Stayed over at Le Manoir - everything perfect as always. I arrived early to relax a little first (and it really is the most marvellous place to relax) then pick up husband from train station, he just has time for shower and steam in the room (yes, bathroom has a steam room - choice of fragrant oils) and we go into dinner. Fabulous. All delightful, all as expected.
What was unexpected was the amazing tour of the gardens we had the next day. Our tour guide, John, was so interesting and the gardens so extensive and splendid the morning whizzed by. The gardens grow a lot of food used in the kitchens, the micro herbs used in salads and for garnish were fascinating - we enjoyed tasting Vietnamese coriander (Raymond Blanc's favourite), the Aztec herb stevia (naturally super sweet) and sorrel (which tasted like Granny Smith apples). On the apple note they are currently growing 70 old forgotten varieties of apples in one of the orchards here. I love the fact that however successful Raymond is he still keep starting new projects, he is recently helped design a new garden at Kew. Amazing man.
Gardeners John and Kate, along with Head-Gardener Anne Marie all give tours of the gardens for guests or day visitors. Go if you can.