From hearty farm-to-table spots, to Michelin-starred classics, these are the best travel editor approved foodie hotels in the UK.
Food can make or break a holiday – sad, soggy eggs can put a real dampener on proceedings, while an amply cheese-drenched risotto can make our hearts (and stomachs) sing. Because of this, what we eat when we are recharging or exploring somewhere new will stay with us a lot longer than the trivial things, like how soft our bed sheets are or how many obscure channels there are on the TV.
Holiday memories are made of fresh local produce and mind-blowing breakfasts, of stumbling across delis serving up the softest sourdough, or popping into tiny seafood spots and feasting on freshly-hauled-crab sandwiches as the salty air nips at our cheeks. And whether it’s breakfast pancakes fluffier than a blow-dried bunny, or exquisite fine dining dishes that look like works of art on our plates, we will dream about the food we’ve eaten, long after we’ve returned from our staycations, minibreaks and long weekends.
Because of this, it is vital to factor grub into our holiday decision-making. But with so many options, making the right decision when it comes to where to stay can feel somewhat overwhelming. Thankfully, team Stylist have done the leg (or grumbling tummy) work so you don’t have to. So whether it’s top quality greasy spoon vibes you’re after, or a slap-up-meal situation that’s ideal for anniversaries, birthdays and special occasions, these are the best foodie hotels for a gourmet break in the UK.
Restaurants with rooms
Crockers Henley, Henley-on-Thames
Housed in a Grade II listed building in Henley’s pretty Market Place mews, this converted townhouse, with seven boutique bedrooms, does quality but unfussy food seriously well. Here, you’ll find two intimate 16-seater chef’s tables – The Gardiner Table, which serves up pan-Asian cuisine (think beef, caviar and wasabi matched with wines, sake and shōchu) and The Thames Table, headed up by Michelin-starred, ex-Lucknam Park chef Dean Westcar, which offers a nine-course tasting menu championing the finest UK ingredients. There’s also a larger, but still cosy, robatayaki charcoal grill restaurant (make sure you try the Kentucky-fried octopus) and a brand-spanking-new bar.
The must-eat dish - The sweet Yuzu and gin dessert finished with delicate Wagashi and tea
Rooms from £150 per night; crockershenley.co.uk
The Swan Inn, Surrey
Opposite a leafy green in Claygate, Surrey, you’ll find Spanish chef José Pizarro’s fourth restaurant. But going one better than his previous offerings, this one comes with six cosy-yet-modern en suite rooms. Things are decidedly pubby inside (you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in a standard British boozer) but food here is anything but run-of-the-mill. Classic pub favourites are given a Spanish ‘Pizarro’ twist, alongside signature tapas dishes such as Croquetas, Tortilla de Patata and 100% acorn-fed 5J Jamón Ibérico. Hungrier sorts will be satisfied by the Estrella Damm fish and chips, while the hearty Paella is ideal for sharing.
The must-eat dish – The Big Breakfast with Catalan sausage
Rooms from £95 per night; josepizarro.com
If you’re heading to L’Enclume, you’d better come armed with a big appetite, because the two-Michelin-star restaurant serves an eight-course tasting menu at lunch, rising to a whopping 18 for dinner. Just five miles south of Lake Windermere, in the tiny village of Cartmel, the foodies’ favourite – which sits on the site of a former blacksmith’s workshop – includes a bakery out the back, a development kitchen with chef’s table and a farm down the road which provides its organic ingredients. Food is fine with a capital F – expect dishes such as beetroot leaf with elderflower and vinegar gel and cod mousse served with ‘herb snow’ and chicken skin crisps. The restaurant is often booked up months in advance (so get in there now) and a dinner and a stay at one of the 16 on-site bedrooms is the perfect way to toast a special occasion.
The must-eat dish – The liquorice custard with sea-buckthorn granita.
