The idea of a restaurant with rooms, rather than a hotel with a restaurant, is new and very popular in the UK right now. A restaurant with rooms is usually a high-end restaurant with a handful of rooms attached to it or a restaurant with cottages or rooms in a next-door building. The emphasis is on the restaurant and the food, and while the rooms are still amazing places to stay and beautifully renovated and decorated, it’s the restaurant that people are really staying there for.
If you’re a foodie, like me, or you have a foodie in your life, you’ll appreciate how perfect this concept is. I’ve already stayed the night at most of these restaurants, like The Walnut Tree, and the food has been exceptional. Others, like The Witchery, are on my “to-visit” list.
To get you started on where to try first, here are five incredible restaurants in the UK where you can spend the night.
1. The Walnut Tree
The Walnut Tree isn’t hidden away. It’s on a main road just outside Abergavenny, but as most people drive past without realizing it, and satnavs take you up a country lane where signs tell you “This is not the way to The Walnut Tree,” it begins to feel like you are on a journey of discovery.
The restaurant feels like a country pub inside, with a country pub bar as you first walk in, but once you taste the food, you realize this is a very special restaurant indeed. The rooms come in the form of two cottages next to the restaurant, the Old Post Office and Ivy Cottage. Each cottage sleeps four to six people and is dog friendly, with a kitchen stocked with incredible breakfast foods, including smoked salmon.
What To Order At The Walnut Tree
The a la carte menu at The Walnut Tree changes daily, and the dishes listed are always subject to the availability of ingredients. But the food is so good here, whatever is on the menu on the day that you visit, you’re in for a treat. If it’s available on the day you visit, I recommend the middle white pork with smoked sausage, celeriac, and apple. I had it with a glass of Kim Crawford Marlborough sauvignon blanc, which paired perfectly and brought out all the delicate flavors in the dish.
If you find yourself up a country lane and you see the handwritten signs telling you this is not the way to The Walnut Tree, you’ve most likely driven straight past it. This has been such a problem for the people who live up that lane they’ve resorted to putting these signs up. Turn around and go back along the main road. The Walnut Tree will be on your right.
2. The Witchery By The Castle
The Witchery By The Castle is, as its name suggests, located just before you get to Edinburgh Castle. This is where witches were once burned, and this unusual restaurant with rooms reflects the historic importance of this building and this area. It’s wonderfully gothic inside and the rooms drip with opulence, quirkiness, and uniqueness. These rooms, more like suites, are romantic and are filled with unusual soft furnishings, roll-top baths, and antiques.
The rooms are located above The Witchery, which is the restaurant, once a home, committee rooms, and various other incarnations. Today, it’s a candle-lit experience of wood paneling, leather seating, and an atmosphere of history. In addition to the original restaurant, you can now also dine in The Secret Garden, a courtyard accessed down one of the old “closes” which is entirely lit by candlelight.
What To Order At The Witchery By The Castle
The menu is full of traditional dishes, like the roast borders guinea fowl, with a few modern dishes like lasagne and one vegan item for each course. To keep it regal and feel like you’re in a period drama, finish with the orchard apple tart with ice cream. If you fancy a sharing dish, try the Balmoral Estate roe deer wellington with the New Zealand pinot noir. It’s the perfect pairing and it’s as unique as the rest of this incredible restaurant with rooms.
3. The Three Chimneys
Located right next to Loch Dunvegan, The Three Chimneys opened in 1985 as a bistro-style restaurant on the wild and rugged Isle of Skye. Back then it was just a restaurant, a really good restaurant, and a well-known one on the island. The rooms didn’t arrive until 1999 when “The House Over-By” was built next door to the restaurant.
The House Over-By contains six rooms, some big enough to sleep families, all light and airy with amazing views of the surrounding area of the island, and beautifully furnished and decorated. With the addition of the rooms, The Three Chimneys has created a mini resort of sorts. You can eat and sleep here, just eat here, or just sleep here, all while enjoying the beauty of Skye.
What To Order At The Three Chimneys
The “wee nibbles” that you can choose from to keep you going until your starters arrive are as good as any starter. The alder smoked salmon with pickled herring ice cream tells you instantly: here is a chef who knows about flavors. For a starter, I recommend the scorched Dunvegan langoustines, and for a main course, the Armadale estate red deer. There’s also a brilliant tasting menu with a wine flight. If you choose this make sure you’re hungry. Unlike many tasting menus, there’s a lot of food on this one.
As well as the restaurant, you can book The Kitchen Table. This is literally a rustic table in the kitchen that seats up to eight people. There’s no partitioning, no separation; you eat in the kitchen while the chefs go about their work beside you. It’s an experience in dining that’s unique and definitely something to try if you’re looking for something a little different. This experience only offers a chef’s choice tasting menu, so be aware, if you have dietary requirements you can’t alter what’s on the tasting menu.
4. The Corner House
Only opened in 2016, The Corner House has quickly become a favorite in Canterbury. The building was originally a 16th-century coaching house, and its history is everywhere you look. The original restaurant overlooks the city walls, while the second dining room, recently opened, looks out onto the gardens. The restaurant has just five rooms, so it’s intimate and boutique, keeping the focus on the restaurant and the food. These five rooms are comfortable, with interesting bathrooms; they’re quirky but never pull the attention away from the restaurant. In true restaurant-with-rooms style, a breakfast tray awaits you in the fridge in your room, so you can breakfast in bed.
What To Order At the Corner House
While you’re here, it’s almost a must to try the Stour Valley venison and suet pudding. You’re not likely to come across this anywhere else, and it’s really exceptional. Start with the parsnip and apple soup and finish with the treacle tart for an incredible three-course meal. There are some Chapel Down English wines served here, and I’d recommend trying the pinot noir rose.
5. The White Hart Inn
Mersea Island, England
While the name of this restaurant with rooms might conjure up visions of traditional old English pubs, the reality of the venue today is very different. It has a kind of a beach club feel to it inside, modern and bright, spacious, and with an atmosphere of sun and sand that extends into the rooms.
Parts of the building date back to the 15th century, when it was very much an inn, so there’s a lovely mix of modern and traditional with original features sitting side by side with contemporary décor and design. After standing derelict for years, The White Hart has been totally refurbished and only opened in June 2022, bringing a brand new restaurant and destination to the area.
What To Order At The White Hart
Being positioned right by the sea, this is a restaurant that serves the most amazing seafood. The market fish will change daily, and your waiter can advise you on what’s available on the day you arrive. The “casual” section of the menu is where the small bites are, the nibbles before starters, and the seafood platter is a great sharer while you decide on starters and mains. With the steamed mussels to start, market fish for the main, and the cider-poached ale Brulé to finish, you have the perfect three-course dinner to enjoy by the sea.
Mersea is a tidal island, so make sure you check the tide times before you go. A causeway can be driven across in your own car or by taxi to get you to the island and back again in low tide, but once it floods at high tide, you’re stuck there for quite some time. Lovely as it is here, you’ll want to make sure you can leave when you want to!