Short breaks to Europe don't have to mean a packed itinerary of museums and cultural sites. For a mini-break that takes in the best of food and relaxation, spend a weekend in Italy, France or Spain, where you can cook up a storm in the hotel kitchen.
We've picked three fabulous hotels in Europe with cooking schools for a culinary holiday with a difference. Whether you fancy taking the family to Tuscany for a gourmet getaway in winter, or heading to Bordeaux to master the art of French cuisine as you sip delicious wine, you'll love a foodie break at these marvellous hotels...
Le Saint James, Bordeaux
The luxury Le Saint James Hotel in the beautiful village of Bouliac, just a 10-minute drive from Bordeaux is a contemporary hotel surrounded by glorious vineyards. Foodies to the French wine region can experience cookery classes at the hotel known as Côté Cours, under the expert guidance of Célia Girard Sous-Chef to Michelin-starred chef Nicolas Magie. The courses range from themed classes which allow you to refresh your knowledge of French cuisine with the likes of cod, snails and spring vegetable themes, along with world cooking which takes you on a culinary tour Japan, Spain and Portugal, while the Funny Chefs classes are for children who can learn sweet recipes in a fun, educational atmosphere. With Eurostar's new London to Bordeaux service, a Bordeax cooking holiday makes for a perfect mini-break. The courses range from 30 to 185 euros per person. Double rooms at the hotel start from 195 euros per night.
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Tuscany
Lovers of Tuscan cuisine should look no further than Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco's La Canonica Cooking School, set in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val d'Orcia. The authentic courses at the resort provide you with the opportunity to learn how to prepare tradition dishes from the region, whether it's fresh pasta, vegetarian specialities or pizza. There are family cooking classes to get the kids involved, as well as an Art of Vegetable Gardening course. For an unusual holiday in Tuscany, visit in winter to stay in one of the luxury villas. The restored farmhouses are perfect for putting your new skills straight to the test, with their full-service kitchens, and are ideal for family breaks. The Winter Villa Escape includes groceries and access to the on-site winery. Cookery courses start from 90 euros. Fully-serviced three-bedroom villas cost from 3,500 euros per day.
Son Brull Hotel and Spa, Mallorca
Set near the picturesque town of Pollenca, Son Brull is surrounded by olive and cypress trees, offering a natural setting for a foodie break in Spain. Its restaurant 365 offers cookery classes with chef Rafel Perello, who aims to teach a modern take on classic Mallorcan and Mediterranean dishes using the likes of cherries, almonds, citrus fruits and artichokes, all harvested on-site. A special cookery package for gourmands can be arranged and includes two cooking lessons lasting two hours, two dinners tasting the recipes prepared during the class, three nights' accommodation and four days' car rental. i-escape offers the package from £554 per person.
Browse Britain's best hotels with cookery schools below.
Britain's best hotels with cookery courses
Britain's best hotels with cookery courses
Cooking on holiday can be a real treat when you're learning new skills in a picturesque setting. Some of the UK's most fantastic foodie escapes are found in glorious locations, from Argyll to Hampshire. Whether you're looking to spend a day or a long weekend away, these British hotels with cookery schools should be on every gourmand's radar.
Nestled in the Avon valleys on the border of the Cotswolds, Eckington Manor is extremely passionate about food, with its 2015 Master Chef winner head chef Mark Stinchcombe and all the food honestly prepared in its kitchen. The cookery school hosts a variety of classes from AGA Masterclasses to Great British Baking. Foodies can book specific classes, such as Knife Skills and Fish & Shellfish - Prepare, Cook & Serve, or enjoy themed classes including An Italian Christmas and Dinner Parties Made Easy. Courses range from a £40 demonstration to a one-day course priced at £175.
