Welsh foodie experiences to savour

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

Abergavenny Food Festival

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

When? 21-22 September

Narberth Food Festival

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

When? 28-29 September

Neath Food and Drink Festival

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

When? 4-6 October

Gwledd Conwy Feast

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

When? 25-27 October

Llandudno Christmas Fayre

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

When? 14-17 November

Portmeirion Christmas Food and Craft Fair

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

When? 6-8 December

Aber Falls Distillery

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

When? All-year round

Penderyn Distillery

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

When? All year round

Loving Welsh Food tours

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

When? Friday and Saturday, 10.30am-2.30pm

Halen Mon Saltcote and Visitor Centre

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

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

Foodie foraging tours

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

When? Various, see websites for details.

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

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

Tom’s Eco Lodge, Isle of Wight

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

Asheston Eco Barns, Pembrokeshire

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

Rosehill Lodges, Cornwall

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

Waterhouse, Scotland

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

Wheatland Farm, Devon

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

Bryn Elltyd Eco Guest House, Snowdonia

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

Wrostler’s Barn, Cumbria

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

Crai Valley Eco Lodges, Brecon Beacons

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

Cotna Eco Retreat, Cornwall

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

Ten of the best ghostly tours and haunted houses in Britain

Get ready to be spooked this Halloween with these spine-chilling experiences and haunted houses.

 

5 chilling experiences

 

For The Love Of Horror – Manchester, north-west England

Your nerves will be stretched to their very limit as you explore a new creepy experience from Monopoly Events, who will transfer the Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester into a chilling immersive attraction that will make you quake in your boots! Dare you enter the Nightmare Zone, where you’ll be greeted by horror movies’ most frightening characters, before you attempt to battle your way through a zombie outbreak? Meet those real-life creatures that always crop up in horror films, the tarantulas and cockroaches to snakes, before you heroically move on to a ‘mad monster after party’ and experiencing all the other horror attractions. Prove to friends and family you survived it all with a snap in the interactive ‘exorcist’ photo booth.

 

Wicked Nights at Blackgang Chine – Isle of Wight, south England

Walk through a ‘land of twisted imagination’ at amusement park Blackgang Chine’s new horror event, Wicked Nights at the Cursed Mill. Pluck up all your courage as you approach hair-raising live action experiences and scream like you’ve never screamed before on the Cliffhanger roller-caster. Still feeling brave? Hop on board the sinister ghost train before keeping your wits about you as you compete in games and activities at the Freaky Fair.

 

Muncaster Castle – Cumbria, north-west England

Muncaster Castle celebrates the spookiest time of the year in a truly ghostly fashion, as befits a castle known to be one of the most haunted in Britain. Don your finest Halloween fancy dress before making your way bravely through the dark and eerie Meadowvole Maze, be prepared to jump out of your skin as you listen to scary tales of fear and terror, and who knows what you might find lurking in the Ghostly Grotto! In between being spooked you’ll be entertained by the Muncaster Monster Cabaret – a mix of conjurors, fire-eating and aerial acts. 

 

Journey to the Underworld – London, England

Are you brave enough to embark on a Journey to the Underworld? This is a journey where you’ll discover the ‘Greatest Love Story Never Told’ at Pedley Street Station in Shoreditch, east London, as Funicular Productions brings a new enigmatic theatre experience to life. Get ready to encounter a thrilling combination that takes you through a story of fantasy, danger, fear, hope and love, as well as feast on a ‘last meal in paradise’ before your journey to the underworld. It’s here you’ll try to outsmart ‘the seductive Gatekeeper, the hunched Harbinger, and the damnable Dark One’.

 

Ghoulies Haunted House – Liverpool, north-west England

After bringing a live-action scare attraction and horror-themed bar to the residents of, and visitors to, Liverpool on a year-round basis it’s unsurprising that Ghoulies Haunted House is upping the scare factor come Halloween. This year, a character that may be innocuously called Kavity the Clown will be roaming the Haunted House, but you can guarantee it will be as scary as clowns get…and with a lot of laughs thrown in. If you enjoy this, come back any time of year to experience the venue’s horror-themed cocktails and events such as Scaryoke Karaoke, the Brain Dead Quiz and Boogeyman Bingo.

 

5 of Britain’s most haunted houses

 

Chillingham Castle, Chillingham, Northumberland, north-east England

Chilling by name and chilling by nature, this 13th-century castle in Northumberland was the scene of bloody battles and eerie intrigue for centuries. Its rooms and gardens are lovely places to explore but to properly experience one of the most haunted castles in Britain, head into its Torture Chamber and join an evening Ghost Tour for a more unnerving encounter.

The Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire, west England

For nearly 900 years the Ancient Ram Inn has stood in the Gloucestershire village of Wotton-under-Edge and brings with it stories of a gruesome and bloodthirsty history. Not only that, there have been numerous reports of supernatural events taking place here, making it a frontrunner for spookiest house in Britain. If that doesn’t petrify you, stay overnight here – although whether you’ll get a good night’s sleep is another matter…

Newton House, Dinefwr, Pembrokeshire, west Wales

The gorgeous Dinefwr Estate is a beautiful 18th-century park landscaped by Capability Brown, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t tales of ghosts and ghouls roaming the grounds. Newton House, in the centre of the park, has a ghostly visitor each night in the form of Lady Elinor Cavendish. The tale goes that she was betrothed to a man she didn’t love and, when she ran away from him and escaped back to Dinefwr to her family, her suitor strangled her. Visitors should listen out for muffled voices and watch out paranormal activity from the servants’ basement…

St Briavel’s Castle, Gloucestershire, west England

Looked after by English Heritage, this castle is now a youth hostel and if you enjoy the thought of hearing all the creepy tales about this 800-year-old castle, this is the place for you. Maybe you’ll sense the spine-chilling atmosphere as you explore the castle and feel the hairs stand up on the back of your neck as you read pleading notes carved into the walls by prisoners held here centuries ago.

Glamis Castle, Scotland

Known as one of the most haunted castles in Scotland, Glamis Castle – 20 minutes’ drive from Dundee and, incidentally, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother – is said to be home to many spirits…which makes sense when you learn it’s been standing since 1372 and was said to have inspired Shakespeare’s Macbeth. There’s many a spooky tale of historic dark deeds to be heard, especially around Halloween on one of its ghostly tours…

 

Accommodation Update - July 2018

Recently opened

London

Kettner’s Townhouse, London

Located in the very heart of Soho, Kettner’s Townhouse reopened earlier this year and now has 33 bedrooms upstairs, a revamped champagne bar and a piano bar. The hotel started more than 150 years ago, and it still retains many features of a traditional building. Famous figures such as Oscar Wilde and Edward VII are said to have stayed in this hotel.

White City House, London

A hotel and private members’ club, White City House – located in the famous landmark of the BBC’s former headquarters and part of the Soho House & Co group – offers 45 bedrooms, ranging in size from ‘tiny to medium’. Guests will also find a restaurant, games room, gym, cinema, a club area and rooftop pool. There are two bars available, both of which have space for live bands and DJs.

 

England

Ginger Peanut restaurant-with-rooms, Devon

A new restaurant-with-rooms opened in the Devon town of Bampton. Christopher Badham and Damian Llambias (the duo behind the nearby exclusive hire baronial mansion, Huntsham Court) have restored a Grade II-listed building in the heart of Bampton’s conservation area to create a stylish restaurant-with-rooms. There are five individually decorated and very comfortable en-suite bedrooms, but the emphasis is firmly on the bar and restaurant, with menus designed by award-winning chef Peter Mundy; they make no secret about wanting to become the best place to eat in Devon.

 

Scotland

Edinburgh Grand, Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Grand opened its doors to guests on 1 June in the heart of the city’s vibrant St Andrew Square, bringing 50 individually designed, fully equipped apartments housed in an historic city landmark that also includes a selection of restaurants and bars as well as a champagne & cocktail Lounge.

 

Wales

Rivercatcher Log Cabins, near Snowdonia

New Scandi-style log cabins opened in the foothills of the Berwyn Mountains in north Wales on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. Each self-catering cabin has its own theme and feature wood burners, fully equipped kitchens, king-size beds and glass-fronted apex windows to make the most of the green landscape. Guests can also cook alfresco on the wood-fired outdoor kitchen or soak under the stars in the hot tub within the sanctuary of the private deck.

 

Refurbishments

England

Linthwaite House, Lake District

Following a one-year closure and £10million renovation project, the luxurious, four-star Linthwaite House overlooking Lake Windermere has reopened. Guests can choose from five categories of room – classic, luxury, view, deluxe and suite – and two restaurants are available, the fine-dining Stella and The Bar and Conservatory serving all-day dining and cocktails. Pathways wind their way through well-maintained private gardens and woodlands and drinks or light meals can be enjoyed on its newly created raised wooden Windermere Deck, located next to the hotel’s own private small lake, with views to Lake Windermere and the surrounding mountains.

