Celebrate Bonfire Night in Britain

November means big bangs, blazing bonfires and fizzing fireworks across Britain, as towns and cities remember, remember, the fifth of November! Wrap up and embark on a fiery journey into history at these flaming events that commemorate Guy Fawkes Night – the failed Gunpowder Plot and the conspirators’ attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Expect fireworks, light shows and an abundance of other entertainment all over the country.

Alexandra Palace, London

Offering spectacular views across London in addition to a breathtaking fireworks showpiece, the annual fireworks and bonfire show at Alexandra Palace is fun for all the family. From a stunning laser show and huge bonfire to live music, a German beer festival, funfair and an abundance of street food, it’s best to arrive early to see all the action. Tickets are £9.50 for adults, £7.50 for children and £2.50 for those aged 10 and below. Access to the beer festival or ice skating is at an additional cost.

When? 1-2 November

Crystal Palace Park, London

The green space of Crystal Palace Park is illuminated for Guy Fawkes Night, with two shows across the evening. Expect more colour and less bangs during the earlier children’s show, before the main event rounds off the evening, with all proceeds going to charity. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.

When? 5 November (7pm children’s show, 8.30pm main family show)

Battersea Park, London

Expect a bang at the annual firework display in Battersea Park to mark Guy Fawkes Night, which attracts mammoth crowds year after year. Arrive early to grab a great viewing spot as the park fills up quickly. An exclusive after party in Battersea Evolution follows the show for those aged over 18. Earlybird tickets from £7 plus booking fee. Afterparty tickets must be purchased alongside a regular ticket.

When? 2 November

LEGOLAND Fireworks Spectacular, Berkshire

Watch as the sky over LEGOLAND Windsor comes alive with colour as the theme park’s Fireworks Spectacular returns for another year. LEGOLAND also gets a makeover for Halloween as part of Brick or Treat, promising plenty of child-friendly thrills and frights! Tickets start from £36 and include access to numerous spooktacular activities, as well as to more than 55 rides, live shows and attractions.

When? 19-20, 25-26 October and 1-2 November (Brick or Treat from 17 October - 2 November)

The Tar Barrels of Ottery St Mary, Devon

The town of Ottery St Mary marks Guy Fawkes Night like no other, as its townspeople lug flaming barrels of tar through the streets, a tradition dating back hundreds of years. Although the origins of this annual pastime are unknown, many link it back to historical events including the gunpowder plot in 1605 and as a warning for the approach of the Spanish Armada less than 20 years earlier. The locals remain fiercely proud of the tradition and a 30-foot bonfire, fireworks and a fairground add to the fun. Just remember to stand well back from the evening tar barrel procession!

When? 5 November

Sparks in the Park, Berkshire

The grounds of the Grade II-listed stately home at Swallowfield Park in Berkshire are illuminated for Bonfire Night with a spellbinding firework display. A huge bonfire adds to the Sparks in the Park celebrations, with visitors able to sample a dazzling array of live music, food and drink in addition to the bright lights and loud bangs at this family-friendly event! Tickets are sold online from early September.

When? 2 November

Leeds Castle Fireworks Spectacular, Kent

Celebrate the 900th anniversary of one of Kent’s showpiece castles at the Leeds Castle Fireworks Spectacular. The castle has promised to take visitors ‘around the world’ on a themed evening featuring stunning pyrotechnics and the ‘biggest firework display in the south east of England’ featuring an incredible 25,000 starbursts! Explore the castle’s maze and falconry displays during the afternoon against a backdrop of live music and performers, before tucking into a variety of delicious food options as the fireworks get underway!

When? 2-3 November

Fantastic fireworks at Longleat, Wiltshire

The night sky is filled with bold autumnal colours as the grounds of Longleat are illuminated on the weekends leading up to Bonfire Night. Come face-to-face with lions in the safari park, see England’s only koalas in Koala Creek and tackle the newly renovated Adventure Castle before exploring the stately house and gardens. The fireworks coincide with the Great British Autumn, a set of family-friendly events to mark the October school holidays that includes pumpkin carving for Halloween, owl displays and ride-on tractors. Entry to the fireworks is included with a day ticket or annual pass.

