1. Lainston House in Winchester, Hampshire
Many guests at this 17th-century country house hotel are happy to leave the cooking to the chefs who’ve earned its restaurant, The Avenue, three AA Rosettes.
However, there’s also the option of being more hands-on, as the grounds are home to the Season cookery school, with a range of courses on offer, from knife skills and sushi making to chocolate masterclasses and cocktail mixing. It’s geared up for corporate bookings, too, with room for up to 24 delegates to bond over the stoves.
2. The Pig at Combe in Gittisham, Devon
There are five PIG Hotels dotted around southern England, all serving food that’s as fresh, seasonal and local as possible. This one, tucked away in the Otter Valley near Honiton, is the newest in the litter. Like its siblings, The Pig at Combe creates its menus using produce either grown or reared on-site or sourced within a 25-mile radius.
Three walled gardens keep the kitchen stocked with vegetables, herbs and infusions, and a mini mushroom farm means it has access to its own homegrown fungi, too.
3. Brigade Bar & Bistro, London
Featured in detail in Destination issue 9, Brigade Bar & Bistro is a social enterprise that offers kitchen apprenticeships to formerly homeless people to get them started in the industry. So whether you’re holding a breakfast briefing or breaking up a day of meetings (on-site facilities include four conference rooms) with a lunch of modern British food, you can be sure you’re supporting a good cause. Or you could put your own team through their paces at the fully equipped Cook School upstairs.
This excellent eatery is also a charity of the year for the HBAA, the trade association of the hotel booking agency, apartment and venue community.
4. The Moonraker Hotel in Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Order the charcuterie board in The Moonraker’s restaurant, and the hams will have been cured in the hotel’s own smoker, and the accompanying pickles and chutneys made from produce grown in the grounds.
It’s all part of the kitchen team’s aim to be as self-sufficient as possible: they’ve planted an orchard, introduced beehives and take pride in the kitchen garden. Hire the whole place for an exclusive event; add-ons include a cookery school session on smoking and curing your own meat and fish.
5. Chewton Glen in New Milton, Hampshire
Not only is Chewton Glen a great destination for animal lovers, but in March 2017, the five-star hotel opened a new cookery school in collaboration with James Martin. The celebrity chef – along with resident chef-tutor Rob Cottam and guest chefs – will also be taking some of the courses on offer in the purpose-built space, where delegates can take part in team bake-offs.
Alternatively, for a taste of adventure, the hotel also offers a Bear Grylls Wild Gourmet Experience, where they can forage for ingredients, build their own kitchen shelter and cook over an open fire.
6. Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Perthshire
You’ll have to stay the best part of a week if you want to sample all the eating options at this Scottish resort hotel, with its multiple bars and restaurants, ranging from the fine dining of restaurant Andrew Fairlie (Scotland’s only two-Michelin-starred eatery) to sharing platters and craft beers in the Auchterarder 70 bar.
Anglers can also head off for trout fishing on Laich Loch, and bring their catch home for the hotel chefs to cook and serve up in The Strathearn restaurant later that evening.
7. Rockliffe Hall in Darlington, County Durham
There are plenty of exciting activities on offer at this hotel, from white-water rafting to the Rockliffe boot camp. But at least as your delegates are being put through their paces they have the incentive of a fine meal to follow.
The hotel’s three dining options include The Orangery, which holds three AA Rosettes and has earned itself a place in The Good Food Guide 2018. Not that they’re resting on their laurels: a kitchen garden is under construction, and two new beehives are already producing honey.
8. Swinton Park in Masham, North Yorkshire
This castle in the Dales is set in a 20,000-acre estate – a ready source of raw ingredients for its three-AA-Rosette restaurant and cookery school. Venison, game, rabbit and trout are all sourced within the grounds, along with fruits, herbs and vegetables grown in the UK’s largest hotel kitchen garden.
All that space means plenty of scope for picnics and activities – including a hunter-gatherer day where teams can learn countryside and foraging skills with a falconer and a wild food expert.
If one of our tempting foodie venues has whetted your appetite, contact the team at Capita Travel and Events to book an awayday, event or stay.