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.

15 incredible ways to celebrate World Gin Day in Britain

Shaken or stirred, with tonic or in a cocktail, the popularity of gin continues to boom and, with more than 160 gin brands across the UK according to the Gin Guild, plus a host of boutique distillers opening, Britain continues to lead the gin revolution. As World Gin Day celebrates its ten-year anniversary on 9 June with a four-day festival in London, make sure these British gin experiences are on your to-do list.

 

England

Stay at Britain's first gin hotel, Portobello Road Gin’s Distillery hotel, London

Book into The Distillery on Portobello Road; this gin lovers' paradise is home to two gin bars, stocking a huge range of gins (including the famous Portobello Road Gin) and the Ginstitute, the hotel's gin museum and blending room, which runs masterclasses showing you how to make your own gin blend.

 

Embark on a Gin Journey tour, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle

The Gin Journey takes its guests in a chauffeur-driven carriage to five bars in your city of choice, including a local gin distillery, with samples of specially selected premium gin in each. Other tours on offer in London include ‘The Gin Masters Masterclass’ for a chance to learn all about the various styles of gin and its manufacturing from a master distiller.

 

Head for London’s largest collection of gin, London

Featuring more than 500 gins and 30 tonics the Gin Bar at Holborn Dining Room is seriously impressive, offering the discerning gin lover more than 14,000 possible gin and tonic pairings, plus new gin cocktails.

 

Order gin from a ‘Bath’, Bath

The Canary Gin Bar in the south-west England city of Bath, is a haven for gin-lovers due to its vast collection of the spirit on offer. A micro-distillery has also been launched at the bar and has created its very own type of gin, ‘Bath gin’.

 

Enrol in gin school, Leicester
Join the Gin Experience at the 45 Gin School in Leicester and tour the home of Burleighs London Dry Gin, before selecting and distilling your choice of botanicals and bottling your own 70cl bottle of gin, under the guidance of a master distiller.

 

Feast on cake and gin, London

Hayman’s English gin makers and Brigit’s Bakery have joined forces to offer a Gin Lovers Afternoon Tea Bus Tour of London. Tours on the charming, vintage Routemaster bus take in some of London’s most iconic landmarks as a bespoke B Bakery Afternoon Tea is served with Hayman’s Gin infused treats and three seasonal Hayman’s Gin cocktails.

 

Scotland

Indulge in gin pamperingm, Glasgow

Created by the people behind Glasgow’s first dedicated gin bar – Gin71 – the Gin Spa is the world’s first botanically inspired day spa. Find bespoke treatments using the bar’s passion for gin mixed with natural botanical ingredients and sip on a complimentary gin cocktail that comes with every treatment.

 

Venture to the far north for gin, Shetland

Take a tasting tour at the UK’s most northerly gin distillery; the Saxa Vord Distillery on the Shetland Isles. Its recipes infuse gin with either locally harvest apple mint or bladderwrack seaweed to give it a unique Shetland twist.

 

Sail on a gin cruise, Edinburgh

The people behind Edinburgh’s Juniper Festival, Scotland’s first-ever gin festival, now offer special gin tasting events on board its Juniper Cruise. Heading out from Edinburgh on the Lochrin Belle canal boat, its two-hour tasting session teaches guests about gin’s fascinating history while sampling five Scottish gins. Cruises run until November and the Juniper Festival itself takes place at Summerhall, Edinburgh, between 1-3 June.

 

Gin along the North Coast 500, Caithness

Ask someone else to drive this stunning road trip along 500 miles of the far north of Scotland as you’ll want to stop by these two gin distilleries en route and sample the goods. Head to the new visitor centre of the Dunnet Bay Distillery, in Caithness, to discover tales of illicit distilling and the history of prohibition in the local town of Wick, before sampling its flagship gin Rock Rose. Further along near Inverness is the intriguing Glen Wyvis, 100% owned by the local community with a new distillery that aims to be 100% powered by green, renewable energy.

 

Mix gin with chocolate, Perth

The Perth Chocolate and Gin Street Festival, an hour north of Edinburgh, is a haven for those with a passion for chocolate and a love for gin. Coming to the city this November (17-18), there’ll be gins to try from all over the UK and a chance to see how well the two products go together in the chocolate and gin pairing event.  

 

Wales

Buy biosphere-inspired gin

Taste and take home the unique Pollination Gin, distilled by the family run Dyfi Distillery, located in the UNESCO World Biosphere of Dyfi in north-west Wales, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. It’s produced in very limited small batches, made from foraged botanicals from within the biosphere, pure grain spirit and locally drawn spring water, making it a special gift to take home.

 

Sample sea-inspired gin

Fans of seafood should put this on their must-try list; a small batch gin made with a variety of botanicals infused with seaweed from the Welsh coast, Dà Mhìle Seaweed gin is pretty special. Find out more of how this unusual gin is made with a tour of the distillery near Ceredigion in west Wales, two hours from Cardiff.

 

Northern Ireland

Take Northern Ireland’s very first gin tour

The Belfast Gin Jaunt launched last year and takes guest to five bars to try seven different gins – including three distilled locally – starting at a Victorian Gin Palace and finishing three hours later at the city’s famous Cathedral Quarter.

 

Explore Northern Ireland’s first craft gin

Find out the fascinating story of how Northern Ireland’s first craft gin – Shortcross Gin – came about in a tour of its distillery on the Rademon Estate in County Down, one of Ireland’s oldest historic estates located just half an hour from Belfast. And, of course, the essential tutored tasting of the end product.