Lodore Falls, Lake District

A new spa is set to open this summer at Lodore Falls, nestled in Borrowdale Valley on the shores of Derwentwater. The Lake District Spa will boast 18 new luxury spa bedrooms, the new pan-Asian restaurant Mizu and a champagne & deli bar. The spa’s thermal suite will comprise a laconium, aroma steam room, herbal sauna and salt steam room, while outside will be a 16-metre hydro pool with volcano fountain, neck jets, underwater loungers and overflow hot tub with spectacular views to Derwentwater and the Catbells Mountain Range.

The Bradley B&B, Cheltenham

The Bradley, an elegant B&B in a listed Regency townhouse in Cheltenham’s exclusive Montpellier district, has completed a sympathetic refurbishment and launched two new Garden rooms. Set in the hotel’s serene courtyard garden, the new bedrooms have large private terraces and are a contemporary but complementary alternative to the traditional rooms in the main building, which have been redecorated and recarpeted. The Bradley has welcomed guests since 1912, and remains one of Cheltenham’s most important complete historical house. With its working fireplace, honesty bar, antiques and artwork, the B&B is a characterful and convenient place to stay in Cheltenham. It’s dog friendly too.

 

Scotland

Nira Caledonia, Edinburgh

After an unfortunate fire, the unique boutique hotel announced its grand re-opening following a period of extensive refurbishment to one of the beautiful townhouses. The hotel also re-opened its refurbished Blackwood’s Bar & Grill.

St Davids Hotel, Cardiff

This five-star hotel in Wales’ capital has refurbished its lobby and spa, following the refurbishment of its new Australasian restaurant. The Admiral St David is an entirely new restaurant concept for Wales and the south west of England, serving up an exotic melting pot of fresh Australasian flavours.

 

Opening soon

London

Belmont Cadogan Gardens, London

The Belmont Cadogan Gardens hotel – a hotel at the heart of fashionable Chelsea that has been running since 1887 – will reopen towards the end of 2018. Once open, guests will have access to 54 chic rooms. The first two floors will have modern rooms while the other three storeys feature traditional British designs with an Edwardian splendour. Its piece de resistance is access to Cadogan Place Gardens, gorgeous private gardens, with picnic lawn and tennis courts, that are usually only open to local residents. Opening Winter 2018.

Yotel Clerkenwell, London

Yotel will open its third property in the UK with a 212-cabin hotel in central London’s creative quarter of Clerkenwell. The cabins will be equipped with Yotel’s revolutionary technology-driven hospitality offering, its signature space-saving adjustable SmartBed™, monsoon rain shower, techno-wall features, which includes mood lighting and entertainment options, with smart TVs. Additional facilities include a gym, bar, an independently operated dining outlet and Yotel’s Club Lounge concept. Opening late 2018.

Z Hotel Covent Garden, London

The eighth Z Hotel in London will open this month, bringing 112 rooms to a central Covent Garden location. Similar to its sister hotels, the hotel will offer ‘affordable compact luxury’ with ensuite shower rooms in its guestrooms and free WiFi. Opening July 2018.

 

England

Shankly Hotel, Liverpool’s first urban glamping site,

One of Britain’s first urban glamping sites will open on the rooftop of Liverpool’s iconic Shankly Hotel. Instead of the countryside scenes typically associated with glamping, Signature Living’s latest venture offers a panorama of the Liverpool skyline that’s best lapped up from one of the Jacuzzis or infinity pools kitted out with 32-inch TVs and pop-up speakers. The luxury tipis sleep up to six people each and have hotel-style trimmings, designer bedding and plush beds. There’s a bar and personal waiter service too. With those views and the summer festival x cosmopolitan city vibe, it’s the perfect venue for an unforgettable party well away from the hustle and bustle of Liverpool below. From £120 per person for two nights. Opening July 2018.

Weston Park, Staffordshire/Shropshire

Weston Park will be giving guests the ultimate summer staycation with a brand new Glamping Village on the estate, including this August Bank Holiday weekend. Fully luxury bell tents will be available for two-night stays for guests to enjoy a stay under the stars on a country estate. Set in a beautiful glade surrounded by ancient oak trees, nestled in the depths of the estate at Weston Park, the luxury glamping village will be the perfect summer getaway for friends and family alike. Tents will be decked out with comfy blankets, air beds, bedding and festoon lighting. Luxury toilet blocks with power showers will ensure guests feel right at home. Each tent sleeps 5 people and are available for two night stays. Prices start from £249 per tent for a two-night stay. Opening August 2018.

