The enchanting riverbank setting is as English as Miss Marple, yet high-end French gastronomy rules in this sumptuously furnished, cosseting dining room. Founded in 1972 and “first in the class for over 40 years”, the three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn is now considered something of a national institution – delivering a luxury experience with consummate expertise and “genuine charm”, thanks to legions of impeccable staff. Pan-fried lobster medallions with a white port sauce and ginger-flavoured vegetable julienne is precision cooking of the highest order, while fillet of Angus beef ‘marchand de vin’ (served with barigoule baby artichokes, marrow, wasabi-tinged potato mousseline and red wine sauce) is all about deep flavours and glossy saucing. As for dessert, we recommend the incredible rose-flavoured macaron with iced lychee-liqueur parfait and lingonberry coulis. The wine list delves deep into the lexicon of French oenology and prices are frightening – even so, it’s worth smashing the piggy-bank because this bastion of subtly reinvented haute cuisine is “pure bliss”.