The Star Inn, Yorkshire
A rustic, gourmet bolthole smuggled away on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, the Star Inn is in the farming village of Harome. The characterful building itself, a 14th-century thatched inn, features original beams, a low-ceilinged bar and plenty of cosy nooks. Just across the road, nine comfortable rooms await. But what you’re here for is the food – a Michelin-starred feast led by chef-patron Andrew Pern. ‘Modern Yorkshire’ cuisine is centred around a locally sourced, seasonal ethos. And there are few better settings for it, given the abundance of pasture-fed meat and North Sea fish on the doorstep, plus the huge kitchen garden.
Get There: 4 1/2 hrs by car from London.
Coombeshead Farm, Cornwall
Everything about Coombeshead Farm whispers ‘home from home’. The pace is slow, the atmosphere inviting, the five bedrooms effortlessly comfortable. There are no TVs and the phone signal is patchy, so switching off comes naturally here. Curl up with a book, enjoy a gin from the honesty bar, explore the 66 acres of grounds. But, most of all, eat. Joint owners April Bloomfield (of New York’s The Spotted Pig) and Tom Adam (of London’s Pitt Cue) wanted to return to the roots of hospitality, so guests gather for nibbles and a communal feast each night. The focus is on sustainability and zero waste with the bulk of ingredients coming from the farm and on-site bakery. Everything else is supplied by a small network of local producers.
Get there: 4 3/4 hrs by car from London. Or train from Paddington to Liskeard (4 hrs) then a taxi (25 mins).
The Mash Inn, Buckinghamshire
If only everywhere was like the Mash Inn, a boutique inn enveloped in countryside and tucked away in the pretty hamlet of Bennett End. A short hop from London, it’s perfect for an indulgent night away, with four rooms above the 18th-century red-brick pub and two lovely garden rooms. The food is centre stage, with love and attention poured into every detail: ingredients are foraged, pickled and cured every day; the kitchen garden shapes the open fire-focused menu; and the vast grill has been handmade by local craftsmen. Dishes are honest and full of flavor, while the atmosphere is relaxed and communal, with guests welcomed into the open kitchen.
Get there: 1 1/4 hrs by car from London. Or train from Marylebone to High Wycombe (30 mins) then a taxi (20 mins).
The Bower House, Warwickshire
In the market town of Shipston-on-Stour, on the corner of the High Street and Market Place, the Bower House is right at the heart of things. On the cusp of the rolling Cotswolds, this place is surprisingly zany. A converted women’s clothing shop – fronted by a 1731 facade – style remains at the forefront of things here. Retro-chic interiors are a gorgeous ensemble of eclectic furnishings, wonderful wallpapers and bold artwork. Five bedrooms feature free-standing baths and thoughtful touches like vintage books on the bedside tables – there’s also a bunk room for kids. And the restaurant is excellent. Locals flock here for the well-executed yet simple, locally sourced menu – don’t miss the duck breast with creamy dauphinois.
Get There: 2 1/4 hrs by car from London. Or train from Marylebone to Banbury (1 hour), followed by a taxi (30 mins).
The Hand & Flowers, Buckinghamshire
When the Hand & Flowers launched in 2005, the goal was simple: to create a proper pub with proper food. Today, as the UK’s only pub with two Michelin stars, it’s smashed this goal. At the helm is chef-proprietor Tom Kerridge, whose bold yet unpretentious reinterpretations of pub classics have won him the hearts – and stomachs – of locals and weekend visitors alike. The food is exceptionally satisfying – think slow-cooked duck breast with crispy, duck-fat chips – and the location in bustling Georgian Marlow is excellent. Those lucky enough to nab one of the 11 sought-after rooms can enjoy hot tubs, rain showers and a fantastic cooked breakfast.
Get there: 1 hour by car from London. Or train from Marylebone to High Wycombe (30 mins) then a taxi (10 mins).
For years, those in the know have been flocking to Cartmel, a tiny village set in the wonderful Cumbrian landscape just five miles from Lake Windermere. The reason is L’Enclume, chef Simon Rogan’s two Michelin-starred flagship restaurant. In a former blacksmith’s workshop, the extensive complex has evolved to include a bakery, organic farm, development kitchen – complete with chef’s table – and 16 comfortable bedrooms. The food, of course, is seasonal and intricately crafted. Push the boat out further by indulging in the signature wine pairing and tucking into the extra cheese course.
Get there: 5 3/4 hrs by car from London.
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