Discover English wine at some of the UK's best vineyards

Britain is home to an incredible selection of thriving vineyards that produce deliciously tempting wines. From the greenery of Kent and Dorset to the rolling hills of Yorkshire, a visit to one of the wineries can add some sparkle to the summer in more ways than one.

English Wine Week, running from 25 May to 2 June, promotes the nation’s wine industry and will see many vineyards opening their doors to welcome visitors with tours, tastings and special offers. English Wine Tasting and Tours also operate from central London to wineries in Kent and Sussex, meaning English wine remains incredibly accessible.

With award-winning wine offerings in a number of counties, it’s time to explore Britain’s vineyards and raise a glass to a blossoming industry.

Langham, Dorset

Occupying 30 acres at Crawthorne Farm, the Langham Wine Estate takes a ‘low-intervention’ approach to its growing process in a bid to limit its environmental impact. What results is a mix of terroir-driven sparkling wines from hand-picked grapes that are processed on site. Visitors can be talked through the entire process during a two-hour guided tour and tasting. Alternatively, they can embark on a self-guided tour, before treating themselves to lunch or afternoon tea in the Vineyard Café, set in a former 19th-century milking parlour.

Rodington, Shropshire

Hidden away in the heart of picturesque Shropshire is Rodington Vineyard, a family-run 10-acre site that offers an abundance of fine wines. Their Blue Tractor Wines are internationally recognised for their quality and visitors can arrange tastings and a visit to the vineyard during its opening hours – 10am to 4pm daily (closed Wednesdays) – to find out more.

Giffords Hall, Suffolk

Renowned for its array of sparkling wine, rosés and reds, Giffords Hall in Hartest, Suffolk is set on the clay soils of a former glacial riverbed. Taking advantage of its geographic location, it produces quality grapes that are high in both natural sugars and acids – a fantastic combination for both sparkling and dry aromatic wines. Visitors can take part in private or group tours and dogs are also welcome, although they must be kept on a lead to protect the vineyard’s collection of free-roaming lambs and chicks. Grand Tours of the vineyard also take place on selected dates throughout the summer, featuring a guided tour and tasting session with 3 wines and 3 liquors.

When? Grand Tours at 11am on 6 May, 27 May, 22 June, 13 July and 26 August.

Three Choirs, Gloucestershire

With a unique microclimate that is perfectly suited to grape growing, the Three Choirs vineyard and brasserie is found amid the scenic beauty of the Cotswolds. Having first been planted in 1973, the 75-acre site near Newent is among England’s oldest vineyards and is best explored via a guided tour. Visitors can also stay among the vines in one of the luxury vineyard lodges, which offer verandas on two sides for soaking up the sun and the scenery. The Brasserie has a menu packed with country classics and plates that are designed around the seasons using fresh ingredients from the region. Booking in advance for tours and tastings is a necessity.

Camel Valley, Cornwall

Nestled in the spectacular Cornish countryside in Bodmin is Camel Valley, developed by husband and wife pair Bob and Annie Lindo. They’ve been making wine at the site for two decades and possess a Royal Warrant for their sparkling wine from the Prince of Wales. All of the wines produced at Camel Valley are sold in the onsite shop too, meaning visitors can sample the flavours even when Grand Tour tastings are fully booked. Sit back and relax on the terrace or follow the Camel Trail through the farm to the picturesque sandy beaches of Padstow. The Grand Tour details the entire process of winemaking and is accompanied by a taster session when visitors can try the highly acclaimed Cornwall Brut.

When? Grand Tours take place at 5pm on Wednesday evenings between April and October, with additional tours at the same time on Thursdays throughout August. Guided Tours also take place at 2.30pm, Monday to Friday, between April and September.

Chapel Down, Kent

Using locally sourced fruit and mirroring the Traditional Method that is used to create Champagne, Chapel Down vineyard is notorious for its still and sparkling wines. Now covering hundreds of acres of prime Kentish countryside, the vineyard is open all year round to visitors, with gift experiences, tutored tasting sessions and guided tours all available. Chapel Down supplies iconic British institutions including The Royal Opera House and No. 10 Downing Street, while its wines are also popular with leading chefs Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver. Visitors can also enjoy modern British cuisine in the Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded restaurant The Swan, with its spectacular outdoor terrace that overlooks the vineyard.

When? Guided tours run throughout the year, and booking in advance is recommended.

Greyfriars, Surrey

Occupying close to 50 acres of the Surrey North Downs, Greyfriars is another vineyard that mixes traditional methods with modern wine making technology to create a delightful array of English sparkling wines. Reflecting the unique soil conditions and climate of the region, the wines have won numerous international accolades for owners Mike and Hilary Wagstaff. Tours and tastings run on most weekends, while Greyfriars also hosts open days with free entry on selected days throughout the year.

When? Open days on Saturday 8 June and Saturday 14 September 2019. Booking in advance for tours and tastings is recommended.

Hush Heath Estate and Winery, Kent

Hidden away amid scenic Kentish countryside, the Hush Heath Estate and Winery is home to the award-winning Balfour Brut Rose. Alongside the winery is a picturesque Tudor-framed manor house, glorious gardens and acres of ancient orchards and woodlands. Visitors can embark on a self-guided tour at their own pace after picking up a map from the Cellar Door, taking in the spectacular scenery and wildlife on the way before finishing up with a complimentary sample of wine, cider or beer in the tasting room. There’s an option to add more tastings for an additional fee. Tutored tasting tours, full estate tours and private group tours are also available, but must be booked in advance.

When? Tours take place all year round when the winery is open.

Kingscote, West Sussex

Developed to be a wine tasting break, Kingscote in West Sussex offers not only vineyard tours and tastings, but an all-encompassing countryside experience. The 150-acre estate is also home to Tithe Barn, a spectacular venue used for weddings and corporate events. Visitors can fish at two picturesque lakes known as Leggett Lakes or join one of the public footpaths that meander their way through the estate to discover other attractions in the 2,000-acre Kingscote Valley. Guided tours of the site take in the vines, winery, Tithe Barn and the shop and feature a tutored tasting of 2 of the vineyard’s award-winning wines. Vineyard tours with lunch or afternoon tea are also available, as well as a Gourmet Vineyard Tour option.

When? The vineyard shop is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm. Tours run from the start of April to the end of September and must be booked in advance.

Wyken Vineyards, Suffolk

With its country lanes, tall hedgerows and patchwork fields, the 1,200-acre farm of Wyken is characteristically Suffolk. The 7-acre winery, first established in 1988, produces several award-winning wines that are sold via the shop and the on-site Leaping Hare restaurant. Housed in a 400-year-old barn, the Bib Gourmand awarded restaurant serves a delightful mix of British and European dishes, while Wyken Farmer’s Market runs adjacent to the restaurant on Saturdays, selling an array of local goods, delicious food, alcohol, plants and sculpture. Visitors are encouraged to walk to the vineyard through the grounds of the estate. Alongside the Elizabethan manor house Wyken Hall there is a set of formal gardens that can also be explored.

When? The restaurant is open daily between 12pm and 3pm for lunch, and from 7pm on Friday and Saturday for dinner. The café is open from 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Friday, and from 9am to 6pm on Saturdays. The Farmer’s Market runs from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. The Gardens are open daily from 2pm to 6pm but are closed on Saturdays.

Sharpen Wine and Cheese, Devon

Producing more than a dozen wines, many of which have won awards internationally, as well as unpasteurised cheeses, Sharpham offers an array of exciting tours and tastings opportunities. Visitors can explore the site overlooking the River Dart as part of a self-directed vineyard walk, or can take part in a Vine to Wine Tour that takes in the vineyard and the winery with expert guidance. The Cellar Door Kitchen, an on-site alfresco kitchen café, is open throughout the season and features local ingredients and those picked from the estate itself.

When? Vine to Wine tours run from April to October at 3pm on weekends. Booking in advance is a must.

Ryedale Vineyards, North Yorkshire

The UK’s most northerly commercial vineyard, Ryedale Vineyards is a small family-run business near Malton at the foot of the North Yorkshire Wolds. Enjoy informal tours and tastings, or relax with a stay at the small B&B at the vineyard farmhouse. The 7-acre vineyard, established in 2007, produces an array of white, red, rosé and sparkling wines, as well as cider and apple juice.

When? Tours and tastings take place on selected days at 3pm between April and October, and must be booked in advance.

