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Having afternoon tea outdoors

What is more British than afternoon tea? Afternoon tea outside a stately home, that’s what, and Chatsworth House in the Peak District is one of the grandest places in Britain to indulge. Wander through Chatsworth’s regal rooms, see the exquisite art collection – one of the country’s finest, spanning 4,000 years – then head to the terrace of the Cavendish restaurant in the 18th-century stables for afternoon tea: delicate finger sandwiches, scones and cakes baked at Chatsworth, possets, tarts and carefully selected loose leaf tea. Then walk it off with a stroll through the impressive grounds sculpted by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, one of Britain’s greatest landscape gardeners.

Day 1: Peak District

Chatsworth House, in northwest England’s Peak District National Park, is one of Britain’s grandest stately homes. There’s plenty to keep you busy here, from ogling outstanding artworks and ornate state rooms to walking through beautifully landscaped grounds, but take a moment for a quintessentially British experience: afternoon tea served outdoors on a country estate. Book a table on the terrace of the Cavendish restaurant and savour the exquisite afternoon tea and 18th-century converted stables location.

The world-famous Bakewell pudding hails from the charming market town of Bakewell. The pudding was made by accident in the early 19th century, and its recipe is a closely guarded secret in Bakewell’s top bakeries. Go on a Pudding Making Experience at the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, where the accidental inventor of the pudding lived, and dine at the Rutland Arms, where the first pudding was made. Just don’t expect to learn the secret ingredient!

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Take the cable car to the top of Heights of Abraham, a hilltop park that first opened to visitors in the 1780s. The panoramas across the Peak District National Park are astounding, especially when you view them over Derbyshire oatcake with bacon, poached egg and maple syrup from the terrace of the Vista Bar & Restaurant. Then walk it off on a zig-zag path through the heritage estate.

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Theme park Aton Towers Resort is home to Britain’s first rollercoaster restaurant, where your food is delivered by a vast overhead rollercoaster track. Place your order on a tablet and watch as drinks, burgers, curries, salads and chocolate fondues make their way around two loop-the-loops and a tornado spiral, dropping 8 metres (26ft) to your table. Kids will love the delivery style; adults will love eating in the resort’s most premium restaurant.

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Day 2-3: Manchester

It’s less than 2 hours by car or public transport from the heart of the Peak District to Manchester. This northern city is known for its creative take on life, with a fantastic legacy of music, art and industry – and food in Manchester is no different. From establishments run by some of the country’s top chefs and pioneering restaurateurs to footballers’ favourite haunts, there’s no shortage of places to make your taste buds happy.

If you appreciate fine chocolate, make your way to the Cocoa Cabana chocolate shop. They sell a tempting range of artisan chocolates and truffles but save yourself for their chocolate-themed afternoon tea and indulge in scones with salted caramel and clotted cream, chocolate brownies, chocolate tarts and chocolate macaroons with unlimited tea and coffee. Naturally, you can upgrade to hot chocolate, and look out for seasonal twists such as chocolate mince pies.

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There’s a new way to pay for your dining experience at Ziferblat, a pay-per-minute café where everything you eat and drink is free. Instead, you pay for the time you spend here. The branch in Manchester’s edgy Northern Quarter is the biggest in the world, and a curious but highly convenient blend of sitting room and shared office, events and meeting spaces. And at 6p per minute, the coffee is worth every penny!

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“Adam Reid at The French” in Manchester launches in early November. Seasonal dishes made from organic, hand-picked produce strike a balance between heritage and innovative. The luxury restaurant has been awarded four AA Rosettes, and its location in The Midland hotel is equally impressive: like The French, the hotel opened in 1903 and preserves its sumptuous Edwardian elegance.

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Day 4-5: Birmingham

Hop on the train (1 hour 30 minutes) or drive (2 hours) to multi-cultural Birmingham, the home of the Balti and a diverse menu of cuisines from about 30 different countries. The city has Michelin-starred restaurants, authentic family-run establishments, farmers markets, some of Britain’s best street food, a tasty array of foodie events, and the world-famous Balti Triangle. And a world-class selection of galleries, museums, theatres, bars, parks and shops, of course.

In 1824, John Cadbury started selling cocoa and drinking chocolate from his new grocer’s shop in Birmingham, kicking off a chocolate-making business that has kept British taste buds happy for almost 200 years – and it’s still going strong! Visit Cadbury World to learn more about Cadbury’s groundbreaking factory and how chocolate is made, dive into a 4D bowl of creamy Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and, of course, eat lots of chocolate!

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More than 50 of Birmingham’s restaurants are halal, including some of the city’s best. Yet more have clearly marked halal dishes available on their menus. Try Chennai Dosa for Indian and South India cuisine, atmospheric Al-Bader for Moroccan and Lebanese (it also has a prayer room), and a large proportion of restaurants in the renowned Balti Triangle. A number of Birmingham’s chain restaurants are halal too, including some Nando’s and KFC outlets.

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Did you know that Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice? This intricate heritage canal system is a direct route to beautiful views and the city’s fascinating industrial past. The best way to tour them is on a boat tour, so fill your belly at the same time! Luxury cruising restaurant Away2Dine offers 3-hour tours with three-course meals, while Sherborne Wharf runs 2-hour fish ‘n’ chips supper cruises on a narrowboat.

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