Park Rd., Stoke Poges
There’s a reason why Stoke Park and its accompanying expanse of rich parkland look familiar: The Harry Colt-designed golf course (lessons are available upon request) had a starring role in two James Bond films, while one of the 14 suites (that’s in addition to 35 antique-clad guest rooms) stole the scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary. Established as the first British country club in 1908 under the watchful eye of King George III’s royal architect, this impressive mansion has been spiffed to boast all the creature comforts posh vacationers come to expect from a weekend in the country, with or without the kids. The world-class Stoke Park Spa is home to an indoor pool, marble steam rooms, and an awe-inducing tropical aquarium. Even if an overnight stay isn’t on the agenda, a celebratory meal at Humphry’s—Chef Chris Wheeler’s modern-British fine dining experience—is well worth the 45-minute drive from London. A three-course dinner may include such local delicacies as quail confit, artichoke tartlets, and English raspberry soufflé.
The Hand & Flowers
126 W. St., Marlow
Buckinghamshire is where foodies head for the weekend, and this gastropub is one of the local highlights. Husband and wife team, Tom and Beth Kerridge, have earned two Michelin stars for their pub fare, yet the feel at the dark, woodsy restaurant is refreshingly informal. Next door and dotted throughout town, the hotel’s 8 guest cottages are sparsely decorated, but boast big, luxurious tubs and in some cases, jacuzzis. It's located in the ridiculously quaint and charming town of Marlow, where the walks through town and down the Thames are stunning. Plus, there are plenty of other pubs to check out including The Coach (a new offering from the Kerridge’s), and a couple of Heston Blumenthal destinations in nearby Bray.
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