Good Hotel Guide to R&A counties

Round & About


Take a road trip around Round & About land and stay at some of the best hotels in the area this summer

With summer around the corner there are holidays to plan, and while the temptation to go overseas is always strong, we’re heading towards the time of year when the UK is at its most beautiful and appealing. With each county offering its own unique charms, vistas and particular slant on hospitality, what could be better than a road trip across the seven R&A counties? From Berkshire to Buckinghamshire, Hampshire to Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex, here the Good Hotel Guide takes us on a roadtrip of some of their top hotels for UK staycations this summer.

Hotels in Berkshire
Hotels in Buckinghamshire
Hotels in Hampshire
Hotels in Oxfordshire
Hotels in Surrey
Hotels in Wiltshire
Hotels in West Sussex

Hotels in Berkshire

The regal heritage of Berkshire offers style, sophistication and convenience for those travelling around the UK, with lots of local attractions (not least, Windsor Castle), as well as pretty towns and villages to explore. Meanwhile, hotels in Berkshire add to the experience with their own unique characteristics.

Cliveden, Taplow

This magnificent property has a reputation that precedes it. Architecturally awe-inspiring, and the former home of a Prince of Wales, two Dukes, an Earl, and the Viscounts Astor (not to mention Nancy Astor, wife of the second Viscount), it has also played host to a litany of famous guests, trysts and liaisons. It is little wonder that this is somewhere that attracts the good and the great – it is the pinnacle of luxury and excellence with five-star service, luxury spa facilities and award-winning restaurants, not to mention National Trust grounds to explore.

Cliveden House

Hurley House, Hurley

A great base for those who fancy exploring the Chilterns, Hurley House is a stylish hotel and restaurant in a picturesque riverside village. Offering laid back luxury, it has nine rooms and suites with five-star service. Following an extensive refurbishment, the interiors are contemporary and offer attention to detail from tranquil colours to underfloor heating. There are also electric charge points in the car park. Food is a big part of the experience here, with outdoor terraces and BBQ grill in the summer, as well as an elegant restaurant and bar serving Japanese menu, featuring the freshest sushi in Berkshire alongside more traditional dishes.

Hotel & Restaurant in Hurley, Berkshire

Hotels in Buckinghamshire

Brimming with chocolate box villages and historic towns, Buckinghamshire is also a favourite destination with easy transport links, making travel easy and exploration enticing. Home to attractions like Bletchley Park and Stowe National Trust property, hotels in Buckinghamshire offer refined elegance and a warm welcome.

Hartwell House, Aylesbury

Once home to the exiled King Louis XVIII of France in the 19th century, Hartwell House is now part of the National Trust but there’s still something distinctly regal about it. Decadent and luxurious from the food to the rooms, the Jacobean property is also home to an adult-only spa and it has an iconic ballroom pool. Luxurious spa treatments from Aromatherapy Associates await for those in need of a little extra R&R. Choose to stay in suits with four-poster beds for an extra special experience, and for those travelling with four-legged friends, there are also dog-friendly suites in a converted 18th-century riding school. Dress formally for dinner and turn it into a stay to remember.

Hartwell House

The Mash Inn, Radnage

The Mash Inn is a celebrated restaurant-with-rooms on a leafy back road in a scattered Chilterns village. Proprietor, Nick Mash, developed the retreat with the idea of helping guests to step back in time and reconnect with nature. As a result, the convivial 18th-century property is not only an enchanting combination of heritage style and contemporary comforts, but also has a unique and beautiful approach to food. Everything is authentic – for example, a wood-fired range forged by local ironmongers in the open kitchen. There are just four rooms above the restaurant and a further two in an annexe, all of which enjoy luxury features such as monsoon showers or hip baths and organic L:A Bruket toiletries. Dinner is a no-choice menu devised around the finest ingredients available on the night, courtesy of chef Tomas Topolar, who spends the day foraging, pickling, fermenting, curing and harvesting produce from the kitchen garden.

