Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh International Festival

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.

Six Lake District locations to visit this autumn

As the Lake District National Park in north-west England became the UK’s biggest UNESCO World Heritage site last year, its popularity continued to soar, and the summer is, undoubtedly, a lovely time to visit. Savvy travellers, however, will find the Lakes and their towns and villages are equally beautiful to visit in the autumn; the scenery is ablaze with colour, the summer crowds have thinned out and there’s plenty to see and do during these months.

 

Windermere and Bowness

Right at the heart of the Lake District the towns of Windermere and Bowness boast picturesque lakes scenery wherever you turn. Catch those bright autumn colours from the water itself and climb aboard Windermere Lake Cruises steamers. This cruise can also take you to the neo-gothic Wray Castle; looming over the shores of Windermere, it’s not your typical castle displaying family heirlooms and portraits… there’s something here for everyone, including the little ones – they’ll love the dressing up, castle building and adventure play area available. For a different class of architecture, head to Blackwell House, a brilliant example of the Arts & Crafts movement from the early 20th century, which retains many of its original features and holds fantastic permanent and visiting exhibitions. From 21 September until February 2019 the House will host an exhibition of ceramics by Turner Prize-winner Grayson Perry.

Children’s author and illustrator Beatrix Potter was one of the Lakes’ most famous residents and all ages can enjoy the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction – you’ll feel as if you’re stepping into one of her books. Little ones will particularly love the Peter Rabbit Tea Party that’s taking place from 20 October to 30 December.

 

Kendal

A smart, handsome market town, Kendal is the Lakes’ arts and culture centre and packed with independent cafés and pubs. Catch a play, exhibition, comedy or music event at the town’s thriving cultural hub, the Brewery Arts Centre; get your fix of art at the hidden gem that is the Abbot Hall Art Gallery, set in the Grade I-listed 18th-century building of Abbot Hall; or experience a dose of history at Kendal Castle, once the family home of the sixth wife of Henry VIII, Katherine Parr. Book onto a walking tour to hear more of its dynamic history and admire the excellent views from its hilltop vantage point.

Kendal is also a festival hotspot; in November it welcomes the Kendal Mountain Festival, an award-winning adventure film and speaker festival and a must-visit gathering for outdoor enthusiasts. This September will also see the return of Lakes Alive (7-9), which will bring contemporary art, activities and performances to Kendal and the wider Lake District National Park. On 14 September, the Kendal Torchlight Carnival takes place, followed by the only comic art festival in the UK, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, taking over the whole of the town in October. Another way to experience the rich heritage and culture in the Lakes are the Lakes Culture Signature Experiences; four different routes have been created for visitors to experience different areas and their rich heritage and culture.

 

Keswick & Ullswater

Keswick is close to the lakes of Ullswater, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite, as well as the mountains of Grizedale Pike, Skiddaw and Catbells yet it’s not just a walkers’ paradise; head out onto Ullswater Lake on board Ullswater Steamers for a relaxed view of the beautiful scenery or, if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, check out Honister, an innovative adventure attraction (and also England’s last working slate mine). Climb the original miners’ route (the Via Ferrata Classic) an exposed adventure climbing course created from cargo nets and wire bridges strung 1,200 feet/366 metres above the valley floor and, if you’re feeling particularly brave, take the bigger challenge by climbing the Via Ferrata Extreme!

Keswick is also one of the Lakes’ cultural highlights. Professional producing theatre, Theatre on the Lake, close to Derwentwater on the edge of Keswick, is probably in one of the prettiest theatre settings imaginable and you can catch a play here throughout the year. Travel a little further out to The Lakes Distillery and join an interactive tour to see how its whisky, gin, and vodka are made, which also make an excellent gift to take home. And we mustn’t forget the most niche of museums; the Pencil Museum! It’s more than just pencils (although the collection does include gems such as secret WW2 pencils complete with hidden maps); it also runs art workshops.

 

Coniston

Coniston, nestled between Coniston Water and the Coniston Fells, comes from a copper mining and slate quarrying background and, today, the village’s proximity to dramatic landscapes – lakes, mountains, waterfalls, tarns, woods – means walking, sightseeing, water sports, mountaineering and horse riding are all prevalent here.

The most notable feature of Coniston Village is The Old Man of Coniston, a 2,634 feet/803-metre-high fell. For a slightly easier walk with incredible views, head to Tarn Hows, set more than 600ft/183 feet in the hills above Coniston, that has a lovely, easy, 1.5-mile pathway showing off the best of the gorgeous Langdale Pikes.

