Christmas Trad or Mad: South of England

In a post last week, we posed the essential Christmas party question – Trad or Mad? – and suggested a host of restaurants and clubs in the capital to fulfil your fondest Christmas wishes.
In this post toptable roams the south of England in search of delightfully traditional spots and inspired off-piste offerings for successful seasonal parties.
Don’t see anything you love?  Remember that our dedicated Christmas party planning team is available on 020 7299 2949 to help with everything from venue to menu.
Trad

If your brief is traditional Christmas with turkey and trimmings and classic surroundings, there are some warm and wonderful restaurants right across the country that fit perfectly.
For near-Michelin star dining, The Marquis at Alkham in the Kentish downs is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has a luxe, homey vibe — and it’s a Michelin ‘rising star’ restaurant.
On the south coast, The Mirabelle Restaurant in Eastbourne’s Grand Hotel is a timeless favourite right on the seafront.  In East Sussex, The Earl of March is a cosy country pub with a former Ritz chef in the kitchen and roast turkey on the menu.  Pretty Emsworth in Hampshire sets the scene for time-honoured Christmas celebrations at Hermitage Restaurant @ The Brookfield Hotel.
The Ventana Brasserie at the stylish Cumberland Hotel in Bournemouth is the best kind of traditional: smart new décor inspired by the charm of the 1930s with a menu that features locally sourced turkeys.  In Exeter, the Olive Tree Restaurant has long been a local favourite for its Georgian townhouse setting, white table linens and British menu.  A more relaxed but still very high quality option is Beeches Restaurant at The Green Inn in the picture-perfect village of Week St Mary in Cornwall – it’s a toptable hidden gem.
In Bristol, The River Grille at water’s edge has a stunning outlook and terrific classic English cuisine.  Bath sparkles at Christmastime and high above town The Dower House @ Royal Crescent must have one of the most perfect settings in England.
Near Cheltenham, The Restaurant at Cowley Manor is set in the wood-panelled library of a stunning 19th century manor house and features a fine line in Cotswold game.  In Oxford, The Randolph restaurant at The Randolph Hotel has long been popular with locals for its fine dining room, views of Oxford’s spires and classic British menu.
Berry’s Restaurant at Taplow House in Berkshire is set in an impressive Georgian mansion with high ceilings, full-length windows and an award-winning British menu.
There are literally hundreds more superb venues from city-centre hotel dining rooms to charming and cosy country pub/restaurants to choose from.  Ring our team on 020 7299 2949 for more ideas.
Mad

‘Mad’ is something a bit out of the ordinary.  It’s where the fun begins, because when you pry colleagues and friends out of their normal routine and into expected restaurants, good times start.
Okay, it’s British cuisine, but Richard Phillips at Chapel Down restaurant is set in one of England’s premiere vineyards near Tenterden so you can have a tasting party, a meal and send everyone home with a Chapel Down bottle for their stocking.
The Haxted Mill Riverside Brasserie & Bar is near Lingfield Racecourse.  Schedule a race meet for your mates then a terrific meal in this spot beside the mill ponds under ancient beams.
Madame Geisha pan-Asian restaurant in Brighton has a great karaoke suite and some exotic martinis.  Or if you just want someplace hip and foreign, Warung Tujuh is a local favourite for its cool vibe and great Indonesian cuisine.
The Grosvenor Casino in Portsmouth boasts The Dining Room restaurant.  Give everyone a flutter in the casino then retire to celebrate with classic English and American menus.  And if your budget is tight but you still fancy great food and waterside location, Fire and Stone can take you on a round the world pizza trip.
Edge Restaurant in Bournemouth at the new Studland Dene development with stunning water views is just plain cool, and the food is great too.
The Treasury in Plymouth is one of this city’s most stylish venues for drinking, dining and dancing.  Fifteen restaurant on the beach at Watergate Bay in Cornwall is the Jamie Oliver Foundation’s expansion restaurant so you can dine well and feel great.
The Chargrill in Bristol’s Harbourside Gala Casino is a perfect opportunity for your guests to try their luck at gaming before celebrating the season together.
The teeny tiny Bath Minibar seats just 16 for chic, cosmopolitan parties so you can keep the guest list select.
Thai Thai restaurant between Maidenhead and High Wycombe and just a few miles from the M25 is a great spot to gather far-flung friends or colleagues for super Thai cuisine served with smiling graciousness.
The three kings came from the East, so why not return the favour and head to Shanghai 30’s in Oxford, a stylish and highly-rated Chinese restaurant replete with boho chic.
These are just a few of the hundreds of restaurants and venues that the expert toptable Christmas party team has at its fingertips to help you find the perfect spot for the party of the year.