Epicurean (n): a person devoted to sensual enjoyment, especially that derived from fine food and drink.
There's nothing we like more at The Rural Travel Guide than a lavish weekend away complimented by days out exploring rural Britain, so we were delighted to learn about a new travel club geared specifically towards such pursuits.
The Epicurean Club presents itself as a "bastion of the Great British countryside".
With a focus on the finest in food, comfort and culture Britain has to offer, the club offers access to rural activities and events based around a collection of 20 award-winning boutique inns in some of the most picturesque parts of the country.
The club's app acts as a digital membership card, allowing members to take advantage of exclusive benefits every time they visit an establishment in the collection, which at the moment are all based in the south of England, with excellent links to London.
Epicurean director Ed Hill explained: “There is nothing else like The Epicurean Club on the market right now, which marries an impressive collection of traditional inns with brilliant countryside experiences that focus on country activities, culture and heritage, food and drink and nature."
Members are regularly informed about all the latest promotions and prize draws but the app's primary function is to unlock offers when you sign-in to one of its locations, saving on food and drink, upgrading on stays and taking part in specially curated #EpicureanExperiences.
Each experience has its own inns associated with it, meaning you can check in and enjoy a night of fine dining, a sumptuous breakfast and a fantastic day out for one price.
Experiences include outdoor pursuits such as wakeboarding, cycling or riding in the New Forest or flying a WWII Harvard Warbird over the Dorset countryside.
More leisurely experiences involve wine tasting on local vineyards, a private gin masterclass, a Cotswold spa break, a watercolour workshop or visits to sought-after venues such as Highclere Castle, in Hampshire, and Prince Charles’ Highgrove Estate in Gloucestershire.
The collection also boasts five stylish London pubs, including Chelsea’s The Admiral Codrington and Mayfair’s The Punchbowl, which bring a touch of the British countryside to the city and enable additional benefits for members visiting or living in the capital.
Ed added: "Our club rewards members who visit our properties — whether it’s dinner in London or a weekend escape to the seaside — with exclusive members’ rates and other offers from carefully selected artisan and lifestyle partners.”
Epicurean Club Membership is £99 for a year and all members are entitled to a complimentary gin and tonic when they join, as well as an espresso martini every time they dine at an Epicurean inn in the evening.
Other membership benefits include free stays for dogs, a loyalty scheme and members' rates on rooms, mid-week lunches and wines. Plus, they have partnered with a number of country lifestyle brands such as Hunter and our friends at Chase Distillery to offer exclusive discounts.
Epicurean Experiences start at £195 and include a one-night stay with dinner and breakfast for two, with the experience included in the price. Epicurean Club members get a 10 per cent discount.
We’ve teamed up with The Epicurean Club to experience West Sussex this weekend, so keep an eye on our Instagram story for a barrel of laughs (and real ale from Langham Brewery) and a cosy night at The Royal Oak in East Lavant.