M6, Junction 40; 10 minutes
Free WiFi for visitors
Vegetarian or vegan options
Parking available onsite
A labour of love for owner Peter Stott, Larch Cottage Nursery is a rambling, theatrical beauty, a maze of Romanesque ruins, sculptures and individual, carefully designed gardens. Pass through a modest entrance at the side of a country lane and it’s like stepping onto a stage. An elaborate clock tower stands sentry over a wonderland of winding paths and distinctive gardens.
The restaurant, La Casa Verde, is just as magical, a little chink of Italy with tiled floors, wooden beams and a vine-strung veranda overlooking the pond and gardens. Fresh food is hand-picked from the organic kitchen garden or sourced locally and slanted towards Italian cuisine – marinated olives, panzanella (a Tuscan salad with chunks of bread and fresh vegetables),
smoked salmon crostini, thin-crust pizzas and wild mushroom risotto. Soup is served all day and cakes are freshly baked daily. Visit Red Barn Art Gallery before you leave to discover a hoard of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and handmade jewellery, together with the unique and unusual gifts.