Wednesday, 3 June 2015


I know it's been all about gardens on this blog lately,  but I do want to share our one night's experience at Le Manoir aux quat' saisons,  Raymond Blanc's famous hotel and restaurant,  just outside Oxford.

We visited Le Manoir 29 years ago!  I'm not sure why we waited so long to return,  but what a credit to Raymond Blanc that, after all these years, the hotel has gone from strength to strength.  Michael and I were hugely impressed with the outstanding service.  I don't think I've ever experienced this level of cosseting before!
Our welcome was warm and efficient,  our room and of course, the dinner,  was superb.  The gardens have changed and there are numerous garden sculptures creating whimsy and humour.  Chris Beardshaw has recently designed a new flower meadow, planted beneath some old apple trees.

The English Water Garden is fed by natural springs.  These gardens were originally dug by the monks who occupied the site in the 16th Century.

The vegetable and herb gardens are very impressive.  The gardens are organically managed. 

The approach to the hotel.  Note the mortar and pestle on the left.

One of the three sitting rooms.  

The wide passages outside the bedrooms

Our beautiful bedroom, 'Hollyhock'.    What a treat it was!  Once the Master bedroom of the Cromwell family.  The wallpaper is hand painted.

A beautiful soap next to the bath and a little muslin bag provided so that the guest may take it home.

The food was out of this world...

The abundant breakfast buffet

The gardens at Le Manoir are special.

A view through the wall to the water garden below.

Unusual way of growing Ceanothus on decorative trellises.

A little buxus collection

I spy more Aliums

Loved this dark ruby Astrantia

Rows of Hidcote Lavender lining the pathway

Chris Beardshaw's flower meadow.

'The two acres of vegetable gardens are overseen by a bronze scarecrow, modelled on Raymond Blanc himself!'
The Japanese Garden and below the English Water Garden.

I do hope we will return very soon to this wonderful place.


  1. Totally gorgeous! Hope the weather is improving. It's getting warmer here in Paris with more sun. I guess in such a wonderful place the weather is less important anyway. Best wishes, Pammie

    1. Hi Pammie, I think it's perhaps better to be in Paris or London in cooler weather as hot, sticky mid-summer weather is often very uncomfortable. Yesterday was a glorious crisp, sunny day and we so enjoyed sitting in the garden! xx

    2. Totally agree, both cities can be dreadful in the heat. Tomorrow here it's supposed to be 32 with a big storm in the afternoon. So we're planning on getting out early and home before the storm hits, either to the Musee d'Orsay or the Picasso Museum, probably. Luckily our friend's apartment has an air conditioner, makes a huge difference as we discovered one heatwave June here.
      So glad you're now having good weather, much more enjoyable for garden visits. Pammie xx

  2. Jenny, just loved this one. A beautiful garden, amazing accommodation and fabulous food- well that is my idea of heaven!!!!!
    This working garden is just lovely, loved the sculptures and the looseness of some of the plantings.
    Definitely one to add to my ever growing list of gardens to visit.
    Thank you for sharing
    Continue to enjoy your garden tour for two
    Best wishes Marilyn xx

    1. It is a really spoiling experience Marilyn and I had to pinch myself! Thanks so much for all the comments and encouragement! xx

  3. Oh, SWOON! This may be my favorite blog post of yours ever! And I love them all!!! Lovely place; I have heard about it for years!!! Those ponds!
    the food! And the detail of the soap and the muslin bag made me choke up at the attention to detail! What a great description of such a beautiful place!!

    1. The soap/muslin bag is such a small thing and yet made a big impression Penelope! Such a generous gesture! Thank you for the comment and so pleased you are enjoying the posts! xx

  4. This looks incredible. The gardens are all so beautiful and your hotel is amazing. Just love the bedroom and the hand painted wallpaper…fabulous! So glad you had a wonderful trip!

    1. Thanks so much Beth. The room was so beautiful - I didn't want to leave! Top Class!! xx

  5. Stunning and so luxurious! Loving all these photos.

    Thanks for sharing x

  6. Another thing- My mother is the only human alive who has muslin face washers embroidered with grub roses, muslin baby wraps, muslim washer bags! How perfect that you could take the soap! Hooray for muslin.

  7. As always Jenny really loved this post and the photos, just wonderful. The whole experience sounds just magical - so pleased the weather is looking better, what a wonderful time you are having xx


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