Welsh foodie experiences to savour

From baking traditional Welsh Bara Brith to sampling delicious local produce in the shadow of a UNESCO World Heritage castle, Wales is chock-full of fantastic foodie experiences. The Abergavenny Food Festival is just one of many food festivals and distilleries helping to promote the best of Welsh culture and cuisine, many of which take place in spectacular surroundings across the country.

Abergavenny Food Festival

The market town of Abergavenny, in Monmouthshire, is transformed by the Abergavenny Food Festival in September, a delicious opportunity to discover more about the world of Welsh food. Having grown considerably since its creation in 1999, the festival now includes more than 220 traders and four stages of free chef demonstrations, spread over nine sites in the town. With food tasting workshops, masterclasses and a whole host of other events, the festival seeks to introduce visitors to the people who live for making, cooking and writing about food via an array of delicious foodie experiences. The festival doesn’t shy away from tackling the key issues facing the industry either. Visit the Welsh chef demonstration stage to see local and emerging chefs in action, discover the abundance of food in nature during a Wild and Foraged event or get up-close and personal with farm animals in the expanded rare-breed animal area and petting zone. A Weekend Wristband for the festival is £15, whereas day wristbands are priced at £10 for Saturday and £8 for Sunday. Entry for under 16s is free and there are plenty of cookery classes and other activities to keep them entertained. Many of the main festival events are individually priced and should be booked in advance.

When? 21-22 September

Narberth Food Festival

Get a taste of the finest food from Pembrokeshire and Welsh producers at the Narberth Food Festival, one of the longest-established festivals in the country. Celebrating its 21st year in 2019 in the picturesque surroundings of Narberth Town Moor, the festival includes an abundance of entertainment, welcomes guest chefs aplenty and has activities all the family can enjoy. With the chance to visit more than 50 stalls, visitors can also take part in an exciting set of workshops and masterclasses where the finest local produce is top of the menu.

When? 28-29 September

Neath Food and Drink Festival

Tuck into high quality Welsh produce at the Neath Food and Drink Festival, spread across three days in early October. Hosted in the historic town’s Victorian Market and in the surrounding streets, it’s an opportunity for shops and cafes in the region to showcase their products and for visitors to try a range of mouth-watering dishes. Around 60 exhibitors, including some from the town’s renowned Indoor Victorian Market, attend each year, and there’s also an array of fun street entertainment for visitors to enjoy.

When? 4-6 October

Gwledd Conwy Feast

An annual celebration of food, music and art, Gwledd Conwy Feast takes place in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Conwy every October. With the stunning stonework of the formidable Conwy Castle providing the backdrop, an array of street food and arts and crafts stalls fill the streets, offering delicious local produce and an abundance of unique jewellery, paintings, textiles and other crafts. A number of food halls and market stalls pack into the Quayside, where visitors can sample new dishes, watch chefs in action and try a collection of fine wines. Lancaster Square and the High Street of the medieval walled town are home to further stalls and entertainment options.

When? 25-27 October

Llandudno Christmas Fayre

The stunning Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno hosts the World Bara Brith Championships as part of its traditional Christmas Fayre. Bakers from around the globe are invited to submit their own take on the famous Welsh bake, meaning ‘speckled bread’, at the competition, hosted in the town’s Holy Trinity Church. A new Junior class takes its place at the 2019 fayre, as people young and old are invited to show off their culinary skills. With more than 150 food, drink and craft stalls, as well as plenty of festive entertainment on offer, the fayre provides a platform for Welsh suppliers to showcase their extraordinary array of seasonal and local produce.

When? 14-17 November

Portmeirion Christmas Food and Craft Fair

Set in the grounds of the beautiful Italianate village, the Portmeirion Christmas Food and Craft Fair promises a delightful mix of local flavours and festive cheer. More than 120 artisan stalls sell an abundance of local produce and fine crafts, alongside a mix of entertainment including live bands, cooking demonstrations and a Santa’s Grotto.

When? 6-8 December

Aber Falls Distillery

Located near to picturesque Rhaeadr Fawr, the famous Aber Falls waterfall, the Aber Falls Distillery was the first to open in North Wales for a century. Its whisky is not yet available – the first batch is due in 2020 – but visitors can tour the distillery and discover more about the processes involved, while sampling some of the site’s award-winning portfolio. The distillery also produces small batches of handcrafted gins and liqueurs, developed using specially selected Welsh ingredients from the surrounding area. Distillery tours run between 12pm and 5pm and booking is recommended.

When? All-year round

Penderyn Distillery

Found in the foothills of the spectacular Brecon Beacons, the Penderyn Distillery produces award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits. Visitors can tour the site to discover what makes the produce unique, including the innovative single copper-pot Penderyn stills, before finishing with a sampling session at the Tasting Bar. Occasional Whisky and Chocolate Tours also run, with the distillery’s single malt whiskies being paired with hand-made chocolates from Chocolate House of Pontypridd. The distillery is open seven days a week from 9.30am-5pm and booking for the tours is a must. The main tour is priced at £9 for adults, with whisky and chocolate tours must be requested and cost £17.

When? All year round

Loving Welsh Food tours

For a true taste of Wales, discover the capital city and try its culinary delights as part of a tour from Loving Welsh Food. Visitors can sample traditional and modern Welsh dishes in locations across Cardiff as part of a food tour, while meeting local suppliers and discovering more about Welsh culture. Cardiff Tasting Tours run on Fridays and Saturdays and take in some of the city’s key sights, including the castle and the home of Welsh rugby, the Principality Stadium, while offering a chance to taste laverbread, cockles, cheeses and to sample Welsh beverages. Private tasting tours are also available, giving access to a range of farms, producers, vineyards, distilleries, pubs and restaurants in the Vale of Glamorgan.

When? Friday and Saturday, 10.30am-2.30pm

Halen Mon Saltcote and Visitor Centre

On the banks of the Menai Strait in an Area of Outstanding National Beauty is the award-winning Halen Mon Saltcote and Visitor Centre. Embark on a one-of-a-kind tour to discover salt’s place in Wales’ history, culture and food, including a tutored salt tasting to find out what sets Halen Mon Sea Salt apart from the rest. Visitors can find out more about the family-run company and get unique insights into the world of salt from members of staff.

When? Open daily (apart from over Christmas/New Year) with tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Foodie foraging tours

Whether foraging along the seashore for ‘mermaid confetti’, samphire and oysters or hunting for lemon sorrel in Abergavenny’s lush undergrowth, there are a whole range of foodie foraging adventures to try throughout Wales. Discover the culinary delights hidden in the hedgerows on a short course at Llys Meddyg, learn about edible plants and where to find them in North Wales, or track down the freshest seafood in West Wales, on a coastal foraging experience to remember.

When? Various, see websites for details.

48 hours in… Bath

A whimsical mix of cobblestone streets, historical sites and romantic architectural styles, Bath is a British city famed for its history and natural hot springs. It’s also the only destination in the UK where the entire city is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

Time to check in:

The Gainsborough Bath Spa is a stunning five-star luxury hotel with a unique twist. Built in a Regency architectural style, it centres around its own naturally-heated pools with direct access from several rooms — meaning you can run your bath with the mineral-rich thermal waters.

 

Day one:

 

09:00 Hit the spa

Any weekend in Bath must start with a visit to the Thermae Bath Spa. Arrive early to beat the crowds and make your way to the open-air rooftop pool, where you can bathe in mineral-rich waters heated to 33.5-degrees Celsius, all the while enjoying panoramic views of Bath. 

 

11.30 Try the healing waters

Once you've dried off, it's a short walk to the Roman Baths, one of the city’s best-known historic attractions. You can no longer bathe in these waters, as they haven't been treated, but you can tour the site and learn about its fascinating history. Visit the Pump Rooms afterwards for a bite to eat, and to sample treated mineral-rich spa water, which is thought to have healing properties. 

 

14:00 Get crafty

After lunch, try some glass-blowing at Bath Aqua Glass where you can watch a demonstration from the experts before trying to blow your very own glass bauble.

 

16:00 Fashion through the ages

Style your way through the Fashion Museum and its collection of historic clothing, including replica Georgian and Victorian outfits that visitors can try on. On the first Saturday of each month, the museum also runs a sketching class (free with museum entrance — sketchbooks and pencils included).

 

20:00 IN FOR A LAUGH

Book a space on the Bizarre Bath Comedy Walk. This popular hour-and-a-half walking tour departs each evening at 8pm and offers a lighthearted, alternative look at the heritage city. Prepare for stunts, jokes, and lots of laughs. 

 

Day two:

 

10.00 City tour

After breakfast, jump on a 'hop-on, hop-off' City Sightseeing bus for a relaxing tour of the city's must-see attractions, including Bath Abbey, the Abbey Cemetery, and the architectural splendour of Bath’s Royal Crescent

 

12.30 Bath baked delights

You'll have worked up an appetite, so stop for lunch at Sally Lunn's famed ‘eating house’, one of the oldest buildings in the city and home to the famous Bath Bun. It’s named after a French girl called Sally (real name, Solange) who worked in the bakery kitchen in the 1660s and created a soft, fluffy brioche-style bread that locals fell in love with. Today, the 'Sally Lunn Bun' — still made from the original recipe — can be enjoyed with a selection of sweet or savoury toppings.