Rooms from £180 per night; lenclume.co.uk
Best for local produce
The Newt, Somerset
Often described as one of the coolest country house hotels in the UK, this Somerset hotspot is firmly focused on all things food. From the ‘cyder’ press and mushroom house, to the farm shop and cute, thatched ice cream parlour, what’s celebrated here – as well as pared-back-chic interior design – is the very best in fresh, local, seasonal produce. The glass-walled Garden café is surrounded by kitchen gardens and pretty countryside and you’ll find estate meats – such as barbecued pork, beef and charcuterie – alongside home-grown vegetables, sourdough apple bread and zingy homemade pickles on the menu. In the Botanical Rooms restaurant, with its buzzy open kitchen, dishes such as brill fish with brown crab sauce and olive oil mashed potatoes are followed by delicious sweet treats and locally-made cheese. Best of all? Each of the 23 beautiful rooms comes with its own ‘mini larder’, meaning the just-pressed cyder is pretty much free-flowing.
The must-eat dish – This is a haven for veggies and vegans, who’ll love the cauliflower (roasted and flavoured with cumin and slathered in almond purée).
Rooms from £275 per night; thenewtinsomerset.com
The Pig hotels, various locations
With cosy outposts in Bath, the New Forest and Harlyn Bay in Cornwall among others, the enduringly-popular (and seriously good-looking) Pig Hotels are staunch in their approach to locally-sourced, micro seasonal ingredients. The hotels – each of which comes with its own distinct ‘mismatched-cool’ identity – only use what is fresh and available to them, with dedicated chefs, kitchen gardeners and foragers working hand-in-hand to create divine-tasting but uncomplicated food. A stay at any one in the litter guarantees gourmet gloriousness.
The must-eat dish – The ‘Piggy Bits’, a long-standing favourite on the menu, range from crisp pork crackling to delicious Scotch eggs.
See thepighotel.com for rooms and rates
Heckfield Place, Hampshire
Everything seems sepia-tinged and lovely at this idyllic Hampshire countryside retreat (a favourite of London’s cool kids who want to escape from the hustle and bustle for a weekend). Set within 400 sprawling acres, you’ll find plenty of picturesque woodlands and Austen-worthy lakes to spend your time strolling around. But given Heckfield’s gourmet credentials, when you’re not strolling, you’ll likely be eating, and here, home-grown food is inspired by the seasons. Hearth is a horses’ stables-turned restaurant, with a crackling open fire and a menu directed by Skye Gyngell, while Marle restaurant – awash with marble, slate and wood – serves up farm-to-table breakfasts, a la carte and express menus. Finish the evening with a Winter’s Howl cocktail at the Moon bar (featuring Bourbon, crème de cacao, mint liqueur and espresso bitters), and be sure to pay a visit to the spectacular wine cellar, where you can hole up and take part in a tasting experience with the resident sommelier.
The must-eat dish – The braised short rib with horseradish cream, coriander and onion rings (posh comfort food at its best)
Rooms from £350 per night; heckfieldplace.com
Perthshire’s Gleneagles is almost as much of a Scottish icon as wee Nessie. As such, this sophisticated, sprawling 850-acre estate, comes with a pretty major reputation when it comes to all things gourmet. Food is serious business here – there are eight restaurants and bars, including a Twenties-era clubhouse; a French brasserie and The Cellar which holds a staggering 17,000 bottles of wine from around the world. And when you’re done pottering around the manicured grounds or admiring the hotel’s lavish interiors (we’re talking plush velvets and lofty ceilings), settle in for an evening of fine dining at Andrew Fairlie, Scotland’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant, which features fresher-than-fresh ingredients from the chef’s own garden.
The must-eat dish – The shouldn’t-work-but-it-does avocado and lime cheesecake at The Birnam Brasserie
Rooms from £395 per night; Gleneagles.com
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire
It’s almost impossible to mention Le Manoir without tipping a hat to its impressive dedication to food. In fact, most people stay at this lavender-scented Oxfordshire lovely, for a chance to dine at its big-deal restaurant, rightly thought of as one of Britain’s best. Helmed by Raymond Blanc it’s the only restaurant to have held on to two Michelin stars for more than three decades, and its imaginative dishes are all-based on seasonal, organic produce, grown throughout the hotel’s 11 lavender-lined gardens and orchards (there’s even a dedicated mushroom valley). Book a spot at the cookery school (you never know, the man himself might even stop by), or simply spend your time strolling through the beautiful grounds, filled with enormous bronze artichoke sculptures, Japanese tea gardens and a glasshouse filled with lemon trees.