The Mash Inn

Hotels in Hampshire

Known for its New Forest ponies, national parks, stately homes and maritime history, Hampshire is an exceptional part of the UK to visit at any time of the year. Days can be spent hiking, exploring pretty villages or visiting two of Europe’s largest ports, Southampton and Portsmouth, with top attractions ranging from Queen Elizabeth Country Park to the resurrected Mary Rose. Hotels in Hampshire are also destinations in their own right – especially these two.

Chewton Glen, New Milton

A five-star country house hotel in Hampshire, combined with a celebrated spa, Chewton Glen is a quintessentially English escape with extra modern luxury. In addition to the rooms and suites in the main house (decorated in traditional style with sumptuous furnishings), the hotel has made use of its enchanting New Forest location by introducing treehouse suites. They allow you to wake amongst the treetops in decadent style, watch deer roam in the morning light and enjoy time and space to yourselves, all adding an extra layer of magic to your stay.

Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

Montagu Arms, Beaulieu

A restaurant-with-rooms in the village on Beaulieu Water, the Montague Arms offers traditional architecture and contemporary hospitality. On the banks of the Beaulieu river on the edge of the New Forest, the wisteria-covered Victorian hotel is known for its food, offering both a fine-dining restaurant and a pub called Monty’s Inn. Many of the rooms overlook a Gertrude Jekyll-inspired garden, allowing you to wake and watch free-ranging ponies wander by. There are also dog-friendly, open-plan courtyard studios in the grounds, each with a private terrace, and there’s a general atmosphere of relaxation to ease you into your stay.

The Montagu Arms Hotel

Hotels in Oxfordshire

Combining countryside with the beauty of Oxford itself, a trip to Oxfordshire is multifaceted. It would be remiss not to spend a little time in the collegiate city, exploring the world-famous university, the Ashmolean Museum and Bodleian Libraries. However there’s much to see beyond these hallowed streets, whether it’s shopping at the popular Bicester Village or exploring the grounds, the Baroque Blenheim Palace, or the hotels in Oxfordshire themselves.

The Feathered Nest, Chipping Norton

An 18th-century malthouse turned restaurant-with-rooms, The Feathered Nest sits proudly overlooking the Evenlode Valley. Combining modern hospitality, Adam Taylor’s gastropub-with-rooms is particularly well known for its food courtesy of Michelin-starred chef Matt Weedon. Alongside the luxury foodie experience however, the atmosphere is underpinned by an innately cosy vibe, complete with plenty of space for pint in the pub by a crackling fire and with live music in true pub style.

The Feathered Nest Country Inn

The Lamb Inn, Burford

In a quiet town on the River Windrush, The Lamb Inn has been welcoming guests since the 1750s. A weaver, cooper and chandler once occupied the 16-century cottages, and inside there are still lots of nods to that history around the property. The mullioned windows and log fireplace sit alongside beautiful interiors that envelope you as you walk in, and luxury touches such as homemade flapjacks and Molton Brown toiletries are ready and waiting in your room.

The Lamb Inn, Burford

Hotels in Surrey

Known for its world-class golf courses, home to one of England’s largest vineyards, Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking (as well as lots of smaller vineyards), Bronze Age forts and pretty villages, Surrey is an enchanting place to add to your summer road trip. The hotels in Surrey also serve to enhance the experience exponentially.

Broadway Barn, Woking

A restored 200-year-old barn in a historic village, Broadway Barn is a B&B that takes the experience to the next level. Described as ‘Nigh on perfect’ by one reviewer, it’s a pretty property filled with characterful antiques and artwork as well as little luxuries. Each room has its own style, and all guests are welcomed with dressing gowns, slippers, flowers and home-made shortbread. Breakfast is served in a bright conservatory overlooking a walled garden, as you tuck into a feast of home-made breads, jams and granola, and house-recipe chipolatas.