Rathfinny Estate, West Sussex

A relative newcomer to the English wine scene, having been founded in 2010 by husband and wife team Mark and Sarah Driver, the Rathfinny Estate occupies exceptionally beautiful countryside in the South Downs. With vines separated by rows of wildflowers, the picturesque site has glimpses of the Sussex heritage coast and features an abundance of tour opportunities. The state-of-the-art winery on the estate is capable of producing one million bottles of sparkling wine annually, a process that is explained as part of an exclusive tour and tasting experience that includes food at the site’s Tasting Room restaurant. Visitors can also stay at the Flint Barns or explore the Rathfinny Trail, a pathway that weaves its way through a mosaic of habitats, presenting numerous opportunities to spot plants, flowers and wildlife.

When? Tour, Tastings and Lunch, and Afternoon Tour and Tastings run on selected days between May and September and must be booked in advance. The Rathfinny trail is open daily, but can be closed at short notice for vineyard works.

Best eco-lodges to stay at to celebrate World Earth Day

World Earth Day (22 April) is celebrated by more than one billion people around the globe, with an emphasis on tackling climate change, ending plastic pollution and protecting endangered species. Embracing nature is a fundamental part of the world’s largest environmental movement, and Britain has no shortage of incredible eco-friendly locations where the occasion can be marked in style.

Tom’s Eco Lodge, Isle of Wight

Experience UK glamping all year round at Tom’s Eco Lodge on the Isle of Wight, a set of delightful Wood Cabins, Eco Pods and Modulogs that all aim to have the least environmental impact possible. Relax in a spa hot tub on the outside decking of one of the Wood Cabins at Tapnell Farm, or get cosy in one of the specially-built Modulogs – peaceful pods with all the must-have essentials. For a romantic couple’s getaway, try the open-plan Eco Pods, delivering stunning views of the west of the island, or pick a Safari Tent, complete with a rustic kitchen and log burning range cookers, for the ultimate glamping experience.

Asheston Eco Barns, Pembrokeshire

Bursting with character, Asheston Eco Barns in the heart of Pembrokeshire retain many of the original features from their time as stone farm buildings. Alongside underfloor heating and swish bathrooms, expect exposed stonework and buildings packed with the latest renewable technologies, providing luxurious living but without the environmental hit. Visitors receive a welcome hamper on arrival, packed with seasonal produce from across the region.

Rosehill Lodges, Cornwall

With their grass roofs and bubbling hot tubs, Rosehill Lodges deliver a luxury eco experience from a picturesque spot on north Cornwall’s coastline. Porthtowan’s surf-friendly Blue Flag beach is just minutes away, Newquay, St Ives, Land’s End and Falmouth are all easily reachable by car, and there are miles of coastal paths to explore in both directions. Each lodge has been hand-built in the region using environmentally-friendly materials, as part of an award-winning and sustainable approach to tourism.

Waterhouse, Scotland

Unwind at the Waterhouse retreat in south west Scotland, a set of 3 self-catering luxury lodges set in 1.5 acres of beautiful gardens. A short distance from the fishing port of Kirkcudbright, the picturesque setting is perfect for exploring what the region has to offer. Alongside the Waterhouse Lodge, complete with an outdoor hot tub, is The Boathouse, which provides additional sleeping berths if required. Alternatively, Westwater Lodge includes a spacious sun room and a log burner, making it ideal for winter or summer.

Wheatland Farm, Devon

A peaceful haven of 21 acres with 5 places to stay, Wheatland Farm can house up to 26 guests at a time. The wooden holiday lodges run on 100% renewable energy, powered by solar panels and an on-site wind turbine, while the Balebarn eco lodge uses straw bales from the surrounding fields – which explains why the site has scooped Visit England’s top award for sustainable tourism twice.

Bryn Elltyd Eco Guest House, Snowdonia

Nestled at the base of the Moelwyn mountains in a curve of the spectacular Ffestiniog Steam Railway, the Bryn Elltyd Eco Guest House is powered solely by renewable energy. Explore the magical landscapes of Snowdonia and north Wales from the quaint guesthouse, which is perfectly located for adventure activities including Zip World Bounce Below and Zip World Titan, as well as the Llechwedd Slate Caverns and Go Below at Cwmorthin Slate Mine.

Wrostler’s Barn, Cumbria

Hidden away in secluded woodlands near Coniston Water, on the lake’s eastern side, is Wrostler’s Barn, a 3-level converted structure that sleeps up to 12 people. Serving as a back-to-basics rental, the site has no electricity and two compost toilets situated outside. As a rare surviving example of the Lakeland practice of using intersecting slates – known locally as ‘wrostler’ – the off-grid location is surrounded by farmland, protected wildlife areas and a Site of Special Scientific Interest woodland.

Crai Valley Eco Lodges, Brecon Beacons

Found on a busy working farm in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, the Crai Valley Eco Lodges provide spacious accommodation, panoramic views, and ample opportunities for stargazing. Gaze upon the Milky Way from the Dark Sky Discovery Site at Glwydcaenewydd Farm and take in the spectacular views of Llyn-yr-Fan Lake from the large French windows of the lodges.

Cotna Eco Retreat, Cornwall

From eco glamping to boutique style yurts, the Cotna Eco Retreat provides a wonderful insight into organic and sustainable living. Surrounded by picturesque Cornish countryside and a short distance from Gorran Haven; The Lost Gardens of Heligan and the fishing village of Mevagissey are also not far away. The 3 Yurts – Gilliflower, Tregonna King and Fern Pippin – sit in orchards surrounded by Cornish stone walls and ancient woodland, and are named after the 3 apple varieties growing nearby.

Celebrate World Art Day with the UK's top literature and art festivals

Celebrated on 15 April each year, marking the birthday of influential artist Leonardo da Vinci, World Art Day promotes awareness of creative activities around the globe. But in Britain celebrations of the arts are not limited to just one day, as there are a wide array of enthralling literature and art festivals taking place throughout the year.

Insiders/Outsiders

From March 2019, a year-long nationwide arts festival will celebrate refugees that escaped from Nazi Europe and their impact on British culture. Insiders/ Outsiders will feature exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, lectures, dance and theatre performances, walks and literary events all over Britain. It seeks to showcase the influence of artists, writers, architects, designers, actors, photographers, musicians, publishers, art historians, dealers and collectors, among many others, who have enriched Britain’s culture having fled Nazi-dominated Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, and initiated by art historian Monica Bohm-Duchen, the festival recognises the deep, long-lasting and wide-ranging contributions that refugees have made, and continue to make, to society.

When? March 2019 – March 2020

 

Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival

Found within the picturesque grounds and house of Chiddingstone Castle in Kent, the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival is returning for a fourth year in 2019. Featuring a number of author events, talks, workshops and performances, the festival is carefully tailored to ensure there is something for people of all ages and interests. Alongside clay modelling workshops with Aardman Animations, who are marking 30 years of Wallace and Gromit, they’ll also be a chance to meet the illustrator of children’s classic Giraffe’s Can’t Dance, as well as life drawing and writing workshops for budding artists and writers.

When? 4-7 May

Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival

Marking its 12th year in 2019 and welcoming celebrity speakers and best-selling authors, the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival has a varied mix of workshops, panel discussions and other events. A programme of educational events runs alongside the festival, developed to inspire school children with help from authors, poets and illustrators. The festival’s first Writer’s Day will provide guidance for anyone looking to get work published, and while there will be events for families throughout the week, 5 May will be solely dedicated to children’s activities.

When? 27 April – 5 May

 

Hay Festival Wales

The annual Hay Festival in Wales has progressed significantly across the last three decades and features a host of events set against a glorious countryside backdrop on the edge of the Brecon Beacons. Bringing together readers and writers to share stories and ideas, including Nobel-Prize winners, novelists, historians, politicians and scientists, the festival explore the latest thinking and developments in the arts and sciences. Having welcomed key speakers including Bill Clinton, Jacqueline Wilson and Stephen Fry in the past, the line-up for 2019 includes 2018 Man Booker Prize Winner Anna Burns, author and journalist Leila Slimani, and comedian Jimmy Carr, among many others.

When? 23 May – 2 June

 

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival

A selection of the best international and UK crime fiction writers will venture to the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate for the award-winning Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. Held at Agatha Christie’s former haunt, the festival has achieved international acclaim for its celebration of crime writing and will welcome James Patterson, Jo Newsbo, Stuart MacBride and Ian Rankin in 2019, alongside many other recognised crime fiction writers.

When? 18-21 July

Port Eliot Festival

Dubbed a celebration of ‘words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration, fun and all that is good in the world’, the Port Eliot Festival in the parish of St Germans in Cornwall welcomes an eclectic mix of authors and others from the world of art and literature. The Fashion Foundation site has a distinct focus on fashion and art, with workshops, talks and exhibitions all taking place within the Walled Garden at Port Eliot, while award-winning BBC Newsnight and election journalist Emily Maitlis and stand-up comedian Shappi Khorsandi are among those on the bill for the 2019 festival. A huge range of outdoor activities also take place within the grounds.