Another lovely way to see Coniston Water and the Fells is by the steam yacht gondola; the trip takes you past Coniston Hall and then on to Brantwood, the home of celebrated Victorian art critic and artist John Ruskin. You can alight here to explore the house, filled with many fine paintings, beautiful furniture and Ruskin’s personal treasures. 

 

Ambleside

Ambleside is surrounded by magnificent Lakeland fells and is a town with an energetic vibe, yet it’s also home to one of the oldest standing buildings in the Lakes, the quirky, picturesque Bridge House, which dates back to the 17th century, and a true Lakes icon.

A visit to Ambleside also means you’re very close to Hill Top House, the 17th-century farmhouse where Beatrix Potter lived, wrote and based many of her much-loved stories. When she left the house to the National Trust she left instructions about how it should be shown, so it stands exactly as she knew it and lived in it.

Some of Potter’s works can also be viewed at the Armitt Museum, Gallery & Library – she was one of its earliest supporters – which features the history of life, photography and fine art of the Lake District. Or for a slice of contemporary art, head to the Old Courthouse Gallery, showcasing glassworks, jewellery, wall art and ceramics, which you can also buy. A great way to spend an evening in Ambleside is at the Jazz Bar of Zeffirellis, where contemporary jazz and world music performances take place throughout the week. Want to sample local ale? Try the wares created by Ambleside’s Barngates Brewery, served in Drunken Duck Inn and Restaurant, – although the brewery isn’t open for tours, visitors to the Drunken Duck can request to see inside the adjacent brewery buildings.

 

Ravenglass

Ravenglass is the Lake District’s only coastal village and history emanates from every corner, from its Bronze Age settlements, Roman forts and Anglian crosses to its Viking remains, Norman churches and medieval mills. You can even go back to the Victorian era of steam and experience the Ravenglass & Eskdale steam railway, which takes you on a stunning seven-mile journey through the National Park.

A must-visit in the area is Muncaster Castle. Still lived in by the same family after nine centuries, Muncaster is said to be haunted and, this November, will hold a Scientific Ghost Vigil. If that doesn’t sound quite your thing, the castle itself is fascinating to explore and you can enjoy bird of prey displays at its Hawk and Owl Centre right up until December.

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.

60 minutes from… Manchester

A city of culture, sport, music, history, creativity and diversity, Manchester in north-west England  should be on the must-visit list of any traveller to Britain; plus it’s one of the key gateways into the destination. It’s also in an enviable location, which means that journeying just an hour by train or car outside the city will lead you to a realm of ancient cities and spa towns, beautiful beach resorts, stately homes, unique countryside and bohemian heartlands – all perfect to visit on a day trip from Manchester.

 

Buxton, Derbyshire
Renowned as a historic spa town and peppered with architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries, the stately Crescent, which is being transformed into an 80-bedroom, five-star spa hotel, due to open in 2019, is a must-see. Buxton also boasts an impressive repertoire of festivals. This summer stop by for the open-access arts festival, the Buxton Fringe Festival, plus the Buxton Military Tattoo, and the Buxton International Festival of Opera, Music and Literature.

 

Liverpool, Merseyside
2018 is a huge year for Liverpool as it celebrates ten years since it was named European City of Culture 2008 and welcomes Britain’s largest celebration of contemporary art during the Liverpool Biennial, when artworks by 40 artists from 22 countries will be showcased for free across the city…all just 30 minutes by train direct from Manchester. There are a myriad of attractions to enjoy, from The Beatles Story and The Cavern (why not visit during the International Beatle Week Festival in August?) to contemporary art gallery Tate Liverpool and maybe cheer your football heroes on at a Premiere League football match at either Liverpool FC or Everton FC.

 

Southport, Merseyside
Miles of magnificent beaches greet you at Southport, a pretty coastal resort where you can kite surf, climb sand dunes, stroll along its historic pier or follow one of the town’s historic trails. Take a trip to Crosby Beach, which is home to Anthony Gormley’s art installation Another Place, 100 iron men standing looking out to sea. The area is also part of the UK’s ‘golfing capital’ – tee off at the prestigious Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport or travel 15 minutes’ from town to several more championship courses.