Dixie Dean Hotel, Liverpool

Football mad? Check out what is fast becoming known as a Football Quarter in Liverpool’s Victoria Street, as a new hotel – named after local football legend Dixie Dean – is set to open. The hotel will commemorate the life of Dixie both on and off the pitch with a luxury hotel, and is located directly opposite The Shankly Hotel, a tribute to Liverpool coach Bill Shankly. Opening summer 2018.

The London Warehouse, Manchester

Based in the bohemian Northern Quarter of Manchester, The London Warehouse will house an aparthotel with 166 rooms, as well as a cocktail bar, co-working venue, cocktail bar and restaurant as well as a florist and a barber shop. Opening summer 2018.

Queen Square – Supercity Aparthotels, Brighton

In its first development outside of London, Supercity Aparthotels are coming to the coastal city of Brighton later this year on the former site of Brighton’s ice-skating rink. The new aparthotel will house 59 stylish apartments, a gym, full-service restaurant, car and bicycle parking facilities and complimentary WiFi. Opening Autumn 2018.

 

Scotland

Fingal, Edinburgh

This major investment by the Royal Yacht Britannia will provide the ultimate luxury experience: a floating hotel berthed at The Shore, Edinburgh. The 23 beautifully styled cabins, all named after Stevenson lighthouses, are inspired by Fingal’s rich maritime heritage. Guests will be able to choose from cabins with their own private balcony, a duplex cabin or the presidential suite. Opening Autumn 2018.

Hotel Indigo, Dundee

A former jute mill situated between the city’s waterfront and it shopping district will be transformed into a 102-bedroom Hotel Indigo with 12 junior suites. As a nod to Dundee’s position as a world leader in the computer gaming industry, the hotel also has created a special games area. There will also be a fully equipped gym, bar and restaurant. Opening scheduled for August 2018.

Sleeperz, Dundee

Dundee’s new train station is due to open this summer following a £14m renovation, with a 120-bed Sleeperz hotel above. The hotel will overlook the new V&A Museum, due to open in September, and the new Waterfront Plaza and will offer free WiFi and comfortable, bespoke, handmade Sleepeezee mattresses in all its rooms. Opening scheduled summer 2018.

 

Wales

Milford Waterfront Floatel Cabins, Pembrokeshire

The rather unusual addition of four-star floating suites (Milford Waterfront Floatel Cabins) will form part of Milford Waterfront development, comprising shops, cafés, restaurants and accommodation. It is intended to offer a unique experience for anyone wanting to soak up the tranquil marina atmosphere without necessarily owning a boat. Scheduled to open later in 2018.

 

Long lead

London

Hard Rock Hotel, London

the Hard Rock Hotel, located on the corner of Oxford Street and Park Lane in the conversion of the existing Cumberland Hotel, will open its doors next year. Designed by award-winning architectural and interior design practice, Scott Brownrigg, Hard Rock Hotel London will boast around 1,000 stylish rooms and suites, together with two vibrant bars and a lively Hard Rock Cafe®. In the lobby, the world-famous Rock Shop® will feature Hard Rock’s iconic merchandise. Guests seeking the ultimate experience will have the opportunity to elevate their status and become Rock Royalty®. Taking the London experience to another level, luxurious Rock Royalty rooms and suites offer extra perks including a personal concierge and access to a lavish lounge. Hard Rock Hotel London will pay tribute in its memorabilia collection to former residents such as Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Madonna. Scheduled to open Spring 2019.

art'otel Hoxton, London

PPHE Hotel Group will develop its first art’otel in London in the neighbourhood of Hoxton, with plans to develop an 18-storey, 350-bedroom contemporary new hotel. In addition, a modern top-floor restaurant and bar as well as a relaxing spa open to guests and the public will form part of the hotel’s offering. There will also be a publicly accessible arts centre, which will include an art gallery, space for video artists and photographic studios. The brand focuses on original art displayed from one artist throughout the hotel’s guest rooms and public areas. Scheduled to open 2019.

*art’otel is also planning to develop a property in the Battersea Power Development in south London.

 

Central London

The Grand, Birmingham

One of Birmingham’s most iconic Grade II-listed buildings, The Grand, set on the 19th-century streetscape of Colmore Row, is currently undergoing redevelopment and is scheduled to open in early 2019 with a 180-bedroom hotel, complete with restaurant and bar, a spa and the city’s first rooftop infinity pool. Scheduled to open early 2019.