SUFFRAGETTE CITIES AND BEYOND

Events across England celebrate phenomenal females in the centenary year of votes for women

 

6 February 2018 marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which allowed some women in Britain to vote for the first time, gave them the right to stand as an MP and was the first time a female MP was elected. Seven areas across England will commemorate this milestone with the government’s ‘Centenary Cities’ – Bolton, Bristol, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester and Nottingham have strong link to the women’s suffrage movement  and will be hosting projects celebrating those individuals who helped to make this happen. With International Women’s Day also on the horizon (8 March), events celebrating female empowerment will be taking place across England throughout the year.

 

London

Votes for Women Centenary, Museum of London

2 February 2018 – 6 January 2019

An experience likely to stir emotions; see Emmeline Pankhurst’s hunger strike medal up close and other iconic objects from the Museum of London’s huge Suffragette collection at its new display commemorating the Votes for Women centenary. But don’t just look – take part too. Book onto its Deeds Not Words event with independent jewellery company Tatty Devine, a jewellery masterclass on 17 March where you’ll create a Tatty Devine bunting necklace in Suffragette colours. Wear with pride. Museum admission free. Jewellery masterclass £45. www.museumoflondon.org.uk

 

Vote 100, Westminster Hall

27 June – 6 October 2018

Immersive and interactive tech, rare historic objects, pictures and archives will reveal the story of women in Parliament, from the campaigning, protests and achievements to where we are today and how we can continue to make change, in a free exhibition taking place this summer at Westminster Hall in London. Voice & Vote: Women's Place in Parliament is part of Vote 100, the year-long celebration of women’s voices in Parliament that will explore the contribution and impact of women on Parliament over the last 200 years. Witness a landmark moment too this year as the first female statue is unveiled in Parliament Square – renowned suffragette Millicent Fawcett. Admission free.

www.parliament.uk/vote100

 

Women of the World Festival (WOW), Southbank Centre

7 – 11 March 2018

WOW – Women of the World festival returns to the Southbank Centre for its eighth year, a global network of festivals that provides a platform for celebrating what has been achieved for women, and exploring further how we can continue to change the world. Join influential artists, writers, politicians, comedians and activists for a programme of talks and debates, concerts, performances, art installations and workshops. 1-day pass £30, 2-day pass £55, 3-day pass £80, all plus booking fee £2.50.

www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/women-of-the-world Women and the Hall, Royal Albert Hall

Until 26 April 2018

One of London’s most iconic venues, the Royal Albert Hall celebrates the women who formed its history and the women who are shaping its future, through a season of immersive drama tours, film screenings, talks and music performances, Women and the Hall. To celebrate International Women’s Day, the venue will present a night of ‘fierce, feminist truth, fiction, politics and poetry’ on 7 March, bringing together female writers and performers including broadcaster, activist and poet Bidisha and author and playwright Sabrina Mahfouz. Various ticket prices.

www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/series/women-and-the-hall

 

Women’s Hockey World Cup, London

21 July – 5 August 2018

Cheer on the world’s best female hockey teams from 15 nations as they take to the field at London’s Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer. While not directly linked to the centenary celebrations, this is a sporting event of real significance; it’s the first time England has hosted a Hockey Women's World Cup, and will be the biggest standalone hockey event Britain has ever seen. Various ticket prices. www.fih.ch/events/world-cup/world-cup-2018

 

Manchester

Women’s Words, The Pankhurst Centre/Manchester Central Library

From February 2018

Women are being invited to share their stories, poems and memories at the exhibition Women’s Words, curated by the Pankhurst Centre, when it opens at Manchester Central Library in February, some of which will also feature in an artistic re-imagination of the original The Suffragette magazine. The Centre itself will host an exhibition Resistance! in September, featuring contemporary photographs of UK grassroots movements acting for social change, and will also run events around International Women’s Day. Immerse yourself in the place where suffrage history was made; the centre is the former home of Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and was where the first meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union was held. Pankhurst Centre admission free; Manchester Central Library admission free. www.thepankhurstcentre.org.uk, www.manchester.gov.uk/centrallibrary

 

People’s History Museum

Throughout 2018

Delve into Manchester’s radical feminist past as the People’s History Museum has dedicated its 2018 programme to the suffragette movement. March is dedicated to Wonder Women, a festival – now in its fifth year – combining talks, theatre, discussion and art. In May, headline exhibition Represent! will open, exploring Manchester’s issues of representation and, later in the year, a rare suffragette banner will be added to the museum’s suffragette collection and go on public display for the first time in more than 100 years; a crowd-funding campaign to secure the piece and fund the exhibition is underway. Museum admission free. www.phm.org.uk

 

Castlefield Gallery

9 March to 29 April 2018

Search out the response to the historic struggles of women, the collective strength of women coming together and a look at life for women today, at artists Ruth Barker and Hannah Leighton-Boyce’s exhibition at Castlefield Gallery. The exhibition will take on many art forms, including ancient mythology and everyday life.  Gallery admission free.

www.castlefieldgallery.co.uk

 