When? 25-28 July

 

Edinburgh International Book Festival

Welcoming around 1,000 authors to a specially created tented village in the centre of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh International Book Festival includes more than 900 events for people of all ages. Nobel and Booker prize-winners are among those to feature on past line-ups, alongside sportsmen and women, illustrators, philosophers, scientists, poets, comic creators, biographers, economists and musicians. A full programme of events of the festival is revealed in June.

When? 10-26 August

 

Curious Arts Festival

Relocating in 2019 from the surroundings of Pylewell Park in the New Forest to Pippingford Park in East Sussex, the Curious Arts Festival is a family-friendly arts and music festival that plays host to plenty of well-known authors, comedians and musicians. Expect talks on challenging topics, an extensive set of workshops and experiences, and an exceptional programme of events for children. Those with tickets to Curious Arts will also be able to access Byline Festival on the same weekend, a festival that promotes independent journalism and free speech.

When? 23-26 August

London Literary Festival

The London Literary Festival returns to London’s South Bank Centre for its 13th year in October, bringing together writers, journalists and creative thinkers for 11 days of readings, talks, poetry and performance. The Southbank Centre’s longest running festival, Poetry International, will kick-start proceedings, having been founded by former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes in 1967. Past speakers at the festival have included author Phillip Pullman, US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, poet and playwright Carol Ann Duffy and actor Tom Hanks.

When? 17-27 October

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Established in 1949, the Cheltenham Literature Festival is the UK’s oldest festival of its type and welcomes more than 600 of the world’s writers, politicians, poets and actors to celebrate the written word. Around 500 events and workshops are packed into the 10-day festival, which also features Book It!, a series of events aimed specifically at families and young children.

When? 4-13 October

Discover some of Britain's fantastic flower shows

To commemorate our 50th anniversary, we at VisitBritain have teamed up with RHS Chelsea to promote Britain’s wonderful flower shows. From RHS Chelsea and RHS Hampton Court to the delightful lesser-known shows that take place up and down the country, spring and summer in Britain are packed with an abundance of floral delights. One such highlight is sure to be the new 154-acre garden in the grounds of Worsley New Hall opening in 2020. To celebrate, RHS Chelsea has teamed up with garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith to create the RHS Bridgewater Garden at Chelsea. The largest exhibit in this year's show, the garden will reveal some of the key features of the new development, with the entire garden being relocated to Worsley New Hall following the Chelsea Flower Show. In the meantime, here’s our round-up of some of the fabulous shows to visit this year.

National Flower Show at Hylands House

Set in the grounds of the spectacular Hylands House and Estate in Essex, the National Flower Show will return for its 5th year in 2019. The Floral Pavilion is the centre of the show, providing inspiration as exhibitors present the finest plants and flowers as they compete to be crowned Best in Show. TV gardener Carol Klein will officially open the show, before hosting two question and answer sessions on all things floral. On top of an array of gardening talks, they’ll also be an opportunity to participate in floral workshops, although participation in these will be limited. Entry to the impressive Hylands House, Parks and Gardens is included with entry to the show.

When? 17-19 May

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Taking place from 21-25 May 2019 and now in its 116th year, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a much-loved staple of the British horticultural calendar. From exquisite traditional gardens to cutting-edge design and exhibits exploring the science behind horticulture, the show has something for every green-fingered enthusiast. Visitors can meet the world’s leading growers and discover a riot of colour and scent at the Great Pavilion – which this year features ‘Gardening Will Save the World’, its first show garden. They can also see the very latest innovations in design at exhibits including the new RHS Garden Bridgewater Garden at Chelsea by designer Tom Stuart-Smith, and learn about the benefits of gardening and green space to health and wellbeing.

When? 21-25 May

Gardening Scotland

With its focus on gardening and outdoor living, Gardening Scotland hosts an abundance of designers and features all of the latest gardening trends. More than 400 exhibitors from across Britain flock to the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh, while numerous florists and horticultural experts are on hand to answer queries and provide advice. Pop-up food stalls and cafes serve an eclectic mix of country food, providing everything from sandwiches and speciality coffees to Scottish steak rolls.

When? 31 May - 2 June

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show

The grounds of Chatsworth House provide the setting for the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, offering spectacular summer colours, unique shopping experiences and numerous have-a-go workshops. From thought-provoking show gardens featuring innovative planting ideas to floral experts on hand in the marquees to answer questions, Chatsworth caters for every gardener, regardless of experience. More than 200 exhibitors will also be in attendance, offering everything from sculpture to garden furniture.

When? 5-9 June

Blenheim Palace Flower Show

Returning for its seventh year in 2019, the Blenheim Palace Flower Show offers 3 days of stunning flower displays, mouth-watering food and drink, and inspiration for both the home and outdoors. Discover hand-made crafts and gifts in the Home and Country Living Pavilion before casting an eye over the entries for Best in Show in the Grand Floral Pavilion, all in the shadow of the magnificent Blenheim Palace.

When? 21-23 June

Woburn Abbey Garden Show

Marking a decade since the Woburn Abbey Garden Show first graced the landscaped grounds of Woburn Abbey, 2019’s show will feature a hand-picked selection of exhibitors and nurseries. Visitors can expect live entertainment, food and shopping alongside informative talks, demonstrations and gardening tours. Gain rare access to the Private Gardens of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford and browse a selection of RHS Medal winning nurseries that offer a diverse mix of European and global plants.

When? 22-23 June

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

Rich gardening inspiration, entertaining family activities and hands-on workshops are just some of what is on offer at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park. Discover the essentials for creating a new vegetable plot and meet the future stars of garden design as part of the RHS Young Designer of the Year competition. Afterwards, browse the stalls of hundreds of exhibitors before wandering through a dazzling display of more than 5,000 dahlias. An interactive feature called the Bug Hub will detail the lifecycle of insects, while the School Gardens, created by hundreds of local school children, are just waiting to be explored.

When? 17-21 July

Prestatyn Flower Show

Held annually in the North Wales seaside town of Prestatyn, the Prestatyn Flower Show features an array of beautiful plants and garden furniture alongside arts, crafts and prize-winning exhibitions. Enjoy brass band music and live jazz and explore a striking collection of classic cars before discovering the many boutique shops and eateries in the town.

When? 26-27 July

Chorley Flower Show

The 4th annual Chorley Flower Show transforms Astley Park into a blaze of colour in late July, as horticultural exhibitors and florists descend on the heart of Lancashire. As well as plenty of garden designs and exciting species, there’s also an amateur marquee packed full of beautiful plants and shrubs.

When? 27-28 July

Shrewsbury Flower Show

Attracting exhibitors from all over Britain, the Shrewsbury Flower Show is home to spectacular entertainment, celebrity chefs and a wealth of stunning flower collections. The UK’s top nurseries display their plants in the Quarry Marquee, while the lecture theatre hosts talks from leading industry experts throughout the show. Alongside a space for amateur growers to showcase their skills, there is a special section for bee keeping and honey exhibitors. A magnificent firework display brings an end to proceedings.

When? 9-10 August

Southport Flower Show

Find horticultural inspiration, try out delicious regional food and immerse yourself in spectacular show gardens at the Southport Flower Show, all of which reflect the 2019 theme of ‘Garden Party’. Visit the Grand Floral Marquee to unearth a treasure trove of plants, flowers, trees, shrubs, vegetables and herbs before discovering the quirky work of landscape designers as they go head-to-head to create the most Curious Garden at the show.

When? 15-18 August

Ayr and District Flower Show

Ayr Racecourse welcomes the Ayr and District Flower Show in August, a delightful mix of brightly coloured flowers, floral art, Bonsai trees and other plants. There’s also a delightful food market featuring Scottish producers selling baked goods, fruit and vegetables, meat and confectionary. Numerous trade stands sell everything from plants, bulbs and trees to pots, planters and other garden equipment.

When? 16-17 August

RHS Wisley Flower Show

Taking place in late summer, the RHS Wisley Flower Show is home to a plethora of colourful plants, an expert zone with talks and demos and ample opportunities to seek gardening advice. The National Dahlia Society Annual Show forms part of proceedings, showcasing the very best in dahlia cultivation in Britain.

When? 3-9 September

Adrenaline adventures in South West Britain

For an adventure filled autumn, all roads point southwest. The region holds countless opportunities for air, sea, shore and cliff activities to challenge even the most active tourist...

 

Swinging from a height 

Where better to experience an adrenaline hit than at Adrenalin Quarry? This adventure centre near Liskeard in Cornwall is guaranteed to raise the heartbeat - while turning the great outdoors upside down. Visitors can test their mettle on The Zip (billed as ‘the UK’s maddest zip wire’) and go from G-force to freefall on the Giant Swing. They can also throw an axe at a tree stump to relieve stress.

