One of the original gastronomy-focused hotels, Le Manoir was opened in 1984 by Chef Raymond Blanc, whose culinary talents have earned the hotel's restaurant two Michelin stars—now held for an incredible 29 years and running. You can dine à la carte, but if money is no object you might like to try one of the fixed-price menus ranging from £125 to £160; the five-course set-price lunch at £84 (Monday to Friday) is marginally easier on the wallet. Decide from among such innovative French creations as spiced cauliflower velouté with langoustines, beef fillet with braised Jacob's ladder, or Dover sole with brown butter and rosemary. There is a separate vegetarian menu as well. With more than 1,000 wines in stock, mostly French, you'll find the perfect glass to accompany your meal. You need to book up to three months ahead in summer. A stroll through the hotel's kitchen and Japanese tea gardens is de rigueur. Elegant guest rooms are available, but at upwards of £530 for even a standard double, you could just as well get a taxi back to almost anywhere south of Scotland. The pretty town of Great Milton is 7 miles southeast of Oxford.