Stapleford Park, Nr Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England
Leicestershire has a thriving food scene. There’s the curry houses of Leicester, the market town of Melton Mowbray – home of that British culinary staple, the pork pie – and, a little way out of town (and a great base to start your culinary tour), the fabulous Stapleford Park. Here, chef Wayne Vickerage serves sumptuous British fare using the freshest of Leicestershire ingredients. We tried melt-in-the-mouth loin of veal, seared turbot, roast sweetbreads and braised baby fennel, all of which was first class.
Nearby Melton Mowbray has a brilliant farmers’ market, an array of artisan food shops and an annual food festival. At Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, right on the high street, you can even watch the pies being made before eating them fresh from the oven. They’ve recently been awarded PGI status (Protected Geographical Indication), alongside another locally made product with PGI status, the famous Stilton cheese.
A stately home set in 500 acres of parkland and Capability Brown-designed gardens, parts of Stapleford Park date back to the 14th century. All 55 of the hotel’s bedrooms are individually decorated, with heritage names such as Mulberry and Wedgwood. After you’ve eaten your way around town, the hotel’s Clarins spa, which has a Jacuzzi, indoor pool and gym, is an ideal place to work off all that pastry.
The damage: Rooms from £250 per night, including breakfast.
The deets: Stapleford Park, Nr Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, LE14 2EF (01572 787000; www.staplefordpark.com).
Come here for: Country pursuits, golf, eating local, and of course sampling the award-winning pies at Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe.
Foodie diversion: Head into nearby Melton Mowbray for authentic pork pies, as well as local cheeses from The Melton Cheeseboard (01664 562257; http://www.meltoncheeseboard.co.uk)