What's the draw
Kick the car into gear and take yourself on a real-life episode of Escape to the Country, because Pensons – the latest outpost of the Typing Room's former chef Lee Wescott – is the kind of destination restaurant you're never going to want to leave. Much on the menu has been foraged from the Netherwood Estate or picked from kitchen garden around the back of the beautifully restored 15th century barn where the restaurant finds it home. Heck, even Jenny Crisp's intricate, hand-woven lampshades are made from willow cut from the estate, the walnut and recycled-steel knives are fresh from the fires of local blacksmith Joel Black and the slate blue and ecru napkins are straight off the Netherwood Textiles' 18th century Lancashire loom, restored and run by the founder of London Cloth Company Daniel Harris.
What to eat
You've – presumably – come a long way, so it's only right that you go all out and indulge in the tasting menu (£50-75pp). Dishes are driven by what the gamekeepers and local growers have on hand, so we can't quite tip you off on everything there is to look forward to, but Wescott's style of Michelin-baiting cooking does not disappoint. Standouts during our stay included: a snowfall of Lancashire cheddar over a cep and potato tart with ready-to-melt perfect pastry; an unreasonably moreish pot (yes the whole pot) of cultured marmite butter slathered on warm IPA sourdough; and the nutty Jerusalem artichoke ice cream laced with lemon and paired with egg white foam atop a crisp pancake drenched in Netherwood Estate honey.
+ A stay at The Hyde starts at £160pp
+ The Hyde sleeps 20
+ Getting there: the Netherwood Estate is a three-hour drive from central London
Up the wooden steps and past collections of historical artefacts that would put Time Team to shame, you'll find a cosy, private dining room with a table for 14 that was handmade from old beams sourced from the home of the Darnley family, who own the Estate. But whether you're up in the loft or down on the floor, once you've made your way through Wescott's offering, you're probably going to want somewhere to lay your head. Luckily, just a few minutes up the road, is The Hyde, a grade II* listed medieval hall with an honesty bar, a hot tub and cosy nooks galore. The house sleeps 20 and is available for exclusive-use on weekends or by the room mid-week when you book dinner at Pensons with bed and breakfast.
Pensons is open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday and for lunch from Thursday to Sunday. Pensons at the Netherwood Estate, Pensons Yard, Stoke Bliss, WR15 8RT; pensons.co.uk