Lost Voices, Quarry Bank Mill

Opens 3 March

As part of the Wonder Women festival, which creates a platform for women’s voices, the exhibition Lost Voices will recapture the voices of the women during the ten-year period from 1918, when legislation was passed giving some women the vote (over the age of 30 and who met certain property qualifications), to 1928 when all women were given equal voting rights. From £11.70 adult ticket. National Trust members free.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/quarry-bank

 

From Petticoats to Microscopes, Manchester Museum

12 March

 Wonder Women 2018 will also celebrate the pioneers of Manchester, women who have helped to shape the world, championing their stories in a talk and object-handling session by Michelle Scott and Judith Fabian titled From Petticoats to Microscopes. Museum admission free.

www.museum.manchester.ac.uk

 

Film and theatre

Throughout 2018

Contact Young Theatre will present the first performance of She Bangs The Drums (8 March) at the Museum of Science and Industry, which has both humour and politics at its core and brings stories, voices and testaments of those campaigning for the vote. There will also be screenings, with the Pankhurst Trust showing the award-winning and moving film Suffragette at The Whitworth, while the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art will be showing Hooligan Sparrow; a documentary about China’s most prominent women’s rights activist. Various ticket prices.

https://contactmcr.com/project/contact-young-company, www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk, www.cfcca.org.uk

 

Statue of Emmeline Pankhurst

March 2019

One to remember for next year; 2019 will see Manchester unveiling a new public statue of Emmeline Pankhurst on International Women's Day.

www.womanchesterstatue.org

 

Bristol

Bristol Museums

Throughout 2018

Celebrations for International Women’s Day will take place across Bristol, with interactive theatre, music and debates top of the agenda. M Shed is once again taking part, hosting a dedicated exhibition, talks and suffragette tours. The SS Great Britain will host a hands-on science event particularly aimed at encouraging young women to consider STEM careers in the week preceding International Women in Engineering Day (23 June).

www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/m-shed; www.ssgreatbritain.org 

 

Upfest

28 – 30 July 2018

Videos at the ready as live painting takes place during two days of Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival which, this year, will be commissioning female graffiti artists to celebrate women past, present and future. A multi-venue urban festival, centred on North Street in Bedminster, Upfest is free to attend. Festival admission free.

www.upfest.co.uk

 

Bristol Festival of Ideas

Throughout 2018

Great for sparking ideas and debates, this festival dedicated to discussion, held throughout the year, will feature the panel discussion 100 Years Since Suffrage: Feminism and Protest on 17 March, bringing together ideas from leading feminist journalists and professors to discuss the battles the feminist movement is fighting today. Tickets from £9/£7 concessions. www.ideasfestival.co.uk

 

Leeds

A Woman’s Place, Abbey House Museum

Throughout 2018

Discover stories and objects from pioneering women from the present day, such as from Olympic boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams, back to the Victorian era, and explore the struggle for equality and the progress that’s been made. The exhibition A Woman’s Place? also looks at how daily life has changed for women. £4.95 adult ticket. www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/abbeyhouse/a-womans-place

 

Nottinghamshire

Women and Power season, The Workhouse

April – July 2018

Women from all walks of life were integral to forcing through change in political representation – and the National Portrait Gallery and the National Trust have joined forces to open new displays focusing on that, in its Women and Power season. Find out more at its touring Faces of Change: Votes for Women exhibition, opening at The Workhouse in Southwell, Nottinghamshire (before transferring to Killerton, Devon, in November). It will take an in-depth look at the campaign for Votes for Women from the late 19th-century until 1918, in the context of the working women who joined the campaign, and also titled women who played a key role, including Lady Laura Elizabeth Ridding, the founder of Southwell House and of the National Union of Women Workers. Adult ticket from £9.10. National Trust members free. nationaltrust.org.uk/the-workhouse-southwell

 

Leicester:

Unveiling of Alice Hawkins Statue

4 February 2018

Watch the unveiling of a bronze statue of Alice Hawkins – who led the women’s suffrage movement in Leicester in the early 1900s – which will be at the heart of the city’s celebrations for the centenary. The statue will stand on a 4ft plinth in Leicester’s new market square, close to where Alice would have addressed the crowds at the height of the suffragette movement. And an exhibition featuring some of Alice’s personal possessions – including her ‘Votes for Women’ sash, her hunger strike medal and her notes from Holloway jail – is also under proposal.

www.leicester.gov.uk 

 

Sevenoaks, Kent:

A Woman’s Place, Knole House

17 May – 4 November 2018

Online content, film and sculpture will explore love, betrayal, class, gender and inheritance issues, as Turner Prize winner, Lubaina Himid, and five other artists – CJ Mahony, Emily Speed, Lindsay Seers, Melanie Wilson and Alice May Williams – shine a light on women’s stories in the exhibition A Woman’s Place, at the historic home of Knole in Kent. Himid’s work will focus on the women who served and lived in the background at Knole, including the unseen and little-documented Grace Robinson, described in the house inventory as a ‘blackamoor’ laundry maid. Adult ticket from £3.15. National Trust members free. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole/features/coming-soon-a-womans-place-at-knole

 

Devon:

Branded: Fashion, Femininity and the Right to Vote’, Killerton

Feb – October 2018

Through contemporary film footage, art and design, original clothing and objects of identified suffragettes will be brought to life in a fashion exhibition Branded: Fashion, Femininity and the Right to Vote’ at 18th-century estate Killerton in Devon. Wander among items such as the parliamentary suit worn by the first female MP to take her seat, Nancy Astor, a hand-embroidered couture wedding dress worn by pro-suffrage Eleanor Acland as well as one of Queen Victoria’s garments which has recently been conserved for Killerton’s exhibition. Victoria famously spoke out against women having the vote. Adult ticket from £11.60. National Trust members free.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/killerton/the-fashion-collection

