Outdoor Dining & Retreats

Outdoor Dining & Retreats
1st July 2019 James D

With summer in full swing, the lighter evenings and warmer weekends are beacons to venture out for new adventures. Weekends in town have lost their luster and the itch to get away and enjoy the English Countryside is firmly afoot. To celebrate the warmer breeze and spring in our step STORCX is offering its July guide to London outdoor restaurants & weekend retreats.


We are lucky enough to have the author and Chatelaine of Cliveden, Natalie Livingstone, answer our countryside Q&A on country getaways.

Q: How would you describe your perfect country weekend getaway?

A: Anywhere with my family. Cliveden is without a doubt my favorite place to spend the weekend.

Q: What do you think makes Cliveden stand out as an ideal country getaway?

A: Cliveden is only 40 minutes from London but a world away from the stresses of the city. Cliveden is a unique house which manages to be intimate, cosy and glamorous all at once.

Q: Can you tell us about the history of Cliveden?

A: Cliveden was built in 1666 by the Duke of Buckingham as a monument to his scandalous affair with Anna Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury. Over the ensuing 350 years the house has played host to countless scandals and intrigues, culminating in the infamous Profumo Affair of the 1960s.

Q: And the gardens are beautiful – tell us about the designer?

A: Cliveden’s gardens have been through multiple incarnations. In the Victorian age, the renown gardener John Fleming was responsible for Cliveden’s gardens being admired and copied throughout the country. Fleming had described his planting schemes in the Journal of Horticulture, and they were published in book form in 1864 as Spring and Winter Flower Gardening Containing the System of Floral Decoration as Practised at Cliveden. He dedicated it to mistress of the house Harriet Duchess of Sutherland, describing her as a ‘great patron’ and ‘noble employer’.

Q: What can one do in the countryside when it is raining?

A: We have a glorious spa that offers a range of luxurious treatments from facials, to massages, manicures and pedicures.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the amazing products in the spa at Cliveden?

A: I devised a range of spa products inspired by the Mistresses of Cliveden in from Anna Maria in the 17th century to Nancy Astor in the 20th century.

Q: If you were to pack the perfect suitcase for country weekend escape what would you take?

A: As little as possible. I hate packing

Q: What is the ideal host/hostess gift when staying with friends in the countryside?

A: Anything personalized is always a winner.


If you are lucky enough to be invited to stay with friends at a country house don’t forget the importance of purchasing a host/hostess present for your gracious friends to say thank you. If you know there are a few of you going make sure you STORCXIT and club together to get something extra special. Perhaps something to mark the weekend by? An engraved photo frame with the date, a personalised games set, perhaps something for the garden you can all enjoy, croquet or cricket…? Whatever it is make a memory and mark the day – particularly if you want to be invited back!

The good news about warmer sunny days is a whole outdoor world opening up to entertain your children. If you are in town think of something outside the box – take a trip on a Waterbus boat trip on London’s Regents Canal, enjoy the twists and turns of the Little Venice canal and see London from a completely different perspective! If boats are your children’s thing and you would like to go a little faster take a boat on the Thames from Embankment Pier up to Greenwich. It’s a breath taking and wonderful way to show the children London’s beautiful riverside and history, from The Houses of Parliament, to the London Eye, go under London Bridge & see St Pauls Cathedral. A truly memorable day out for all the family.

London Restaurants

Chucs Serpentine
To get a taste of the countryside without venturing too far afield take a walk to Hyde Park and enjoy Chucs serpentine. A true Italian treat in the heart of the Royal Park.

Jean Georges at the Connaught
The mustard yellow canopy Jetting out on the smart grey stone of a Mayfair Street is a sight to tantalise anyone taste buds and rush over to the Connaught to enjoy an al fresco meal in the glory of Mount Street. Beige cashmere blankets are on the ready just in case the breeze kicks in.

Ivy Chelsea Garden
A firm favourite and great for children too, the iconic garden at the Ivy Chelsea is a sure win on an evening in town. Solid Italian food & great buzz & atmosphere you can’t go wrong.


If you want to escape the city there are lots of fun things to do with children whilst combining a weekend retreat; there are some wonderful escapes a stone throw from London.

Beaverbrook (Brockett’s Farm)

Nestled in the heart of the Surrey Hills, Beaverbrook is the quintessential British Country Estate. Surrounded by vibrant gardens and unspoilt countryside, this historical treasure has been transformed into a tranquil retreat. Whether relaxing in Churchill’s bedroom or burrowing down in the Cottage at The Garden House, you will be transported to a home away from home; a peaceful haven just 20 miles from the bright lights of London. (taken from www.beaverbrook.com)

Although there is lots do at Beaverbrook for children you may want to combine this with a trip to Brockett’s Farm, a mere 20 minutes away. Brockett’s Farm is a working family farm set in the beautiful Surrey countryside. The combination of animals and play areas, both inside and out, make it a wonderful attraction for all the family. Watch the pig race, take a pony ride, hop on board the tractor and trailer, cuddle cute rabbits and feed our many wonderful farm animals.

Coworth Park (Windsor Castle)

Only 40 minutes outside of London, Coworth Park offers the perfect retreat for adults & children. The award-winning spa is an oasis of calm and holistic healing, and the beautiful grounds set aside Windsor Great Park offers a true escape. Get lost in the fields of flowers while your children can ride, learn polo, croquet or escape to the kids Club.

Whilst there, Windsor Castle is a 10 minute drive and the perfect excursion for the family, tour the castle, see the Queens Guards and end it with a boat ride on the Thames.


Nestled in the heart of Berkshire countryside, a mere 30 mins from London is the beautiful Cliveden House Hotel.  Rich in history, art and boasting some of the most beautiful landscaped gardens Cliveden is the ideal weekend getaway. The spa hidden behind the brick walls of the garden and enveloped in tumbling scented roses and lavender, delivers a tranquil oasis, offering a real sense of well-being and relaxation. A place to escape, renew and refresh.

Cliveden also offers an array of dining options, from the Astor Grill to the Cliveden Dining Room to private dining and picnics, this family friendly, majestic neo-classical manor will not disappoint.  Click Cliveden to find out more.

July Gift Giving Ideas

With every country hotel usually comes a country spa – why not show your love or friendship by gifting a spa treatment/day to go with your country escape.  It will totally transport the recipient to another world and allow them to switch off – it is truly a gift we never buy for our self!

Keep life simple & Storcx it.

We are thrilled to announce STORCX has been nominated for the second year running for The Good Web Guide Awards 2019, in the categories for Best Start Up, Most Useful & Luxury. This is a huge accolade for us to have and this year we are determined to win! Please can we ask for your support, just click on the link! VOTE FOR STORCX


RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival
Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, London, KT8 9AU
1st to 7th Jul 2019

Coming into bloom in July, the popular flower show is held within the grounds of Henry VIII’s palace.

Greenwich Music Time
Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London, SE10 9LW
1st to 7th Jul 2019

Cliff Richard and Paul Weller play as part of the seven-day summer music festival.

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships 2019
Wimbledon: The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Church Road, London, SW19 5AE
1st to 14th July 2019

Tennis takes over as the famous tournament serves up two weeks of ace tennis.

Pride in London Parade
Trafalgar Square, Central, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DS
Saturday 6th July 2019

Over a million spectators and more than 450 groups parade marches proudly through the city streets.

Kew the Music
Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB
9th to 14th Jul 2019

Craig David, Beverley Knight and Rick Astley play at the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens.


Remember Keep Life Simple – Storcx it xx