Ameer Kotecha

Food, glorious food: the rise of the culinary mini break

  • From Spectator Life

After a fraught summer of changing restrictions, it seems likely that staycaytioning is here to, er, stay. The good news for food-lovers is that Britain is now home to a growing number of boutique breaks that are centred around eating. Our weather may be unpredictable but the top-notch dishes at these destinations will more than compensate for even the wettest of weekends. So here is a guide to the best all in-house foodie staycations – from Michelin-starred manors to wholesome working farms – all with fabulous food and drink on offer within a postprandial stagger to the bedroom.

Thyme, Cotswolds


Thyme opened in 2014 in restored 17th and 19th century Cotswold buildings and it features rooms, cottages, a wonderful restaurant, cookery school, pool, ‘Meadow spa’, ‘botanical bothy’ and more, complete with farm and gardens. The result is a ‘village within a village’. The restaurant, Ox Barn, is all about modern seasonal British, with a heavy reliance on the vegetable gardens and the fruit and nut orchards in the grounds and a commendable commitment to minimising food waste. It is all round a truly beautiful place and you would be forgiven for doing nothing other than lazy walks in the grounds in between meals. But there is also countryside rambling to be done, bikes to borrow to explore neighbouring villages, private cookery classes and a whole ‘calendar of happenings’ with workshops on everything from floristry to soap making and painting. There is also a (free) exhibition on flower pressing running until mid-September. Who needs The National Gallery? Who needs London? You will never want to return home.

Hampton Manor, West Midlands


A grand, Gothic manor house that was formerly the home of the 19th-century Prime Minister Robert Peel, Hampton Manor lures plenty of guests from nearby Birmingham looking fora foodie country retreat, though those in the know happily make the trip from London and further afield.

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Written by
Ameer Kotecha
Ameer Kotecha is a British diplomat, pop-up chef and writer on food, travel and culture. He is the author of The Platinum Jubilee Cookbook (Bloomsbury).

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