 

Across England

EqualiTeas

18 June – 2 July

All across England EqualiTeas will take place this summer, a chance to debate, share ideas and celebrate women’s right to vote – with tea and cake an added bonus! https://equaliteas.org.uk

 

Heritage Open Days

6-9 and 13-16 September

The country’s largest festival of history and culture, this year’s Heritage Open Days will be promoting women’s history, revealing and sharing marginalised, unknown or misunderstood female stories through its events’ programme Unsung stories. Admission free. www.heritageopendays.org.uk

 

1,100th anniversary of Æthelflæd, The Lady of Mercians

11 July

Our ‘greatest woman-general’ Æthelflæd, the powerful queen who ruled Mercia from 911 until her death in 918AD, will be commemorated in 2018, the 1,100th anniversary of her death. She is known to have re-fortified Tamworth in 913; the town will mark the anniversary with a massive community art Mercian mosaic (summer), and the installation of a six-metre-high Æthelflæ statue. There will also be celebrations in Gloucester on 11 July; Æthelflæd was buried in the St Oswald’s priory in Gloucester. Chester, meanwhile, plans to link the 1,111th anniversary of the founding of modern Chester in 907AD by Æthelflæd with the 100th anniversary of votes for women, as part of plans for a year celebrating female empowerment.

marketinggloucester.co.uk ; marketingcheshire.co.uk

 

Votes and Voices: Acts of Defiance - Historic Royal Palaces

January – July 2018

To mark the 100th anniversary of the representation of The People Act, a season of special programming will take place across palaces including events at the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and Banqueting House. From live interpretation, workshops and expert talks, the series of events will be a chance for visitors to discover about some of the fascinating women that have marked the History.

www.hrp.org.uk/votesandvoices

 

For more information on what’s new for 2018 visit: www.media.visitengland.com

 

Ends

For further press information and images please contact:
Evelina Andrews / Louise Ferrall/ Sophie Dinsdale/ Anaïs Bobst
VisitEngland Press Office 
Tel: 020 7578 1446 / 020 7578 1437
Email: vepr@visitengland.org

Notes to Editors:

About VisitEngland

  • VisitEngland’s focus is on the development and delivery of the new Discover England fund for product development to ensure that bookable regional product is being sold in international markets. This activity will also benefit the domestic industry by building engagement and partnerships between and across regions and developing product that will be attractive to both domestic and international markets.
  • Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on www.visitengland.org/insight-statistics.
  • Tourism in England is worth £106 billion, and supports 2.6 million jobs.

Britain’s best coffee houses – the new British brew

Brits may be stereotyped as avid tea drinkers, but it hasn’t stopped a growing coffee culture brewing across the nation.

With award-winning roasters and World Barista Champions, an emphasis on ethically sourced, independently roasted and perfectly brewed flavours, plus “third wave” coffee tastes from Aeropress to cold-drip methods, it’s clear there’s more to Britain’s caffeine fix beyond regular chain-café coffee.

 

Brighton: Small Batch Coffee Roasters

This family-run coffee house roasts its own Arabica coffee, sustainably sourced from local farmers in over 20 countries. Now a powerhouse in local coffee culture, Small Batch has eight locations, serving everything from the classics to their own unique blends and cold brews.

 

Bath: Colonna & Small’s

Co-owned by Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, a three-time winner at the UK Barista Championships, this speciality coffee hub is all about flavour. The menu changes weekly for that reason, rotating seasonal coffees from across the world, sourced by expert roasters all over the UK.

 

Bristol: Full Court Press

This minimalist interior matches the slick menu which features two filter blends and two espresso blends that change weekly. The coffee comes from individual farms and co-ops all over the world, as well as some 30 roasters in Europe, enticing people to keep coming back.

 

London: Prufrock

Owned by World Barista Champion, Gwilym Davies and UK Barista Championship Head Judge, Jeremy Challender, this café scooped Time Out’s ‘Best Coffee In London’ accolade. Hand-brewed filter coffee is the star of the show in this two-floor wonderland where each week, three coffees are showcased on the brew-bar while you ask the baristas their secrets.

 

Birmingham: Quarter Horse Coffee

What makes this independent roaster so special is you can see the roasting process in action at its on-site roastery. Premium beans, sourced from all over the globe from entrepreneurial female producers in places such as Colombia and Guatemala, are roasted weekly for maximum freshness.

 

Leeds: Laynes Espresso

This espresso bar is not only is a sleek hangout where you can try dedicated brews (and some of the best sweet treats in the city from Porterhouse Cake Co) it’s also an educational space offering classes for hobby baristas through to professional qualifications.

 

Manchester: Pot Kettle Black

This inviting space in the Victorian-era Grade II-listed Barton Arcade was set up by two local Rugby League stars who wanted to serve artisan coffee in atmospheric surroundings, alongside a menu of healthier food choices including gluten-free and vegan options.