When? 25-26 October, 1-2 November (Great British Autumn, 26 October – 3 November)

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

Wrap up warm and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landings – as well as Bonfire Night – in the glorious surroundings of Chatsworth House. With two dazzling firework displays, including one specifically for children, and an array of entertainment and delicious food, the family-friendly show has something for visitors of all ages. Tuck into a delectable hog roast or indulge in sweet treats before the fireworks take visitors on ‘an extraordinary voyage into space’. Tickets cost £16 for adults and £11 for children aged 4-16.

When? 2-3 November

Penrhos Beach, Holyhead, Anglesey

Rockets and fireworks explode over Holyhead Bay as the Welsh island of Anglesey celebrates Bonfire Night with a bang! Crowds flock to Penrhos Beach for the show, where there’s also a funfair, local music and seaside rides to keep children entertained before the fireworks begin! Watch as the bonfire roars into life and the lights from the pyrotechnics glisten across the sand – it’s a sight to behold!

When? 5 November

Wynyard Hall, County Durham

Celebrate Bonfire Night in 150 acres of stunning historical landscape at the Wynyard Estate in the picturesque Tess Valley. Dating back to 1230, the estate on the outskirts of Durham was transformed into a striking four-star hotel in 2008 and is all set to mark the occasion in style. As well as the bright lights and fireworks, there’ll be plenty of entertainment and fairground rides to keep all of the family amused.

When? 3 November

Winchester charity bonfire and fireworks, Hampshire

Winchester’s largest annual charity event returns with a bang in 2019 to mark its 61st year! Alongside roaring fireworks and a gigantic crackling bonfire, there’ll be ample opportunity to take in the city’s magnificent architecture as a huge procession weaves its way through the city’s historical core. Tickets go on sale from early September.

When? 9 November

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

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

 

The Scarlet, Cornwall

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

 

Dartington Hall, Devon

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

 

Log House Holidays, Cotswolds

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

 

The Green House, Bournemouth, Dorset

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

 

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

 

Eco Chic Cottages, Cotswolds

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

 

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

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

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

7 British festivals foodies should visit in 2018

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

 

Pub in the Park, various locations

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

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

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

 

Port Eliot Festival, Cornwall

When: 26-29 July

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

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

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

 

Foodies Festival Edinburgh

When: 3-5 August

Where: Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, Scotland

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

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

 

Isle of Wight Garlic Festival

When: 18-19 August

Where: Sandown, Isle of Wight, south England

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

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

 

The Big Feastival, Cotswolds

When: 24-26 August

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

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

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

 

Great British Food Festival, Wiltshire

When: 25-27 August

Where: Bowood House, Wiltshire, south-west England

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

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

 

Abergavenny Food Festival, Wales

When: 15-16 September

Where: Abergavenny, south Wales

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

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

TASTE – May 2018

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

 

TREND: VEGANISM

Choice for vegan residents and visitors has been rapidly growing in Manchester in recent years, with must-visit spots now including: #PlantPoweredSundays at Grub Manchester; Allotment in Stockport which offers a vegan tasting menu; the casual delights of V Rev Vegan Diner, Zad’s pizzeria, Teatime Collective and desserts parlour Ice Shack; independent food co-ops The Eighth Day and Unicorn Grocery; plus regular vegan fairs and beer festivals at venues such as Islington Mill and Hulme Community Garden Centre.

East London-born The Vurger Co opened its first permanent site in Shoreditch in March after headlining many menus at festivals around the UK: try the Tabasco Auburger, made from aubergines, chickpeas, red onion and vegan cheese. All burgers are made from 100% vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. For more healthy treats, Surrey Vegan (19 May) is the area’s third annual vegan fair, which will be home to a wide selection of food stalls dishing up tasty treats, alongside talks by inspirational speakers.

In Scotland, Harmonium in Leith is a new Edinburgh branch of the established Glasgow institutions Mono & Stereo and serves all the vegan comfort food you can imagine. Mala Carne in the Southside of Glasgow is also not to be missed – particularly the tofu scramble and vegan cakes. In the Scottish borders, vegan ice-cream now available at the award winning Giacopazzis.

