Super chef Raymond Blanc’s renowned Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons hotel in Oxfordshire has a seriously foodie reputation to uphold (not to mention two Michelin stars). It’s no surprise, then, that the kitchen staff like to know from where their ingredients are sourced. Handily, that’s easy when many of the glorious greens being enjoyed by lucky diners on any given day were plucked from the hotel’s very own extensive kitchen garden just that morning.
The historic manor’s impressive walled garden is put to good use providing row after row of vegetables and herbs to be served up in the restaurant (or the acclaimed cookery school) each day, but it’s not all hard work: wander down the garden path, past the boules and croquet lawns, and you’ll find a gardens devoted purely to pleasure, with a wishing well glittering with pennies, a large and stately pond ringed by tumble-down 17th-century stone walls and a coolly shaded Japanese hideaway.
You can easily spend an hour or more getting pleasingly lost amid the verdant gloriousness, admiring the sculptures – from children frolicking in the small meadow to a sexy nude lounging by the pond – dotted throughout. Head into the garden for a stroll after lunch, and by the time you make it back to the manor you’ll be just about ready for your pre-dinner aperitif…
All photos by Rachel Juarez-Carr.