 

Sheffield: Steam Yard

Steam Yard’s owners wanted to keep the alternative, independent spirit of Sheffield’s Division Street alive and this café, with its cool concrete-wood-leather interior, still retains touches of its industrial past. Set in a Grade II-listed building, it serves coffee from London’s award-winning Square Mile Coffee Roasters, and is also known for its speciality coffee-doughnut combo, known as the “Steve McQueen”.

 

Newcastle: Flat Caps Coffee

For coffee brewed in three ways – Filter, Aeropress and the old-fashioned Syphon – head to this bohemian basement café. Owned by a UK Barista Champion finalist and former banker, Joe Meagher, the café sources its beans from roasting companies around the UK and Europe.

 

Edinburgh: Brew Lab
Brewed with meticulous detail and precise brewing techniques, you can try single-original filter and cold brew coffees alongside traditional espresso roasts at Brewlab where a weekly changing coffee menu and locally produced food add to the charm.

 

Cardiff: Quantum Coffee Roasters

Resembling a funky science lab, Quantum loves experimenting with its brewing methods, using V-60 and Chemex pour-overs, I-brick and cold brew towers to get the perfect brew from their in-house roasted blends.

 

Belfast: Established

One of the pioneers of Belfast’s growing coffee scene, the fine coffee blends and tempting brunch menu are a big draw at this cool, minimalist café in the Cathedral Quarter. There’s also a dedicated training room where visitors can learn how to brew better coffee at home.

TASTE - July 2017

 

This edition of TASTE brings you VisitBritain's latest round-up of new restaurant openings and foodie news from across the destination over the last three months.

Verdantly vegan menus and eateries are popping up all around Britain – even plant-based taco and burger joints!  And sweet temptation has arrived in London and Glasgow in the form of dedicated dessert and chocolate parlours, Chin Chin Labs and Coro. In Cornwall, there’s exciting news for fans of BBC’s TV series Poldark, as a new nautical-themed restaurant called Loveday’s has opened in the village of Charlestown, which was one of the show’s filming locations.

 

TREND: Plants rule

With dedicated (and delicious) plant-based eateries popping up all over the place, Britain’s food scene is fully embracing the increasing popularity for varied vegan dining options.

Tacos might not be what you’d normally think of as vegan-friendly, but a new Mexican street stall residency at Pamela bar in Dalston, east London, is here to change that. Club Mexicana’s flavourful vegan bites include Carne Asada tacos, which are actually made of wheat and corn.

Moving on to burgers, The Vurger Co’s vegan ‘vurgers’ (made of vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes) have been so popular, the company has raised £300,000 through crowdfunding to open its first restaurant in London early next year.

In Birmingham, a new city centre vegan eatery and health store, Natural Healthy Foods, serves food that’s vegan, gluten free, organic, and free from refined sugar, including buffet dishes such as Sri Lankan dhal curry, and raw carrot cake for dessert. In Gateshead, north-east England, vegan and vegetarian American-style diner, Grumpy Panda, has also joined the plant-based revolution, with its tasty meat alternatives to US comfort food classics.

The trend continues in Scotland – in July, the second branch of Kind Crusts vegan bakery opened in Glasgow’s Southside, complete with its popular dairy-free doughnuts. Meanwhile, a new addition to Edinburgh’s vegan scene is GrassRoots, a plant-based coffee bar and lifestyle store on Gilmore Place selling cupcakes, pies and raw desserts alongside vegan lifestyle products.

 

TREND: Sweet, sweet temptation

Leave some room for dessert! In June, dedicated dessert shrine Chin Chin Club opened its first permanent site on Greek Street in Soho. Starting out in Camden Market as a little shop, it’s built a big reputation as one of London’s best ice cream makers. Choose from cult classics like The Brownwich, or new additions such as The Choux-wich: a choux ice cream sandwich with Persian pistachio and olive oil ice cream.

After the success of its first French-style patisserie and café in South Kensington specialising in eclairs, choux and chouquettes (empty choux pastry balls topped with pearl sugar), Maître Choux is opening a second site on Soho’s Dean Street this October. Founder Joakim Prat was formerly head pastry chef at three-Michelin-starred Can Fabes in Spain, so it’s no wonder his intricately hand-designed eclairs are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

The sweet action isn’t all happening in London. In June, Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow welcomed Scotland’s second dedicated chocolate café, Coro. Like the hugely popular original Edinburgh outpost, Coro Glasgow is unadulterated chocoholic heaven, serving cocoa creations ranging from pretzel-covered waffles to crepes and cheesecakes.

 

TREND: Garden dining

London’s gastronomic world is enjoying a burst of greenery – not just on diners’ plates, but in their surroundings.

Petersham Nurseries, the Surrey garden centre whose café once held a Michelin star, has just launched Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden in a historical central London town house. The sprawling site has a delicatessen, a home and garden shop, a wine cellar, and a florist, all based around a verdant courtyard. Its two restaurants – The Petersham and La Goccia – will open later this year.

In June, The Ivy Collection branched out again with the opening of The Ivy City Garden at Dashwood House in the Bishopsgate Gardens. The menu features classic favourites from The Ivy, such as its legendary chocolate bombe with hot salted caramel sauce, plus a new, exclusive sharing platter of truffle beef Wellington for four. The private dining room seats up to 30 guests, overlooking the garden.

 

TREND: Regional Britain

Global perceptions of British food are on the up, and newly-opened GBR (Great British Restaurant) at Dukes Hotel in London celebrates this trend by wholeheartedly honouring classic dishes. There’s the GBR full English breakfast of course, and for lunch or dinner, duck liver parfait with Yorkshire pudding and caramelised onion. Desserts also focus around traditional favourites, such as treacle sponge with custard.

