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For veggies and vegans, holidaying in the UK used to mean putting up with the same tired risotto or stuffed mushroom for days on end. The good news is that the British hospitality industry is now embracing the challenge of catering to an ever-growing population of guests who are living a plant-led lifestyle. Here, the 2018 Good Hotel Guide shares with us their favourite places to enjoy good quality vegan and vegetarian fare away from home.
For a quintessentially British treat, look no further than vegan afternoon tea at this dramatic hotel in the heart of the theatre district. Book the Healthy Afternoon Tea and spend the afternoon sampling a selection of loose-leaf teas along with a spread of mini-sandwiches, delicate cakes and fruit-studded scones. Tea can be served in the wood-panelled drawing room or in one of the bedrooms, and gluten-free and reduced-sugar menus are also available. Room from £330; breakfast from £15.50.
Between acres of peaceful woodland and a comprehensive spa, this country hotel in the Nith Valley provides fuss-free respite for all. Chef Adam Moore’s rustic cooking uses home-grown and local produce, keeping food miles low and sustainability high. The separate vegetarian menu delivers seasonal British dishes such as as aspargus with walnut baked goat cheese plus more international flavours such as Sri Lankan coconut vegetable curry. Animal lovers will love the pooch-friendly welcome too. Two-courses, £25, three-courses, £35; B&B from £120.
From March to October, imaginative breakfasts and strong Brazilian coffee greet the day at Julia and Paddy Foyle’s eye-catching, tardis-like B&B in Co. Galway. Served in the bright conservatory, the expansive spread is worth tearing yourself out of bed for. Graze the buffet or pick and choose from the menu: eggs Benedict, piping hot potato pancakes, homemade brown Irish soda bread, plus cheeky breakfast cakes (‘Go on, treat yourself,’ reads a sign). With advance notice, vegans are also well catered for. B&B from €160. thequayhouse.com
A foodie enclave occupying a rambling 17th-century manor house in Cowan Bridge, Hipping Hall bursts with local flavour, in and out of the kitchen. The Scandi-style bedrooms brim with local furnishings and county produce feeds chef Oli Martin’s nightly six- or nine-course tasting menus. Vegetarians are not left wanting: book the veggie three-course tasting menu (£60), or five-course house menu (£80), which might include the standout herby gnocchi; coal-roasted celeriac; and Cumbrian damsons with frozen meringue. B&B doubles from £169.
Sweet relief comes from a stay at this all-vegetarian retreat in Winchester. The former dance hall is now a quirky, high-ceilinged space, where freshly-baked cakes, coffee and tea await you each afternoon. Sleep in the cute boutique bedrooms and wake to homemade granola and seeded toast with homemade jams. On the weekends, hearty brunch options are the focus: smashed avocado on toast, tomato tart or spinach waffles, each served with eggs. B&B from £155.
Uncomplicated fine-dining awaits at this romantic countryhouse getaway on lake Windermere, surrounded by acres of tranquil woodland. Choose between Gilpin Spice and the Michelin-starred restaurant, Hrishi, where chef Hrishikesh Desai uses local organic produce for British-with-a-twist cuisine. His separate vegetarian tasting menu (three courses for £70), might include celeriac-and-apple velouté and crispy quail eggs; peanut butter semifreddo. Stay in the main house or book a modern spa lodge, with outdoor hot tub and vistas across the water. B&B doubles from £265.
A modern makeover has turned this 240-year-old mill into a haven for ethically-minded bright young things. Vegan and vegetarian menus are served in countryside portions: ‘Bertha’ yellow courgette, pomegranate and white radish to start (£7); a main of Worlington duck egg, Clem’s carrot and oyster mushrooms, or white onion risotto (£18-19.50). Retreat to a bed overlooking the mill-stream or a stylish meadow ‘nook’ (glamping-style pods), with French toast for breakfast. B&B from £99.
An award-winning sommelier and former hotel inspector respectively, Gérard and Nina Basset have created a sunny retreat in the New Forest, at their Napa Valley-inspired restaurant-with-rooms. Awaiting in the open-plan dining room: a vast selection of wines to accompany chef Gavin Barnes’s butternut squash velouté with chestnut ravioli, followed by vegan passion fruit soufflé made with aquafaba (starters from £7, mains from £12). Raise a glass – this is food worth celebrating. B&B doubles from £165.
Chef George Blogg earned his Michelin star for his potager-toplate cooking at this Elizabethan manor house in East Grinstead, once home to ‘wild gardener’ William Robinson. Stroll through the orchard and kitchen gardens, which supply ingredients for the restaurant’s vegetarian tasting menu. From May 2018, dine in the new garden-facing restaurant, overlooking an ever-changing riot of colour. B&B doubles from £260.
This Ribble Valley manor house has twenty years of Michelin stardom. Chef/patron Nigel Haworth and Lisa Goodwin-Allen’s well-crafted menus, including a vegetarian option, teem with organic produce from the kitchen garden. Beetroot salad with fermented elderberry and wasabi buttermilk (£15), might precede roasted gerlot and Lythe Valley damsons on toasted brioche (£22). Sleep in cosy bedrooms and attend the cookery school to take the experience home. B&B doubles from £280.
An easy-going atmosphere and diverse menu make this bookshop-with-rooms an attractive destination for literature lovers and foodies. Vegans and vegetarians are accommodated by Scott Morrison’s omnivorous fare in a restaurant that’s open and spacious, but cosy. Sit by the blazing log-burner with your favourite tipple (there’s a great selection of wine, beer and, of course, local whisky) to accompany sweet potato-feta cheese Wellington, or a chickpea-coriander burger (dishes from £11.50). B&B doubles from £132.
Find landscaped gardens and Michelin-starred modern cuisine at this Edwardian manor house. At the buzzy tasting bench in the kitchen, chef Rupert Rowley uses garden produce for seasonal vegetarian menus. Marinated tofu with curried granola, or pumpkin tortellini might follow a ‘surprise savoury’ (two courses from £62). Sleep in one of the Garden House bedrooms, grouped around the walled courtyard. B&B doubles from £230.
A recent update has imbued this revamped 18th-century manor house with a fresh seaside feel. Spend the day by the swimming pool, battling it out on the tennis courts or working up an appetite kayaking along nearby Frenchman’s Creek. In the restaurant, chef Darren Kelly offers a tasty vegetarian and vegan menu: chargrilled halloumi with confit cherry tomato; twice-baked cheese soufflé; piquillo peppers and puy lentil salads (starters from around £7, mains £9). B&B doubles from £146.
Unspoilt Welsh countryside makes perfect foraging grounds for Michelin-starred chef/patron Chris Harrod. A disciple of Raymond Blanc, he serves a new style of cuisine at his acclaimed restaurant-with-rooms, a former 17th-century drovers’ inn in Monmouth. The modern vegetarian menu might marry local Wye Valley asparagus and Tintern mead with foraged hogweed, maritime pine and hedgerow pickings, with exceptional results (set menus from £39 for three courses). Expect superbly comfy beds and spectacular views from the bedrooms. B&B from £223.
Find the best of British vegetarian cooking on chef Chris Cleghorn’s tasting menu (£60), such as pumpkin soup and cumin ice cream with salt-baked celeriac. A fourposter bed in the hotel upstairs seals the deal. B&B from £125.
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The Good Hotel Guide is available for £16 (UK/Ireland).