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A wooden tables heaves with dishes of roast chicken with all the trimmings, a whole grilled fish, dressed lobsters, slices of roast beef and various vegetables

The UK’s best dining hotspots

From Cornish coaching inns to Scottish baronial castles, here are our favourite places to eat out

01/10/2020Fact-checked 19/11/2020

(Wayne Perry)


What: The Boat Inn Where: Staffordshire

British classics with a modern twist is how chef-owner Liam Dillon describes the menu at his newly styled gastropub in Lichfield. With a gold-plated CV that features Noma and Marcus Wareing, it’s no wonder that last year The Boat Inn was voted best newcomer in its category and also featured in the Michelin guide. Drop in for a decent pint or linger on for the generous tasting menu that offers roasted scallops with peach and lavender and venison, faggot and beetroot amongst a smorgasbord of sweet treats.

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What: Glenapp Castale Where: Ayrshire 

A stay at Glenapp Castle is so indulgent it almost puts Downton Abbey to shame, not least because of its ridiculously lavish dining arrangements. Book a private feasting experience in the 19th-century Victorian glasshouse nestled within the castle’s walled garden to delight in the freshest Scottish produce. Fish and shellfish are hand-picked or line-caught each day from the nearby coast, while the beef, lamb and pork are brought in from farms just 17 miles away. All the garnishes – from coriander to courgette – are grown within sight of your seat.

Visit Glenapp Castle

(Matthew Bishop)


What: Crockers Where: Henley-on-Thames

With not one but three headline-grabbing chefs on the rota, plus a mixologist formerly of Heston’s Hinds Head, you’ll be thankful that your lodgings at Crockers are just up the stairs. It seems something of an understatement to describe this as a restaurant with rooms, given that there are two chef’s tables serving both British and Japanese-inspired fare, as well as a main restaurant complete with robatayaki charcoal grill. Be sure to leave room for breakfast, as its house baked beans with celeriac ‘bacon’ on toasted sourdough is not to be missed. Perhaps a ‘gastronomic Georgian gem’ would be more apt.

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(Matt Austin)


What: Brigade Bar and Kitchen Where: London 

The Brigade Bar might have been closed during the first lockdown, but that doesn’t mean it stopped working. The four-month freeze saw the ‘good food, doing good’ team prepare and supply more than 3,500 meals for vulnerable Londoners and release a charity cookbook, Feast with Purpose, featuring dishes from a host of star chefs. And the restaurant’s ethos is now even more at the fore, with new pared-down (but still seriously appealing) biweekly menus that draw on UK producers and sustainable, direct-from-source suppliers for both food and beverages.

Visit The Brigade


What: The Packet Inn Where: Cornwall

When chef-restaurateur Ben Tunnicliffe took over The Tolcarne Inn in Newlyn, his fresh seafood creations rapidly developed a loyal following. His new venture near Prussia Cove promises to do the same, this time with a menu of small plates inspired by its location between countryside and coast. Promising ‘colourful and creative’ vegetarian and vegan options as well as succulent seafood, this is a safe space for any and all dietary needs. Our pick? The baked chocolate cheesecake with cherry and yogurt.

Visit The Packet Inn


What: The Mitre Where: Hampton Court 

On the shores of the Thames, within yards of Hampton Court Palace, The Mitre is a new arrival from the owners and designers of the elegant Beaverbrook Hotel. The Grade II-listed property, complete with Orangery (of course) and 36 rooms (some with Jacuzzis on their private terraces overlooking the river, others with courtyards and fire pits), includes restaurants overseen by Gordon Ramsay protégé, Ronnie Kimbugwe. Expect the menu to feature honey from the rooftop beehives, home-smoked salmon and an appropriately named ‘Six Wives’ beer brewed specifically for the hotel.

Keep up with news on The Mitre

(Elliott White)


What: The Harbourside Refuge Where: Cornwall  

Porthleven, the UK’s most southerly working port, is now home to the latest gastronomic haven from multi-Michelin-awarded chef Michael Caines. Filling the spot previously occupied by Rick Stein, all-day menus at the Harbourside Refuge reflect the surroundings, with a bounty of produce pulled from both the sea and shore. From its enviable quayside location and rooftop terrace, diners can enjoy views across the waters while savouring dishes such as Cornish mackerel with gooseberries and salmon gravlax marinated with Tarquin’s gin, distilled up the road in Padstow.

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What: The Barn at Moor Hall Where: Lancashire

Sporting thick rustic beams and exposed brick walls, this modern addendum to the early 20th-century building in whose grounds it stands is a light filled and airy refuelling spot. Armed with increased safety precautions, a two-Michelin-starred meal here can be enjoyed entirely worry-free. Plus, a three-course set menu will set you back only £25 so you don’t have to break the bank to drop by.

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What: The Angler Where: London 

Rooftop restaurants are two a dozen in London, so when there’s a memorable one you know it’s got to be good. The Angler is one of those few, set at the top of South Place Hotel in Moorgate overlooking the hubbub of the capital’s business centre. This Michelin-starred restaurant led by executive chef Gary Foulkes lets you choose from a three- or six course set menu featuring fresh fish including gilt-head bream and Cornish sardines, which you can savour at your leisure in a modern interior that channels the financial district in which the restaurant lives.

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(Edmund Dabney)


What: The Dairy Where: Bermondsey 

The Dairy’s new location (previously Clapham) is more plants than chairs, with just as much attention to detail poured into the décor as the food. The very reasonably priced à la carte menu offers an assortment of delectable dishes that change with the seasons. Try the tartlet of smoked roe and cuore del vesuvio tomatoes to start, followed by an extravagant black truffle and Baron Bigod  cheese on toast. The salted caramel and dark chocolate dessert is the perfect sweet treat. And don’t worry about drinks – creative in-house cocktails and a considered natural wine list hit the spot.

Visit The Dairy

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