The must-eat dish – The braised Cornish turbot with cucumber and wasabi.
Rooms from £595 per night; Belmond.com
Limewood, New Forest
While on the surface, things appear elegantly refined at Limewood – a mix of pavilion suites, lake cabins, and cosy rooms in the main house – you’ll find no hint at pretension from this New Forest bolthole. The same goes for its restaurant, Hartnett Holder & Co, where there are precisely zero starch white tablecloths, only rustic wood tables, red leather banquettes and comfy chairs for lazing in. Food is similarly unfussy, a hearty array of pastas, stews and risottos while head sommelier Chris Parker is always on hand to take you through the extensive (sometimes dizzying) wine list. There’s also a smokehouse, greenhouse and raw food bar on-site, while wellbeing expert Amelia Freer runs cooking workshops and events on everything from batch cooking to immune system support.
The must-eat dish - The sticky damson eclairs and cherry bakewells served with fanfare at afternoon tea
Rooms from £395 per night; limewoodhotel.co.uk
Gourmet cool kids
Ynyshir, Powys, Wales
Set in a landscape of mist-cloaked Welsh wilderness with the mighty Snowdonia rearing up in the distance, it is perhaps a touch bizarre that this Georgian country house hotel is one of the finest places in the UK for Japanese-inspired food. Forget a big ol’ slice of lamb (or anything else you might expect to find in this part of the world) this is a place where umami reigns supreme and the tasting menu – a mere 19 courses – sees Welsh Wagyu combined with wasabi, miso, dashi, smoked eel and duck. Modern garden rooms here come with freestanding tubs and cosy wood-burning stoves, while in the main house things are a little more Gothic-looking, with moody Farrow and Ball paints and well-scattered sheepskin rugs.
The must-eat dish – The mackerel with sweet-sour pickled strawberry
Rooms from £320 per night; ynyshir.co.uk
The Gunton Arms, Norfolk
Is it a hotel or an art gallery? Either way, it looks ruddy fantastic. Step one foot through the doors at The Gunton Arms and it’s almost like you’re immersed in a painting – huge elk antlers are mounted above a monumental open fireplace (where chef Stuart Tattersall sometimes cooks up his meats) and the glow of a Tracey Emin neon reflects in diners’ crinkling eyes. Take a look out the window and you may spot a herd of deer picking their way through the mist, then return to what’s in front of you: platefuls of the very best local dishes, such as Blythburgh pork belly with Bramley apple and pea shoots and sausages made from local venison.
The must-eat dish – Ivor’s crab pasta with chilli and coriander
Rooms from £95 per night; theguntonarms.co.uk
The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland
The phenomenal Fife Arms explodes with dazzling arty juxtapositions: neon and blown glass antler chandeliers alongside Queen Victoria’s staid watercolour of a stag’s head; bold Elsa Schiaperelli pinks against dark ‘cubistoid’ murals by Argentinian artist Guillermo Kuitca. But it’s no surprise really – the sought-after Scottish hotel was the passion project of outré gallerists Hauser & Wirth. Fortunately, this is most definitely not as case of style over substance, and just as much care has been taken over the hotel’s impeccable food offering. In the Flying Stag bar, you’ll find souped-up pub favourites such as buckeye rarebit or Highland beef and bone marrow burgers, while breakfast is traditional fare with a distinctly Scottish twist – think Hebridean eggs Benedict with black pudding and tasty drop scones with poached apple and pear.
The must-eat dish – The birch roasted Hebridean lamb loin in the magnificent Clunie Dining Room
Rooms from £250 per night; thefifearms.com