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—which it has 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 £124 to £154; the five-course set-price lunch at £79 (Mon.–Fri.) is easier on the wallet. Decide from among such innovative
French creations as spiced cauliflower velouté with langoustines, breast of Cotswold chicken with celeriac purée, kale, and crispy chicken skin, and exotic fruit jelly with kaffir lime and coconut jus. 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. The pretty town of Great Milton is 7 miles southeast of Oxford.