 

Coasteering sessions here offer wild swimming, climbing, tombstoning and The Blob — a huge bouncy cushion in the water. Speaking of inflatable cushions, new for 2018, is a huge aqua park with runways, trampolines, monkey bars and balance bars plus all the hoops and loops fun seekers can squeeze through.

 

As the day draws to a close, the barbecues fire up — a burger tastes so much better when gravity has been defied to earn it.
 

Rushing and whirling

For dedicated coasteering fans, Xtreme Coasteering (or, as they define it, “everything you weren’t supposed to do when you were a kid”) offers swimming and scrambling in some of the ‘best waves the Atlantic throws’. People can enjoy adventures in Cornwall, North Devon and Exmoor under huge cliffs and skies, with the possibility of encountering smuggler’s coves, rapids and whirlpools.

 

Surfing and bodyboarding

If that’s not enough of a dunking, the surf capital of Cornwall welcomes buzz seekers with open arms — and a surfboard. At Newquay’s glorious beaches, novices are transformed into dudes with a few lessons and a bit of practice. Fistral is one of Newquay’s most famous beaches, with thrilling western swells, and there are plenty of nearby campsites for quick access to the dunes — when visitors are tired of gazing at the surf, they can turn their attention to the stars.

 

Fossil hunting and rock pool rambling

This part of the world delivers what it says on the tin. The UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast covers over 95 miles of shoreline between Devon and Dorset, and with over 180 million years of history, it’s a bona fide hub for fossil hunting. New remains are regularly dislodged from the cliffs and you can seek them out with the help of wardens from the Charmouth Heritage Centre. Rock pool rambles are also on offer from the centre, and there’s a chance to see the ichthyosaur fossil (of an extinct marine reptile), discovered by local collector Chris Moore and featured in the documentary Attenborough and the Sea Dragon.

 

Rock hopping and shore exploring

Those in search of a further adrenaline rush can absorb millions of years of geology into their own bones by coasteering, rock-hopping and scrambling with Dorset adventure company Lulworth Outdoors. The sessions, which pass spectacular landscapes like Lulworth Cove and Stair Hole, also provide the chance to learn about the history and wildlife of the area. 

 

Hiking, sliding and swanning around

Chesil Beach is one of the most famous shingle beaches in the UK, and this 18-mile stretch and the Fleet Tidal Lagoon are part of the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hike up the sliding pebble ridge near the Chesil Beach Centre for fabulous views (and 180 billion chances to pick out the perfect pebble) or go crabbing along the ever-shifting shore. Approximately a ten-mile drive from the centre, the network of trails at Abbotsbury Swannery offer the chance to see territorial displays of nesting swans in May.

 

Southwest zest and pies

After all that adventure, it’s obligatory to squeeze in one of the region’s most traditional snacks, the classic Cornish Pasty, before heading home, buzzing with renewed energy and southwest zest.

Look out for a Warren’s Bakery — originating in 1860, they’re approved by the Cornish Pasty Association and are reportedly the oldest pasty makers in the world.

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. 

Foodie focus on… Cornwall

The south-western corner of England is a slice of foodie heaven. From mouth-watering local specialities to the hottest restaurants and must-do food experiences, Cornwall’s culinary capabilities are not to be missed.

 

Regional specialities and where to taste them

CORNISH PASTY: Succulent meat and vegetables encased in warm, golden pastry, formed into a distinctive ‘D’ shape and should be crimped on one side to ensure it’s a genuine Cornish pasty.

Where can I eat it? Pretty much in every butcher’s shop or bakery in Cornwall. Rowe’s Bakeries, dotted throughout the county, make award-winning pasties, with four bakeries in the coastal town of Falmouth alone. Malcolm Barnecutt has several bakeries around Cornwall selling hand-made goodies made fresh overnight, plus two restaurants where you can linger over a pasty, one in St Austell and one in Bodmin.

 

CORNISH CREAM TEA: A truly scrumptious treat, this is where you load jam and melt-in-the-mouth Cornish clotted cream onto a sweet scone. And, if you’re in Cornwall, the jam goes on first, topped off by the cream (neighbouring Devon does it the other way round)!

Where can I eat it? Cream teas are ubiquitous throughout the tearooms, restaurants and hotels of Cornwall. The Cream Tea Guide is a handy source of where to find some of the best – check out either the traditional cream tea or a savoury cheese tea with Cornish cheeses and chutney at The Elm Tree in Truro, or enjoy cream teas on the terrace of the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery Café, with views over the 13th-century Restormel Castle.

 

KERN AND YARG CHEESE: Crowned Supreme Champion at World Cheese Awards in 2017, Kern matures over 16 months and is a hard cheese with buttery and caramel notes. It is made by the same dairy that makes Yarg cheese (wrapped in nettles to produce a lemony, creamy taste), Lynher Dairies, and both are only produced by this dairy.

Where can I eat it?: Kern is not yet available to buy from the dairy (although watch this space – you could be among the first to buy it) but you can buy Yarg and it is often served on restaurant cheeseboards throughout the county, such as at The Herring at the Bedruthan hotel.

 

TREGOTHNAN TEA: The first tea ever to be grown in England is made from Camellia sinensis leaves from the Tregothnan Estate in south Cornwall, the first estate to grow ornamental camellia plants in the UK, which is possible thanks to the area’s microclimate. As well as Black Tea it also produces Green tea, herbal infusions and Earl Grey tea.

Where can I drink it?: Tregothnan is sold in supermarkets across the UK and is served in many tearooms across Cornwall, but why not sip it while overlooking the gorgeous views of St Michael’s Mount at the Godolphin Arms in Marazion.

 

CORNISH WINE: Thanks to the development of grape varieties that work well in the climate of south-west England, Cornish wine regularly wins awards, particularly with its sparkling wines. There are several lovely vineyards to explore in the region – Polgoon, Trevibban Mill, Knightor, Bosue, Polmassick and Cornwall’s largest vineyard Camel Valley.

Where can I drink it?: Cornish wine is sold in supermarkets and off licences throughout the UK, but a lovely spot to enjoy a glass is on the sun terrace at Camel Valley – overlooking the vineyard itself.

 

5 must-do food and drink experiences

Tea: To fully understand how tea is grown in England, join a garden tour of the Tregothnan Estate’s botanical garden or even learn how to become a tea guru with a Tregothnan tea masterclass. You’ll pluck your own tea leaves and have the chance to create your own bespoke blend of tea.

Beer: Take a tour around Cornwall's oldest independent family brewery, established more than 150 years ago, at the St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre. Many original traditions and skills remain in its brewing method today, from the raw ingredients that are used through to the sampling process.

Chocolate: Watch chocolate being lovingly created by hand at the factory of Kernow Chocolate in St Eval, in the south west of the county. Every piece of chocolate is made by skilled chocolatiers and while you can’t tour the factory itself, its large viewing window allows you to see how its 20 flavours come together. An added bonus? There’s a tasting table so you can decide which chocolate is your favourite.

Fish: The Fat Hen near Penzance in the south of Cornwall offers a series of great experiences run by sustainable-living guru Caroline Davey. Courses including picking out and cooking live crab fished the same day, learning how to source, prepare and cook Cornish fish and shellfish, and there’s also a range of foraging courses.

Ice cream: If you enjoy Cornish clotted cream on a scone, can you imagine how delicious it must taste in ice cream? Discover how this delectable treat is made at Callestick Farm in north Cornwall, from the mixing of flavours, to freezing and the filling of tubs. And, of course, there’s ample opportunity to try the resulting product, flavours which range from clotted cream vanilla and Cornish sea salted caramel, to cinnamon, chunky root ginger and even bubblegum!

 

Hot restaurants you have to visit

Rick Stein, Padstow

You can’t come to Cornwall and not try a meal at a Rick Stein establishment – there are now nine across the county. Padstow is famously known as ‘PadStein’, such is the great chef’s influence in the area. His flagship restaurant is The Seafood Restaurant and the town is also home to Rick Stein’s Café, Stein’s Fish & Chips (for something a little more casual), Fisheries & Seafood Bar, Ruby’s Bar and St Petroc’s Brasserie (which also offers accommodation). Whichever eaterie you choose, the focus is on serving the freshest of fish, cooked to perfection.

Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac

Another master of seafood cuisine, chef Nathan Outlaw worked under Rick Stein at The Seafood Restaurant, and has since gone on to run the eponymous Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen and The Mariners (also a pub serving local beers from Sharps Brewery), and is the proud owner of four Michelin stars. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw is a real treat for lovers of seafood; it exclusively serves a seafood tasting menu highlighting the best in sustainable produce caught off the Cornish coast.