 

14.30 Tea and talks

Pop into the Jane Austen Centre and learn all about Bath's most famous former resident. Enjoy the talks, displays and activities centred on the author’s celebrated works, then stop for a cup of tea at the Regency Tea Room, where staff serve you in period costume. 

 

17:00 Bridging the gap

Wander along Pulteney Bridge, considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the world and one of just a handful with shops built into the design — there are worse places to browse for gifts than among these specialist shops and boutiques. 

 

Head home, happy, refreshed and relaxed. 

 

How to get here:

Bath is in the county of Somerset, south west England. The city is approximately a two-and-a-half hour drive west of London, or one-and-a-half hours by train from London Paddington. The nearest airport is Bristol, which has direct links to 25 European countries; shuttle buses run from the airport to the centre of Bath.

The Best Tipples of South West England

England's South West is famous for its scenic villages and dramatic coastline, but it’s also home to some of the country's most historic and exciting pubs, breweries and drinks festivals.

 

ALL ABOARD 

Combine the scenery of Devon and Cornwall with some of its finest beers, by taking a day trip on the Great Scenic Railways' Rail Ale Trails. With seven self-guided trails to choose from, they take visitors through lush valleys and traditional rural towns while chugging along sandy coastal tracks. Each stop includes a list of pubs within walking distance; jump off and enjoy a chilled pint before continuing to your next destination. 

 

A FINE VINE

If wine is more your tipple, plan a visit to Quoins, a family-run organic vineyard in Wiltshire near the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath. Quoins produces four single-variety wines, which can be purchased directly from the vineyard. It opens for tours from mid-August, or you can drop into one of its open days and tastings, which are held throughout the year.

 

HISTORICAL TIPPLE

Sitting in 180 acres of orchards, Somerset Cider Brandy Company and Burrow Hill Cider has been making apple cider for over 200 years. In 1989, the company began setting aside half its yield to produce apple cider brandy, a once-popular liquor that fell out of favour with English drinkers 300 years ago but is undergoing a modern-day revival. Wander the orchards, tour the cider house and distillery, and finish with a tasting. 

 

THE GRAPE ESCAPE

The fun doesn't have to stop when your winery tour does. At Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire, you can stay overnight in a room that overlooks the neat rows of grapevines, or even in a lodge right in the middle of them. Time your stay with one of their regular events such as dinner and wine tastings, and even pop-up opera performances.

 

SHAKE IT UP

Create your own signature drink with a cocktail-making tutorial at The Milk Thistle, an uber-cool Bristol bar styled like a 1930s speakeasy and complete with an unmarked front door. Make it past the secret entrance and into their masterclass, and their mixologists will teach you a few tricks of the trade. 

 

SOUTH WEST SPIRITS

This Easter, Cornwall's Colwith Farm Distillery will open its doors for tours. Originally a potato farm set up to help feed the nation during the Second World War, it produced the county's first potato vodka, Aval Dor, in 2014. The following year, Stafford’s Gin was created from the vodka and botanicals foraged from the farm. The distillery is now working on a premium Cornish whiskey. 

Six of the best… vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Brighton

Brighton, the south England coastal resort, is one of the UK’s cities at the forefront of vegetarian and vegan dining. And it’s a reputation that’s well deserved; there’s an impressive choice of plant-based and meat-free eateries, whether you’re looking for something casual, something high-end or something unique.

 

Good for… pizza

Purezza

As the first vegan pizzeria in the UK, Purezza has been honing its craft since 2015, aiming to make its plant-based menu on a par with – and even surpass – the taste of traditional pizzas. Its passionate about flavour and has created its own vegan mozzarella in-house, using an Italian brown rice milk, and offers pizza bases created either from sourdough, hemp flour or that are gluten-free. You’ll find some wonderful flavour combinations here; try the Couch Potato, which uses a white base with smoked mozzarella, fried aubergines, oven-roasted potatoes, basil leaves and seitan and all topped with garlic mayo; or the Fumosa, with smoked tofu pieces, oven-roasted mushrooms and smoked beetroot carpaccio, finished with a drizzling of BBQ sauce.

 

Good for… a high-end meal

Terre a Terre

Situated in the narrow alleys of the 17th-century Lanes – a maze of eclectic shops and unique eateries – Terre a Terre is about indulgent vegetarian cuisine and has been making delicious vegan and vegetarian food in Brighton since 1993. Expect dishes such as porcini polenta plumps, steamed rice buns stuffed with Szechuan marinated halloumi and ginger bok choy – this also comes as a vegan option – or aubergine genie, where aubergine is slow baked with tahini, sesame and white miso. If you like what you’ve eaten, you can buy a full range of Terre a Terre’s products in-house and online, such as jams, pickles, chutneys and sweets. It’s also a great place to go for vegan or vegetarian afternoon teas.

 

Good for… breakfast and brunch

Longhouse Café

Serving all-vegan breakfasts, lunches, light snacks and delicious cakes, The Longhouse Cafe is a community-run café whose menu is also packed with gluten-free choices. Smoothies, mezze, curries and salads dominate the menu and supporting local traders is very much part of this café’s ethos. That also extends to hosting a range of event and workshops, such as film screenings and vegan wine and cheese pairing nights.

 

Good for… Sunday roasts

Six Brighton

There are meat dishes on this popular restaurant’s menu, but it also boasts a fantastic selection of vegan options including a vegan Sunday roast. There’s a strong focus on healthy eating; every ingredient used is sourced locally, its seafood comes from ethical and sustainable suppliers, and meat is bought from family run small-holdings. Fruit and vegetables are mostly organically grown, plus the restaurant also roasts its own organic coffee. As well as the tempting Sunday vegan roasts, try its mouth-watering vegan desserts such as vegan artisan apple pie or vegan chocolate and coconut ganache tarte, which uses a cashew and almond raw base served with plant-based strawberry and yuzu artisan gelato.

 

Good for… Indian cuisine

Planet India

With a branch in Brighton and another in neighbouring Hove, Planet India is all about the best of vegetarian and vegan food from India, particularly showcasing its awesome street food. All vegetarian options on the menu can also be made vegan. Try the Dhai Behl Puri, for street food to share, chickpeas covered by thin sev, puffed rice, yoghurt and its in-house tamarind sauce and enjoy it alongside the vegan hot mixed pickle, sweet mango chutney and chappaties. The menu is honest and welcoming, which is reflected in the restaurant’s ambience.

 

Good for… ice-cold sweet treats

Gelato Gusto

On a sunny day, what better than to cool down than with vegan gelato and sorbets at this ice cream parlour by the beach. So popular are these flavours that the parlour has turned a whole freezer over to the vegan combinations. Its aim has been to make the best-tasting vegan flavours using a range of different milks from soya to oat, almond to coconut – and the proof came when it scooped two Great Taste Awards in 2016 & 2017 for its vegan pistachio and vegan chocolate brownie gelato. There’s also a great range of vegan-friendly sorbettos, including Great Taste award winners’ lychee and rose, orange and mint and pink grapefruit.

48 Hours in… Leeds

One of the only cities outside London to have its own ballet and opera companies, Yorkshire city Leeds is a hotbed of cultural gems, a city with a rich industrial and sports heritage that has become an energetic, contemporary city with a flourishing food and drink scene. Home to its own international airport (Leeds/Bradford Airport) and just two hours by train from London and one hour from Manchester, spending a weekend in one of the north of England’s most exciting cities has never been easier.

 

TIME TO CHECK IN

Leeds has a wide range of hotels to suit all budgets yet if you’re looking for high-end accommodation, check out the only independently owned luxury hotel in central Leeds, Quebecs. This Grade-II listed, four-star property is situated in one of the city’s most impressive terracotta brickwork buildings, located in the attractive Victoria Quarter. Another luxury option is the city’s oldest hotel, The Cosmopolitan, which combines a historic setting with contemporary style. Leeds has some lovely boutique hotels too; in the heart of Leeds, the Malmaison is the place to go if you’re into cool, quirky interior designs while riverside hotel 42 The Calls, located in an 18th-century former flour mill, will soon be undergoing a multi-million pound investment under new management, set to develop it into five-star luxury accommodation.

 

DAY ONE

09:00 EMBARK ON A WALK OF DISCOVERY

It’s common knowledge that to really get to know a city you should walk it – and this is just as true of Leeds, where you can download self-guided walks around the city with a treasure hunt theme! Just over a mile each, Curious About Leeds has devised routes that take you from Leeds Art Gallery to the River Aire, and a second route from the river to Park Square. The beauty of these walks is that you’ll take in not just the city’s famous sights but also the more unusual ones. Expect to see the chic Victorian Arcades, Europe’s largest covered market – Kirkgate Market – former mills whose fortune the city was built on and secret squares to explore. Also look out for iconic street art; Leeds is home to the UK’s tallest mural, Athena Rising, as well as works such as Cornucopia next to the Corn Exchange and the George Street Mural at Kirkgate Market.