Perfect your culinary skills at Lucknam Park’s Cookery School where a wide selection of daily courses are available, from Street Food to Simply Bread and Creative Canapes to Spanish Style Cuisine. The courses offer intimate classes with a maximum of 12 participants and six cooking stations, allowing you to benefit from individual attention and guidance. Cookery School Head Chef Ben Taylor and Executive Chef Hywel Jones focus on seasonal and local produce. Full and half-day courses start from £75 per person.
One of Britain's best foodie hotels is home to the Raymond Blanc Cookery School, where you can watch, learn and practice in the kitchens of a two-Michelin starred restaurant. Budding chefs can learn the tricks of the trade from Mark Peregrine, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons head tutor who worked with Raymond to win the first Michelin star over 30 years ago. The courses include artisan bread making, patisserie, chocolate techniques, sweet and savoury soufflés and much more. Prices start from £185 for half-day courses and £365 for a full-day course.
For a relaxed, hands-on cookery course in a gorgeous country house location, Lime Wood is set in the heart of the New Forest and offers outstanding cookery school, Hartnett Holder & Co Backstage. From Beginners Bread to Charcuterie, there is a wide variety of classes that have no more than ten students. The new HH&Co Bites! condense some of the hotel's favourite courses into snack-sized sessions. Bites! students can learn crab and lobster techniques, master macarons and perfect their pizza skills. Bites! cost £65 per person. Rooms at Lime Wood with i-escape.com cost from £295 per night.
Located in Port Appin on the west coast of Scotland, Airds Hotel & Restaurant offers Come Cook with Me breaks, which are individually tailored for one or a maximum of two couples. Designed to enhance the existing ability and knowledge of each cook, the classes with chef Chris Stanley allow you to take your skills to the next level, learning how to prepare and present a three-course gourmet meal either of your choice or working with surprise ingredients freshly available on the day. The master class price is £275 per person and can be added to any existing package of two nights or more at the hotel.
This Georgian gem in Norwich hosts a culinary school with renowned Norfolk chef Richard Hughes. At the Assembly House, you can choose from a wide variety of classes including bread making and chocolate, courses for children and baking masterclasses with former Great British Bake Off contestant Kate Barnby. Some of the themed courses available are Italian festive baking and decorating a Christmas cake, while those who like to cook with local ingredients can book a game course, which teaches you how to cook with Norfolk's bountiful harvest and get the most out of the morning's shoot. Courses range from £40 to £160 per person.
One of England’s largest privately-owned estates is home to a 32-room heritage hotel with a cookery school located in a converted Georgian stable wing. Swinton Park Hotel's Swinton Cookery School is relaxed, stylish and passionate about sourcing local produce from its four-acre walled garden. The cookery school runs a full programme of half-day, full-day and weekend cookery classes throughout the year for all ages and ability levels, including children’s cookery lessons. Budding chefs can learn anything, from classic baking and how to cook the perfect Sunday roast, to sushi and Thai cooking. Courses start from £85 per person.
Standing elegantly in 63 acres of idyllic Hampshire parkland, the five-star Lainston House Hotel is the perfect location for learning how to cook in the countryside. The hotel’s SEASON kitchen offers a variety of half-day and full-day classes including Classic French Patisserie, Pasta Making with a Michelin-Starred Chef, The Art of Sauces and a Christmas special of Butcher it, Cook it, Eat it. Housed in a renovated 17th-century well house, the cookery school is just a stone's throw from the hotel's kitchen garden, which often supplies the cookery school with the freshest and finest ingredients. Classes range from £75 to £185 per person.
On the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, budding cooks can enjoy the unique experience of being 'Chef for the Day' at Judges Country House Hotel. Here, you can join the hotel’s team of chefs, shadowing them and learning a few trade secrets along the way. A maximum of two people at a time can don chef’s whites and become part of the kitchen team, gaining one-to-one experience in all areas of food preparation, cooking and presentation. The 'Chef for the Day' course costs £79.50 per person. A one-night stay at the hotel with Pride of Britain Hotels costs from £155 per person, including dinner, full English breakfast, the 'Chef for the Day' course, working lunch and afternoon tea.