The Most Authentic UK Farm-to-Table Restaurants

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

With plated food reminiscent of fine artwork, fruit and vegetables picked fresh from the garden and on-site dairies and presses creating mouth-watering cheeses and cider, these farm-to-table restaurants in the UK set the highest standards for delicious, seasonal cuisine.

Heckfield Place, Hampshire

Deep in the heart of Hampshire in southern England, sits a resplendent Georgian family home – now a luxury hotel, surrounded by 400 acres of ancient woodland, gardens and meadows.

Dating to the 1820s, Heckfield Place is bound to the rhythms of nature - a living monument, built to sustain the relationship between house and land. To the east, lies a tranquil lake of the deepest blue, with a backdrop of rolling hills and treetops framing the hotel. Gardens blossom with lavender, English roses and wisteria, and inside, suites are adorned with luxurious, tactile fabrics, vaulted ceilings and views of the hotel's biodynamic market gardens.

Those in the know, come to Heckfield Place for the food. Fresh, seasonal dishes crafted by culinary director Skye Gyngell and her team of chefs, each with an eye for perfection. The estate runs its own farm providing honey, herbs, fruit and vegetables for a root-to-table dining experience, and all of the restaurants at Heckfield Place - Marle, Hearth and Glass House, focus on local food which is responsibly grown. Chefs use a pared back cooking style to enhance the flavours and freshness of produce plucked straight from the earth.

Carefully curated menus evolve with each season, containing delights such as wild nettle risotto, monkfish served with jersey royals, fennel, saffron, tomato water and aioli and vanilla pot infused with strawberries, espresso caramel and sugared biscuits.

Rogan & Co, Cumbria

Tucked away in the pretty Cumbrian village of Cartmel is Rogan & Co., a Michelin starred, neighbourhood eatery hidden inside a charming stone farmhouse. Rogan & Co is the brainchild of renowned chef Simon Rogan who also runs celebrity favourite L’Enclume. The latter may be better known in foodie circles, but Rogan & Co. is more relaxed, with a laid-back vibe and delicious farm-to-table cuisine.

The dining area is adorned with wood beams and flooring, with a roaring fireplace to take the chill off wintery evenings. Atop the hearth, photographs of Lakeland scenes capture the eye, beautifully lit against a backdrop of heritage grey walls.

The menu bursts with seasonal fare - wild foraged leaves and mushrooms, accompanied by a variety of locally sourced fish and meats. Dishes such as mackerel tartare with horseradish pickle and dill or aged short rib of beef with glazed mushrooms and whey onions tantalise the taste buds, each comforting and full of flavour, reimagined with ingredients from trusted suppliers or from Simon Rogan’s own farm in the Cartmel Valley.

A team of expert chefs select the produce daily and work on creating innovative menus, setting a benchmark for other restaurants in the area, whilst being able to trace every ingredient back to the source. Diners interested in learning more about Cumbrian produce prior to dining at Rogan & Co. can book a tour of the farm in advance.

Wild Rabbit, Gloucestershire

The Wild Rabbit in Kingham is part of the Daylesford Estate, known to be one of the most sustainable organic farms in Britain. It’s run by Carole Bamford, a well-known pioneer in organic farming and holistic practices, who, with her passion for sustainability, has restored the inn to its former glory. The 18th century inn, a picture-postcard building constructed from Cotswold stone, is draped in lilac wisteria with stone mullioned windows, bringing a quintessentially British feel to the town.

Inside the bar, artisan beers and traditional ales are served by the warmth of two fireplaces and the dining room, complete with open kitchen, creates a dynamic atmosphere when chefs are hard at work.

The Wild Rabbit focuses on a contemporary British menu inspired by the finest local seasonal produce picked fresh each day from Daylesford Farm. Choose from Daylesford organic cheddar and onion tartlet, Vale of Evesham tomato or crispy duck egg with market garden chard to start, followed by English pea tortellini, roast poussin for the main and scrumptious caramel parfait for dessert.

When dining is complete, retire to the bar or stay the evening in a romantic suite named after an area of the British countryside, each room filled with luxury creature comforts.

The Newt, Somerset

The Newt, is located at Hadspen House, a 17th century stately home/hotel nestled between Bruton and Castle Cary in Somerset. Captivating at first glance in honey-coloured limestone, the hotel is surrounded by elegant, ornamental gardens, apple orchards and ancient woodlands. Whilst wandering the grounds, it’s not unusual to cross paths with native deer or see the Great Crested Newts for which the hotel is named, bathing in the ponds.

There are several garden attractions to enjoy, all focused on sustainability, food sources and design. Diners can visit the world’s most iconic gardens in virtual reality pods, observe the life of bees at the Beezantium or learn all about the History of Gardening.

There’s a farm shop, bakery, creamery, dairy, Himalayan salt-lined butchery and a cider press on-site too, from where you can purchase delicious sourdough bread, West Country cheeses, cured meats and local beverages.

With over 350 varieties of fruit, vegetables and herbs grown on the estate, there are numerous, exciting ingredients for chefs to work with. At The Newt’s two restaurants - Garden Café and the Botanical Rooms, menus are carefully curated to accommodate seasonal produce which is picked, foraged, baked or distilled on-site.

Seasonal fare takes centre stage with dishes such as spiced aubergine, tahini, seed head dukkah and green lentils to lemon verbena and white chocolate set cream with summer fruits. Also, no visit to the Newt would be complete without a visit to the renowned cider press. The English county of Somerset is famous for its cider and paying homage to this tradition, The Newt celebrates every aspect of the cider making process, taking visitors on an educational journey from sapling to tree, fruit, juice and finally cider tasting!

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