 

11:00 DELVE INTO THE CITY’S PAST

The story of Leeds unfolds at the Leeds City Museum, where – through six impressive galleries – you’ll find artefacts from archaeological finds to displays reflecting city life today. It’s also home to the Leeds Tiger… one of the most recognisable and loved exhibits at the museum with a fascinating back story to discover.

 

13:00 TAKE EARLY AFTERNOON TEA

It will be hard to tear yourself away from the pretty period furniture and mismatched crockery at vintage tearoom Just Grand! but try to as there’s plenty to tempt you on its menu. Located in the city’s Grand Arcade – a Grade II-listed Victorian shopping arcade that now boasts a good mix of independent retailers – you’ll reboot energy levels enjoying drinks from its huge assortment of loose-left teas (Yorkshire tea is, of course, on the menu!) and the delectable afternoon tea menu. Why choose a plain scone when you could choose from its wide range of flavoured scones such as black treacle and date, Earl Grey and Lemon, and ginger and apricot. Just Grand has also introduced a Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea – finger sandwiches, locally produced pork pie and crisps along with a choice of Yorkshire bottled beer.

 

15:00 EXPLORE CONTEMPORARY ART IN A HISTORIC BUILDING

One of Leeds’ leading centres for contemporary art is at The Tetley, housed in an Art Deco-style former brewery. It’s not just the collections inside that are worth exploring – the building itself is an Insta-favourite; founded in 1822 – Tetley is one of Leeds’ oldest (beer) brewing families – it’s of huge social and industrial significance to the city. As well as changing exhibitions there’s a rich programme of events to take part in, including art workshops.

 

17:00 ENJOY COCKTAILS AND PRE-THEATRE DINNER

A department store might not the first place you think of for cocktails and dinner, but when’s it’s The Fourth Floor brasserie and bar at the city’s branch of the high-end Harvey Nichols, you know you’re in store for a treat. Superb views of the city greet you as you enjoy cocktails in the glamorous bar – think gold dome lights and circular banquettes – and the menu in the brasserie focuses on using the best Yorkshire produce in its creative dishes. It’s perfect for a pre-theatre meal, with the dinner service starting from 4.30pm.

 

19:30 CATCH A SHOW

Take advantage of the fact that Leeds is the only city outside of London to have its own ballet and opera companies and book tickets for a performance by either Opera North, one of Europe’s leading arts organisations, which produces the classics as well as lesser-known works and musical theatre, or the Northern Ballet, where you’ll find original productions as well as new interpretations of classic ballets. 

 

DAY TWO

09:00 DISCOVER HISTORIC TREASURES

Ever fancied seeing a world record-breaking suit of elephant armour? Here’s your chance – at Leeds’ Royal Armouries Museum, which sits on the waterfront at the city’s docks. Five galleries hold more than 8,000 fascinating objects, including Henry VIII’s tournament armour, the five heroic swords based on the prop weapons used in movies Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and the incredible centrepiece of the whole museum, the Hall of Steel – the largest mass display of arms and armour created since the 19th century.

 

11:00 SET OFF ON A SPORTING JOURNEY

Yorkshire boasts a legendary cricket heritage and, for cricket fans around the world, the Yorkshire Cricket Museum is a must-visit. It’s here that you’ll discover artefacts from Yorkshire’s cricket legends, the bats and balls used by iconic players as well as multi-media interviews with cricket heroes.

OR

SET OFF ON A SHOPPING JOURNEY

A raft of unique independent retailers can be found under one stunning roof at the Grand Arcade, a shopping venue built in 1897 where its fine Victorian architecture – including an exquisite glass roof and beautiful arched windows – is just as much of a draw as the shops. It’s a lovely surrounding in which to explore the stores, which range from luxury menswear retailer Labels, My Vibrant Home for stylish handmade interiors goods, and The Handmade Collective, where you’ll find unique gifts created by 60 local Yorkshire design-makers to take home. You’ll also find a vibrant shopping district at Victoria Leeds, an eclectic shopping destination combining Victoria Quarter and Victoria Gate with traditional the British high-end department stores of Harvey Nichols and John Lewis and more than 90 boutiques.
 

13:00 VEG OUT FOR LUNCH 

Also finding its home in the Grand Arcade is Roots and Fruits, a fantastic vegetarian restaurant that’s recently upgraded its menu to be mainly plant-based. But there’s no compromise on flavour… this Leeds favourite is packed with local, seasonal produce and presents dishes such as Roots and Fruits Jerk Jackfruit with a secret recipe jerk marinade and giant Rainbow Salads.

 

15:00 LOSE YOURSELF IN A CHOCOLATE METROPOLIS

Leeds is home to the UK’s first two-storey chocolate emporium at Hotel Chocolat and it’s here you can learn the delicate art of chocolate-making at its Chocolate School, just one of the chocolate-filled experiences on offer here. Chocoholics may want to embark on its Tasting Adventure and there’s always further opportunity to taste the glorious sweetness in its Mega Café; look out, in particular, for its signature hot chocolate.

 

17:00 GO CUCKOO FOR CREATIVE COCKTAILS

Come to quirky bar Cuckoo for its imaginative cocktails, such as Peanut Butter Martinis and Dirty Grasshoppers, or to sample local craft beers served through ‘Giraffe Towers’, and stay for its amazingly fun décor. Murals, paint-splattered animal heads, cool neon lights and a secret rooftop garden all make a visit to this bar a colourful occasion.

 

20:00 TASTE THE CREATIVITY

Restaurant Man Behind the Curtain – with a name inspired by The Wizard of Oz – offers a magical culinary experience where you’ll be wowed by chef Michael O’Hare’s creativity. The restaurant’s tasting menu of 10 to 14 sequences’ includes hand-massaged octopus with capers and lemon; birds nest and kimchi ramen and cardamom & lemongrass soup with chilli sorbet- a treat for both the eyes and the taste-buds. Other high-end restaurants to have on your radar include Stockdales and Ox Club.

Alternatively, visit Bundobust for delicious Indian street food and craft beer that make this place one of Leeds go-to places for easy, deliciouscuisine. Still hungry? Try Matt Healy x The Foundry. This Leeds institution has recently relaunched with Yorkshire-born chef, Matt Healy (runner-up in BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals series), at the helm. The interior and exterior was redesigned and rebranded as Matt Healy x The Foundry. In the kitchen, Matt is concentrating on a menu of simple British dishes using up to five ingredients. A sample menu may include baby chicken ‘kiev’, wild garlic and duck fat potato, or pollock, charred leeks and potatoes with romesco sauce. Watch this space as the restaurant is quickly becoming one of the hottest spots in Leeds.

 

22:00 Leeds’ nightlife rivals that of any major British city and it’s particularly good for quirky bars. For a slice of hipster heaven and craft beers head to the cool, vintage-style Outlaws Yacht Club; drink cocktails from teapots at the Alice in Wonderland-themed, eclectically decorated The White Rabbit; while the Belgrave Music Hall is where to go to enjoy craft beers and cask ales across three floors of a 1930s venue that comes with a fabulous roof terrace, live music events, film and comedy or art exhibitions. Beer is also big news in Leeds; why visit one brewery when you can visit four on the Leeds Brewery Tour, and, if you’re coming over in October, look out for details of the city’s Oktoberfest.

Foodie focus on… Yorkshire

You’ll often hear people hailing from England’s largest county, Yorkshire, in the north of the country, using the phrase ‘God’s own county’ to describe their home region and, given the sheer diversity and quality of the local produce, the award-winning restaurants, gastropubs and chef innovation found there, you’ll begin to understand why. Here are just a few of the reasons why foodies should put Yorkshire on their destination wish-lists.

 

Regional specialities and where to taste them

YORKSHIRE PUDDING: a pudding made of eggs, flour and milk and usually served with roast meat and gravy, although it can also be served with jam, syrup or custard as a dessert. The first recorded recipe for the accompanying Yorkshire pudding was in 1737 when it was called ‘A Dripping Pudding’, the dripping coming from spit-roast meat.

Where can I eat it? Pretty much with every Sunday roast dinner served the length and breadth of Britain (such is its popularity) but when in Yorkshire, why not go large? The Crooked Billet in Saxton, north Yorkshire, boasts a dedicated Yorkshire pudding menu! Yes, that’s three courses, each with its own take on the Yorkshire pudding. Award-winning pub The Strines Inn in Bradfield, half an hour’s drive from Sheffield also serves Yorkshire puddings of gigantic proportions.

 

WENSLEYDALE CHEESE: mild, clean, and slightly sweet, Wensleydale cheese has a subtle flavour, said to have notes of wild honey and a moist but crumbly texture. The Wensleydale Creamery is the only manufacturer of authentic Yorkshire Wensleydale.