Broadway Barn Properties

Bingham Riverhouse, Richmond-upon-Thames

Overlooking the river in Richmond-Upon-Thames, Bingham Riverhouse combines the best of London with a sense of tranquillity and wellbeing. Spend time paddleboarding on the river or strolling to see the deer in Richmond Park, wake in stylish rooms and suites, and enjoy fine dining in a library lined with Penguin classics. Smart and sophisticated but welcoming at the same time, the Georgian house has a sense of theatre to it, with each room named after poems and verse dramas by Michael Field, nom de plume of two Victorian poets, Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper, who lived here until 1914. It’s a unique experience and definitely worth the visit.

Bingham Riverhouse, Richmond

Hotels in Wiltshire

Head towards the South West and Wiltshire welcomes you with open arms. Brimming with prehistoric monuments and beautiful countryside, the area is well known for its foodie expertise as well – all served with skill at Wiltshire’s hotels and inns.

Widbrook Grange, Bradford-on-Avon

This Georgian farmhouse is a treasure trove of interesting details. Filled with upcycled agricultural salvage, it’s all about heritage and character. Honouring the history of the property, the owners have turned vintage miscellanea like churns, handcarts, seed spreaders and weighing scales into part of the shabby chic decor. The dog-friendly hotel is both fashionable and welcoming, with friendly staff and tasty food. Explore the surrounding countryside by day and tuck into large portions of regional fare in the evening.

Widbrook Grange – Country House Hotel in Bradford on Avon

Lucknam Park, Chippenham

A Palladian mansion in 500 acres of parkland and gardens, Lucknam Park is grand and decadent – a real treat on your road trip. Arrive in style along a mile-long avenue of lime and beech trees and enter a world with its own arboretum and rose garden, horse riding, a luxury spa and more. Children are treated like mini VIPs with sports and pony rides, while adults enjoy the understated elegance. For meals, choose between chef Hywel Jones’s Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant and the informal contemporary brassiere.

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa | Luxury Hotel near Bath, Wiltshire

Hotels in West Sussex

Spanning Adur, Arun, Chichester, Horsham, and Mid Sussex, as well as the boroughs of Crawley and Worthing, West Sussex is known for its natural beauty as well as its arts and musical heritage. A diverse place of country, coast and city sites, the hotels in Sussex reflect the area’s heritage and virtues.

Belle Tout Lighthouse, Eastbourne

A unique destination, Belle Tout Lighthouse is a former lighthouse situated at Beachy Head. Built in 1832 it was restored after WW2 and today, it stands proud on the clifftop. Guests wake to 360 degree views of the English Channel, the South Downs and the enigmatic Seven Sisters. Stay in a choice of rooms ranging from the Captain’s Cabin to Old England or Keeper’s Loft, enjoy dramatic sunsets, picnic suppers in the lounge and then ascent to the lantern to view the star-spangled sky.

Belle Tout Lighthouse

Gravetye Manor, East Grinstead

A romantic Elizabethan manor house, Gravetye Manor sits deep in the countryside surrounded by 1,000 acres of historically important gardens. An exceptional destination with a fantastic reputation, the interiors both honour the heritage of the property whilst embracing the best of contemporary style. Food sees guests enjoy Michelin-starred menus with ingredients from the orchard and kitchen gardens as well as forged ingredients. The gardens are a treat to explore, overflowing with flowers and embracing both beauty as well as wild and natural gardening.

Gravetye Manor

Join Tom Kerridge’s Pirate Ship

Round & About


There’s working in the hospitality industry and then there’s working for Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge in the hospitality industry, if you’re looking for an opportunity to work alongside one of the best in the business then hop aboard the pirate ship!

The Tom Kerridge Group includes The Hand & Flowers, The Coach, Lush by Tom Kerridge and The Butcher’s Tap & Grill all in Marlow, as well as Kerridge’s Bar & Grill and Kerridge’s Fish & Chips (both London) and The Bull & Bear (Manchester), and with vacancies ranging from bartender through to front of house and all manner of chef and kitchen roles available you’re sure to find one that will help you in your career.

