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The ultimate cookery and cocktail demonstration at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
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Raymond Blanc's coveted hotel in Oxfordshire, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, is the ultimate countryside getaway. From its famed two-Michelin-starred restaurant to its manicured gardens, it surrounds you with luxury.
As spring gives way to the warmth of summer, it's the ideal time to experience the hotel and its grounds for a day, as they come alive with colour and fragrance. There is no more heavenly setting to learn how to mix the perfect cocktail, watch an expert cookery demonstration and enjoy a seasonal three-course lunch.
Expert cooking demo
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons is one of the UK's most highly regarded restaurants, and its chefs will show off their first-class skills during a special cooking demonstration. The seasonal menu celebrates the produce grown both in the hotel gardens and locally, and you'll see this ethos in action.
Summer drinks demonstration
Pick up some inspiring tips for your own summer drinks parties at a cocktail-making demo class.
The restaurant was awarded two Michelin stars when it opened 35 years ago and has retained them ever since. After the morning's activities, you'll enjoy Veuve Clicquot Vintage Champagne and delicate canapes before a sumptuous three-course lunch with accompanying wines
Day of lunch and demonstrations for £199pp*
- Enjoy tea, coffee and biscuits in La Belle Epoque and the hotel garden on arrival.
- Watch a seasonal cooking demonstration in The Raymond Blanc Cookery School.
- Take part in a summer drinks demonstration.
- Delight in a Veuve Clicquot Champagne reception.
- Feast on a three-course lunch with wines, coffee and petits fours.
Reasons to visit Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Oxfordshire
Expert cooking class
Summer drinks demonstration
By Johnny Morris, travel writer
This country house hotel is a living artwork created by chef patron, and adopted national treasure, Raymond Blanc O.B.E. For over three decades the charismatic Frenchman has been a pioneer hotelier, introducing sophistication, sustainability and a little metropolitan magic to this corner of the Oxfordshire countryside.
The two Michelin-starred restaurant and kitchen gardens are the main attractions but the same attention to detail has been applied to the design of the hotel. These high standards have made Le Manoir a popular and expensive destination for special stays and anniversary celebrations.
Le Manoir is situated in the hamlet of Great Milton, deep in the Oxfordshire countryside. The university city of Oxford and stately Blenheim Palace are within easy driving distance. Closer to home, the graceful 12th-century church of St Mary the Virgin is a short walk from the hotel.
By plane: Heathrow (33 miles)
By train: Oxford (10 miles)
By car: ample parking on site
Look & Feel
Combining an elegant, 15th-century Oxfordshire manor house with Japanese tea gardens, Provençal lavender paths and other flights of fancy may sound eccentric, but it works. The eclectic mix is everywhere - the classic French restaurant comes with country house comforts - but the largely traditional grounds and timeless, honey-hued architecture provide a sense of unity that is reinforced by the uniformly excellent food and joyful interior design.
The service is sophisticated and ever-present, from the dining room to the grounds, where garden staff are happy to conduct tours. Occasionally, though, the attention can feel a little excessive for what is a rural retreat.
Despite its small size, Le Manoir offers a surprising number of facilities, everything from croquet to room-based spa treatments. The priority here, though, is peace and quiet, so there is no gym or noisy swimming pool.
- Room Service
- Access for disabled guests
- Free bikes
- Michelin-starred restaurant
- Lounge bar
The 32 bedrooms, individually designed by Emily Todhunter, are dotted around the main manor house and outbuildings and come in six categories. The colour palette and styles vary and many of the features, such as open fires, spiral staircases and freestanding bathtubs, are one-offs. Some rooms are more dramatic than others, notably Opium, Blanc de Blanc, Vettriano and the South-East Asian-themed Jade, but they can divide opinion, so check the style of your room before arrival.
Food & Drink
Raymond's Blanc's high standards have seen Le Manoir's restaurant retain its two Michelin stars for over 30 years. Head chef Gary Jones is passionate about seasonality and uses locally sourced ingredients alongside the hotel's own garden-fresh produce. The restaurant's cellar stocks a French-dominated list of over 1000 wines.
Breakfast is a clever combination of a first-class buffet and waiter service, and there's a 1930s-style bar for pre- or post-dinner drinks.
The Restaurant | French haute cuisine | two Michelin-starred | £££
Enjoying the fruits of Raymond Blanc's creativity and sharing his high standards is a remarkable but expensive experience. Guest can either gasp at the cost or acknowledge contentedly that pursuing the sublime comes at a high price. Breakfast is included in room rate and Wi-Fi is free but laundry comes at a fee.