Where can I eat it? You’ll find it across cheeseboards in Yorkshire (and beyond) but go straight to the source – the Calvert Restaurant at the Wensleydale Creamery has the Ultimate Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese Experience; three courses all using their finest ingredient. Go along to explore the visitor centre, museum, shop and attend demonstrations and tastings.

 

PONTEFRACT CAKE: Not, in fact, cake, but liquorice! The Yorkshire city of Pontefract was the furthest north liquorice was ever grown to produce liquorice sweets and is recognised by its stamp of Pontefract Castle.

Where can I eat it? Buy it throughout Yorkshire; for a fun shopping experience, pick some up at the Oldest Sweet Shop in England in Pateley Bridge, near Harrogate in north Yorkshire, housed in a building dating back to 1661. You’ll also be tempted by the other sweets laid out in row upon row of traditional sweet jars – this has been a family run shop since 1827.

 

FAT RASCAL: similar to a scone or rock cake, Fat Rascals are plump and fruity and based on old regional speciality, turf cake.

Where can I eat it? This fruity bake is one of Betty’s Café Tea Rooms best-known and best-selling products, thanks to the personal touches the company made to the original recipe…so where better to eat one than there! There are six Betty’s establishments across Yorkshire – in Harrogate, York, Ilkley and Northallerton – and you can choose from the tea rooms’ original take on it, decorated with glacé cherries and almonds, or a smaller chocolate and orange variation. All are made by hand to exact Betty’s Fat Rascal specifications.

 

PARKIN: a gingerbread cake made with oatmeal and treacle that’s been eaten in Yorkshire since the early 18th century.  

Where can I eat it? Bakeries and cafés are the place to find parkin; try Lottie Shaw’s Bakery in Brighouse (less than half an hour from Leeds) – all parkin is hand-crafted on site and based on traditional family recipes past down to Lottie by her great grandmother.

 

FORCED RHUBARB: Yorkshire is home to the Rhubarb Triangle, a nine-square mile area between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell in the west of the county, renowned for producing early forced rhubarb. The season for forced rhubarb is roughly from January to mid-March.

Where can I eat it? Celebrate this regional speciality in style at the annual Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb! The next one takes place 22-24 February 2019 and you’ll find everything from rhubarb gifts, rhubarb-themed dishes and rhubarb trails. Wakefield is around 30 minutes from Leeds.

 

5 must-do food and drink experiences

Michelin-style cooking: The Cookery School, Swinton Park is perched on the edge of the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park, surrounded by a 17th-century castle and parkland, and it’s here you can learn to create a traditional afternoon tea, take a beginners' baking class or spend a weekend cooking modern British cuisine with chef Kevin Hughes. You’ll use the seasonal ingredients from the hotel’s walled garden as well as venison, rabbit, game and trout from the wider Estate. Housed in the converted Georgian stable wing of four-star Swinton Park hotel, the school offers a range of hands-on two-day, one day and half-day cookery classes for adults, teenagers and children, aged six to nine.

Wine: While many vineyards are based in the south and east of England (the soil and climate make ideal vine-growing conditions), England’s most northerly vineyard is found in Yorkshire. The Ryedale Vineyard is located just a half-hour drive from the ancient city of York and offers bed and breakfast accommodation in its Grade II-listed farmhouse, which dates back to around 1630. The vineyard holds tours as well as pizza and wine evenings, where the pizza is cooked on its outdoor clay oven.

Whisky: Whisky? From Yorkshire? That’s correct – the Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery in Hunmanby, north of the county, is creating Yorkshire’s first single malt whisky. When the project was first conceived, the team brought in the late, respected whisky expert Dr Jim Swan as a consultant and now the whole process is overseen by the distillery team, from field-to-bottle; all the barley and spring water used is grown and sourced on its family farm. Join in the Distilling Experience, where you’ll get the lowdown on the distillery's ethos and process, as well as the chance to try some of its maturing Malt.

Artisan food: The town of Malton, half an hour’s drive from York, has been described as Yorkshire’s Food Capital – and it certainly lives up to that title thanks to its vast range of incredible local produce and restaurants; in fact, there’s a ‘Made in Malton’ brand, a group of artisan food and drink producers in the town. Many of these can be visited and the Malton Cookery School offers walking ‘artisan produce’ tours, taking in bakeries, breweries, pie shops and coffee roasteries. One new tour earmarked to launch later this year (9 November) is the ‘Malton Food Tour – Gin O’Clock, designed for people ‘with a sweet tooth who love their gin’. You’ll sample six different gins, a selection of Made in Malton producers and tour Malton’s new Gin Distillery.

Afternoon tea: Not just one afternoon tea to linger over (although you can book this option too), but a whole tour of them! Tours in a Dish take you on a 3.5-hour guided tour of York, to the best places for tea, to take part in a tea and cheese pairing workshop, and to visit three unique venues and two top tea retailers and importers.

 

Hot restaurants you have to visit

The Pipe and Glass Inn, Beverley

Set in a former coaching inn in the beautiful surroundings of the Dalton Estate, this elegant inn has retained its Michelin star (and other major foodie awards) for the last eight years. Owners James and Kate Mackenzie play a huge part in that, with James in the kitchen, Kate in front of house and the gorgeous gardens at the back (which grow produce for its menus) only add to the relaxed ambience. Food-wise, expect enticing meals such as barbequed rump of Yorkshire lamb with barley, beer and broad bean risotto and sweet treats such as ginger burnt cream, poached garden rhubarb and East Yorkshire sugar cakes.

The Black Swan, Oldstead

It may be situated in a small village 45 minutes’ drive from York, but it’s this restaurant with rooms TripAdvisor users voted as the world’s best in 2017. A well-deserved accolade thanks to its Michelin star and its one creative menu – the Tasting Menu – that’s been inspired by local ingredients the restaurant either forages for or grows itself; think langoustine with salted strawberry or raw deer with wild garlic. The Black Swan is also making a name for itself with its experimental drinks menu; its ‘Oldstead cocktails’ menu comprises beautifully named concoctions such as Rubus Fruiticolitan and Forced Fizz (made with rhubarb schnapps).

Rafters, Sheffield

This Michelin-listed/2 AA Rosettes eaterie offers three alternative menus; a classic menu, offering three courses, its Experience One – the Classic menu but enhanced further – and Experience Two, its unique tasting menu (with vegetarian options for each). For the latter, a sample menu may include BBQ line-caught mackerel, Cornish turbot or fresh curd agnolotti, all served in a stylish and comfortable city restaurant.

Skosh, York

Recently opened, Skosh is a cosy, casual, small plates restaurant that’s fast making a name for itself in the historic city, thanks to the creativity of chef Neil Bentinck, who’s worked at several Yorkshire’s best restaurants and brings the influences of his Asia travels to his dishes. You can watch the innovation at play – described as ‘British cooking with an international influence’ – with a seat overlooking the open kitchen. Try small plates of cod’s roe eclairs or crispy guinea hen wontons or larger plates such as whole roast Norfolk quail with spiced lentils.

Magpie Café, Whitby

Whitby in north Yorkshire has some of the best fish and chips in Britain – light, crispy and served piping hot from the deep fat fryer. The Magpie Café, close to the harbour in Whitby, a 90-minute drive from the city of York, is known throughout Yorkshire for its tasty fish and chips and seafood chowder; the long queues outside is testament to its popularity. Monster-size haddock comes from its own fishmongers, which also supplies fish to the locals of Whitby.

Yorke Arms, Nidderdale

Surrounded by the tranquil rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Dales, the Yorke Arms is a former 18th-century coaching inn that has been carefully converted into a Michelin-starred restaurant, with a clutch of sumptuously comfortable bedrooms. Co-owned and run by Michelin-starred chef Frances Atkins, the restaurant serves up the best of Yorkshire produce, from Whitby crab to Wensleydale soufflé and local beef. The whole building has recently reopened following refurbishment, with its accompanying bedrooms and suites due to reopen this summer.

Matt Healy x The Foundry, Leeds

This Leeds institution has recently been relaunched, with Yorkshire-born chef, Matt Healy (runner-up in BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals series) at the helm, with the interiors and exteriors redesigned and rebranded as Matt Healy x The Foundry. He’s concentrating on a menu of simple British dishes that may only have up to five ingredients; a sample menu may include baby chicken ‘kiev’, wild garlic and duck fat potato or pollock, charred leeks and potatoes with Romesco sauce. It’s fast becoming one of the hottest restaurants in Leeds.

The Angel Inn, Hetton

A country pub and restaurant with rooms that’s won just about every regional and national foodie award going, the Angel Inn also has the fortune of being surrounded by acres of countryside in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, around a 45-minute drive from Harrogate. The food is a quirky blend of “modern British with French Yorkshire nuances”, which translates local ingredients into delightful morsels like courgette and beetroot meringue pie and its famous feuille de brick parcel of fish on lobster sauce.