 

LONDON

May promises to be all flowery with a brand new afternoon tea introduced by Dominique Ansel with a menu that follows the path of a seed growing and blossoming into a full-bloomed flower beginning with savoury bites and ending with a selection of sweets. Guests will be seated on the blossoming open-air terrace and then presented with dishes served on handmade ceramic-tiered stand with a “seed” at the base that gradually sprouts and blossoms as you work your way up through the “menu.” Dominique Ansel evolved the idea into a menu that starts from the ground up and is presented in a fresh and modern way.

The newly opened speakeasy Vijay’s Bar & Lounge is focusing on making extensive use of fresh herbs and floral syrups in their cocktail menu and demonstrates how astringent herbs can be used to draw out flavour. Savage Garden will be opening this summer as a new dramatic sky-high all-day bar and cocktail lounge. With 360-degree vistas, guests can take in some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including The Shard, Tower of London, The Gherkin and St. Paul's Cathedral. Another connoisseur’s delight: the 16th May will be the official launch of the Champagne School by Searcys at St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar, which will champion English wine makers with the theme ‘Made in Britain.’ Monthly Champagne School dinners are designed to appeal to all kinds of wine lovers – from absolute beginners to accomplished connoisseurs. You can also book their own private classes for groups.

On 16 April Michelin starred Chef Heinz Beck officially opened his much anticipated new restaurant Beck at Brown’s in the heart of Mayfair at the iconic Brown’s hotel. The restaurant, freshly redesigned by Olga Polizzi, offers a new casual dining menu of classic Italian dishes, reinvented using the finest seasonal British ingredients, uniting Heinz’s inimitable style with the hotel’s British heritage and careful balance of classic elegance and contemporary flair.

 

SOUTH WEST ENGLAND

Bristol

To continue with the veganism trend, the new Bristol Vegan and Wellbeing Market will launch on Corn Street on 28 April and will then be held every Monday from 10am to 5pm. This is a logical progression in a city that has embraced the vegan diets with enthusiasm. The Roots Lounge – is the latest of a new generation of vegetarian and vegan restaurants.

VegFest, the annual celebration of all things vegan is back – this time VegFest is taking place at the Ashton Gate stadium from 26-27 May and is promising a weekend of music, events, bean burgers, a gourmet vegan pizzeria, vegan chefs and more than 200 stallholders. Vegan comedians, a vegan art exhibition, dance stage, blues lounge and deep chill zone are among the entertaining accompaniments to some fabulous food.

The Faraway Cocktail Club opened in April to bring a tropical flavour to Bristol’s cocktail scene, with a new Caribbean themed bar. An offshoot of successful Flipside Cocktail Club, Faraway serves rum and tequila based cocktails and Tiki-style sharing punch bowls in a bar that’s big on palms, pineapples and party music.

 

Wiltshire

A new map showcasing the culinary magic conjured up by the county’s chefs, bakers and brewers has been published by VisitWiltshire: The ‘2018: It’s Time For Wiltshire Food and Drink Map’ features over 80 of the region’s finest producers, eateries, watering holes and cookery schools from a’Beckett’s Vineyard in Littleton Parnell to the Woodbridge Inn in Pewsey. Lucknam Park Hotel Cookery School is among three places highlighted in the guide where enthusiastic amateurs can hone their culinary skills with The Farm Cookery School and Vaughan’s Cookery School also on the menu.

 

Dorset

Swim is a café-bar by the sea in Lyme Regis, with arguable the best views over the Jurassic coast, serving a diverse menu across breakfast, lunch and dinner and an eclectic mix of craft beers and cocktails.

 

NORTH WEST ENGLAND

Manchester

Nestled under the iconic Mancunian Way flyover, Hatch is made up of repurposed shipping containers and is part of the Circle Square development which will bring living, office and green space to The Corridor area of the city. Run by the team behind Northern Quarter’s popular emporium Afflecks, the indy street food hotspot on Oxford Road features a rotating line-up of traders that change every twelve weeks. Opening traders include; artisan coffee house Takk, nano brewery ÖL, Mexican street food at El Marchador and Canadian poutine at Blue Caribou Canteen.