 

Chester, Cheshire
Wherever you walk in Chester, you can feel its rich history pulsating through its buildings, its city walls – the most complete city walls remaining in the UK – and its attractions. Here you can visit Britain’s largest Roman amphitheatre, walk through 700 years of history while shopping in the Rows galleries, enjoy race days at Britain’s oldest racecourse and visit one of Britain’s largest zoos, Chester Zoo, where you can meet 21,000 animals and experience its passion for conservation.

 

Peak District, Derbyshire

The nearest part of the picturesque Peak District National Park to Manchester is packed with dramatic landscapes of high moorland plateaus – travel further south in the park to discover a diverse landscape of hills and dales – which makes for great walking territory. The Peak District is also home to charming villages and attractive market towns and, if you travel just 90 minutes from Manchester, you can visit some of the loveliest stately homes in the country, such as the grand Tudor Haddon Hall and Chatsworth House; when the house reopened in March the wraps came off a major long-term, £32.7 million restoration programme.

 

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Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, for its creative vibe generated from the influence of writers and artists, cute galleries and independent shops, all set near valleys and heather moorland. Come for the summer’s Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.

Tatton Park, Cheshire, for its neo-classical mansion, 1,000 acres of deer park, collection of fine art, as well as walks through the huge gardens, plus the many events held here every year. Come in July for its Food Festival and RHS Flower Show. 

Blackpool, Lancashire, for its traditional English seaside resort attractions, the stunning Blackpool Illuminations and the iconic Blackpool Tower. Come this summer as the town celebrates the 250th anniversary of the circus with a series of special events.

Lake District National Park, Cumbria, for the sheer beauty of its landscapes. Parts are reachable from Manchester within 60-90 minutes so is still manageable for a day trip. Explore the lovely town of Kendal in the south of the Lake District National Park, before heading for a walk on the shores of Lake Windermere, the largest natural lake in England and just nine miles from Kendal.

Five incredible festivals in South West England

While South West England is known for its natural, rugged beauty, the region also hosts a whole variety of events and festivals throughout the summer. Although your mind may immediately consider the world-famous Glastonbury Festival or the Eden Project, the world’s largest indoor rainforest, there are plenty of offbeat, cool festivals that make the southwest the place to be this year. From balloon festivals, to discovering the next Banksy at a street art festival, right through to an award-winning music festival in the pretty Cotswold Hills, it is an area of Great Britain that may really surprise you.

 

Bristol Balloon Festival

Bristol, Thu 9th – Sun 12th August

Attracting spectators from all over the world, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest meeting of hot air balloons. A free annual event, it kicks off with the Afternoon Lift where you can watch the hot air balloons take flight, before it ends with a spectacular scene of glowing balloons and a fireworks finale.

 

Ötillö Swimrun World Qualifiers

Isles of Scilly, Sat 9th June

Home to a mere 2,200 people, the Isles of Scilly are made up of five main islands, plus another hundred-or-so uninhabited ones. Each year, the islands play host to a fantastic range of activities and events, such as art and folk festivals, as well as an exciting swimming challenge. On Saturday 9th June, more than 100 teams will compete in the Ötillö Swimrun World Qualifiers, a 45-kilometre endurance race consisting of open-water swimming, trail running and scrambling. Participants will compete for eight spots in the World Championships held later in the year.

 

Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival 

Dorset, Sat 14th – Sun 15th July

Historic Weymouth harbour is the place to be in July when over 100 stalls open to showcase some of the most delicious, responsibly sourced seafood in the world at the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival. Alongside demonstrations by such culinary legends as the ‘Broil King’, chef Dave Hunter, there will be plenty of opportunities to dine on cockles, mussels and more, accompanied by a chilled glass of Pommery Champagne.

 

Upfest – The Urban Paint Festival

Bristol, Sat 28th – Mon 30th July

Upfest, Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival, is held annually and attracts around 50,000 art-loving visitors to Bristol, home of the celebrated, but elusive street artist Banksy. 2018 marks the festival’s tenth anniversary with 1,000 applicants hoping to showcase their unique street art at the event.

 

2,000 Trees Festival 

Cotswolds, Thu 12th – Sun 14th July

A magical music festival for those seeking something a little unusual, the 2,000 Trees Festval pitches up every July at beautiful Upcote Farm in the Cotswold Hills, Gloucestershire. It’s the brainchild of a group of friends who wanted to offer festivalgoers affordable tickets to see their favourite bands – weekend tickets cost £115. The organisers have won countless awards for creating a diverse, exciting event, which features over 80 musical acts in an ethereal woodland music setting. Click here to discover this year’s line-up.