When you join the ‘pirate ship’ you’ll be joining a band of pirates all contributing to the success and growth of the Tom Kerridge Group. Clear lines of progression mean some of the team have forged thriving careers over 20 years and with a policy of promoting from within and nurturing talent you can be assured you’ll get all the support you need.

Tom says: “Working in hospitality is a way of life. At the top level it’s hard work, but the rewards you can get out of it are huge. It’s not just a job, but the chance to learn new skills, travel the world, meet amazing people and be involved in amazing events, for us, it’s a long-term career. Come and join our pirate ship!”

To find out more about the opportunities on offer visit

Wine & dine at The Alice

Liz Nicholls


It’s bottoms-up time down the rabbit hole! To celebrate English Wine Week (18th – 26th June) and to champion English producers, The Alice – Oxford’s all-day dining restaurant and bar set within The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels® – is hosting a series of intimate Wine and Dine events and a special Wine Flight tasting menu in collaboration with Balfour Winery and Coates & Seely.

Taking place on Tuesday 21st June at 7pm, The Alice will be collaborating with Coates & Seely, a quintessential English Sparkling Winery to co-host a fun, blind tasting of French vs English Sparkling Wines. Hosted in The Alice’s beautiful private dining room, each wine will be paired with a curated four-course dinner by executive chef Chris Emery, including canapés to start.

Tristram Coates from Coates & Seely (representing England) and Gemma from Palmer & Co (representing France), will guide guests through the four-course dinner as they blind taste a range of sparkling wines. There will also be plenty of time to learn more about English Wines as they share stories and history of Sparkling Winemaking, before the sparkling wines are revealed at the end of the meal for the moment of truth.

Guests will be treated to a selection of seasonal canapés, followed by four-courses including tempting dishes of Roast Quail with melted onions & morels and a Strawberry, Champagne Syllabub & Verbena Tart.

For more information and to book, please visit the link here. Tickets are £95pp. A vegetarian menu is also available.

Wine & Dine Series at The Alice: Best of Balfour Wine Pairing Dinner

Taking place on Thursday 23rd June at 7pm, The Alice will be collaborating with award-winning Balfour Winery to host an exclusive Wine & Dine four-course dinner curated by Executive Chef Chris Emery, showcasing the best of seasonal British produce and English wine.

Hosted in The Alice’s whimsical private dining room, Janina Doyle, Brand Ambassador of Balfour Winery, will guide guests through the menu as they enjoy each course paired with a sparkling, white or red wine. There will also be plenty of time to learn more about English Wines as she shares the story of the wine harvest and history of Balfour Wine.

Guests will be welcomed with a selection of canapés, followed by a special four-course menu, each course paired with a Balfour wine. Guests can expect dishes including Sole Agnolotti, Sorrel Butter Sauce & Exmoor Caviar paired with Springfield Chardonnay 2018 and Romney Marsh Lamb, Melted Onions, Girolles & Peas paired with Luke’s Pinot Noir 2020.

For more information, including detail on the celebrated Balfour Winery and to book, please visit the link here. Tickets are priced at £75pp. A vegetarian menu is also available.

Introducing The Alice’s Wine Flight Trio

To celebrate English Wine Week, The Alice is also showcasing a limited selection of English wines from Balfour Winery, set on the beautiful Hush Heath Estate. Surrounded by ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows, Balfour was one of the first to be awarded the WineGB Sustainability Certification.

Available throughout the month of June in the main restaurant, guests who dine at The Alice will be able to enjoy an exclusive wine flight trio from Balfour Winery, priced at £12, including Balfour Skye’s Chardonnay, Nannette’s Rose and Luke’s Pinot Noir.

