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22 July 2014

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Bank holiday getaways

(menu)

Deciding what to do on a bank holiday is often a bone of contention. You could spend those extra days of workless bliss in a DIY store, arguing with your significant other over the merits of a brushed steel finish. Or you could jump in the car and head to a great country house restaurant, sample the delights and then walk it off in the grounds. Many of them come with rooms, spas and golf courses, too, so why not make a long weekend of it? Here’s our pick…

Syon Park - 0910_Syon_Park_(4).jpgThe Clubhouse at Syon Park (pictured right)
Hilton London Syon Park, Syon Park, London TW7 6AZ
No need to venture too far for this Middlesex retreat; The Clubhouse offers hotel guests and travellers a user-friendly mix of sociable surrounds and crowd-pleasing international food at very reasonable prices. Set in a separate wing of the Hilton Syon Park (with its own chill-out lounge and bar), the dining room is dominated by an open kitchen, while the menu is all about on-trend pizzas, hot dogs, steaks and burgers with various toppings, relishes and sides.

Restaurant Coworth Park
Coworth Park, Blacknest Road, Ascot, BerkshireSL5 7SE
The Dorchester Collection’s first foray into country-house hospitality spans 240 acres of lawns, meadows and woodland surrounding a quirkily restored Georgian manor complete with a special-occasion dining room – all orange leather, towering windows and gold-leaf sculptures. The kitchen matches the mood with some assured displays of intricate, adventurous cooking.

Buxted Park Hotel 2011 - cycling.jpgThe Dining Room at Buxted Park Hotel (pictured right)
Buxted Park Hotel, Buxted, Uckfield, East SussexTN22 4AY
Given that this fine Georgian manor house stands in 312 acres of grounds complete with a deer park and three lakes, you might expect its restaurant to be suitably decked out with all the necessary stately home trappings. In fact, Buxted Park’s self-styled Dining Room sports a surprisingly restrained, modern look.

Gidleigh Park
Gidleigh Park, Chagford, Devon TQ13 8HH
Michael Caines’ secluded country house hotel continues to enchant visitors with its disarmingly serene outlook and ever-so-English sense of decorum. This dreamy woodland oasis – with a stream meandering through the front garden – is a crowd magnet, as is the cooking of the two-Michelin-starred chef and his brigade.

Stoke Park Club - Big_Tennis_Court-resized.jpgHumphry's at Stoke Park (pictured right)
Stoke Park, Park Road, Stoke Poges, BuckinghamshireSL2 4PG
Perfectly secluded, yet just a short drive from the capital, historic Stoke Park – star of many a Hollywood hit – continues to make waves as a five-star country-house getaway. Like the mansion itself, Humphry's – a welcoming cocoon of thick carpets and opulent furnishings – affords stunning views over the 300-acre estate’s attractive golf course and woodland.

Michael Wignall at the Latymer at Pennyhill Park Hotel
Pennyhill Park Hotel, London Road, Bagshot, Surrey GU19 5EU
Set amid 123 acres of Surrey parkland close to Ascot, Sunningdale and Wentworth, this stunning country-house hotel boasts its own golf course, a vast spa and fabulous rooms – not to mention Michael Wignall’s two-Michelin-starred Latymer Restaurant. Diners are treated to a succession of exhilarating, unpredictable creations presented in clusters on dramatic plates…

lucknam park 2012 - Lucknam-Park-resized.jpgLucknam Park (pictured right)
Lucknam Park, Colerne, Wiltshire SN14 8AZ
A Palladian mansion dating back to 1720, this stunning country house hotel has got just about everything going for it. Set amid 500 acres of beautiful parkland, it boasts a top-notch equestrian centre, spa and exquisitely decorated rooms. The food comes courtesy of Michelin-starred chef Hywel Jones, who is best known for his five-year stint as head chef of Foliage when it first won its Michelin star, & at Lucknam Park he is clearly, once again, on top form.

The Oak Room
Ettington Park Hotel, Alderminster, Stratford-upon-Avon, West Midlands CV37 8BU
Away from the tourist bustle of Stratford-upon-Avon (just five miles away), Ettington Park is a magnificent Grade I-listed Victorian-Gothic mansion, set in 40 acres of landscaped gardens. There are many original features, not least in the Oak Room with its panelling embossed with family crests, Roccoco ceiling and views across the garden to the family chapel (now a private dining room). In contrast to the setting, the cooking is modern with global influences.

Swinton.jpgSamuel's at Swinton Park (pictured right)
Swinton Park, Masham, Ripon, Yorkshire HG4 4JH
The ancestral home of the Cunliffe-Lister family is a stunning 30-bedroomed castle hotel set in 200 acres of Yorkshire Dales parkland with lakes, rivers & moorland. A more manageable four-acre walled garden supplies much of the restaurant’s fruit, vegetables & herbs and chef Simon Crannage creates modern British dishes.

Stapleford Park
Stapleford, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 2EF
Stapleford Park is the epitome of English country house grandeur – an opulent stately home surrounded by expansive acres of woods & parkland. Two eateries – the Grinling Gibbons Restaurant & the Pavilion Brasserie – provide ample reasons to indulge, while excellent sports facilities mean that you can work it all off later.

Published 17 April 2014

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