The Crescent, Buxton, Derbyshire

Buxton, renowned as a historic spa town and peppered with architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries, will see its Grade I-listed Crescent transformed into an 80-bedroom, five-star spa hotel. The hotel is set to take over the majority of the Crescent and will incorporate the Assembly Rooms and a thermal natural mineral water spa in the Natural Baths. Scheduled to open 2019.  

 

Scotland

Yotel, Edinburgh

Yotel is to open its first hotel in Scotland featuring 280 cabins and situated in the famous Queen Street, in Erskine house. This central location means the hotel will boast easy access to top city attractions and have nearby transport links with both Waverley and Haymarket railway stations within walking distance. Integrating the elements of luxury hotels into cleverly designed spaces, the hotel will offer approximately 280 rooms known as ‘cabins’ ranging in style from a Premium Cabin to a VIP Suite. Scheduled to open first quarter of 2019.

48 hours in… Pembrokeshire

2018 is Wales’ Year of the Sea, a year dedicated to celebrating the destination’s spectacular coastline and all that’s associated with it; a coastline that is, in fact, so great for exploring you can walk the entire way around it on the Wales Coast Path. On the west coast of Wales is the region of Pembrokeshire, Britain’s only coastal National Park, making it a memorable place to visit during this year’s celebrations. Discover beautiful, award-winning beaches that stretch for miles, majestic cliffs, pretty harbours and rugged islands, all easily reached in a couple of hours from the Welsh capital Cardiff or five hours from London. Fill a weekend here with beachside walks, adrenaline-pumping watersports, exploring the region’s art and heritage, and feasting on mouth-watering local produce.

 

Time to check in:

It’s easy to find somewhere to stay with a seaview in Pembrokeshire and the region is dotted with cosy self-catering cottages, charming B&Bs and guesthouses, and campsites galore overlooking the coast. And for something special? The Retreats Group has three unique, high-end properties in St David’s, Britain’s smallest city. The Twr y Felin Art Hotel features more than 100 pieces of specially commissioned art and the two Rosette Blas Restaurant, all just a ten-minute walk from the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. If you have a large-enough party you can book the entire 12th-century Roch Castle Hotel and enjoy its awesome views over St David’s Bay, while the elegant stone-built 19th-century Penrhiw Hotel is located just minutes away from the breathtaking St David’s Cathedral. On the other side of Pembrokeshire is the attractive town of Saundersfoot; check in to its luxurious St Brides Hotel, where you can enjoy indulgent spa treatments overlooking the gorgeous bay below.

 

Day One

09:00 DISCOVER PEMBROKESHIRE’S HERITAGE

Begin your 48 hours in the south of the county to discover a little more about Pembrokeshire’s history. Explore the pretty market town of Narberth and its colourful Georgian and Edwardian architecture and, as it was once the capital of Pembrokeshire, it’s home to the medieval fortress Narberth Castle. It’s also a great place to pick up a unique gift to take home; Narberth is packed with independent shops, boutiques and galleries.

 

11:00 DELVE INTO TENBY’S PAST

Half an hour’s drive from Narberth is the popular seaside retreat of Tenby. Grab a coffee from a coastal café and either head out to discover the town’s fantastic inventory of art galleries, which includes the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery, investigate the town’s spooky past on the Tenby Ghost Tour, or imagine you are in Tenby of the Tudor era as you explore the National Trust-owned Tudor Merchants House.

 

13:00 LUNCH ON THE SEA’S HARVEST

You’re right by the sea so it’s makes perfect sense to dine on Tenby-caught seafood for lunch. Right next door to the Tudor Merchants House is Plantagenet House, a restaurant housed in the oldest building in town – some parts of it date back to the tenth century. Admiring its quirky interior décor, such as the medieval Flemish chimney, will keep you busy until your dishes of fresh seafood have arrived.

 

15:00 TAKE TO THE SKIES

There are many ways to explore Pembrokeshire, but if you want to see it all in just over an hour, book onto a scenic tour with Fly Wales. Take off from Haverfordwest Airport and swoop above the entirety of its coastline in 60 minutes.

 

17:00 WALK ALONG VAST BEACHES

Back down to earth and head 15 minutes from the airport to the seaside resort of Broadhaven in the heart of the coastal National Park. Come for a stroll along its huge expanse of sand and, at low tide, wander down to the village of Little Haven past a pretty bay called The Settlands. Stop off at The Swan Inn to relax with a beer or tipple of your choice while admiring the awesome coastal views.