 

Yorkshire’s Insta-worthy food

The YorkyPud™: Created by the York Roast Co, which has two locations in historic York, this is a contemporary twist on a Yorkshire classic.

Bundobust: Delicious Indian street food and craft beers make this one of Leeds’ go-to places for easy, tasty cuisine.

The Man Behind The Curtain: This Leeds-based restaurant is a culinary eye-opener; its Permanent collection is served as a set tasting menu of between 10 and 14 courses – presenting plenty of Instagram opportunities.

York Chocolate Story: Unwrap the history of the families who made Yorkshire one of the greatest exporters of chocolate, and then enjoy its very pretty and delicious Chocolate Afternoon Tea.

 

A 48-hour foodie itinerary

The whole of Yorkshire is filled with incredible food destinations – here are suggestions for just one area, between the two National Parks in the county; starting in Whitby in the North York Moors National Park, heading via York, and ending at the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

 

Day One

09:00 Make breakfast a vintage one! You start your itinerary in the coastal town of Whitby and enjoy breakfast treats in the lovely courtyard or the quirkily decorated rooms of Rusty Shears Vintage Tea Shop.

10:00 Learn to cook the Yorkshire way…with fresh, seasonal and local produce at the Arches Cookery School, just half an hour’s drive from Whitby. Chef and teacher Sarah Muir (who’s catered for rock royalty in the past) can guide you through a range of courses, from Whitby Fish to Farm to Fork, celebrating all the fantastic meat and produce from local farmers.

13:00 Take a scenic drive for under an hour through the centre of the North York Moors National Park to the Michelin starred/2 AA Rosette restaurant The Star Inn at Harome. This award-winning gastropub with rooms – charmingly set within a 14th-century thatched inn – sources seasonally from the moors and the nearby sea for its creative menu described as ‘modern Yorkshire style’. Depending on the season, that might include John Dory or lobster with squid ink cracker.

15:00 Make like a local chef and forage the wonderful wild greens, herbs and berries that grow in abundance in Yorkshire. Taste the Wild offers a huge range of foraging courses, as well as ones such as Cooking with Fire and Cider Making. These are mainly full-day courses, so you may want to stay on an extra day to experience one.

17:00 As you head into the historic city of York, stock up on some wonderful Yorkshire foodie souvenirs to take home with you. Henshelwoods Delicatessen is packed with tasty treats ranging from Yorkshire parkin and homemade preserves to more than 70 cheeses.

19:30 Stop by The Rattle Owl for dinner – not only will you find innovative dishes such as east coast crab with tomato consommé or roast pigeon with wild mushroom, barley, pancetta and blackberry but you’ll be dining within a Grade II-listed, 17th-century building. The restaurant also has the Owlet Food & Wine, a microshop stocking organic wine and local beers.

 

Day Two

09:00 Head to a café that’s all about using local and seasonal ingredients – and one that’s featured in The Guardian’s ‘50 Best Breakfasts in the UK’ and Buzzfeed’s ‘21 things you must eat in York’. You’ll find a lot to love about The Pig & Pastry’s breakfast sandwiches; bacon or sausage, Shroomalloumi – that’s halloumi and mushrooms – and a breakfast burger of dry cured bacon, fried egg, avocado, cheddar, smoky mayo and relish.

11:30 Less than an hour from York is the elegant spa town of Harrogate – but it’s not just natural spring waters it’s famed for, its foodie scene is also worth exploring. The three-hour Yorkshire Appetite food tour takes you to explore some of the best eateries in town and taste locally sourced produce, as well as teach you a thing or two about Harrogate’s rich history.

14:30 After a substantial feast on the food tour, set off for a pleasant stroll in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the edge of which is less than half an hour from Harrogate. Alternatively, travel an hour from the town and stop off for a creamy, indulgent ice cream from Brymor Dairy Ice Cream Parlour, made from the whole milk sourced from the farm’s herd of Guernsey cows. The only difficult choice you’ll have to make is which of its 25 flavours to have.

16:00 Ten minutes from your ice cream destination is another fabulous local produce to try; beer and ale from the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham. A family run brewery, you can take a tour of its traditional brewhouse before heading to the bar to try out a few of its award-winning beers, such as its cult classic cask ale, Monty Python’s Holy Grail, and its strong dark Yorkshire ale Riggwelter.

20:00 While you’re in the Yorkshire Dales take the opportunity to dine at Britain’s highest public house – the Tan Hill Inn. At 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level, this historic 17th-century pub is all exposed beams, stone-flagged floors, a roaring fire in the cooler months and a menu of satisfying pub favourites including Whitby scampi and chips or Yorkshire pudding topped with local Swaledale sausages, all which can be washed down with beers from local breweries. You can also stay overnight in its en-suite rooms and camp site.

 

Food festivals in Yorkshire 2018/2019

2018b

21-22 July: Yorkshire Dales Food & Drink Festival

8 September: Malton Harvest Food Festival

21-30 September: York Food Festival

29-30 September: Holmfirth Food Festival

 

2019 (dates TBC)

23-25 February: Festival of Food, Drink & Rhubarb

April: York Chocolate Festival

May: Malton Food Lovers Festival

May: Great British Food Festival @ Harewood House

June: Dales Festival of Food and Drink

June: Yorkshire Vegan Festival

July: Pontefract Liquorice Festival

 

Getting there

Fly into Yorkshire’s Leeds Bradford international airport or easily travel to its cities and towns from the rest of the UK via train. Leeds is just over two hours from London, around an hour from Manchester; York is just under two hours from London, 1.5 hours from Manchester; Sheffield is almost 2.5 hours from London, less than one hour from Manchester.

10 of the best brewery experiences across North England

Britain loves its beer and ales and, to celebrate International Craft Beer Day on 3 August, we highlight just a few of the brewery tours and events that stretch from the north-west coast of England to the north-east coast, all in locations within easy 1.5-hour train or taxi access of each other. Cheers!

START

Liverpool

The Mad Hatter Brewing Company was set up just five years ago and, as of this year, is one of the small number of breweries run by a woman. The brewery is all producing creative ideas, which have included its signature beer the Penny Lane Pale, a low ABV craft beer with a tropical fruit aroma and a biscuit malt base – named after the street where the first bottle shop stocked them – and the Tzatziki Sour, made using Greek yoghurt to sour and then added mint and cucumber. There aren’t tours available at this small micro-craft brewery, but it does hold festivals, where they pair the beers with food, have live music playing, a kids’ corner on offer in the day session and a fire show in the evening one! The next festival will be held on 25 August, although check its website for further events.

 

ONE HOUR’S TRAIN JOURNEY FROM LIVERPOOL WILL TAKE YOU TO…

Manchester

Runaway Brewery brews its ‘modern-tasting, recognisably British’ beers by hand in small batches at its microbrewery. Head there for its core range of Pale Ales, IPA, Smoked Porter and American Brown Ales and there’s always seasonal ales to try out. As well as brewery tours that take place every Saturday – a fascinating trail through the working brewery, plus a tasting of four beers – you can continue to drink fresh beer from the source in its Tap Room until 8pm. Before you go, check out the brewery’s plans for its monthly pop-up dining rooms, where it teams its beers with local food producers

 

IT’S ONLY 15 MINUTES BY TRAIN FROM MANCHESTER TO…

Stockport, Lancashire

One of the oldest independent brewers in Britain, Robinsons, is located in the heart of Stockport and has been brewing there for nearly two centuries. Real ale is its pièce de résistance and its hour-long brewery tour takes you through Robinsons’ history, the science behind the brewing process and offers tutored tastings of three 1/3-pint samples of its beers. Upgrade to its ‘golden ticket’ and you also receive a gift set and twice as much beer at its Unicorn Bar.

 

BOOK A CAR TO TAKE YOU TO…

Burnley, Lancashire

Once a month, Moorhouse Brewery opens the doors for 45-minute guided tours, four samples of its beers and a pie-and-pea supper, in true Northern style! It’s recently launched a series of new hop-forward keg beers, plus an innovative botanical range and a new look for its cask beers. Its M1 Small Batch Brewery, nestled in the main brewhouse, also allows the brewers to brew in small batches, where they can develop unique recipes, so are well worth following. The tours for 2018 run on 28 September, 19 October and 30 November.

 

JUMP ON A TRAIN FROM THERE TO…

Leeds, Yorkshire

Why visit one brewery when you can visit four in the cool city of Leeds on the Leeds Brewery Tour! Once a month (25 August, 22 September, 20 October and 24 November in 2018), you can begin an afternoon at the North Brewing Co’s taproom, which boasts five core beers and one-off creations in its repertoire, followed by drinks at Indian street food venue Bundobust. Straight after you’ll move onto Tapped, an American-style brew pub with its wide range of keg and cask beer, before finishing at the Northern Monk Brewery for a guided tour and tasting at the brewery, which describes itself as ‘an homage to the monastic heritage of brewing’.