Fern Pit Café, Newquay

Choose your live crab or lobster caught by the Fern Pit Café’s own fishing boat, have it cooked to order and then savour the flavours while overlooking the beautiful Gannel Estuary or order it in takeaway form and head down to enjoy your food on Crantock Beach. Simple yet tasty crab sandwiches are also on the menu and, through the lobster season, the café creates its must-try lobster salad lunches.

Alba, St Ives

Alba’s first-floor restaurant one of the places to go in St Ives for an elegant dining experience. Housed in the refurbished Old Lifeboat House on St Ives harbour, the experience is further enhanced by the panoramic views to Godrevy Lighthouse across St Ives Bay, as well as a menu created from locally sourced ingredients and herbs grown on site. Award-winning chef and proprietor Grant Nethercott serves up modern British style cuisine that comes in the form of dishes such as blow-torched gin-cured sea trout and Cornish grass-fed beef fillet. For cocktails and small plates, head to its walk-in A Bar downstairs.

Fifteen Cornwall, Watergate Bay

Eat well and feel good; not only does Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen offer an amazing menu of Italian dishes using Cornish produce but this award-winning restaurant from the TV chef is also a social enterprise, with all profits going to its charity Cornwall Food Foundation. Why not try Jamie’s Corn Fritters with poached eggs for breakfast, slow-cooked duck with lentils and agro dolce for lunch and olive oil poached turbot with vignole for dinner?

The Hidden Hut, Porthcurnick Beach

It may be little more than a wooden hut on a beautiful beach on the Roseland Heritage Coast, but The Hidden Hut, located around 30 minutes’ drive from Truro, hosts spectacularly large outdoor cook-ups, where there’s only one dish served – think rotisserie duck, 12-hour Greek lamb, wood-fired mezze or Sri Lankan monkfish curry (there are always vegetarian options too). It’s bring-your-own plates, cutlery and drinks, and dress for the weather because it all takes place outdoors come rain or shine. Feast nights take place from May to September and you have to book ahead.

Paul Ainsworth at No.6, Padstow

It’s easy to understand why Paul Ainsworth At No.6 has a Michelin star, with inventive menus filled with gastronomic delights such as hogget (sheep meat that’s one to two year’s old) from the Tamar Valley (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that straddles both Cornwall and Devon) with red garlic ketchup and sweetbread fricassee, and raw sea bream with sand shrimp slaw and katsuobushi mayonnaise. Located in a lovely Georgian townhouse in Padstow, dining here is a special experience.

Gylly Beach Café, Falmouth

Family-run, Gylly Beach Café comes with views to die for over Gyllyngvase Beach and with panoramic views of the Lizard Peninsula. Its menu is pretty special too. Breakfast and lunch is about walk-ins; try the Full Cornish Breakfast early on or how about a slice of Homity Pie (puff pastry filled with creamed potato, leeks and Cornish cheddar) for lunch? Come evening, book a table so you can try out dishes such as locally sourced pork and prawns, venison loin and Newlyn pollock fillet.

 

A 48-hour foodie itinerary

The whole of Cornwall is filled with incredible food destinations – here are suggestions for just one area, from Port Isaac on the rugged Atlantic coast to Falmouth in the south-east of the county, to tempt your tastebuds.

Day one

09:00 Don’t go light on breakfast (it’s the most important meal of the day after all!), enjoy a plate of delicious Cornish produce at the Chapel Café in the pretty coastal village of Port Isaac, which includes Cornish hogs pudding and local meats, all for under £10. Even the coffee is locally roasted using ethically-sourced beans.

10:00 Discover the art of cooking seafood and check in to the masterclasses at Rick Stein’s Cookery School in Padstow, 45 minutes from Port Isaac. Got seafood sorted? Check out one of the other fantastic courses available here, which range from Indian street food, Spanish tapas or patisserie.

13:00 You can’t come to Cornwall and not hit the beach – half an hour from Padstow is the surfer’s paradise of Newquay – and here you can walk straight off the sand and straight into the Beach Hut Café, with its awesome views over the sea and vibrant atmosphere. Order Cornish mussels or huge dishes of beef chilli.

15:00 Head 20 minutes from Newquay to nearby Perranporth, home to Healey’s Cornish Cyder Farm. Take a self-guided tour through its press house, bottlery and jam kitchen or book onto a fully guided tour, plus a tutored tasting.

17:00 Set off on the 20-minute drive to Truro, but don’t forget to stop off at the Great Cornish Food Store and stock up on some enticing local delicacies to take home.

19:30 Truro has lots of lovely places to dine – for more fish favourites head to Hooked! Restaurant & Bar and for a fine-dining experience try out Tabbs, which is listed in the Michelin Guide and has two AA Rosettes.

 

Day two

09:00 Drive 30 minutes from Truro to the cute fishing village of Charleston, close to St Austell, and fill up on a breakfast packed with local goodies at Charlie’s Boathouse. As well as the harbour views to admire over your meal, the restaurant has its own resident artist, whose work you can buy as a keepsake of your time in Cornwall.

11:00 Time to explore one of Cornwall’s excellent vineyards; just 15-20 minutes from your breakfast stop is Bosue Vineyard and its award-winning wines, or tour what is Cornwall’s oldest vineyard (planted in 1976!) at Polmassick Vineyard.

13:00 Head to the picture-perfect fishing village of Mevagissey, 15 minutes’ drive away, which is part of the stunning Roseland Peninsula and enjoy lunch at one of the superb restaurants, such as No.5 Mevagissey. Proudly using local produce in its dishes, you’ll also find an awesome selection of locally made drinks, such as Cornish beers, lagers and ciders, Cornish gins from Tarquin’s and Stafford distilleries and Cornish vodka Aval Dor.

16:00 If you’ve had a relatively light lunch, now’s a good time to tuck into a gorgeous Cornish cream tea. For a pretty setting as well as a delicious treat, try the freshly baked homemade scones, homemade jam and Trewithen Dairy Cornish cream at Miss V’s Vintage High Tea, located in semi-tropical gardens on the banks of the Fal Estuary.  

20:00 When you’re in this part of the world, a meal overlooking the sea is a must; end your foodie trip in Falmouth and enjoy crab, squid, mussels, prawns, oysters and scallops in the unassuming, but charmingly rustic shellfish bar, The Shack.

 

Food festivals in Cornwall 2018

 

Getting there

Central Cornwall is approximately five hours by train or car from London, with high-speed train services running from London Paddington, including the Night Riviera Sleeper Service to Penzance. There are also daily direct trains from Bristol and Bath.

Luxury that doesn’t cost the earth in south-west England

Sustainable tourism is a hot topic right now, as the fight against plastic pollution gains ground, along with the aim of reducing carbon footprint and achieving zero waste. As 5 June marks World Environment Day, we highlight a few of the multitude of eco-friendly places to stay in south-west England, just one of Britain’s regions well-known for its green approach.

 

The Scarlet, Cornwall

Perched on landscape that looks out over the gorgeous Cornish coastline and Mawgan Porth Beach, sustainability is a way of life at The Scarlet, which describes itself as a luxury eco-friendly hotel. Solar panels heat the indoor swimming pool, a renewable energy source provides electricity and there’s a natural ventilation system throughout. Its green credentials – which also embrace extensive recycling, water-saving initiatives and using ingredients in its menus sourced from as many local producers as possible – are seriously impressive. Guest rooms are provided with organic towels and, to save energy and reduce packaging, there are no fridges or tea and coffee trays; instead, guests are taken freshly made tea, coffee and homemade snacks (all complimentary) at their request.

 

Dartington Hall, Devon

A country estate near Totnes in Devon, the elegant Dartington Hall cleverly combines its long and varied history – its Great Hall dates back to the 14th century and you can stay in rooms that face onto its medieval courtyard – with a commitment to sustainability. A large proportion of its energy is produced via renewables such as biomass boilers and solar panels, while locally grown food is used at its restaurants The Green Table and The White Hart Restaurant. The estate also runs an in-depth conservation programme and, to really get back to nature, you can also enjoy wild camping on the estate.

 

Log House Holidays, Cotswolds

Roll-top baths under the stars, private beach and Finnish hot tub – sounds idyllic. All this luxury is also eco-friendly at Log House Holidays, which provides eight secluded luxury log houses around a 130-acre lake and nature reserve. Stargazing on a clear night is essential and guests have ample opportunity to spot local wildlife. The largest cabin, Mayo Landing, is set on a private island in the middle of the lake and has its own heated pool and wood-fired sauna, while all the lodges are furnished from local antique and auction houses, another positive step towards reducing that carbon footprint.