 

19:30 ENJOY DINNER BY THE SEA

Head back up to Broadhaven for dinner as you watch the sun set over the horizon. Dine on local crab and mussels at the Ocean Café and Restaurant, a perfect spot to end your first day by the Pembrokeshire coast.

 

Day Two:

09:00 DISCOVER BRITAIN’S SMALLEST CITY

Small, yet perfectly formed, St Davids has the honour of being Britain’s smallest city. It’s also a conservation area in the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park and can trace its roots back to the fourth century when St David – the patron saint of Wales – lived here. Despite its size there’s plenty to explore; St Davids Cathedral is a captivating sight, both its majestic exterior and painted ceilings within. Its neighbour is the medieval Bishop’s Palace; although roofless much of the structure remains intact. Or, if you’d rather be in the great outdoors, the city is fortunately located on the St Davids Peninsula so you’re just steps away from joining the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (part of the Wales Coast Path) to enjoy walks with those gorgeous views in every direction.

 

11:00 SPOT SEALIFE IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT

See whales and dolphins, seals and porpoises, puffins and razorbills on a trip out to Ramsey Island and other islands further afield. Boat tours will take you out from St Davids and around the islands, sailing through narrow rock gorges and past extraordinary caves.

 

13:00 EAT THE FRESHEST PRODUCE

Delicious local produce is always on the menu at St Davids Kitchen, a restaurant which follows the farm-to-fork initiative. Feast upon Welsh Black Beef, reared just outside the city, Ramsey Island lamb and venison as well as St Davids lobster. Make sure you leave room at the end of the meal for the locally sourced Welsh cheeses.

 

15:00 TAKE AN ADVENTUROUS TURN

Enjoy this National Coastal Park to its fullest and participate in the huge range of watersports activities on offer. You’ll find plenty of surf schools and adventure activity companies based in St Davids. Try your hand at coasteering – where you jump from rocks, then swim and scramble back up them – or how about a spot of sea kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, powerboating or fishing?

 

18:00 TIME FOR REFRESHMENTS

After all that activity you deserve something cold and refreshing; stop for a drink in The Bishops in St Davids city centre. It’s an exquisite old whitewashed stone building and the interior is charmingly rustic, perfect to relax in with a local ale.

 

20:00 CUDDLE UP FOR DINNER

There’s a lovely word in Welsh that describes a cuddle or a warm safe place; this St Davids restaurant has taken it as its name and has ensured its meaning is prevalent throughout. Cwtch is a cosy, comfortable eaterie where you’ll find divine local food on its menu; Solva crab, Welsh ribeye steak, Caerfai cheeses and Welsh lamb are all there to tempt you.

Spend the year by the sea in Wales

Throughout 2018, Wales is celebrating the 'Year of the Sea' by highlighting the huge range of activities and ways to enjoy its white-sand beaches, endless sea views and 870 miles of picturesque coastline. So why not make this the year to indulge in some coastal Welsh adventures?

 

Outdoor pursuits

Wales is the birthplace of coasteering, a way of navigating the coastline without a boat or boards. There are numerous adrenaline-pumping adventures on offer such as rock-scrambling, seal-spotting, sea cave exploring and cliff jumping. The experienced guides at Celtic Quest Coasteering in Pembrokeshire will tailor your experience to be as mild or as wild as you like it.

As a playground for water sports, Wales also offers everything from kitesurfing and paragliding to paddleboarding and wild swimming. Or why not take a boat trip to one of the 50 Welsh islands that lie off the coastline?

 

Nature and conservation

Get to know the local wildlife with a Seacoast Safaris cruise where sightings include the distinctive residents of Puffin Island; keep your eyes peeled and you might also spot seals, porpoises and dolphins along the way.

Visit the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, managed by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, to learn more about Welsh marine life. Join one of their dolphin survey research trips, and you can even listen to these sociable mammals via an underwater microphone.

Gaze at the Stack Rocks and Green Bridge of Wales where centuries of crashing sea water has carved the dramatic rock arch and pillars. Access is via an army tank range, so check it's open before you visit. 

For an equestrian fix, enjoy a scenic horse ride along Druidston Haven beach with Nolton Stables; the secluded sandy stretch is bordered by cliff formations and rock caves.

 

Soft adventures on land

Walk, jog or cycle the 870-mile Wales Coast Path, the world’s first uninterrupted route along a national coast. Admire the beaches, estuaries, cliffs, and woodlands; wander the urban waterfronts and docks, or explore coastal fortresses such as Manorbier Castle in Tenby.