 

IT’S LESS THAN 30 MINUTES BY TRAIN FROM LEEDS TO…

York, Yorkshire

Set within York’s historic city walls, York Brewery was the first traditional working brewery within these walls for more than 40 years. The brewery has always welcomed visitors to see how the traditional ale is made, and runs four guided tours per day, Tuesday to Sunday. You’ll start in the brewery taproom bar to enjoy a pre-tour drink, head out across the brewery to learn everything that goes into making its unique beers and the process ‘from grain to glass’ and stop to admire the 20-barrel brew plant in its brewhouse. Handcrafted ales are the brewery’s passion and you can taste its quirky named, award-winning beers; Centurion’s Ghost Ales, the Guzzler, York Minster Ale and the Yorkshire Terrier.

 

ANOTHER HALF HOUR BY TRAIN FROM YORK AND YOU’RE IN…

Harrogate, Yorkshire

Nestled in the charming spa town of Harrogate is the independent, award-winning Harrogate Brewery. Run by Anton and Sarah Stark, this is a very small brewery although has recently moved into larger premises, so more fermenters could be added to allow the couple to small batch brew more beer. It also has space for a brewery tap that opens once a month, ensuring a special experience. Come here for its strong American-hopped ale, the Horse Head Stetson, its award-winning Vanilla Porter and its ‘strong and complex’ Kursaal Imperial Stout.

 

BOOK A TAXI TO TAKE YOU TO…

Masham, Yorkshire

A family run brewery that has been operating for nearly 30 years, Black Sheep Brewery doesn’t have guided tours, it has ‘shepherded’ tours, four times a day! You’ll be taken to see the traditional brewhouse, explore the science behind the fermenting process and how the brewery selects its ingredients for its distinctive tastes, and why it still uses the Yorkshire Square Fermenting Vessels that were developed more than 200 years ago. Then head to its bar to try out a few of its award-winning beers, such as its cult classic cask ale, Monty Python’s Holy Grail, and its strong dark Yorkshire ale Riggwelter.

 

HAVE THE DRIVER TAKE YOU ON TO…

Durham, County Durham

It may be the oldest working brewery in Durham but the award-winning Durham Brewery is still small and family owned, and continues to grow its beer portfolio, which ranges from dark stouts to light bitters, wheat beer to lagerbier, the latter of which takes three months to mature. Daily tours run twice a day and, as well as touring the brewery and tutored tastings, you’ll hear all about British and Durham beer history and culture. Don’t forget to stop by the shop on your way out to buy your favourite tipple.

 

A 15-MINUTE TRAIN RIDE FROM DURHAM AND YOU’LL ARRIVE IN…

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Housed in the city’s Palace of Art in Exhibition Park – the last remaining building from the 1929 North East Exhibition – the Wylam Brewery is certainly in a very special location. The brewery – which was founded in 2000 and is a 30-barrel brewery – opens its Brewery Tap Thursdays through to Sundays as well as runs brewery tours every Saturday, where the brewing process is explained, as is the fascinating history of the brewery and, of course, the chance to sample the beer. In October 2018 the venue will also host Craft Beer Calling, an international beer festival.

48 Hours in… Dundee

Dundee is one of the best destinations in Europe to visit in 2018 according to Lonely Planet and there are myriad of reasons why this Scottish city – just over an hour by train from Edinburgh on Scotland’s east coast – deserves this accolade. Its ever-growing cultural scene, the redevelopment of its historic waterfront, the stunning V&A Dundee due to open this September, a variety of art and design galleries, a diverse range of bars and restaurants, a thrilling music and events scene and the fact it was named as the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design… the list goes on!

 

Time to check in

From boutique to budget, the range of accommodation in Dundee is expanding, with more than 1,200 hotel beds expected to be ready by the end of 2018.

Joining hotels such as Malmaison, APEX, Holiday Inn Express and the recently opened Hampton by Hilton is a new Hotel Indigo, which will reopen in a former jute mill. This 102-bedroom hotel with 12 junior suites is scheduled to open in August. Dundee’s new train station is also due to open this summer following a £14m renovation, with a 120-bed Sleeperz hotel above it, opening on 9 July. Close to the station on the waterfront, the refurbished Premier Inn has also reopened with an additional 60 bedrooms.

 

Day One

09:00 BE THE FIRST TO VISIT A WORLD-CLASS ATTRACTION

One of the world’s most anticipated cultural attractions will open its doors to the public on 15 September. The magnificent Kengo Kuma-designed V&A Dundee is Scotland’s first design museum and will be home to the country’s design heritage, fascinating exhibitions, as well as permanent galleries and exciting features. The opening exhibition will be Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, which will delve into the history of these powerful steamships.

 

11:00 CHANNEL YOUR INNER PIRATE

Head out onto the River Tay with Pirate Boats and join an exhilarating one-hour boat trip that brings the history of the city to life. You’ll board in beautiful Broughty Ferry, just a ten-minute drive from the city centre, and take in sights along the revamped waterfront, including Broughty Castle and the new V&A building. If you’re there between May and September, you may also be joined for the ride by some dolphins.

 

13:00 LUNCH WITH COCKTAILS ON THE SIDE

Did you know that Dundee is the original home of marmalade (a citrus fruit preserve, commonly made from oranges)? It seems only fitting that you head to independent café Avery & Co and order a Marmalade Mojito served in a Mackays Dundee marmalade jar to go with lunch. This eaterie has an excellent vegan menu alongside meat feasts such as Korean pulled pork and homemade burgers with roast garlic mayo.

 

15:00 EXPLORE THE CITY’S SOCIAL HERITAGE

Head to the Verdant Works – a refurbished jute mill (jute is a natural fibre) – to discover the absorbing story of Dundee’s industrial textile heritage and social history. Within is the Jute Museum and its range of interactive hands-on activities, and then head to High Mill, which was recently restored and now houses an original and working Boulton & Watt steam engine. It’s then worth jumping in a taxi for the five-minute drive to RRS Discovery at Discovery Point to experience what life was like in the Antarctic with Captain Scott and his crew.

 

17:00 TASTE THE LOCAL SPIRITS
Time for a gin and tonic! Local distiller Verdant Spirits, the first distillery in Dundee for 200 years, and which won Scottish Gin of the Year in 2017, has plans to open a gin school and visitor centre ready for summer 2018.

 

19:30 DINE AT THE HOTTEST NEW RESTAURANT

Brassica restaurant, bar and bakery only threw open its doors to customers in June, so it’s one of the hottest eateries in town. The restaurant has taken over one of the old vault spaces in the ground of the city’s historic Caird Hall building, overlooking the waterfront, and all its produce is sourced within a 50-mile radius of Dundee. Make sure you check out its Champagne and Gin Menu, which lists many local Scottish gins.

 

21:00 BE SPOOKED WITH SPINE-CHILLING TALES

Be brave… and listen to spooky tales of the city’s sometimes gruesome past on a tour with Dark Dundee. These walking tours take you through stories of the city’s past, via places such as HM Frigate Unicorn, and The Howff, a 16th-century graveyard in the city centre.

 

DAY TWO

09:00 EMBARK ON AN ARTISTIC TRAIL

Wander through eight open-gallery spaces that are home to art, history and environment exhibitions at The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum. In addition to the permanent displays, there is a changing programme of exhibitions and events throughout the year. New exhibition Bash Street’s Back, celebrating the iconic comic Beano’s 80th birthday and charting Dundee’s role in comic book history, is open until October – it’s a fantastic example of British popular culture through the decades.

 

11:00 For an example of the city’s contemporary art inventory, head to the DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts). Converted from an old brick warehouse it combines art galleries, print studio, two cinemas, and a shop with a café and restaurant. If you’re in town before the end of the summer, catch the first major European show of work by acclaimed American artist Eve Fowler. Entitled what a slight. what a sound. what a universal shudder, it’s at DCA until 26 August.

 

13:00 DINE AMONG ARTWORKS

After a morning filled with artistic experiences, where better to stop for lunch than Gallery 48, a contemporary art gallery space with a tapas restaurant and gin bar that showcases art work, often from the neighbouring University of Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

 

15:00 TAKE A GUIDED CULTURAL TOUR

Behind the Scenes Dundee is a guided walking tour developed by Creative Dundee and Dundee Contemporary Arts, which takes you backstage to see how the city’s cultural venues work. You’ll also visit public art, creative studios and independent shops. An alternative way to see the city is with Run the Sights. Combine a run with a guided exploration of some of the city’s most interesting and beautiful locations.

 

17:00 EXPERIENCE A UNIQUE ART TRAIL

Dundee’s first street-art project covers the city’s hidden lanes and corners; the idea is to encourage people to explore parts of the city that wouldn’t feature on a usual walking trail. It has matched up unloved doorways with street artists, who have then created a unique piece of street art in a forgotten place. Called Open Close, the trail is available to download online.