Following the success of its four restaurants at prisons across the UK, The Clink Charity has recently launched a new café in the heart of Manchester. The Clink Café, located within the Grade II listed Canada House, will continue the charity’s innovative rehabilitation initiative for offenders and homeless people those who need a second chance.

 

NORTH EAST ENGLAND

Hull

Fresh from its UK City of Culture success of 2017, Hull is seeing the creation of a thriving local food and drink scene. ‘Made in Hull’ is fast becoming an emerging theme for the city, with restaurants, gourmet street food, gin distilleries and microbreweries joining an already well-established Ale Trail which takes in historic pubs, particularly in the medieval Old Town. Offering a showcase for the city’s rapidly growing local food scene, the award-winning Hull Street Food Nights, funded and organised by HullBID, are back for 2018 - with food, drink and music combining in a nighttime street festival featuring scores of stalls.

 

SOUTH EAST ENGLAND

Kent

Inspired by the culinary and sensory delights of the rose, Hever in Bloom (26 June – 1July) will take visitors on a scented tour of the rose garden and will provide instruction on how to prepare roses for cooking as well as the basic principles behind distilling rose oil. Rose petals are completely edible and as a relative of the strawberry, the rose lends itself to many a dish including fruit salads, cakes, biscuits, granola and ice cream.

 

Hampshire

The Vineyards of Hampshire Cellar Door Experience will see seven vineyards across the county open their doors to visitors monthly from 18 May to 8 September for the opportunity to travel around the participating vineyards and pop in for a range wine tasting. For those planning on tasting a tipple to many, new venture Hampshire Tours provides private tours in the area, and is doing a special Cellar Door tastings offer of £350 for up to six people.

 

SCOTLAND

Edinburgh

The latest addition to the Chop House family opened in March in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield neighborhood. Serving the best British beef, dry-aged and butchered in-house, it brings a new casual dining experience focused on steak and cocktails to a new area of the city. Renowned for its sociable style of dining, Chop House proudly presents large cuts of beef, sharing starters and enticing side dishes designed to be enjoyed by the whole table.

The Register Club at The Edinburgh Grand opens its doors on the 1st June. Occupying the entire west wing of the St Andrew Square building’s fourth floor, the Club will offer Edinburgh a new reservation-only spot to eat, drink and relax in comfort and style in art deco surrounds. The high-end champagne and cocktail lounge bar will be run by The Bon Vivant, putting a spotlight on local and artisan producers with a bespoke cocktail list.

 

Glasgow

Ardnamurchan Restaurant and Bar opened in Glasgow’s Theatreland in May putting a taste of Scotland’s best produce on their menu including freshly caught langoustines from the Isle of Mull and venison from the Ardmurchan peninsula. The perfect place to go for a wee dram, with the bar serving up at least 50 different types of whisky and come winter they will have a roaring real fire in their snug.

Alchemilla has taken residence in Finnieston’s foodie quarter, with Glasgow girl and Ottolenghi alumni Rosie Healey as Head Chef.  Expect contemporary Ottolenghi style dishes, eastern spices and lots of small sharing plates in relaxed minimalist surroundings. The team behind 111 by Nico has launched a new restaurant, Six by Nico, in the trendy Finnieston area serving a six-course tasting menu based on a different place or memory - the theme will rotate every six weeks. 

The tearooms Mackintosh at the Willow are scheduled to open as part of Glasgow’s celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth. The Willow Tea Rooms building is recognised internationally as the only surviving tea room designed in its entirety by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, from the interior and the design of the cutlery to the waitress’s uniforms.

 

Isle of Skye

Skye Food & Drink Festival (13-14 June) is a celebration of food and drink from across Skye and the surrounding regions. With whisky, gin, wine, beer, meat, fish, chutney, bread, chocolate and cheese makers, the artisan producers market has something for everyone. Skye’s most celebrated chefs including Lady Claire MacDonald, Scott Davies and Calum Munro, along with Patisserie Chef of the Year Helen Vass, will showcase their culinary skills and offer cookery tips. There will be opportunities to taste and buy, cookery demonstrations, masterclasses, live music throughout the day and ceilidh’s on both evenings. 