At the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, you can also find out about the country's industrial history and the pirates who famously roamed the Welsh seas.

 

Where to relax

Head to Portmeirion, made famous in quirky 1960s drama The Prisoner. Set in a designated conservation area, this charming Italianate-style village on the coast of Snowdonia National Park in north Wales overlooks the River Dwyryd estuary, and is home to numerous independent cafés, shops and Snowdonia’s only spa.

Soak up the sun or enjoy a windswept walk along some of Wales’ 230 beaches. The National Trust look after 157 miles of it; visit the website for their pick of the top shorelines to explore.

 

Savour the sea

If you like your food with a view, book a table at Coast restaurant on Coppet Hall beach near the village of Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire, which serves up fresh fish and seafood alongside uninterrupted views over Carmarthen Bay.

Langland’s Brasserie in Swansea is nestled right on the seafront and is home to delicious locally sourced food with stunning views of the bay. The fish and seafood platter is a favourite with diners.

For modern bistro food with a side order of sea views, dine at AA Restaurant of the Year for 2017-18 Beach House Restaurant, overlooking Swansea’s Oxwich Bay. 

 

Coastal events

Set up 21 years ago by a group of fisherman who wanted to highlight the local seafood, Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival, which takes place this year on Sunday 8 July, is the perfect event to sample fresh Welsh fare.

On Friday 13 July, join the annual Wales Swim at Tenby’s North Beach, where swimmers tackle a 1.2 or a 2.4-mile course in one of the country’s biggest open water swimming events.

Great British cycle routes

Great Britain excels in cycling, hosting celebrated challenge rides like the Peak District’s Eroica Britannia in Derbyshire, Scotland’s TweedLove Bike Festival and the UK National Track Championships in Manchester. But one of the best things about UK cycling is simply taking off spontaneously on a trail. Here are some ideas for exploring the UK on two wheels…   

 

Long-distance

Hebridean Way

This new long-distance ride spans the length of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides island chain. The 185-mile route crosses 10 islands in the archipelago – and it’s packed with paradise beaches visitors might not expect in the UK.

Surprise trailside treats: Calanais Standing Stones which pre-date Stonehenge, the historic Butt of Lewis Lighthouse.

 

Bay Cycle Way  

Starting at the nature reserves of Walney Island, this flattish route follows a spectacular yet often underrated coastline. Pedalling 81 miles through the Cumbrian and Lancashire countryside, cyclists can enjoy bird-watching in RSPB reserves and eating in the many gourmet restaurants in the village of Cartmel.

Surprise trailside treats: Coniston Priory Buddhist Centre, the art deco Midland Hotel.

 

Celtic Trail West

The Celtic Trail runs across Wales at its widest point with the west section connecting Swansea and Fishguard via the spectacular Swansea and Pembrokeshire coastlines. The seaside resorts of Tenby and Saundersfoot are also worth a visit.

Surprise trailside treats: The sand dune forests of Millennium Coastal Park, the Brunel Trail.

 

See also:

South Coast Way

This 360-mile coastal route from Dover, Kent to Dawlish in Devon stops at the seaside towns of Brighton and Hastings.

 

Fun and family

Two Palaces Ride, London

This two-mile loop takes in more than just the two palaces of the title. The relaxed start from Buckingham Palace leads to a laidback ride through the Duke of Wellington Arch and into Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens on its way to Kensington Palace – best ridden on a Sunday.

Surprise trailside treats: Hyde Park’s Serpentine Gallery and Apsley House.

 

Monsal Trail, Peak District

In Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park, the traffic-free Monsal trail offers flat, easy cycling along the old Midland railway line with great views of the limestone dales. The eight-and-a-half mile trail, from Blackwell Mill in Chee Dale to Coombs Road at Bakewell, blasts through six moodily lit tunnels, up to 400 metres long.

Surprise trailside treats: The Secret Tea Garden at Miller’s Dale. 

 

Lagan and Lough Cycle Way, Northern Ireland

The Lagan and Lough Cycle Way is a 21-mile, mostly traffic-free route from Lisburn to Jordanstown via Belfast. Cyclists can enjoy biking along the Lagan Towpath and Belfast Lough, with spectacular views inland to Belfast’s hills.

Surprise trailside treats: Kingfisher-spotting in the Lagan Valley Regional Park and Belfast’s most famous pub, The Crown Bar.

 

Cuckoo Trail, Sussex

The Cuckoo Trail gets its name from an old Sussex tradition of releasing a cuckoo at the Heathfield Agricultural Show. Running from Polegate near Eastbourne to Heathfield itself, it covers 11 family-friendly miles of traffic-free tarmac and gravel along a railway line.