For more information and to book, please visit The Alice’s website here.

Pizzeria Campana: A taste of Italy

Karen Neville


A truly authentic pizza restaurant and take away opens on March 19th at The Shed, Bordon

Pizzeria Campana is not another pizza chain outlet but a real family business bringing the taste of Campania (the Italian region where Naples is located) into the heart of Bordon with traditional Italian pizzas.  

Gareth Turner, one of the Pizzeria Campana team is thrilled to be opening: “It started as a simple dream – to create a truly Italian style pizza oven stocked with wood, fired up and ready to bake a pizza, which has been lovingly handmade from a carefully crafted authentic recipe and topped with the finest, freshest ingredients.” 

“Open 7 days a week, for lunch and evening service, Pizzeria Campana will take you on a culinary trip to Italy. Our friendly family team members will be ready and waiting to bring the authentic Italian style pizza restaurant (collection and delivery) into the heart of Hampshire. 

Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company is delighted to announce this new opening on Saturday, 19th March. In recent months The Shed has also welcomed new food restaurants/takeaways The Shack and Stuff’d as well confectioner Sweet Treats to its unique, authentic shared experience. 

With a range of artisan treats, home cooked food, arts & crafts, creative workspaces and great local entertainment The Shed features an array of the best local makers and creators. 

There are Markets every Wednesday and on two Saturdays a month, plus entertainment at The Cube and host of major events throughout the year, so there’s so much more on offer than in your average shed. 

Pizzeria Campana opening times:

Mon – Wed: 11am-9pm
Thu – Sat: 11am-10:30pm
Sun: 11am-7:30pm 

For more information about The Shed, businesses and events, visit:  

Tell us your local news here

Love local with fresh food boxes

Liz Nicholls


Love local! Fresh food delivery boxes so you can make restaurant-quality meals

Our hospitality industry has, of course, been brutally battered over the last 12 months. This is part of the reason we’re celebrating our food & drink heroes in our R&A Good Cheer Awards.

Crop To Kitchen is one of the many valiant businesses which has had to evolve to survive – and keep us well fed. Ordinarily, the team supply restaurants in London and the home counties – including Michelin-starred eateries and five-star hotels – from its Maidenhead base. These include iconic settings such as Cliveden House, the Hind’s Head and The Groucho Club.

MD Peter Codling says: “Like many, we have had to think on our feet. What was also important was that we helped the local farms and growers whose top produce was no longer needed by the trade. We wanted to avoid food waste and serve the community so they can enjoy great food at home.”

Their home delivery boxes, containing the finest ingredients, have won rave reviews. Customers can build their own order or choose a pre-selected box. As well as the best fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs, the Crop To Kitchen team also rose to the challenge in the first lockdown, sourcing items in short supply including fresh pasta. Foodies should also keep an eye on the website for new lines of produce, normally only supplied to the best restaurants, so that you can replicate the same level of excellence in your own meals.

The social media feed is filled with delicious recipe ideas. They offer free next-day delivery within a 10-mile radius, including Cookham, Bourne End, Burnham, Ascot, Slough, Windsor, Bray, Cookham Dean, Taplow, Bisham, Marlow, Henley and all the villages in between.

All orders are delivered in reusable and fully sanitised crates and plastic packaging is avoided when sourcing and delivering to fit the green ethos. The drivers pride themselves on meticulous presentation and comply with social distancing guidelines, using full PPE.

Crop To Kitchen also dreams big, with plans on the horizon including offering specific areas of land or poly tunnels for restaurants, once back on their feet, to grow their own bespoke produce. Peter is also going to rustle up some live-streaming nights featuring chef cook-alongs.

Get your box for Valentine’s Day – or to find out more, visit

We’ve teamed up to offer a box bundle to one lucky winner – watch this space for the competition which will go live at the start of March!

For some of our own recipe ideas, click here

A golden example of dining

Liz Nicholls


Liz Nicholls reviews the newly opened Ivy Oxford Brasserie.

