In Swedish, it’s fika — sipping coffee together, something sweet on the side. In Yiddish, it’s nosh — the humble habit of a snack-and-natter. While the Italians do finger-purse gestures and holler “Tutti a tavola!” (“Everyone to the table!”), the Japanese attend to the spiritual practice of gasshō, palms pressed in gratitude at the chabudai. Then there's the homegrown cohort: supper and elevenses, pudding and teatime. From tapas to tagine, poke to poutine, and gozleme to gumbo, the art of dining cares not for the time of day, nor the pin in the map. You see, to eat together is a global happening. A ritual. A revelry of sorts. For too long we’ve munched toast by the grill and gobbled gnocchi by the flicker of television light. It’s about time we returned to the dinner table, where poppadoms are piled and honey pitchers are passed, where there's room enough for the loaf and the salad, and no such thing as too many elbows. To the Tucci's and Nigella's of the world, let fly your at-home epicurean.


The Art House

A dining table set in front of an enormous picture window overlooking trees at The Art House

An Arts and Crafts village home built in the 1890s, passed hand-to-hand from doctor to Danish photographer to its two-decade custodians, The Art House is no stranger to feasting; its glass-fronted limb harbours one of the most convivial dining spots in all of Sussex. With a “yours for the taking” herb garden and a pome orchard, it’s no wonder Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge chose to film his cookery series in this curated space.


The Flower Press

A dining table in front of a sash window, next to a open door, at The Flower Press

You might recognise this place from the pages of your passport; Bibury, thought to be the world's most depicted village, is all butterscotch stone and sage doorways. And in amongst them is The Flower Press, a Georgian manse with a past life as a vicarage and a found-and-foraged European identity. There’s all sorts of chocolateries and cheesemongers in this pocket of the Cotswolds, so the family pâtissiers will be of sound body and mind.


Margot's Townhouse

A light stone dining room with green cabinetry at Margot´s Townhouse

You know you’ve arrived at the home of a restaurateur when there’s a note to say, “gather some local farm shop ingredients and do something with them on the 1958 Aga.” Welcome home, indeed. Margot's Townhouse is a place where dairy from the Cheddar Gorge turns to molten bronze, rosemary borders the parterre garden, and Mediterranean goodies are ushered back in baskets from Bradford-on-Avon's genteel Thursday market.


Under the Yew Tree

An ancient, modernised cottage dining room with a wooden table at Under the Yew Tree

Two culinary Goliaths intertwine at Under the Yew Tree’s table; part Greek, part Provençal, it’s a softened monastery made for the humble joys of porridge with cream, skillets of Cacklebean eggs, and hot feta for the baker’s baguettes. Have a northward outing to Cheltenham, which earned its jolly moniker as The Festival Town, to become a scholar of preserves and pickles, cakes and cottage loaves on the promenade. And why not?


The Lost Music Hall

An Arts and Crafts interior with a dining table and spiral staircase at The Lost Music Hall

As if a William Morris museum met a collegiate library, The Lost Music Hall is an Arts and Crafts manse with domed ceilings, doric columns, a mossy orange façade, and a socialite’s spirit. Despite its enormous scale (read: a maze of staircases and hidden rooms,) think of the hall as a place made for six folk with the personality of sixty. In suitably enigmatic fashion, this soiree-en-miniature will see many an hour unfold at the Devon dining table.


The Hatch

A reclaimed table with straw lampshades in front of large sash windows at The Hatch

It first felt the limelight in 1926, with a hand-illustrated feature in a 1926 edition of Homes & Gardens. It’s no less charming today: marshmallow sofas, a former fudge house in the garden, and a dining conservatory fringed by a miniature Eden of evergreen flax and cabbage palm. The Hatch is the sort of place where one might spend all day around the driftwood: from bagels and citrus fruits, to Châteauneuf-du-Pape and parcels of brie.



A warm wood and white marble kitchen with a dining table at Hiraeth

Aristology, the art or science of dining, was a word coined by the 19th-century gourmet Thomas Walker. And it was he who wrote, “Solitary dinners ought to be avoided as much as possible.” If there were ever a place for such avoidance, Hiraeth (part of The Milk Wood) in Pembrokeshire would be it. Estates like this exist for a purpose: they're made for the gathering days. The “close your eyes and make a wish” days. The everyone to the table days.


Castle Trematonia

An opulent dining room with printed wallpaper and a fireplace at Castle India

There aren’t many homes in the world with as much unbridled soul as Castle Trematonia; the top-to-toe creation of House of Hackney, the luxury British lifestyle brand who made nature their muse, and legally appointed both Mother Earth and Future Generations to their board of directors. It’s a melting pot of saffron and greengages, a horticultural home where you half expect to peel the flavours from the walls and gobble them for supper.


The Fable

A whitewashed cottage dining room with an oak table in front of a window at The Fable

If you grew up with even so much as a nibble of bedtime storytelling, no word conjured up as much charm as ‘cottage’. You heard about their wonky windows, their wildflower hedgerows, and their wheat thatched roofs where nuthatches kept warm beside chimney stones. But such places seemed a fantasy, as imaginary as Camelot or the Jabberwocky. Enter, The Fable; the storybook cottage in Perranporth that still harbours grandma’s table.



A long table set for fine dining in a pebble courtyard outside of a manor, at Florin

Come here only if you are prepared for a mild case of culture shock, and a sense that a life of candelabras and carafes is one that you might quickly get used to. An extraordinary gothic manor and wedding venue, Florin is a labyrinth of grandeur where catering kitchens hide behind secret doors, polished silverware and paraphernalia make distant memories of the digital age, and there's just a whiff of that elusive Downton Abbey lifestyle.


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