Heartfelt filial love, sibling rivalry, guilt, forgetfulness, boastfulness, competitiveness – it doesn’t matter what your true, underlying motivation may be for taking your dear mum out for Mother’s Day is, just as long as you do so. To the self-righteous who rail against the commercialisation of such days, we say “suck it up and get booking”, because your mother deserves it – and, this year more than ever, restaurants need your business.
So where to go? Well, obviously somewhere special. Hopefully the weather will continue to play ball so how about a restaurant with a MICHELIN Star or Two that’s in a hotel where there are gardens or grounds to take in the glorious promise of spring?
You may find that the perennially organised have got in first and there is no room at the inn. Fear not, simply try going a day or two before or after the event. It’ll mean just as much.
Lunch in the conservatory at Morston Hall overlooking the gardens will make anyone feel good about life. Galton Blackiston is a chef-owner who still does the rounds of the tables, which makes the experience all the more special, and his menu uses plenty of wonderful Norfolk produce.
With just under 250 acres of parkland, Coworth Park is an 18C house that provides plenty of space to walk off a big lunch. Chef Adam Smith also offers a menu that appeals to everyone and celebrates all that is great about British produce.
A pre-lunch drink on the terrace at Hambleton Hall is worth the price of admission alone, with views stretching as far as the eye can see. In 2022, Aaron Patterson celebrates 30 years as its Head Chef and his food is as joyously satisfying as ever.
Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons has been one of England’s foremost restaurants for decades and there aren’t many better places to be on a spring day than in its conservatory having lunch. Afterwards, take a stroll around the vegetable and herb garden and you might very well bump into Raymond Blanc OBE himself.
Another great kitchen garden that will induce covetous glances from all enthusiastic horticulturists is the one belonging to Moor Hall, a 16C manor house. In their bright and modern dining room, guests are led through the multi-course menu by very charming staff.
The Ritz Restaurant, which is one of a number of restaurants offering a special Mother’s Day menu, may be at the top end of one’s fiscal calculations, but a meal here will remain long in the memory. A stroll in Green Park afterwards will remind you what a magnificent city London is.
If you want a little regal quality to your lunch then the sight of the Household Cavalry riding past the restaurant window might just fit the bill – and that’s exactly what happens at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Here you can experience Heston’s reworking of historic British dishes.
The mile-long, tree-lined driveway that leads to Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park is impressive enough to excite even the weariest of traveller, to say nothing of the 500 acres of woodland. The eponymous chef’s dishes are classical in make-up yet light and easy to eat.
Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall is a grand restaurant within a Palladian style house built in the 17th century and hidden away on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales; it has a kitchen garden as well as a Japanese garden. Most of the ingredients on the modern menu come from the local area.
The green-fingered will be familiar with the name of William Robinson, the Irish writer and gardener who advocated wild gardens. He once owned Gravetye Manor and would be pleased to know that the hotel is still lovingly managing 35 acres and that so many of the ingredients on your plate come from the kitchen garden.
There are 28 acres of garden and a vineyard leading down to the foreshore of the Exe Estuary at Lympstone Manor, a beautifully restored Georgian property. Michael Caines’s dishes are equally striking and fish-lovers get their very own menu.
There’s a palpable sense of history at Gleneagles and you don’t have to be wearing check trousers to appreciate it. The walled garden is a source of much produce and inspiration for the kitchen at the immaculately run Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles.
Adare Manor, dating from 1830, is one of Ireland’s grandest hotels, boasting 840 acres on the banks of the River Maigue. The Oak Room hosts confident, accomplished cooking that does justice to the impressive surroundings.
Mount Juliet boasts a whopping 1,500 acres and that includes assorted walking trails and a walled garden. Ask for a table overlooking the River Nore when booking at Lady Helen. The estate and the wider country provide much of the sumptuous ingredients.