In these strange, straitened times, luxury feels like it’s in short supply. In fact, “luxury” has become so rare a concept that it feels a retro, almost naughty. Luckily, the energetic team behind The Ivy Oxford Brasserie haven’t received this particular memo.

From the moment we were ushered inside, off the bleak wintry high street into the velvet-coccoon of the cloakroom we were (to quote Beyoncé) living lavish.

The Ivy Oxford Brasserie’s arrival in this often austere city of broken dreams has caused a big fat buzz for good reason. Because we’re all hungry for some luxury, and a place to celebrate rather than commiserate.

As with its celebrity honeypot mother branch in London, and the successful brasserie outposts in Winchester and Marlow, the Ivy brand is all about the best of the best. That’s most thrilling, on first entry, with the service. The staff offer the level of old-fashioned courtesy and enthusiasm that makes you feel like you’re winning at life. I go weak at the knees for a good banquette (especially a curvy orange one) and the effervescent Karim’s recommendation – truffle arancini – were balls of richly flavoured sexy joy; the perfect accompaniment for Magdalen Manhattan.

You can’t visit this Ivy branch without being wowed by its interior. Instagram has helped to gild the Ivy Oxford’s golden age because it really is a maximalist wonderland that feels designed to be snapped. For Pinterest fans like myself, the general vibe could be defined as “1920s Flapper Luxe”, with huge botanical motifs (toucans, butterflies, rainbow trout) and shiny surfaces at every turn. The old bank’s stately dimensions make it the perfect stomping ground for anyone in need of a bit of glam – even strutting up the copper-hued illuminated staircase to the ladies makes you feel special. The toilets themselves (which you might have seen on Insta) are worth special mention: rose quartz sinks, brass taps, gothic-gold floral wallpaper and jewel-hued pouffes… No wonder, then, that the smallest rooms have apparently been papped even more than the chocolate bombe (which comes a close second). And the enamel-ceilinged private hire party room is a golden example of how to create a setting where you can and should celebrate in debauched yet elegant style, a la the Ivy alma mater.

Hype can really detract from a good meal, and I had thought this Ivy outpost might be more style over substance but happily I was proved wrong. Tempura prawns and salt & pepper squid, in their conical silver salver, were crisp and gorgeous dunked in their wasabi and miso dressing and – a greedy choice – the lobster risotto was a divine creation of sweet meaty flesh doused in a seafoamy bisque dressing with a perfect partner of tender samphire.

Another greedy winter choice (and Karim’s recommendation), chicken Milanese was peak pleasure, coated in brioche crumb but kept savoury by a shiny tureen of truffle cream sauce that I kept trying to steal and topped with a rudely perfect fried egg. Then, as if to prove more definitely is more, the blackened cod fillet. This has almost become a cliché dish, which footballers plump for at Nobu and other top-tier celeb haunts, but technically the Ivy version is very hard to fault: pearly succulent fish, baked in a banana leaf beautifully fragrant with sesame and helped to sing with its citrus-pickled fennel (genius) broccoli and yuzu mayonnaise. Top marks too for a sublime sweet potato side and creamed spinach with pine nuts. All of it looked beautiful but tasted even better.

That much-Instagrammed chocolate bombe is also worth its 15 minutes: a grenade of golden flavour whose honeycomb centre oozed out to mingle with the vanilla ice cream once the hot sauce was poured on top to make a big sticky mess.

With all this glitz & glam, you’d expect the Ivy to be expensive but it’s reasonable: a la carte starters hover about the £10 mark, mains around £20 and there’s a three-course set menu for £21 which is stunning value, all things considered.

Hats off to the Ivy team. They’ve managed to live up to the not-inconsiderable hype. From my grandmother – who toasted her 94th birthday here earlier this month – to youngsters in athleisure chinking drinks at the bar, being made to feel like royalty is surely the best measure of success.

