Notes on... The Hand & Flowers

Chances are your local pub isn't really your local pub. You probably sidestep two or three sketchy boozers in order to get to somewhere you, you know, actually feel at home in. Heartbreakingly for us, we've fallen so unconditionally in love with The Hand and Flowers, that our new favourite local is 88 miles away. It's making the stumble home difficult. 

Tom Kerridge's place, the only pub in the UK with two Michelin stars, is located in the picture perfect Georgian town of Marlow. Sun-drenched on our visit, a quiet corner of their terrace sat untaken and sparkling, locally-made lager arriving to wash away the drive. And from then on perfection takes over. There's rooms above the pub and The Hand owns houses dotted up and down the charming High Street. Our corner of one cottage was called Mallard, a quaint and gracefully fitted out one-bed with a secluded garden and hot tub. They'll offer you a driver to get to and from the main venue, but you'd do better to walk and explore. The pubs, the patisseries, the pubs, the parks and the pubs all make this lengthy trip a trip worth taking.

And then the food. One starter, haggis and lamb on toast featured so many elements that to describe it here would blow our already waning word count right out of the water. Multi-elemented but each singing from the same hymn sheet this, simply put, was the single best dish we've ever had the pleasure of eating. A starter.

We could fill an entire weekly email with a review of that meal but ultimately you already know that a two-star pub is on your bucket list, and you'll tick it off when you're good and ready. But mark our words, it was worth every penny.

And the picnic basket complete with cookies and malted milk waiting on your bed when you get back? Pure, effortless class.    

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