiastic team have their finger firmly on the pulse: locally sourced cheese sandwiches arrive with three varieties of Korean-style pickled vegetables, while carrot and harissa dip is served with flatbread and fragrant dukkah. The 11 rooms are as quirky as one would expect from a Brighton postcode. All have towel-filled beach bags and fridges stocked with pre-mixed cocktails, but those on the first floor are a little roomier.

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Travel Details

Three courses from £33.50pp.

Doubles from £100.

01273 736 123


Roebuck Inn Cheshire

Drawing up outside the Roebuck Inn, all gnarly olive trees and red geraniums, it feels more like you’re arriving at a gîte in Provence than a traditional British country inn. Inside, French shabby chic twinned with English eccentricity pulses through its veins, with a mishmash of textures and patterns. Think weathered shutters, red and black floor tiles, and retro bistro tables. The menu takes on a European flavour with generous portions of beef bourguignon and dauphinoise potatoes, pan-fried sea bass with lemon butter, stone-baked pizzas and crepês Suzettes. Top marks go to the pretty terraced garden, which makes the ideal spot for sipping an aperitif or local craft beer. All six rooms have lashings of character and are named after a different grape variety – an appropriate bottle of wine left in each one makes for the perfect welcome, too.

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Travel Details

Three courses from £26pp.

Doubles from £130.

01565 873 939


The Great House Lavenham, Suffolk

While the techniques on display here are French, the produce is decidedly British. Sitting just as comfortably on the UK’s soft eastern shoulder as it might in Burgundy, the menu weaves modern twists into what would otherwise be considered a classical French offering: chicken ‘gateau’ with veal sweetbread and beurre blanc, Suffolk lamb belly and herb roulade with lemon and thyme emulsion, and a magnificent cheese board to rival all others. The interior is no different, with a pleasing amalgamation of French-grey walls, crisp white tablecloths and exposed beams getting along happily in the dining room with luxe pastel chairs. The colour palette extends to the five comfortable bedrooms. Opt for the Four Poster Room, which overlooks Lavenham’s charming market square, with its quirky haphazard half-timber, half-sorbet-coloured houses. The small but well-formed lounge, with plump cushions and stacks of magazines and books, makes the perfect spot to relax with a glass of sherry from the complimentary decanter.

The Grand Room At The Great House 1

Travel Details

Three courses for £36.50pp.

Doubles from £99.

01787 247 431


The Salutation Inn Topsham, Devon

Bracing yomp along the banks of Exe Estuary complete, it’s time to talk supper. Topsham stalwart The Salutation Inn is an essential port of call. Husband-and-wife team Tom and Amelia Williams-Hawkes lead the charge behind the porte-cochère of this converted historic inn, which boasts a prime position on the charming high street. Chef-director Tom’s CV is a roll call of some of the UK’s finest restaurants: Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road, Marcus Wareing’s Petrus and Michael Caines-era Gidleigh Park are all present. You can expect a neat, vibrant menu championing regional produce such as Lyme Bay crab cannelloni and pan-fried Brixham pollock, the perfect bedfellow to River Exe mussels and chive butter sauce. Reward your earlier exertions and order the blood orange cheesecake, then, appetite truly sated, enjoy a postprandial tipple in one of the cosy lounges safe in the knowledge there’s a bed with your name on it just upstairs. A reviving breakfast awaits the next morning in the light-filled Glass House, while the town’s boutiques and antique stores are within pottering distance.

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Travel Details

Four courses from £42.50pp.

Doubles from £135.