See their menu and book here

Beeline to bliss

Round & About


Petersham Nurseries – Richmond’s visionary garden center and lifestyle mecca – is one of West London’s greatest treasures and creative success stories.

The family behind the business are celebrating their 15th birthday, looking back on their humble beginnings as a dilapidated local plant shop, and how much has changed. Now with a second branch in Covent Garden, the small empire includes a homeware shop, florist, café, two restaurants and a wine cellar, with visitors come from near and far to discover Richmond’s unique lifestyle destination.

For September, they’re celebrating their birthday by paying homage to the gardener’s best friend, the honeybee, with a one-off masterclass in all things bee-related. In keeping with Petersham’s ethos, this will include a tasting session with Bermondsey Street Bees’ honey sommelier, a gardening session in planting bee-friendly flowers, a delicious lunch, and a ‘preserving with honey’ cookery class with Rachel de Thample.

Petersham's 15th Birthday

To sign up for this, on Thursday, 26th September

Vino veritas

Round & About


Jessica Elphinstone learns a thing or two about wine at Vagabond,  Fulham’s most underrated date spot

If you detest wine snobbery, and the whole glass-swirling, Merlot-gargling pomp of it all, then I’m totally with you. I spent my entire three years of university drinking £4.99 Gallo rosé, and that sweet, sickly nectar has a special place in my heart. But the wonderful thing about Vagabond is that, despite being a bouji wine bar and boasting over a hundred carefully selected bottles from indie vineyards across the globe, it is somehow also unpretentious.

First of all, the way you order the booze appeals to my inner vending-machine-loving child: Pre-load money onto a credit card, swipe into the recently revamped wine fridges, before clicking on the bottle you’d like and watching with glee as your chosen amount of wine comes pouring out. Taster sizes of 25ml are mostly around a couple of pounds, allowing people to sample a whole range of different wines you wouldn’t normally risk getting a glass of. We taste a tangy Spanish Albarino, a buttery, Meursault-style Reserva Branco from a sustainable smallholding in Alentejano (yes – I stole that from the tasting notes), and a questionable Italian Pecorino from Abruzzo.

Each wine comes with an information slip, onto which you can jot notes like ‘beeswax and tangerine’ or ‘pomegranate and watermelon’ if you so wish. My friend Chloe is a picky soul, and finds GM Henry’s pick, a Condrieu from the Northern Rhône which is one of the most expensive wines, not to her taste. We play games, bringing each other wines with tasting notes of honey, straw and water chestnuts, and try unsuccessfully to guess them. Around us, we see couples (a lot of first dates, apparently) doing the same, laughing and chatting as they pair their Tempranillo with delicious cured meats, artisan cheeses and charred Padron peppers.

Finally, we strike gold, and both fall in love with an Australian Zibibbo from winemaker Brash Higgins. “English Pears and Freesia” writes Chloe dramatically, now slightly less than sober. I imagine that this balance of light-heartedness, mixed with some actual exploration into new realms of wine, is exactly what Vagabond’s founder Stephen Finch imagined when he opened to doors to his first Fulham wine shop in 2010.

Screen Shot 2019-09-02 at 18.12.40


Visit Vagabond Fulham, 18-22 Vanston Place, SW6 1AX
Contact on 0207 381 1717 or visit

Fox & Pheasant review

Round & About


I’m a country bumpkin at heart, and when I moved to Fulham nearly three years ago all my edgy East London pals rolled their eyes and said it was highly predictable, the obvious choice for a Gloucestershire gal like me.

It’s true, there’s something about the leafy streets, parks and plentiful dog owners in SW6 that felt like home. But what I always missed was a cozy country pub, with roaring fires and stuffed foxes, the sort you’d turn up to in wellies after a long walk. That is until my little brother moved up to London a couple of months ago, and sniffed out the Fox and Pheasant. Hidden in a charming little mews called The Billings, a short walk from Fulham Broadway and Stamford Bridge, I’m embarrassed to say I’d walked past the faded Victorian exterior, with its green tiles and hanging baskets, a hundred times without a second glance.