 

The Green House, Bournemouth, Dorset

This Grade II-listed Victorian villa style property in the heart of Bournemouth is fully committed to sustainability. At The Green House Hotel water is heated by solar energy, electricity is generated on site and each of its rooms are fitted with locally made wool carpets. The paint that adorns the walls is eco paint, the furniture throughout is created in the UK using trees felled by storms or tree surgeons, its restaurant sources from local producers, the wine list is created taking into account each bottle’s carbon footprint and even its company car runs on the cooking oil used in the kitchen. Yet its rooms are luxurious with walk-in showers, luxury toiletries and goose down duvets, and in-room beauty treatments are an added treat.

 

Burgh Island Hotel, Devon
There are many elements to recommend Burgh Island; it’s in An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the coast of south Devon, you can arrive there via sea tractor, it’s one of the most prominent places to see and experience Art Deco in the country and it counts literary legends such as Agatha Christie and Noel Coward among its former guests. But it’s also led the way in environmental matters for more than a decade. It’s gorgeous location on the coastline of south Devon means it can meet its local sourcing policy – particularly for seafood and meat – where 80% of ingredients are sourced within a 30-mile radius of the island. It has a natural sea water bathing pool and, as far back as ten years ago, it installed its own borehole used for irrigation and cleaning water, while 11 years ago it introduced elements to control external light pollution. Last year it installed electric car charging stations and there are plans a foot for a new eco-build on the island, The Pool House.

 

Eco Chic Cottages, Cotswolds

Effortlessly combining luxury style with sustainability, Eco Chic Cottages – The Chestnuts and Culls Cottage – are built in the beautiful honey-stone native to the Cotswolds offering elegantly luxurious accommodation that’s considerate to the environment. Its energy saving initiatives are first-class; the thick traditional stone walls keep the cottages naturally cool in summer and warm in the winter, each cottage has a wood fire rather than coal and curtains are thermally lined to keep heat in. You’ll only find products in the cottages that are kind to the environment, taps have aerators to reduce water follow and there are recycling and rainwater-harvesting initiatives in place.

 

You might also like these sustainable restaurants and attractions in the region:

In the beautiful cathedral city of Salisbury, Wiltshire, restaurant Greengages is focused on using locally sourced products in all its food that is prepared fresh to order – cutting down on carbon footprint and food waste. And just 30 minutes away in the Wiltshire town of Tisbury, the Pythouse Kitchen Garden focuses on an ‘eat the seasons’ ethos and grows many of its ingredients on site. Nearby attraction, the Bombay Sapphire Distillery – where you can book on tours and tastings of its gin – was awarded the BREEAM Award for Industrial Design – an award that sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design.

Cornwall has a raft of organic, sustainable restaurants; check out Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in Falmouth, which focuses on sustainability across everything from recycling and sourcing to conservation and energy usage. Or dine at the restaurant at Bangor’s Organic on the north coast of Cornwall, where the journey from garden to plate can be counted in minutes. You can also stay at its B&B, one of only three Soil Association certified B&Bs in the UK. For Michelin-star cuisine, head to Michael Caines at the stunning Lympstone Manor hotel just outside Exeter in Devon. Michael is passionate about sourcing local produce and supporting local producers and has also recently planted 17,500 vines over 10.5 acres to grow his own Lympstone sparkling wine.

7 British festivals foodies should visit in 2018

Let the British food festival season begin! Come for the amazing food and world-renowned chefs and stay for those extra twists that deliver true British style. We pick seven to have on your radar this summer.

 

Pub in the Park, various locations

When and Where: Bath, south-west England (8-10 June), Tunbridge Wells, south-east England (6-8 July), Knutsford, Cheshire, north-west England (7-9 September)

Why: There’s nothing quite as quintessentially British as the pub and world-renowned chef Tom Kerridge – owner of the first pub, the Hand and Flowers, to be awarded two Michelin stars – is bringing the pub, first-class food and music to the great outdoors this summer. Sample dishes from top British pubs, including the Hand and Flowers and Tom’s other Michelin-starred pub The Coach, while dancing the night away to Razorlight, Jamie Cullum and KT Tunstall.

Getting there: Bath can be reached in 1.5 hours by train from London, Tunbridge Wells in one hour and Knutsford in three hours.

 

Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall

When: 26-29 July

Where: Port Eliot estate, St Germans, Cornwall, south-west England

Why: There’s plenty of chefs, stalls, locally-sourced and sustainable produce, international food and cookery demonstrations here that celebrate the rich and diverse food culture of Cornwall and south-west England. Yet as the festival is located in stunning 6,000 acres of countryside it’s a perfect opportunity to indulge in unforgettable outdoor activities, from wild swimming to foraging walks. This year’s food-demo focus concentrates on up-close-and-personal experiences in the estate’s centuries-old Big Kitchen and the Open Fire Stage. Oh, and there’s a baking masterclass with Desperate Housewives and Superman star Teri Hatcher.

Getting there: take a direct train from London to St Germans, which takes just under four hours.

 

Foodies Festival Edinburgh

When: 3-5 August

Where: Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, Scotland

Why: Because you’ve always wanted to take part in cream-pie throwing, chilli eating and cheese-stretching competitions! Quirky activities aside, this touring festival (which travels to six other British destinations) brings everything a foodie could ask for to a festival, from Kombucha workshops to Prosecco and Parmesan masterclasses, artisan and street food stalls, a Gin Station and a Tequila Shack. Plus, you’ll see top bands such as The Hoosiers and Toploader perform.

Getting there: The park is a ten-minute taxi or bus ride from Edinburgh city centre.

 

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival

When: 18-19 August

Where: Sandown, Isle of Wight, south England

Why: Ever fancied trying garlic fudge? Or how about sampling garlic popcorn or ice cream? The Isle of Wight, off the coast of south England, is famous for its garlic so it makes perfect sense for the island to host an entire festival to the ‘stinking rose’. Find out just how good garlic is for health, learn various ways to cook with it and how best to grow it. A new theatre kitchen has launched for this year where cooking demonstrations will take place and the whole charm of the festival is further boosted with live music, art, craft and food stalls, a huge funfair and children’s entertainers.

Getting there: Take the 45-minute ferry crossing to Fishbourne from Portsmouth Harbour (2 hours from London by train).

 

The Big Feastival, Cotswolds

When: 24-26 August

Where: Alex James Farm, Kingham, Cotswolds, central England

Why: Launched by Alex James of Britpop legends Blur, and taking place on his Cotswolds farm, The Big Feastival has earned its place as one of the food festivals to visit, thanks to both its impressive line-up of top chefs – which this year includes Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc, Mark Hix and Pierre Koffman – and stellar musical talent. Cheese is a big draw for this festival (Alex James makes his own); cheese lovers should head to the double-decker cheese hub with its award-winning artisan cheeses and all-day cocktail bar, and – new for 2018 – The Cheese Bar and The Cheese Truck where you can feast on huge stacks of British cheeseboards and grilled cheese sandwiches. When you’ve eaten your fill, dance off the calories to music from Basement Jaxx, Craig David, and Paloma Faith.

Getting there: The nearest train station is Kingham, 1.5 hours from London

 

Great British Food Festival, Wiltshire

When: 25-27 August

Where: Bowood House, Wiltshire, south-west England

Why: It’s a foodie paradise set in the grounds of a beautiful English stately home in the heart of the Cotswolds. Another touring festival, the Great British Food Festival comes to the breathtaking Bowood House, which gives visitors the opportunity to team a love for food with a love for history. Along with talks, stalls and cooking demonstrations, there’s also the chance to take part in some quirky British challenges – why not see if you can beat the record of eating a 74.5 inch sausage followed by a pint of cider in less than six minutes six seconds!

Getting there: the train takes just over an hour from London to Chippenham; Bowood House is then a 15-minute taxi ride from there.

 

Abergavenny Food Festival, Wales

When: 15-16 September

Where: Abergavenny, south Wales

Why: Set in a pretty medieval market town, this is one of Britain’s most well-established food festivals – 2018 marks the 20th year since the first took place –– and it’s a great festival to visit for combining a passion for food with a sense of adventure. There’s a diverse selection of forages and tours operating as part of the festival, taking advantage of the bountiful Welsh countryside. Forage for seafood or for gin botanicals or book onto tours of nearby vineyards and distilleries. The popular ‘Cooking Over Fire’ area will return to the town’s historic castle featuring Hang Fire BB, while the demo stage will host Welsh chef legends such as the Michelin-starred chef Gareth Ward from Ynyshir Hall, and James Sommerin from his eponymous restaurant in Penarth, Cardiff.

Getting there: Trains take 2.5 hours from London to Abergavenny or 45 minutes from Cardiff.

Accommodation Update - April 2018

Read on for the latest Accommodation Update, brought to you by VisitBritain's Destination PR team.

