The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

Dine and stay experiences in the South West

Drink in the atmosphere – and the wine list – at leisure with our pick of the best dine and stay experiences
bed at the millbrook inn near salcombe

A luxurious getaway centered around a world-class feast is the ultimate foodie treat. Drink in the atmosphere – and the wine list – at leisure with our pick of the best dine and stay experiences in the South West

Millbrook Inn, near Salcombe, Devon

For those after a quintessentially English retreat with outstanding food, set the sat nav for The Millbrook Inn – an utterly charming traditional pub nestled by a tranquil tidal creek at the top of the Salcombe estuary.

The Devon bolthole has added two beautifully restored cottages to its offering, extending its warm welcome to overnight guests. Named ‘Land’ and ‘Sea’, the new accommodation reflects the inn’s spectacular position in the South Hams – close to the coastline yet surrounded by rolling hills. This is mirrored in Millbrook’s seasonal menu, in which an ingredient-led selection of hearty dishes showcase the region’s dayboat catch and organic produce including veg, charcuterie and rare heritage-breed meats from the nearby family farm at Fowlescombe. Head chef Iain Dawson is famed for both his expertise in butchery and his charcoal oven, and creates memorable dishes with fiery flair.

Land sleeps up to four guests, and Sea up to five (with high-spec kitchens and private gardens), and the two properties can interconnect for larger parties. Like the Millbrook Inn, they are both dog-friendly so there’s no need to leave any of the family at home.

The Rectory Hotel in Wiltshire facade

The Rectory Hotel, Crudwell, Wiltshire

Expect to be enveloped in elegance and charm at The Rectory Hotel, a stone-walled former rectory at the gateway to the Cotswolds. With 15 bedrooms in the main house and three in a separate cottage, there are multiple types of stay to explore. Whether opting for a foodie boutique hotel experience or a home-from-home with room for friends, all accommodation is kitted out with goose down bedding, superfast wifi and a library of films to stream for the opportunity to switch off and get cosy. If the weather’s fine though, a wander through the grounds is a delight – especially The Rectory kitchen’s vegetable garden.

The food is an outstanding blend of classic and contemporary, headed up by accomplished chef Rob Weston – formerly of Michelin-starred La Trompette in Chiswick – who recently joined as executive chef, bringing his talented team with him. Tarryn Bingle leads The Rectory kitchen, while Alex Tropp takes the head chef role at sister pub The Potting Shed just over the road. Both focus on provenance and seasonality to create an ever-changing menu which marries deliciously with The Rectory wine list, packed with Old World gems.

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa
Image: Pete Helme Photography

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath

Name a more iconic backdrop for an overnight stay in the UK than Bath’s five-star Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa. As one of the few landmark buildings in the world where you can stay the night, this Georgian marvel is a glorious setting in which to mark a special occasion in style. Its Indulge Your Senses Diners’ Delight package starts from £430 per room, per night (based on two people sharing a beautifully appointed double or twin room for a minimum two-night stay) and includes a six-course tasting menu with a glass of Taittinger Champagne on one evening, afternoon tea on one afternoon, with bed and breakfast and use of the spa on both days.

The food alone is worth the trip, with the hotel’s Montagu’s Mews restaurant serving delicious modern British dishes packed with local produce. Head Chef Martin Blake’s tasting menus feature creative dishes such as Bath Blue Cheese served with parmesan sable, avocado mousse, cucumber and borage, and West Woodlands Douglas Fir with russet apple and burnt butter. The fresh, forward-thinking approach and sumptuous decor is inspired by the original resident of No. 16 Royal Crescent: trailblazer and women’s rights advocate Elizabeth Montagu.

Outlaw’s, Port Isaac, Cornwall

For coastal Cornish style done right, sneak off to Outlaw’s in Port Isaac. Inimitable chef Nathan Outlaw’s refurbished Victorian guesthouse – neighbouring his restaurants New Road and Fish Kitchen – offers nine snug rooms from which to enjoy a two-night foodie escape. From £695, a gourmet getaway for two will cover bed, breakfast, dinner at both restaurants plus afternoon bakes (prepared with the same level of detail as you’d expect from a Michelin-starred team).

It’s a great place for enjoying a stomp along the South West Coast Path as well as delectable local seafood. The Fish Kitchen’s globally inspired small plates menu is always changing to reflect what’s in season, but might include the likes of cured bass tostadas or spiced monkfish. Meanwhile, at New Road, elevated dishes such as red mullet and green sauce are listed on a menu that also names the boat from which the catch was landed (in this case, the Bonnie Grace, Newlyn). Following dinner, relax in the cosy residents’ lounge with a tipple from the honesty bar, take in the view and plan the next adventure.

HOLM, South Petherton, Somerset

With an already dedicated following, modern eatery HOLM now has seven beautiful ensuite rooms upstairs to secure its destination-restaurant status. Chef director Nicholas Balfe and team wanted to create a hotel experience that mirrored not only the earthy, rustic aesthetic of the restaurant below but also the ethos – just like the food, all of the furnishings and art are sourced locally and with a story to tell.

Furniture, artwork and fabrics designed and made as close as a few villages away sit against exposed lime plaster walls in rooms that are named after British trees. Breakfast is a home-grown, homemade affair with ChalkStream trout (smoked in-house over local applewood), house-cured bacon collar and hash browns, or locally foraged mushrooms sautéed with truffle butter on house-made sourdough. There are even indulgent cinnamon butter brioche buns to take away.

Bedrooms available from £140 per night on a bed and breakfast basis.

Like 5 of the best dine and stay experiences in the South West? Check out our pick of off-the-beaten-track hidden hotels in the South West.

We choose the companies included in our 5 of the best features based on editorial integrity. Occasionally, some inclusions will be handpicked from clients with whom we have a commercial relationship.

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