This is probably exactly what James Blunt and wife Sofia Wellesley wanted, when they decided to buy their local boozer and save it from being turned into apartments back. It’s understated, and no expense has been spared in retaining the original charm of the 17th century pub. When I walked in, I was transported with a jolt to my favourite Cotswold pubs, and half expected to recognise the faces at the bar.

We plonk ourselves at the bar for a pint of the Fox and Fez, their house lager, and chat to charming manager Toby. The decor is so quintessentially British it feels a bit like a film set, with vintage wallpaper and original 1930’s oak panels and locals playing darts. The walled garden is divine, with ivy and jasmine and pot-plants galore, and a Wimbledon-style glass roof ready to pull over in case of rain. We sit here for supper, which blows us away with its quality and freshness and attention to detail. You can have your usual pub classics – scotch eggs; burger and chips; honey & mustard chipolatas; a killer roast with all the trimmings on Sundays.

Alternatively you can go off-piste and order soft shell crab tacos with sriracha mayo, or an Ottolenghi-esque roast cauliflower with rocket and dates, sprinkled with dukka grains and toasted almonds. For pudding, don’t miss the sticky toffee pudding soufflé, served with ice cream of the same flavour, which was mind-bogglingly delicious. The Fox and Pheasant is the perfect country escape, while barely having to leave SW6.

Find them

The Fox and Pheasant, 1 Billing Road, Chelsea, SW10 9UJ.

Call 0207 352 2943 or email [email protected]

Thames Valley Hospitality Awards

Round & About


Picture credit: Dijana Capan, DVision Images
Picture caption: Organisers Marc Allridge and Hilary Scott


Nominate your favourites for 2019 Thames Valley Hospitality Awards.

The 2019 Thames Valley Hospitality Awards are open for nominations celebrating excellence and outstanding staff in the sector. From hotels to B&Bs, bars to restaurants, it’s time to share who you think deserves to be honoured. 

In addition to last year’s categories, there are three new ones – Achiever of the Year, Wedding Venue of the Year and Outside Caterer of the Year. This is the second year of the awards and the organisers are delighted to be building on the success of last year. 

Co-organiser Marc Allridge of Cherubs Floral Design said they were very excited about the new categories. He added: “We would love people from managers to brides to nominate in the Wedding Venue of the Year category. And we want to hear form all those caterers who work away behind the scenes and often don’t get recognised for their efforts – winning Outside Caterer of the Year would fix that. 

“We also want to see lots of entries in Achiever of the Year – this is for a youngster who has overcome physical or mental issues to shine in the trade.” 

The gala awards dinner this year is being held at the De Vere Wokefield Estate on Sunday, 28th April and hosted by leading chef Daniel Galmiche. Fellow organiser Hilary Scott encouraged entries for this year, saying: “We had so many entries in our first year it was amazing. I hope that we can get more this year now we are a bit better known. And remember if you missed out last year you can enter again.” 

This year’s categories are: 

Hotel of the Year sponsored by TVHA 

Independent Hotel of Year sponsored by Newsquest Berkshire 

Bar of the Year  sponsor Matthew Clark 

​Restaurant of the Year 

Hotel Manager of the Year sponsored by Cream Design 

​Front of house star sponsored by H&D Food Solutions 

Back of house star sponsored by Cherubs Floral Design 

Warm welcome  

Best breakfast 

Apprentice of the Year 

Three new categories for 2019: 

Achiever of the Year – a youngster who has overcome physical or mental issues to shine 

​Wedding Venue of the Year – in a competitive market who stands out for their venue, service and professionalism 

Outside Caterer of the Year – in a growing market, we want to find the best 

  For full details and to nominate visit and don’t forget to share with us who you are nominating and why!