 

LONDON

New and upcoming openings

The Principal London
April 2018
The latest addition to PRINCIPAL hotel group will be The Principal London, in the former Hotel Russell on Bloomsbury’s Russell Square. The Grade II-listed building, which first opened in 1898, is being restored into a glamorous 334-bedroom hotel and hub for modern travellers and Londoners. The new hotel will have a top-notch neighbourhood restaurant, a hedonistic cocktail bar, and a coffeehouse that morphs into a wine bar by night. Artwork and accessories will tip a nod to the area’s rich literary and artistic heritage. PRINCIPAL also plans to open hotels in Birmingham and Liverpool in 2018.
www.phcompany.com/principal

 

Hotel Indigo London – 1 Leicester Square, London
April 2018
In the heart of London's West End, this new boutique hotel from the Indigo hotel group will feature rooms that evoke the glamour of the West End and views over Leicester Square. The venue will also have a rooftop pan-Asian restaurant that is inspired by 1920s Shanghai with oriental cocktails and sharing plates.
www.hotelindigo.com

 

Z Hotel Tottenham Court Road, London
April 2018
The newest addition from Z Hotels will be in the heart of Soho, within walking distance to local shopping and the new Crossrail station opening in December 2018. The rooms will offer a modern interior, complete with facilities such as a 40 inch TV with Sky, complimentary WiFi and air conditioning.
www.thezhotels.com/tcr

 

Vintry & Mercer hotel, London
Summer 2018
Vintry & Mercer will open in the City of London’s historic Vintry Ward, a two-minute walk from Cannon Street Station. The independent hotel takes its name and inspiration from the Vintry Guild (est. 1363), which traded wines in the area, and the Mercer Guild (est. 1304), which traded fine fabrics. In a nod to this rich past, the 92-bedroom hotel will blend references to these historic trades throughout its rooms, hallways and dining spaces, with bespoke fabrics, old trading maps and an evolving menu of wines. There will be a restaurant and wine bar, roof terrace and underground speakeasy cocktail bar too. Vintry & Mercer is part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
www.vintryandmercer.com

 

Long-lead

Refurbs & expansions

Renovation of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park complete, London
Summer 2018 (TBC)
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel is undergoing a multi-million-pound renovation. The hotel remains open throughout the 18-month renovation, which will add two new luxurious penthouse suites, make the existing 181 rooms and suites even more luxurious, and refurbish the hotel’s restaurants and bar.
www.mandarinoriental.com/london

 

SOUTH AND SOUTH-EAST ENGLAND

New and upcoming openings

Seven, Essex
February 2018
Southend-on-Sea’s first boutique hotel has opened, on the cliffs of the town’s Clifton Conservation Area. Seven has 37 beautifully designed bedrooms, including five top-floor ‘Estuary’ suites (which make the most of the views of the iconic Southend Pier and the Thames Estuary), a cocktail bar with more than 30 types of gin, and an outdoor sun terrace. The hotel’s 70-seater restaurant, Aurum, is overseen by Simon Webb, who led England’s team at the 2018 Culinary World Cup, and emphasises modern, local food.
thesevenhotel.co.uk

 

The Libertines to launch The Albion Rooms hotel, Kent
Spring/summer 2018 (TBC)
The Libertines will open The Albion Rooms hotel, restaurant, bar and studio in Margate this summer. The hotel occupies a five-storey Victorian building overlooking the sea and Margate’s bandstand; it was formerly The Palm Court Hotel, which garnered terrible reviews on TripAdvisor. The band is currently ensconced in the building writing their fourth studio album, due for release this summer; The Albion Rooms’ individually designed guest rooms will open fully once the new album has been recorded. Until then, The Libertines have said that the public will be invited to take part in the creative process at the hotel…
www.thelibertines.com

 

New hotel, lodges and ecology island at Feldon Valley Golf Club, Cotswolds
October 2018
A boutique hotel is being created as part of an extensive, multi-million-pound development of Feldon Valley Golf Club at Lower Brailes near Shipston-on-Stour. The complete renovation will see the existing club redesigned, new external terraces overlooking the course and the construction of a new 13-bedroom hotel and four lodges. The refurbished golf course will also have an ‘ecology island’ to support wildlife.
www.feldonvalleygolf.co.uk

 

Long-lead

New The Pig at Bridge Place, Kent
Autumn 2018
The latest addition to the litter of Pigs across the country will be The Pig at Bridge Place, in a 16th-century manor house near Canterbury. The intriguing old building has hosted some legendary parties and gigs in its time – Led Zeppelin even played here in the 70s. The place has a wealth of period features including large fireplaces, secret stairways, panelled rooms and lots of nooks and crannies. The new hotel will have 28 bedrooms: seven bedrooms and numerous cosy bars and sitting areas in the main building; seven romantic ‘hop pickers’ huts’ on an island within the grounds; and two bedrooms in a newly restored gate lodge. Twelve more bedrooms will be in a new, carefully detailed Coach House, which will also feature a conservatory restaurant supplied by a kitchen garden and the best producers from within a 25-mile radius. A casual Kitchen Larder in a converted barn will serve wood-fired cooking.
www.thepighotel.com

 

Refurbs & expansions

The Fish hotel re-opens, Cotswolds
6 March 2018
This award-winning part boutique hotel, part adventure hideout on the 400-acre Farncombe Estate will re-open following an extensive, £4 million renovation. There will be a new seafood-inspired restaurant by Chef Martin Burge, three luxury treehouses (available from May), 10 new bedrooms in the Coach House (from June), and five hideaway huts (from July). There will also be a new cinema room, new bathrooms and improvements in all rooms and suites, a dog agility course and a woodland kids play area.
www.thefishhotel.co.uk

 

Goodleaf treetop camping, Isle of Wight
April/ May 2018 (exact date TBC)
Goodleaf on the Isle of Wight will be unveiling a new tree top experience in 2018. Taking place in the grounds of historic Jacobean manor house Northcourt, in Shorwell, Goodleaf Tree Climbing will offer Tree Top Camping for the very first time on the Isle of Wight. Sleeping in special ‘Tree Boats’ imported from the USA, climbers will learn the ropes with recreational tree climbing experts Goodleaf, before spending the night sleeping high in the canopy of a beautiful 15 metre beech tree in this beautiful location deep in the rural heart of the Island. Supper can be taken at the local pub The Crown Inn in Shorwell before ascending into the canopy, relaxing and enjoying a bird’s eye view from your “bed for the night”. Breakfast will be delivered to you in your hammock by the instructor. 
www.goodleaf.co.uk 

 

MIDLANDS AND EAST ENGLAND

Long-lead

New University Arms hotel, Cambridge
August 2018
Cambridge’s most historic hotel will relaunch following a two-year, £80-million refurbishment and design collaboration between architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brudnizki. The revamp will transform Cambridge’s landmark original hotel, which dates from 1834, into a world-class establishment. The 192-bedroom hotel will be quintessentially English in style, with the ambitious literary and academic spirit of Cambridge as one of its defining characteristics. The building’s 1960s and 1970s extensions will be replaced with a classically designed building, rooms and suites will be beautiful and ‘playfully’ designed, and there will be underground valet car parking, fitness facilities, and a library curated by leading London bookshop Heywood Hill. Parker’s Tavern, the hotel’s destination restaurant and bar, will pay homage to the communal dining halls of Cambridge colleges, with classic British dishes re-imagine using produce from fields, fens and sea.
www.universityarms.com   

 

Hotel Indigo, Stratford-upon-Avon
December 2018
An exciting new boutique hotel will open in Stratford-upon-Avon following a multi-million-pound restyling of the historic Falcon Hotel. The characterful Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon will have strong links to William Shakespeare. With parts of the building dating back to the 15th century, the hotel chain plans to retain much of the structure’s original charm while offering luxury accommodation. Guestrooms will include flat-screen TVs, rainfall showers, luxurious toiletries and free wifi. There will also be a new state-of-the-art kitchen and restaurant led by a celebrity chef, a sociable bar and lounge, and a new gym and meeting room.
www.ihg.com/hotelindigo

 

SOUTH-WEST ENGLAND

New and upcoming openings

Z Hotel, Bath
June 2018
Z Hotel will open its first property in the south-west of England. Following a £14 million development, Z Bath will offer 145 bedrooms with luxury bed linen on handcrafted beds, 40” LED TVs with Sky Sports and Movies at no extra cost, power showers and free high speed wifi throughout. The completed development will also include a Byron Burger and Zizzi.
www.theZhotels.com

 

Hotel Indigo Bath
June/ July 2018
The new Hotel Indigo Bath will be located in a Georgian terrace, close to Bath Spa train station on the site of the former Halcyon serviced apartments and Pratt's Hotel. The boutique hotel will have 166 bedrooms, a fitness centre, a private members club and a restaurant launched by celebrity chef Mike Robinson.
www.hotelindigo.com