Equally celebrating its national cuisine is new Scottish restaurant and bar Ardnamurchan, in Glasgow city centre. Dedicated to Scottish food and drink, its owners source artisan products from the Scottish Highlands and islands, and the bar stocks more than 50 Scottish whiskies.

Meanwhile, award-winning Welsh chef Tom Simmons is putting produce from Wales in the spotlight with the opening of his first self-titled restaurant venture in London’s Tower Bridge. His menu focuses on using Welsh produce where possible, but is a mix of French, British and Welsh cuisine, including classic dishes from his homeland, such as lamb cawl, cockle popcorn and laverbread mayonnaise.

 

LONDON

 

The latest big name chef openings

How do aroma, colour, texture, sound and psychology affect how we each experience flavour? This is the question Chef Jozef Youssef of Kitchen Theory is exploring in his latest project: the Gastrophysics Chef’s Table. Exploring the science behind how we perceive flavour, Jozef’s 13-course multi-sensory menu is based on research collated with experimental psychologist Professor Charles Spence of the University of Oxford. It’s available on the last Friday and Saturday of each month at Kitchen Theory in Barnet, north London.

One of India's highest-rated chefs, Manish Mehrotra, is bringing his acclaimed Indian Accent restaurant brand to London this autumn. His original Delhi restaurant has been named Best in India by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants three years running.

Clare Smyth, the first and only female holder of three Michelin stars in the UK while she was chef-patron of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, is opening her first solo restaurant in Notting Hill this August. Core by Clare Smyth will focus on modern British fine-dining, with a central tasting menu of 10-12 changing dishes and more than 400 fine wines and Champagnes to choose from.

The food world’s famous Roux family has been busy with two new ventures. First up, Spurs football club and Levy Restaurants are partnering with Albert Roux, son Michel Roux Jr and granddaughter Emily to launch a fine-dining experience, On Four, at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium. They will personally oversee service and engage with guests at the H Club restaurant and lounge, where guests can also book to dine alongside former club players.

Over on Regent Street, Roux Jr – whose Mayfair restaurant Le Gavroche has two Michelin stars – has just opened The Wigmore, “a modern British tavern” linked with five-star hotel, The Langham. Its traditional British pub fare with a luxury twist includes posh scotch eggs and veal and ham pie.

 

New Asian flavours

Mei Ume is now open at Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, incorporating both Chinese and Japanese dishes into its menu. The restaurant has a live sushi station and serves small plates such as Shanghai braised pork ribs and dim sum, alongside larger standout dishes including whole Peking duck and Wagyu beef from Kagoshima.

Chopsticks at the ready! London is getting two new Asian food courts. In July, Bang Bang Oriental opened in North London – a sprawling venue with a pan-Asian Street Food Market vibe, celebrating Asia’s vibrant culture with 33 individual kiosks under one roof, including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Malaysian cuisine. Open every day from 11am – 10pm.

Then, in September, The Japan Centre – London’s iconic Japanese food shop established in the 1970s – is opening a new flagship food hall on Panton Street by Leicester Square. Its large dining hall will be surrounded by open kitchens and specialist sake, tea and miso rooms, a demonstration kitchen and a Japanese bakery.

A new Japanese-inspired fast food joint with a cheeky name has arrived on Soho’s Wardour Street this month. Ichi Buns are unique Asian-style burgers brought to you by Alan Yau - the man behind popular restaurant chains Wagamama and Busaba. Choices include a panko meatball burger and ‘Hokkaido’: two grilled patties, red onions, shiitake mushrooms and blue cheese fondue. Or, you can opt for ramen and spring rolls – but these aren’t your average spring rolls. These are cheeseburger spring rolls.

US-based ‘Asian Table’ casual dining chain P. F. Changs is coming to Covent Garden this August, headed up by ex-Nobu chef Deepak Kotian. The affordable menu is inspired by Asian street food, and there is even a breakfast bao, filled with sliced smoked salmon and boiled egg in a honey lotus bun.

Mint Gun Club – a new tea house, bar and delicatessen from drinks expert Richard Hunt (previously of Milk & Honey, Hawksmoor and Mahiki), has just opened in Stoke Newington. It specialises in apéritifs, globally-inspired cocktails and fine teas, and food inspired by Middle Eastern, Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, such as almond hummus, tabbouleh and chargrilled aubergine. Its High Tea features exotic sweet and savoury treats such as ‘proper marshmallow’ and semolina cake.

 

More new foodie ventures

Jean-Georges Vongerichten has opened his new restaurant, Jean-Georges at The Connaught hotel. Overlooking fashionable Mount Street in the heart of Mayfair for informal dining throughout the day, its menus are inspired by the chef’s classic French training and signature use of Asian flavours, plus his distinctive twist on British classics. The breakfast menu features healthy morning shakes, acai bowls, and classics like truffle scrambled eggs.

Brunchers rejoice! This month The Dayrooms Café opened in Notting Hill - a Melbourne inspired brunch and coffee specialist. Its all-day menu is largely healthy – think baja prawn corn tacos with prawns, slaw, avocado, pineapple salsa, lime crème fraiche and jalapeno sauce – but there are indulgent options too, like the honeycomb hotcake with raspberry crème fraiche and miso caramel. Wash it down with fresh coffee, blended juices, smoothies and milkshakes.