 

Scottish Borders

Borders Distillery, the first Scotch Whisky distillery in the Scottish Borders since 1837, opened on the 1st May and is dedicated to making great whisky and to capturing the spirit of the Borders. See whisky production in action and gain an insight into a working commercial distillery. Public and private tours are available. Nestled at the heart of the Roxburghe Estate in the beautiful Scottish Borders is the outstanding Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited Castle, which will be hosting the Great British Food Festival this year on the 8th and 9th September.

 

WALES

Snowdonia

Palé Hall, North Wales’ first five-star hotel, launched a ‘gin-venture’ foraging experience in 2017. In partnership with Forager’s Gin, handcrafted by the Snowdonia Distillery, and local expedition specialists RAW Adventures, Palé Hall is now offering guests the chance to learn how gin is made and how to forage for botanicals. Enjoy an eight-course tasting menu from Head Chef Gareth Stevenson, where each dish features some of the best local produce, and afterwards retire in front of the roaring fire.

New Year, New You

As we wave goodbye to turkey-guzzling and bubbly poppin’, and the Christmas jumper is tucked into drawer for another year, it’s time to start the New Year as we mean to go on. We’ve rounded up the ways in which we can stick to those New Year’s resolutions, as the year ahead shines bright and fresh.

 

Find courage and conquer your greatest fears

New for 2018, The Bear Grylls Adventure at Birmingham NEC is a great way to channel your inner strength with a series of adventure activities designed to test self-belief and physical and mental agility. Challenges will include conquering small spaces, indoor skydiving and the highest free-roam high ropes in Europe.

Can’t think of anything worse than falling face-down deep inside a cave? Turn that fear into thrills by signing up to the Black Cat Free Fall at Cheddar Gorge & Caves – the first of its kind in any UK cave.

Those who prefer feet safely on the ground, meet some fluffy friends at Longleat (Wiltshire) for its animal experiences, as rangers arrange a personal introduction where you can hold a tarantula, or let a snake slither across your shoulders.

 

Get spiritualised

With meditating emojis taking over our digital lives, find your zen in the real world with health and wellbeing retreats at Chilston Park Hotel in Kent. From New Beginnings and Restoring You courses to Couple’s Mindfulness, free your mind from the stresses of 2017.

Or get back in the saddle as horse riding has been billed as the latest fitness trend to aid mindfulness. The new Salisbury Plain Horse Back Safaris take in the dramatic landscapes and picturesque villages surrounding Stonehenge and the Plain, as well as Europe’s largest chalk grassland while on horseback.

 

Enjoy more ‘you time’

Indulge yourself with a spa break at HarSPA, the newly opened Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa. From a crystal steam room to hydrotherapy pool and massages, the new spa offers all the facilities for a perfect moment of relaxation. After a busy day, enjoy a facial massage or a hot stone back massage.

Or, head to Llandrindod Wells in mid-Wales. The legacy for this town is resplendent with Victorian hotels such as the magnificent, recently restored Metropole. Enjoy contemporary four star spa experience at The Rock Spa, amid the surroundings of a Victorian-style conservatory. The hotel’s award-winning Radnor & Miles Restaurant serves up a delicious à la carte menu for lunch and dinner.

Alternatively, go up the North and visit the Scottish town of Crieff, located less than an hour and a half by train from Scotland. To this day, its Crieff Hydro remains a relaxing retreat for visitors. This four star spa is set amid beautiful grounds and offers an enormous range of leisure activities additional to the usual body and beauty treatments, making it a family holiday destination too.

 

Let your creativity flow and learn a new skill

The hills are alive on the Isle of Wight and the sounds of your song can run through them, learn to hit those high notes with the Joy of Singing Weekend (16-18 Feb). Free your voice, increase your confidence, enjoy self-expression and ignite your creativity.

If your voice is best kept for the shower, tie on your apron, unleash your creativity, and get cooking! For a cookery class with a difference, head to Blackaddie Hotel in Scotland, owned by Ian McAndrew. This is not your normal cookery school, but hands-on work in a real kitchen, with a maximum of two students at a time. Experience what goes into a full day in the kitchens, from initial menu planning with the chefs in the morning through to preparation and live service.

If in London, the V&A Museum also offers a range of various artistic workshops from gouache portraits to polaroid photography techniques. Participants will be able to explore and develop new skills and learn from experts in a creative environment.