 

Gara Rock, Devon
Summer 2018
The new Gara Rock promises to be one of the finest boutique retreats on the UK coastline when it re-opens under new ownership. It’s located on cliffs with fabulous views along the coast near Salcombe. The new Retreat will have new restaurant offerings, five new loft rooms and sea view apartments, new spa facilities and a new bar. The management team is made up of locals, many with strong links to the property and its history; Gara Rock used to be the site of cottages used by 19th century coastguards employed to help prevent illegal smuggling and watch for boats in difficulty. In fact, the coastguards’ old Lookout will be the new bar – and the only bar in Salcombe to capture such stunning sunset views.
www.gararock.com

 

Long-lead

Artist Residence, Bristol
November 2018 TBC)
A brand new eclectic boutique hotel is set to open in an old boot factory on Portland Square in late 2018. Artist Residence already has fun, eccentric hotels in London, Brighton, Oxford and Cornwall. Their arty interiors are created by artists in return for board. Rooms from £120 B&B.
www.artistresidence.co.uk

 

Refurbs & expansions

New ten treatment room destination spa at St Michael’s Hotel & Spa, Falmouth 
Opened early 2018
A ten treatment room destination spa, featuring a hydrotherapy pool, hammam, rasul and spa café has now opened at St Michael’s Hotel and Spa. Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth has recently expanded the resort, with a focus on wellbeing. A brand new Health Club opened in the summer of 2017, including a 17m indoor swimming pool, extensive gym and three studios. In addition, new beach house rooms and suites have been added, which offer spectacular views across Falmouth Bay and additional space for families. A new entrance and arrivals lounge, along with a refreshed restaurant will soon follow.
www.stmichaelshotel.co.uk  

 

Gwel an Mor opening, Cornwall
July 2018
The five-star resort of Gwel an Mor overlooking Portreath on the north Cornish coast will be home to a collection of super cosy, one-bedroom lakeside retreats from winter 2018. These perfectly formed bolt holes will offer couples a relaxing hideaway, with the satisfaction of having the facilities and activities of the wider resort on tap.
www.gwelanmor.com

 

New lodges and suites at Carbis Bay Hotel & Spa, Cornwall
July 2018
Carbis Bay Hotel is opening eight new lodges and seven suites including one super suite, introducing a new level of luxury to the sparkling shores of St Ives. The lodges and suites will offer guests a prime position on the award-winning Carbis Bay Beach with infinity views of the Atlantic Ocean. In conjunction with the suites, there will be a new state-of-the-art conference, restaurant and events venue. With impressive views across the ocean, the space will boast a large function suite with seating for up to 160 and a rooftop terrace with a retractable roof and access to the South West Coast Path.
www.carbisbayhotel.co.u

 

YORKSHIRE

Refurbs & expansions

Beverley Arms reopens, East Yorkshire
Autumn 2018 (TBC)
Located in the historic Georgian Quarter of the charming Minster town of Beverley, the Beverley Arms hotel will have 38 new high-quality bedrooms and a restaurant and bar with seating for around 150 people when it reopens after a £6 million redevelopment. The transformation includes the relocation of the bar and main staircase and the development of a smaller accommodation block, along with the creation of a new Georgian-style conservatory and courtyard dining area. Overall, there will be a total of 38 new high-quality bedrooms and a restaurant and bar with seating for around 150 people.
www.thwaites.co.uk

 

NORTH-EAST ENGLAND

New and upcoming openings

Ramside Hall Hotel to launch six luxury treehouses, Durham
June 2018
Visitors to County Durham will soon be able to stay in accommodation unlike anything else currently on offer in the region. Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa will launch three luxury treehouses in June, with another three to follow. Built on stilts behind one of the hotel’s golf courses, the two-bedroom treehouses will have private living rooms, state-of-the-art bathrooms with free-standing copper baths, and unrivalled views across the 18th fairway and green of the Prince Bishops golf course. The treehouses are the latest development in an ongoing multi-million-pound makeover of the family-owned hotel, which has also created an additional wing, a second championship golf course and an award-winning spa in recent years.
www.ramsidehallhotel.co.uk

 

Long lead

Maldron Hotel Newcastle
January 2019
A new four-star hotel will open in Newcastle city centre later this year. It will be part of the Newgate Street redevelopment and have 226 air-conditioned bedrooms, a bar, a restaurant and business centre facilities. 
www.maldronhotels.com

 

NORTH-WEST ENGLAND

Refurbs & expansions

Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester
October 2018
Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville are transforming Manchester’s old Stock Exchange building into a 39-room boutique hotel with two onsite restaurants operated by celebrity chef Michael O’Hare: The Man Who Fell to Earth and Are Friends Electric. Opening dates and details are sketchy at the moment, but there’s no doubt this will be one of the most interesting new hotels in Manchester in 2018.
www.stockexchangehotel.co.uk

 

WALES

Refurbs & expansions

The Exchange Hotel, Cardiff, South Wales
Early 2018
The Exchange Hotel has opened in Cardiff’s former Coal Exchange, where the world’s first million-pound business deal was struck. The building played a vital role in industrial Cardiff in the 19th Century and a multi-million pound renovation has transformed the building into a luxury 200-suite hotel with 2 unique and stunning meeting and conference venues with the capacity for up to 600 people.
www.exchangehotelcardiff.co.uk

 

The Swan at Hay relaunches after £1million makeover, Hay-on-Wye, Mid Wales
Early 2018
The Grade II listed Georgian hotel, located in the famous book town of Hay-on-Wye, has been fully refurbished and restored to its former glory. Expect 19 beautifully decorated en-suite bedrooms, banquet facilities for up to 120 people, and rooms equipped with characterful log-burning fires. Guests can now enjoy the Market Bar; complete with an Aneurin Jones original painting, the 1812 bar with informal dining area, and the Green Room, the hotel’s garden room restaurant.
www.swanathay.com

 

SCOTLAND

New and upcoming openings

Blervie House, Forres
Late 2017
Blervie is an exceptional Scottish Country House combining the best of a bygone era with best of today’s modern day conveniences.  Blervie sits in extensive private grounds surrounded by woodland in the middle of Malt Whisky Country. Guests staying at Blervie have many delightful rooms from which to relax and enjoy the superb garden and distant views of the Moray Firth and the Black Isle after they have been touring the many attractions in the area.
www.blervie.com

 

Radisson Red Hotel, Glasgow
Spring 2018
This new hotel philosophy connects with a millennial mindset through art, music and fashion. The Radisson Red hotel, located next to the SECC Hydro, will have an amazing 174 rooms to choose from. There will be a chance to enjoy great food, fine wine and craft beer in the rooftop bar, whilst taking in fantastic views of the river Clyde.
www.radissonred.com

 

The Fife Arms Hotel, Braemar
Summer 2018
This hotel is being restored to the splendour of its Victorian heyday. Situated in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, this historic hotel, will be reimaged as a globally acclaimed cultural destination, offering luxury accommodation across 46 bedrooms. There will be a spectacular restaurant with a wood fired grill, two bars, a fire room, library and cinema.
www.thefifearms.com

 

The Machrie Hotel, Isle of Islay
Summer 2018
Campbell Gray Hotels will be opening The Machrie, an exceptional hotel for the truly breathtaking Isle of Islay. Whether you’re just looking to explore this stunning island, home to some of the world’s finest whiskies, birdlife, seafood and dramatic coastal seascapes, or you’re taking on the challenge of the links, The Machrie will be the perfect place to start your stay.
www.campbellgrayhotels.com/machrie-islay-scotland

 

Fingal – The Royal Yacht Britannia’s Floating Hotel, Edinburgh
September 2018
Launching in spring 2018, this major investment by the Royal Yacht Britannia will provide the ultimate luxury experience: a floating hotel berthed at The Shore, Edinburgh. The 23 beautifully styled cabins, all named after Stevenson lighthouses, are inspired by Fingal’s rich maritime heritage. With a cabin for every occasion - guests will be able to choose their own private balcony, a duplex cabin or, for that special occasion the stunning presidential suite. All of this a short stroll from two Michelin starred restaurants in the vibrant Leith neighbourhood.
www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk

 

Innside by Melia, Glasgow
November 2018
The Spanish hotel company is bringing its sleek style to Glasgow with this new 175-room premium brand hotel.
www.melia.com

 

Motel One, Glasgow
November 2018
Motel One Group will open its new £22 million hotel next to Glasgow Central Station. It will have a One Lounge, which is the living room, breakfast café and bar all in one.
www.motel-one.com/en/hotels/glasgow