 

19:30 FINE-DINING FEAST

Contemporary Scottish food is served up alongside gorgeous views over the sand dunes to Tentsmuir Forest at fine-dining restaurant The Tayberry, in the area of Broughty Ferry. Award-winning chef-proprietor Adam Newth has created an innovative and mouth-watering menu comprising delicacies such as risotto of brown crab with avocado ice-cream and pan-roast cod with sweetcorn bhajis.

 

21:00 HIT THE NIGHTLIFE

Dundee has some fantastic bars to end the evening in. New to the bar scene is King of Islington on Union Street, fast gaining a reputation for quality cocktails and a huge selection of rum; or try out Draffens, Dundee’s speakeasy bar located inside a former department store on Couttie’s Wynd, one of Dundee’s old cobbled lanes.

 

Getting there: Dundee is just under 1.5 hours by train from Edinburgh, 1 ¾ hours from Glasgow and you can take the Caledonian Sleeper train from London overnight (it takes just under seven hours).

Spotlight On – East London

Pulsating with a dynamic vibe, east London is a hotbed of creativity across its neighbourhoods, many of which have been revitalised over the last few years. While cosmopolitan in its outlook, you can still find pockets of the unique Cockney charm, giving this region of the capital a diverse and spirited energy. We show you where to eat, sleep and play in trendy boroughs such as Hackney, up and coming south-east London neighbourhoods such as Peckham and well-established areas such as Shoreditch.

 

Where to… Eat?

Hackney

Yes, it’s about pizzas and beer, but Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick is top of its game with both. The pizzas are hand-rolled, stone-baked and come in an assortment of unique topping combinations (think more along the lines of Middle Eastern lamb or sweet potato with Stilton and walnuts rather than a Hawaiian) and the craft beer is brewed on site. You can book on a tasting tour of the microbrewery while here, or simply enjoy this innovative venue that’s completely upcycled – its bar, for example, is made from old railway sleepers. Plus, its location on the banks of the Hackney canal and DJ sets every Friday and Saturday nights always attracts a young, hip crowd.

From one independent kitchen and bar to another, Grow sits in an old sausage factory by the River Lea and is a sustainable and ethical business working closely with local artists, DJs and musicians. This summer its menu is by Slow Fire London, using British seasonal ingredients inspired by Middle Eastern flavours, sourced locally and sustainably. Don’t just come for the food though; Grow also runs free events, from open mic to art festivals, music from live jazz and blues to reggae.

On the more upmarket side, Hackney is also home to Forman’s Restaurant, a riverside eaterie that specialises in salmon and seafood – it’s run by Forman’s, one of the oldest and most famous producers of London cure-smoked salmon. You can also visit the onsite smokehouse to see how these delicacies are prepared, before tucking into a menu that features treats such as warm smoked eel fillets, poached turbot with scallops and smoked Scottish salmon and Cornish crab salad.

 

Peckham

Part of the creative and cultural destination that is Peckham Levels – a transformed seven empty levels of a multi-storey car park – is newcomer West Kitchen, bringing a slice of California to south-east London. It describes itself as a conscious kitchen – practicing minimal food waste and using seasonal ingredients from sustainable farmers – elements that sing through its menu that includes seabass ceviche and Ayurvedic kitchari. An added bonus is its all-day natural wine bar.  

At the heart of Peckham is the Peckham Refreshment Rooms, a pared-down style restaurant situated in a 1930s Art Deco block that always has a bustling atmosphere. Here you’ll find a menu of European treats, from aubergine parmigiana to bavette steak, brought together from small-batch and artisan producers.

Peckham Bazaar offers customers a menu of pan-Balkan mezze and grill, taking inspiration from across the Balkan region, using traditional recipes blended with indigenous ingredients, all cooked over a charcoal grill. Try dishes such as grilled rabbit with Cyprus potatoes, pork and lamb adana and braised and grilled cuttlefish with Greek orzo.

 

Shoreditch

Proving the Shoreditch scene is still attracting the cool chefs, Brat was opened earlier this year by ex-Kitty Fisher’s chef Tomos Parry, who has brought a bold blend of Welsh and Basque cuisine to east London. So how does that translate onto a menu? Gorgeous dishes such as Herdwick lamb, pork and laverbread salami, wild rabbit with blood sausage and beans, and whole turbots.

Another new kid that’s popped up in 2018 is the Vurger Company –  bringing a slice of vegan heaven to Shoreditch. Once a pop-up restaurant, this is the company’s first permanent site and one that was crowdfunded in less than 72 hours, such is its popularity. All its burgers are made from vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds and legumes – try its Tabasco Auberger, packed with aubergines, chickpeas and red onion – and there’s must-try vegan versions of mac ‘n’ cheese and milkshakes.

You can’t go wrong with a well-established eaterie in Shoreditch; Lyle’s is an innovative British restaurant with a passion for using British produce on its menus but, being at the forefront of the restaurant scene, it also brings the talents of international chefs to its kitchens during its Guest Series. Seasonal produce is also a key focus for the restaurant – come September, for example, there’ll be a focus on game dishes.

 

Where to… Sleep?

Hackney

Located in an old post office – and interestingly still run by the same family who used to run the aforementioned post office – the Avo Boutique Hotel is cosy and chic with varied décor in each room, and it’s just a five-minute walk from Dalston Overground station. While there’s plenty to see and do in the area, if you fancy just staying in for the evening you can take advantage of its comprehensive DVD and games library. 

Looking for a cool place to stay that won’t put too much strain on your budget? Kip, which has a new Hackney Central location, is all about affordable, stylish accommodation. Yes, it’s unpretentious and practical in its style, but you’ll find every type of room spec here, from single, twin, douples and studio rooms to group rooms, family rooms and even a penthouse suite.

 

Peckham

Located in a building dating back to 1878, the Victoria Inn is a boutique hotel and modern gastropub in the heart of Peckham. All 15 rooms are individually designed and range in size from single occupancy to space for a family of four. Then pop downstairs to the gastropub to sample one of its ten locally sourced beers and ciders and its British seasonal menu. 

Describing itself as offering ‘simple, elegant, affordable rooms with a lick of Africa cool inspired by the vibrant multiculturalism of our very special neighbourhood', the Peckham Rooms Hotel is just five minutes’ walk from the neighbourhood’s high street. This independent boutique hotel is run by a family local to the area – great to ask for recommendations of all the places to visit locally and further afield.

And it might be a little further out in Camberwell, although only 20 minutes’ walk from Peckham, but the Church Street Hotel is a quirky treat in south-east London, rocking a Spanish Americana vibe. Hand-painted Mexican tiles adorn its rooms and you can enjoy a drink in either its Havana lounge and Communion Bar.

 

Shoreditch

The Curtain – a six-storey hotel and members’ club by hospitality guru Michael Achenbaum – opened in the area just last summer and remains hot property. Guests can check out the rooftop pool, screening room and spa, plus it’s the first London outpost of soul-food specialist Red Rooster from Michelin-starred Marcus Samuelsoon. Expect classic décor from this trendy Shoreditch property – think exposed brick walls, specially commissioned artwork and hardwood flooring. And its seriously chic bar Green Room opened in May 2018, making The Curtain a destination to see and be seen.

Nobu Shoreditch is another relative newcomer to the Shoreditch scene, opening last year and being the first Nobu hotel in London. Contemporary and elegant, its style is inspired by Japanese architecture and décor as well as east London industrial style. Head to its fantastically cavernous restaurant for Japanese delicacies such as oven-roasted lobster with Hakaido scallops or the exclusive cilantro aioli and Ikura.

Another property to look out for over the coming months is a Shoreditch outpost of Mama Shelter. The French brand is said to be taking over the current RE Hotel; word on the street is that, like other properties in the group, it will be tech-led and offer plenty of social activities for guests, designer bedrooms and open social spaces.

 

Where to… Play?

Hackney

One legacy from the borough’s industrial past is the building space now used by street artists; just wandering around the area you’ll see works from legendary names such as Banksy and Stik Man. Plus, as the area attracts a youthful, party crowd, the nightlife is eclectic, so you’ll find everything from traditional-style pubs, pop-up cocktail bars, late-night drinking establishments and diverse clubs to enjoy. One cool east London bar is The Elephant’s Head – originally serving customers back in the 1890s, it’s been restored and reopened as a must-visit Hackney bar but one that maintains its old-school charm.

Hackney is a haven for markets; as well as browsing the stalls, independent shops and cafés of Broadway Market, which has been running since the 1890s, head a little off the beaten track to the newly opened Mare Street Market. A much more chilled-out vibe here, you can wander this cobbled street and enjoy the craft breweries, cafés, pop-up clothing stores, vinyl record shop and the sounds from the market’s own radio show; TV chef Gizzi Erskine is also opening her first restaurant here soon, The Dining Room.

Time for a spot of culture? Along from Mare Street market is the Hackney Empire, the East End theatre associated with pioneering and avant-garde theatre and comedy. And for something that’s going to get everyone talking, head to the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities situated in a small Hackney basement. It displays everything that its founder has found fascinating, whether it’s rare or commonplace, from unusual finds from the world of nature to pop art prints and sketches from prison inmates.