Street food sandwich heroes Sub Cult – named as the makers of British Street Food Awards’ ‘Best Sandwich’ – are opening an 18-month pop-up site on White Cross Place serving its US deli-style sub rolls. Sub Cult has even collaborated with Michelin-starred chefs to create bespoke specials. Menu highlights include ‘The Rodeo’ – rare roast beef, truffle mayo, Grana Padano, shallot jam, pickled serrano chili. For vegan customers, there’s the ‘Sub-Conscious’, while the ‘Subterranean’ – griddled woodland mushroom, roast garlic, thyme, truffle mayo and Stilton – was named ‘Best Vegetarian’ at the British Street Food Awards in 2015.

In early July, one of the Camden Market’s Victorian stable blocks got a new lease of life as Gabeto – a new restaurant by former Chiltern Firehouse chef, Lee Andrews. The menu fuses British ingredients with Latin flavours – think tacos, rare-breed steaks and small plates including the likes of chorizo Scotch eggs, plus a changing line-up of street food hosted on the terrace.

 

And finally…

Recently voted the Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea in the UK, Rosewood London’s Art Afternoon Tea is inspired by London’s vibrant art scene featuring five of the most iconic modern artists including Yayoi Kusama, Damien Hirst, Alexander Calder, Banksy and Mark Rothko. 

Woof! London’s first ever dedicated dog bar (yes, you read that right) has opened for the summer outside The Pet Pavillion in Chelsea Farmers Market. The Pawsecco Bar serves Pawsecco – a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated and grape free dog-friendly drink made from elderflower, nettle, ginseng and limeflower. To eat, there’s ‘doggy gelato’ and canapes such as super bone broth, chicken and turkey. Open all day Saturday and Sunday until September.

 

SOUTHERN ENGLAND

BRIGHTON

Situated on Ship Street in The Lanes, French restaurant Petit Pois opened in June, showcasing modern twists on French classics. Run by a husband and wife team, diners can enjoy sharing plates in warm rustic interiors, with dishes such as duck rillettes, steak tartare and tart Tatin – accompanied by a varied list of French wines.

Curry Leaf Café’s new Kemptown Kitchen in the city’s vibrant Kempton Village area mixes things up with a modern, playful menu of tapas-style Indian ‘small plates’, complimented by an exciting range of spiced cocktails and craft beers. Keep an eye out for its monthly pop-ups and special events.

 

SCOTLAND

GLASGOW

Newly opened on Dumbarton Road, Down to Earth Organic uses only 100 per cent organic, fresh produce sourced from local farms. Each dish consists of natural ingredients and the menu features dishes for both veggies and meat lovers alike.

Riding Glasgow’s street food wave, one of the city’s street food sensations – Surf Dogs – has a new permanent Southside home. Owner Martin’s aim is to change perceptions of the humble hot dog, and toppings range from US-favourites like the traditional chilli dog, to a BBQ dog topped with onion rings and a Jack and Coke barbecue sauce. Some toppings have a distinctive Scottish twist and there are also veggie varieties and a vegan option, the Super-Rad Surf Dog.

One of Glasgow’s most recognisable historical  buildings, Hutchesons’ Hall in the Merchant City, has had a stunning makeover, transformed into the new Hutchesons City Grill and 158 Club Lounge, with a beefy menu focusing on steak and classy cocktails.  

 

WALES

PEMBROKESHIRE

Luxury Twr y Felin Hotel in St Davids is celebrating its fine-dining Blas Restaurant being awarded the Food, Drink and Hospitality Award at the 2017 Radio Pembrokeshire Business Awards. The restaurant’s menu champions produce sourced predominantly from Pembrokeshire and Welsh suppliers, as well as foraged ingredients from the surrounding countryside and coast.

MONMOUTHSHIRE

Launching this month, guests staying at The Whitebrook Restaurant with rooms can join foraging expeditions with Michelin star chef-patron Chris Harrod and expert forager Henry Ashby. On these unique trips out into the countryside, guests will go in search of produce which they may then find incorporated into a dish on the menu at the restaurant later in the day. The three-hour experience is booked in advance and is open to small groups of two to eight. Chris Harrod developed his love of wild food whilst training under Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, using the countryside as his larder.

 

YORKSHIRE

LEEDS

In June, sleek rooftop Japanese restaurant and bar Issho arrived in the city, specialising in Asian sharing dishes that incorporate Yorkshire produce. Having previously launched London’s Sexy Fish in 2015, executive chef Ben Orpwood’s extensive travels around Japan have inspired his dishes, resulting in creations such as Wagyu pastrami and maple-glazed pork belly with fresh apple and wasabi. The restaurant features an outdoor terrace, and its bar, Kori, serves a wide range of sake alongside Japanese-inspired cocktails, such as the Matcha Sour.

In July, Manhattan-style rooftop bar and grill East 59th opened as an all-day bar and grill in the city centre, with an al fresco terrace. The menu focuses on New York dining, including dishes such as slow braised beef short rib with sweet mustard BBQ sauce and house pickle, while weekend brunch dishes include stacked pancakes with crispy smoked bacon and maple syrup. There’s also the option for late night grazing at the bar until 1am with snacks like firecracker rock shrimp and hamburger sliders. The rooftop bar has panoramic views of the city and the venue will be running regular DJ sessions and music events.

