Each week, our holiday hero, Neil Simpson, delves into a brilliant holiday topic and does all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: Al fresco dining at Staycation hotels.
Sensational summer weather has meant that al fresco dining has become the hottest attraction for hotel guests. And few restaurants with outdoor seating are as aptly named as Leaf, on the edge of the private garden behind the Castle Hotel Windsor.
Fresh, wholesome meals include make-your-own salads – and why not treat yourself to a side of baked camembert and top it off with Windsor mess?
Sensational summer weather has meant that al fresco dining has become the hottest attraction for hotel guests. Above is the Leaf restaurant at the Castle Hotel Windsor, an ideal spot for al fresco dining that serves healthy meals including make-your-own salads
The Castle Hotel Windsor dates back to 1528 and is directly opposite Windsor Castle (pictured above).
Drinks, served under the shade of tall trees, include beers from Windsor & Eton Brewery and local Stanlake Park Chardonnay.
The hotel itself dates back to 1528 and is directly opposite Windsor Castle. Rooms start from £154 per night (castlehotelwindsor.com).
With views across the Leven Valley towards the North York Moors, al fresco dining in a historic sunken garden can be the highlight of a stay at the Crathorne Hall Hotel near Middlesbrough. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea (with seasonal ingredients and Taylors of Harrogate tea) and dinner can all be taken al fresco.
Dining in a historic sunken garden can be the highlight of a stay at Crathorne Hall Hotel in North Yorkshire (pictured)
The Halston Hotel in Carlisle pictured is perfect for a stopover en route to the Lake District or on to Hadrian’s Wall
The Halston Hotel, with rooms from £94 a night, is in a former post office
Above is al fresco dining at The Halston Hotel
The 15 acres of gardens are full of water features and cozy nooks, so enjoy a stroll on the manicured lawns before a game of croquet.
Crathorne Hall, originally a country house, was completed in 1906. Today it has 37 lavish rooms and has hosted Prince Charles, the late Queen Mother and no fewer than four Prime Ministers.
Rooms start from £155 per night (handpickedhotels.co.uk).
Fire pits and fairy lights add magic to dinner at The Halston Hotel’s ‘secret garden’ in Carlisle, perfect for a stopover en route to the Lake District or on to Hadrian’s Wall.
In the city’s former post office, guests can sip Penny Black cocktails (a concoction of elderflower gin, raspberry liqueur, and Prosecco) on the terrace or dine under the stars at the hotel’s Penny Blue restaurant.
Rooms start from £94 per night (thehalston.com).
Expect a funky twist on the traditional at Cheltenham’s Queens Hotel (pictured above).
In the Queens Hotel’s fragrant summer garden, a quirky horsebox bar takes pride of place
Take your pick from the Queens Hotel’s ‘Best of British’ drinks menu, which includes Cotswolds cider and Kent rose wine
A delicious dish at the Queens Hotel
Expect a funky twist on the traditional at Cheltenham’s Queens Hotel.
A quirky horsebox bar takes pride of place in the fragrant summer garden, where a ‘Best of British’ drinks menu is on offer, featuring Cotswold cider and Kent rose wine.
Guests can also enjoy long lunches and leisurely dinners in the sun at the hotel’s Victoria’s Restaurant.
Rooms start from £117 per night (queenshotelcheltenham.co.uk).
At the Lamphey Court Hotel & Spa in Pembroke, the tables in the Conservatory restaurant overhang the gardens.
Food is as fresh as the Welsh country air: try lobster from nearby Freshwater Bay, salmon from the River Teifi and lamb from the Preseli Hills.
Staff can also arrange take-away lunches if you wish to picnic on site or along the Pembrokeshire coast.
Rooms start from £99 per night (lampheycourt.co.uk).
Staff at Lamphey Court Hotel & Spa in Pembroke can arrange take-away lunches if you want to picnic on the Pembrokeshire coast. Above is the county’s pretty Tenby Beach
Book a short break at the five-star Culloden Estate And Spa outside of Belfast for a special al fresco dining experience
In the heart of the garden at Culloden Estate And Spa is a gin and gelato bar
Breaks at Culloden Estate And Spa cost from £250 per person per night. Above is a suite in the hotel
Book a short break at the five-star Culloden Estate And Spa outside of Belfast and the al fresco experience includes an Italian garden with a gin and gelato bar at its heart.
Breaks cost from £250pp per night.
Stays include spa access, full Irish breakfast, gin and gelato tastings (cullodenestateandspa.com).