 

Peckham

Peckham is creating a name for itself as a hotbed of street artist talent; make sure you keep a look out as you explore the area for its emerging graffiti art scene. And discover diverse creative art events, music, film, comedy and theatre at the brilliant CLF Art Café, housed in a multi-warehouse space, the Bussey Building, which is fast-becoming one of the go-to places for London’s cool crowd and cultural aficionados.

You’ll find brilliant prices for blockbuster films at Peckhamplex, an independent multiplex cinema that shows a range of new releases, with tickets costing a value £4.99 all day every day, and it’s also the place to catch works by independent film-makers as well as art exhibitions.

Right next door is Peckham Levels, a multi-purpose, artistic space created in a multi-storey car park that has also evolved into a foodie and nightlife destination. Head to the top-floor bar Frank’s Café for gorgeous panoramic views of the capital’s skyline while you enjoy a drink or two on summer evenings. Or spend an evening over craft beers at the Brick Brewery, located under Peckham Rye train station’s railway arches, where you can sample brews straight from the source in its Tap Room.

Fancy stepping back in time? Peckham’s Four Quarters is London’s first arcade bar – test your retro game skills on 15 original arcade games dating back to the 1980s, then dance the night away at its basement cocktail bar and club, The Confession Box.

 

Shoreditch

Long a hotbed of emerging talent and hub for creative minds, Shoreditch continues to be at the forefront of critically acclaimed contemporary culture. There are a number of galleries worth visiting, such as Kate McGarry gallery, where you’ll find video artists and performance fine art among its works and the Jealous gallery, where you can buy prints from well-known artists and photographers such as David Shrigley and Russell Marshall.

Theatre-goes looking to expand their repertoire should try out the New Shoreditch Theatre, which features artists from all creative backgrounds, whether that’s plays, live music or art, film screenings and installation work. And a fantastic line-up of gigs take place at independent music shop Rough Trade East, which also offers a sublime collection of music (plus plenty of choice for vinyl addicts).

New bars and clubs continue to open in the area, such as Parisian-style wine bar and bistro Leroy, with its 100-bin wine list and their own Vermouth behind the counter. Quirky takes on classic cocktails are found at The Office on Kingsland Road, which opened at the end of May, and try out the fascinating array of unusual spirits, such as Portuguese fig fire water and Umoshi plum wine, on offer at the Smoking Goat, which opened at the end of 2017.

To blow the cobwebs away after a night out in Shoreditch, there’s probably nowhere more pleasurable than a stroll through the iconic Columbia Road Flower Market, just over a ten-minute walk away. The blooms are heart-lifting and the independent shops surrounding it are a joy to explore; vintage-clothes shops sit alongside small art galleries and antique stores and you can always find a caffeine hit at one of the cute cafés along the way. More great shopping can be found at Shoreditch’s Boxpark – the former shipping container that’s become a pop-up mall, a haven of independent shops, global names and restaurants.

TASTE June 2018

TREND: Pop up food

For its fifth and biggest year this summer, Carnaby Street Eat is returning this year with over 30 food stalls and trucks in the heart of London’s West End on 11 July. The free-entry street food festival will showcase some of London’s most diverse restaurants with a focus on the variety of global cuisines available and exclusive dishes. Another temporary delight, HipChips has launched a pop-up in One New Change and will be serving hand crafted heritage potato crisps alongside a menu of premium sweet and savoury dips. They will be open every Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 3pm throughout the summer months.

 

London

The all-embracing vegan trend continues to rise as three vegan newcomers are in London’s spotlight this summer. Following the hugely successful launch of the Covent Garden site in February, the plant-based phenomenon by Chloe will open its second London restaurant this summer in Tower Bridge. The chef-driven vegan menu features locally sourced ingredients in their most natural form to create hearty, nourishing meals made from whole ingredients that can have a positive impact on the overall mind, body and health. As part of W London Hotel's Dining Series, a new fully vegan menu that masterfully showcases just how flavourful and versatile vegan food can be, has been unveiled at W London in Leicester Square by Ravinder Bhogal. This residency is available to book until the end of June 2018, so grab a spot while you still can. Purezza (purity) was the first vegan pizzeria in the UK when it launched in Brighton in 2015, and plant-lovers will be pleased to know that last month they launched a new restaurant in Camden. Their aim is simple: to make their plant based menu superior to the traditional alternatives.

Top chef Mark Sargeant has bought modern British dining to his new venture at the iconic Tower of London with the launch last month of Sargeant's Mess, in collaboration with independent hospitality group, CH&Co and Historic Royal Palaces. Using ingredients from local producers, the restaurant has an extensive outdoor terrace with impressive views across the river and a dedicated bar serving prosecco on tap, frozen cocktails and beer slushies makes it the perfect alfresco spot for this summer. 

 

South West England

Roth Bar & Grill, Somerset, will be joining over 1,000 farms across the UK in Open Farm Sunday on 10 June: an annual initiative celebrating the diversity of British farming and the many ways in which the countryside can be farmed, foraged and maintained. Expect tractor and trailer rides across the farm, butchery demonstrations and farm produce samples such as Durslade Farm cider. With its own working farm and kitchen garden supplying the restaurant, the farmhouse offers a slice of culture in the countryside with its on-site art gallery and landscape gardens.

Gin lovers rejoice as the UK's biggest Gin Festival Tour arrives in Salisbury on 23 June. Based in Malthouse Lane, The Great British Gin Festival features over 100 different gins from around the world alongside cocktail demonstrations, talks and presentations, trade stands and even a virtual reality gin distillery.

 

South East England

The new official pub tour of Oxford offers a great way to discover a fine range of medieval and more recent inns and hostelries, providing a glimpse of history, and finishing with a lovely, cold pint. Led by a qualified guide with an intimate knowledge of the city (and the interior of many of its pubs), the tours are 1.5 hours long and start at 7pm.

 

East Midlands

Fischer’s Baslow Hall has launched a brand new foraging dining experience in Derbyshire, led by one of the UK’s top foraging and wild food experts, James Wood. Guests will have the chance to experience the abundance of wild ingredients on offer in the area: from flowers tasting of pineapple, to leaves tasting of aniseed. There will be a whole morning of foraging will be followed by a three-course lunch inspired by the morning’s bountiful harvest, showcasing truly local, seasonal and fresh wild ingredients at their best. The next available date will be 10 October.

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

The latest addition to the Chop House family has opened in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield. Serving the best British beef, dry-aged and butchered in-house, Chop House offers a unique casual dining experience focused on steak and cocktails. Renowned for a sociable style of dining, Chop House presents large cuts of beef, sharing starters and enticing side dishes designed to be enjoyed by the whole table. The custom-made marble bar on the ground floor is the perfect spot to soak up the bustling atmosphere and views of Bruntsfield Links. A fantastic selection of drinks includes a carefully-curated wine list, inventive cocktails and locally-sourced beers including Chop House’s own beer brewed in partnership with Drygate Brewery.

 

The Fishmarket is a new seafood venture from Ondine’s Chef Patron, Roy Brett and Gary Welch, owner of Welch Fishmongers. Situated on Newhaven Harbour where boats have landed fish since the 16th century, the refurbishment of the original fish market building has taken over a year and extensive investment. There is both a traditional fish and chip counter and a 50-cover restaurant with a champagne bar where dishes on offer include Crispy Crab Claws from Scrabster and Grilled Tobermory Langoustines, Oysters and the Grand ‘Fruits of the Sea’.

 

Hawksmoor, one of UK’s best-known and most respected restaurants is coming to Scotland this summer with a new restaurant opening in Edinburgh in mid-July. Situated in the banking hall of the former Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters, the 170-cover restaurant and bar will celebrate the original features of the A listed ‘building of national importance’ and a rare example of late Art Deco Scottish architecture. The restaurant will also draw on the amazing produce the country has to offer and feature seafood from around the Scottish coast alongside its famous beef from grass-fed native breed cattle from both sides of the border.

 

AWARDS

Welsh and proud, Aber Falls Distillery, the first whisky distillery in North Wales in more than 100 years, has achieved five prestigious medals at the this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition – one of the spirits industry’s most respected competitions. The brand’s multiple successes include a Gold for its new Welsh Dry Gin, a Silver for its Orange Marmalade Gin, Violet and Salted Toffee Liqueurs, and a Bronze for its Dark Chocolate & Coffee Liqueur.

In 2018, Olive Magazine honoured Radnor Preserves, who are based in Caersws, Powys, as one of the top 10 finest artisan food producers in Britain. They have been judged as one of the best artisan marmalade producers in the world, and 2015 they won the Champion of Champion's Double Gold Prize at the World Marmalade Awards. Ingredients are locally sourced as far as possible, and all products are gluten free and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. 

The Bull, Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey has won the Wales Pub of the Year at the National Pub and Bar Awards.