YORKSHIRE DALES NATIONAL PARK

A new festival celebrating the cheese-making heritage of the Yorkshire Dales will make its debut on 23 and 24 September this year. More than 40 different cheeses are produced in the region, many of which will feature at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Cheese Festival, held at The Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes. There will tastings, demonstrations, cheese-making and cheese grading, as well as guided walking and cycling tours for visitors to explore the picturesque countryside, tasting local specialities as they go.

 

NORTH-WEST ENGLAND

MANCHESTER

Pop-up zero food waste heroes Real Junk Food Project create delicious dishes using perfectly edible produce thrown away by supermarkets, suppliers and farms. One of its directors is former Fat Duck chef Mary-Ellen McTague, who worked with Heston Blumenthal at his acclaimed fine dining restaurant. The team has been running a pop-up across the city since 2014, but will now open a permanent site (opening date to be confirmed), serving breakfast and lunch five to six days a week and three a la carte dinner evenings. There will be no set price to pay – instead, customers will be invited to give what they feel the meal is worth, and what they can afford. The team’s next goal is to offer free cookery lessons to low-income local residents.

McTague is also at the helm of Manchester Art Gallery’s new Gallery Café, with an overhauled menu that launched in June. Produce is sourced from an on-site kitchen garden, and cured meats and bread are made in-house.

CUMBRIA

A new gastropub with rooms, the Pentonbridge Inn, is being launched in Cumbria this September by a husband and wife team who were the former head chef and pastry chef respectively at Marcus Wareing’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant at The Berkley Hotel in London. Located in the hamlet of Penton, the inn will have nine rooms and a dining room offering tasting menus served personally by the chefs, incorporating locally-sourced ingredients. A separate pub area will serve classic ‘pub grub’ and small plates throughout the day.

 

WEST MIDLANDS

BIRMINGHAM

A new African-themed restaurant serving springbok steak, ostrich rump and crocodile burgers has just opened on John Bright Street. Nakira Bar and Grill is kitted out with an authentic braai (a large South African barbecue grill typically used to cook game meats), plus African art and tribal masks decorating its walls. A menu highlight is the huge Nakira Braai sharing meal, including Boerewors (a typical South African sausage), beef steak, peri peri chicken skewer, jerk chicken skewer, chicken wings, large black tiger prawns and corn on the cob. Make sure you’ve built up a big appetite for this one!

Over at Grand Central, YouTube vlogger Nisha Katona has opened a branch of her Indian street food restaurant brand, Mowgli. Menu highlights include vegan dishes, Himalayan style cheese on toast, gunpowder chicken poppers (made with ginger, garlic and garam masala, fried in a chickpea batter), and mother butter chicken – a “real street food” equivalent of chicken tikka masala.

 

SOUTH-WEST ENGLAND

BATH

Get ready for a cheat day in Bath! In June, Smashburger’s handcrafted burgers arrived in the city, served with signature sides such as fried pickles and Smashfries (tossed with rosemary and garlic).  And Spanish celebrity chef Omar Allibhoy – who has previously worked at Spain’s famous elBulli under Ferran Adrià – has opened Tapas Revolution in the city. His menu of small sharing plates celebrates adventurous eating, and features Spanish classics such as tortilla, croquetas de jamon and chorizo – and indulgent churros con chocolate for dessert.

You might as well go all out and top it off with a ‘Swoondae’ at Bath’s new artisan gelateria, Swoon, which opened in May. As well as classics like chocolate, pistachio and fruity sorbets, Swoon’s chefs concoct six new seasonal flavours each month.

CORNWALL

A new nautical-themed restaurant, Loveday's, has opened in the village of Charlestown, which is famous for featuring in the BBC's popular TV series Poldark, starring Aidan Turner. Loveday’s menu celebrates local seafood and is influenced by the travels of sailors who would have set off and returned home to the Charlestown port.

BRISTOL

Two beefy new restaurants are vying for Bristol’s burger crown. In July Hubbox opened on Whiteladies Road, bringing mains like its Big Kahuna burger to the table: two 4oz beef patties, BBQ pulled pork, Swiss cheese, BBQ sauce, mayo, red onion, lettuce, tomato and onion rings. And if you have room, its signature sides include the likes of crispy chicken strips and barbecue burnt-end beans. Meanwhile, pop-up and festival favourite Burger Theory will open its first permanent restaurant in August on St Stephen's Street, and stage burger-related events throughout the year. Let the burger-off commence!

Bristol’s new harbourside shipping container development, Cargo 2, has welcomed a host of fresh independent eateries. There’s dedicated hot salt beef sandwich bar, The Pickled Brisket; authentic Mexican taco bar Cargo Cantina, inspired by its owners’ travels through South, central and North America; and Sholay Indian Kitchen, which focuses on modern, simple dishes such as chicken sliders and vegan spinach and garlic bhajis.

Also joining the Cargo 2 family is Gopal’s Curry Shack, with its aromatic vegetarian and vegan Indian street food, including parsnip and ginger pakoras and even an onion bhaji scotch egg. And for dessert, there’s Oliver’s Ice Cream - fresh gelato and sorbets made on the premises from natural ingredients, with 18 flavours to choose from at any one time, plus waffles, crepes, shakes, fresh coffee, ‘spaghetti gelato’, lollies, and cakes – all made from ice cream.