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« Home from home | Main | Ski breeze »

Stoke your fires

Slough might not be the number one destination for a weekend break for most Londoners, but just outside of Betjeman’s least favourite town is a gem of a countryside retreat. Stoke Place is a modern take on a traditional country house retreat.

Stoke Place in BuckinghamshireBuilt as a family home in 1690, the grand manor house is now a characterful and luxurious bolthole that combines the upmost in luxury with modern design flourishes.

Its 40 bedrooms are individually glamorous, and each boasts views across the hotel’s beautiful 26-acre gardens designed by Capability Brown. Stunning grounds and bedrooms aside, the main reason for visiting Stoke Place is probably the restaurant. The Garden Room is a light, playful room that plays host to an incredible fine dining experience. Head chef Craig Van Der Meer uses seasonal and locally sourced ingredients to produce interesting takes on British classics.


The Garden Room at Stoke PlaceÀ la carte and tasting menus offer dishes such as dukkha-spiced venison loin with crosnes, red cabbage purée, Amarula jelly and red wine jus; pan-fried monkfish cheek with scallop, chorizo, avocado and Royal Beluski caviar; and rolled pork belly, paprika-crushed potato, apple and almond purée, almond panna cotta and Madeira jus. Dishes are beautifully and innovatively designed but deliver on flavour as well as looks. A culinary destination in its own right, The Garden Room also boasts an extensive wine list and an mouthwatering selection of desserts – amaretto mousse with coffee air sheet, milk-chocolate feuilletine and green tea ice cream was a well-balanced, moreish, delicious delight.  Rustic this isn’t but good cooking and worth the trip it most definitely is.

Stoke Place hosts a number of special weekends and is well-suited to a special occasion, or just for an indulgent and interesting weekend away. Passing through Slough has never been so pleasant.

Rooms £130-£280 a night. Meal for two with wine and service, around £200. Stoke Place, Stoke Green, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire; 01753 468 852,