Gallic Great Britain: UK breaks with a French Feel

Discover our pick of the best UK hotels for Francophiles

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

No round-up of British hotels with a French vibe would be complete without Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. This chic hotel feels so French that you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Provence rather than the Oxfordshire countryside. The five-star countryside gem is owned by French luxury goods company LVMH and is the brainchild of legendary French chef Raymond Blanc. With two Michelin Stars, the hotel is first and foremost a foodie destination - whether to learn the tricks of the French haute cuisine trade in the smart cookery school, or simply to sit down in the sumptuous L’Orangerie and devour course after course of exquisite French fare. The rooms and gardens have a distinctly French feel to them too - with plush fabrics and four posters inside and lavender flanked pathways leading to a pretty potager and mushroom valley outside.

Le Petit Château, Northumberland 

It’s not just the name that has a distinctly French flavour at this 25-bed boutique hotel in Otterburn in North East England. The whole building has been imbued with a gallic vibe, from the opulent interiors of the rooms that wouldn’t look out of place in Versailles to the Mediterranean style garden that will transport you to Provence (on a warm day up North!). The whole place has a fantastical feel to it, taking French ideas and going over the top with them… but it all works to create a magical place to stay without having to leave the country. 

The Great House, Lavenham, Suffolk

Villages don’t get much more typically English than Lavenham, with its perfectly preserved Tudor timber-framed buildings and wonky pastel-hued medieval cottages. Head to the corner of the village’s famous square though and you’ll find a little slice of France hiding behind the quintessentially 14th century British façade. The Great House really lives up to its name and is a truly great place to eat and stay. There are just five bedrooms, all luxuriously appointed, but the star of the show here is the restaurant. Award-winning French cuisine accompanied by the best French wine is served in elegant surroundings by a team of meticulous and charming French waiters. The best French food we’ve had this side of the Channel.

Château Rhianfa, Anglesey, Wales 

What do you do when you’re on holiday in France and your wife falls in love with the architectural design of French chateaux? Build her her very own chateau back home of course. Well, that’s what the eccentric Sir John Hay-Williams, Baronet of Bodelwyddan did back in 1849 and the result is Wales’ Chateau Rhianfa, which looks for all the world like it belongs in the Loire Valley. Today the Chateau has a mix of modern and historical rooms with glorious countryside rooms. There’s also the restaurant Le Dragon Rouge (see what they did there!) that serves Welsh fare and a wine cave. The area is an outdoor-lovers dream with Snowdonia on the doorstep. 

Le Monde, Edinburgh

Le Monde means ‘the world’ and that’s what you get at this cool, quirky boutique Edinburgh hotel. The name might be French, but you can actually choose from a whole host of different overseas vibes here - LA, Rio, Casablanca, Tokyo and of course Paris. The Parisian-inspired room is decked out in shades of Moulin Rouge pink and burgundy with opulent and ornate furniture. There’s also a Monaco room if you prefer a bit of bling. In true French style there’s a Champagne Bar too, and if you’re ordering a cocktail, it has to be the Parisian-inspired Saintonge Sidecar.

Denbies Wine Estate 

Drinking fine wine paired with local cheeses in a smart restaurant with views over a pretty vineyard… you could be in Bordeaux or you could be in Surrey! A vineyard hotel stay can transport you straight to the French countryside, and fortunately we have quite a few gorgeous options right here in the UK. Denbies is one of the most famous and really is a special place to stay if you want to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life. There are two restaurants, The Gallery overlooking the 265 acre vineyard, and The Vineyard Restaurant with huge floor to ceiling windows so you feel like you’re surrounded by the vines. The hotel has 17 smart rooms and there’s a wellbeing centre to visit when you’re not wine-tasting or enjoying a tour of the vineyards.

The Waterside Inn

This riverside beauty is so committed to its French identity that it describes itself as ‘un restaurant avec chambres’. The French influence comes from celebrated chef Alain Roux, the culinary brains behind the exquisite menu here. Everything you eat here from the continental breakfast to the fine dining Menu Exceptionnel is as French as a Breton stripe. You’ll not want to miss out on the perfectly curated French wines over dinner, so book one of the 12 stylish bedrooms, being sure to ask for one with a river view.

June 06, 2022 — Lucy Robinson

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