01392 873 060


The Peat Inn Fife, Scotland

Perched on the edge of the village with which it shares a name (the hostelry came first, in the mid-1700s), The Peat Inn was Scotland’s first recipient of a Michelin star, back in the Eighties. It maintains that star to this day, and boasts a loyal following made up of locals and visitors to nearby St Andrews, many of them with golf clubs in tow. Known for its high-quality Scottish fare, the restaurant’s fish and seafood dishes are especially noteworthy: think monkfish cheeks with coconut and lime mousse, warm Orkney langoustines, and smoked Luss sea trout with heirloom beetroots and horseradish velouté. Any one of the eight thoughtfully appointed suites – seven of them with mezzanine living areas, should you wish to sprawl – will be a godsend for those who have indulged in the six-course tasting menu with Prestige wine-pairing option. A roaring log fire when the east wind blows, world-class whisky cocktails on tap and easy access to the unspoilt fishing villages in the surrounding area are the icing on the Dundee cake.

Delice Of Scottish Bean To Bar Chocolate With Malt Whisky Ice Cream

Travel Details

Three courses from £63pp.

Tasting menu £75pp.

Doubles from £225.

01334 840 206


The Ebrington Arms Chipping Campden

This cosy Cotswolds set-up is everything a proper country pub ought to be. There’s a sense of village soul in every strand of what they offer, from locally brewed craft beers (which are exclusively available here and at sister pub The Killingworth Castle) and award-winning food with authentic regional flavour, to its snug countryside location and rural-chic bedrooms. However, the real charm comes from the kitchen. The concise, understated menu reflects genuine pride in local sourcing, with vegetables dug up from surrounding Drinkwater Farm adding weight to the restaurant’s sustainability credentials. Dishes such as Barnsley lamb chops with white beans and heritage tomatoes, fresh asparagus with pea shoots, crispy egg and Berkswell cheese, and a classic Ploughman’s made up with Tamworth ham, have a sure touch to them. As does the selection of classic desserts. Original period features such as exposed beams and flagstone flooring add to the sense of tranquillity, which extends into the five bedrooms. Views over the rolling countryside plus a decanter of sherry and some home-made biscuits on arrival complete the happy picture.

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Travel Details

Three courses from £24pp.

Doubles from £110.

01386 593 223


The Anchor Inn Seatown, Dorset

Nestled between scarped cliffs, rolling waves and winding country lanes on the edge of Seatown, this boutique bolthole is a quintessentially English affair. A commitment to local, seasonal produce from land and sea is The Anchor Inn’s calling card, alongside elevated British classics. Fresh crab caught on the doorstep makes the foundation of salads, while Palmer ales are brewed just four miles away. If the weather’s on your side, the large beer garden at the foot of Golden Cap is hard to better. Otherwise, inside, the extensive cocktail list from former Hix bartender David Smith is worth exploring – and not only for the Dorset spirits (Conker Gin or Black Cow Vodka) but also for Smith’s home-made hedgerow infusions and syrups. Make a weekend of it and book in at one of the three rooms – named after Dorset landmarks – where traditional and modern styles collide. Features include king-sized beds, salvaged floorboards and old-school writing desks. Plus, all rooms come with the added bonus of sparkling sea views.

Exteriors 24

Travel Details

Three courses from £24pp.

Doubles from £150.

01297 489 215


21212 Edinburgh, Scotland

Maverick Geordie chef Paul Kitching, notorious for the eclecticism of his ingredients, is at the helm of 21212, Edinburgh’s only Michelin-starred offering with rooms. Located on one of the city’s most elegant Georgian terraces, the interior is all about relaxed glamour with the high ceiling and sweeping windows used to full effect. Initially, Kitching opted for a choice of two starters, then soup, two mains and so on (hence the restaurant’s name), but times move on and now the menu has expanded to a ‘31313’ style. Don’t let the apparent simplicity of the weekly changing dishes, such as ‘bacon, pease pudding and beetroot’ or ‘kedgeree’, fool you, because there’s nothing conventional about the dining experience here. Behind the glass-fronted kitchen, which acts as a focal point of the dining room, there’s a great deal of culinary engineering going on, while staying true to Kitching’s contemporary French style. The four handsome bedrooms on the upper floors make for a swanky stay, with each offering its own allure – you may well find a cosy window seat or a double walk-in shower.

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Travel Details

Three courses from £70pp.

Doubles from £115.

0131 523 1030


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