Surprise trailside treats: See if you can spot Artist Steve Geliot’s wooden benches carved from storm damaged oaks, Hailsham village and nearby Michelham Priory, a medieval monastery-turned-country house and museum.

 

See also:

Fallowfield Loopline, Manchester

Head south from the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre and you’ll find the 16-mile traffic-free route to South Manchester.

 

Derby Canal Path and Cloud Trail

Flat, well-surfaced riverside riding starting in Derby and ending at the engagingly named Cloud Quarry where cyclists are rewarded by wonderful views. 

 

Camel Trail

A popular 18-mile, predominantly traffic-free railway trail taking in Padstow, Bodmin, Wadebridge, and Wenford Bridge; a delightful mix of Cornish woodland, birdlife and wild estuary.

New Year’s Eve in Britain: where to ring in 2018

With amazing fireworks lighting up London’s iconic skyline, Scotland’s world-famous Hogmanay, and partying with Santa in Cornwall, there’s nothing quite like celebrating New Year's Eve in Britain. Then, after all that revelry, join the Loony Dookers and start the New Year afresh (quite literally) with a customary New Year’s Day dip into Edinburgh’s wintery waters!

 

New Year's Eve: 31 December 2017

 

Fabulous fireworks in the heart of London, England

Join thousands of fellow firework lovers and watch London's extraordinary pyrotechnics bring in the New Year along the banks of the famous River Thames. After the success of the 2011 Olympic Games welcome, the event has grown to massive proportions and is now ticketed - grab yours here.

 

See Edinburgh Castle aglow with fireworks for Hogmanay, Edinburgh, Scotland

Enjoy a special midnight moment surrounded by the historic beauty of Edinburgh as you're immersed in a fizzing atmosphere of fireworks and music. Dance the night away at the Concert in the Gardens featuring live music, entertainment, DJs, giant screens, and outdoor bars – this year’s headliner is Rag’n’Bone man. After the clock has struck midnight, grab your family and friends and join in the traditional song of Auld Lang Syne

 

Burn away bad spirits with the Stonehaven Fireballs, Aberdeenshire, west Scotland

Turn up the heat at the frosty festivities in Stonehaven (two hours north of Edinburgh) where a fireball parade marches through the streets of Aberdeenshire. This amazing spectacle has been celebrated for over 100 years, and always attracts a large crowd. Traditionally, the fiery furore was seen as a cleansing ritual to burn off bad spirits before the New Year begins. Grab your winter warmers, and watch as the piper-led march heads a dazzling display of brave souls, all swinging fireballs above their heads!

 

Welcome in the New Year with witches and wizards in St Ives, Cornwall, south-west England

Take a trip to the English seaside and welcome in the New Year amongst goblins, witches, knights and even Santa! See the idyllic town of St Ives transformed on New Year's Eve, as it becomes awash with partiers and revellers alike, all adorned in fancy dress. Thousands take to the streets for an evening of fun, as live bands perform in the harbour and local restaurants and pubs host their own themed events. The evening celebrations culminate with the traditional countdown, ending in a firework display that lights up the whole harbour.

 

New Year's Day: 1 January 2018

 

The morning after the night before…

New Year’s Day Parade, London, England

London’s New Year’s Day Parade has evolved into one of the world’s great street spectaculars, with around 10,000 performers from across the world and a street-side audience approaching 500,000. The parade starts at 12pm and is filled with marching bands, cheerleaders, acrobats, kites and more. There will be a yet another series of impressive indoor and outdoor performances, including those from representatives of each of London’s Boroughs. Keep up to date with the line-up of musicians, performers and floats here. Take a look at the route of the parade and grab your tickets here.

 

Saundersfoot New Year's Day Swim Pembrokeshire, west Wales

Welcome in the New Year with a bracing swim at Saundersfoot, less than two hours’ drive from Cardiff. Don your fancy dress, get your hot drink on standby, and join over 1,000 other swimmers in the icy waters. Thousands crowd the surrounding beach to watch the swim, and enjoy fireworks and music prior to the culminating event.

 

Stoats Loony Dook, Edinburgh, Scotland

Join thousands of ‘Dookers’ taking part in this annual Stoats Loony Dook dip in Edinburgh’s freezing River Forth after their march along the High Street as part of the Dooker Parade. The tradition has been going for 30 years and participants raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the Dookers at various vantage points along the route or down on the beach.

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.