 

Work off those mince pies

Get in shape with a two-night electric-bike sightseeing package on the Isle of Wight, offering a great way to get exercise in the fresh air but the extra help from the electric motor. Yoga classes on the water are a great way to challenge your body’s balance and restore inner peace.

Or, following in the steps of Wales’ national footballers and head to The Vale Resort where the team trained before their semi-final run at 2016’s European Championships. This four-star hotel have outstanding sporting facilities but offers also Wales’ largest spa, a gigantic gym geared for professional athletes and two 18-hole championship golf courses, plus academy and pro shop.

As the only Northern Irish hotel to promise ‘sporting excellence’, no wonder the Crowne Plaza receives so many visiting sports teams. Its on-site health centre stars a large pool and can rent out bikes, while local partners include rugby, cricket, Gaelic football and hockey clubs, with all those sports possible to arrange. Ditto sea-kayaking. Some guests work up an perfectly-adequate sweat merely exploring Belfast, and especially its Titanic Experience

Eight of the best: hotels with great sporting facilities

Planning a post-Christmas detox? What is a better way than starting a new year with getting loads of essential endorphins pumping round your body? Many of Britain’s hotels boast high-quality sport offerings, from multi-facility all-rounders to single-discipline specialists. Book a stay at one of the following, and get 2018 off to a sporty start.

 

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Wiltshire, south-west England

Whereas most hotel stables offer only gentle trots, luxurious Lucknam Park’s Equestrian Centre is far more comprehensive. Some of its 35 horses cater to proficient riders hoping to improve their jumping or dressage amid a full-size arena, while specialist clinics are led by world-leading showjumpers. The Palladian mansion is just as venerable, boasting a Michelin-starred restaurant and gloriously landscaped gardens. Bath’s famously restorative waters are within day-trip reach.

Getting there: Taxis are readily available at Bath and Chippenham’s rail stations, both of which welcome regular, 90-minute services from London Paddington.

 

Carden Park Hotel, Cheshire, western England

Two professional golf courses stretch away from this 196-room country hotel in western England, with PGA professionals including Garry Houston among the tutors. Carden Park’s 405 beautiful hectares (1,000 acres) also contain an archery area, full-sized football pitch, aerial ropes course and two tennis courts. The award-winning Carden Spa soothes any overused muscles. If you can tear yourself away, nearby Chester has a magnificent cathedral and one of Britain’s best zoos.

Getting there: Manchester’s international airport – to the north – is a 50-minute drive away.

 

The Vale Resort, Glamorgan, Wales

If it’s good enough for Gareth Bale… Wales’ national footballers trained at The Vale before their semi-final run at 2016’s European Championships, and Bale’s Real Madrid have also used the seven DESSO, 3G indoor and outdoor pitches – just as guests of the on-site four-star hotel can. The same goes for Wales’ largest spa, a gigantic gym geared for professional athletes and two 18-hole championship golf courses, plus academy and pro shop. Cardiff’s castle and filming locations for popular TV drama Sherlock are less than ten miles away.

Getting there: The Vale’s a 20-minute drive from Cardiff, and 25 minutes from Cardiff Airport.

 

Hilton at St George’s Park, Staffordshire, central England

England’s footballers, meanwhile, train at the National Football Centre in central England before international home games – and stay, just like you can, at the accompanying Hilton at St George’s Park. As state-of-the-art as you’d imagine, facilities include a FIFA-standard pitch and a dedicated area for goalkeepers. The hotel’s Health Club and Spa features a 17-metre (56-foot) pool. Rather less athletically-minded, this part of Britain is famous for its centuries-old beer-brewing.

Getting there: London is a two-hour drive, while Birmingham Airport is just 25 miles south.

 

Crowne Plaza Belfast, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

As the only Northern Irish hotel to promise ‘sporting excellence’, no wonder the Crowne Plaza receives so many visiting sports teams. Its on-site health centre stars a large pool and can rent out bikes, while local partners include rugby, cricket, Gaelic football and hockey clubs, with all those sports possible to arrange. Ditto sea-kayaking. Some guests work up an perfectly-adequate sweat merely exploring Belfast, and especially its Titanic Experience.

Getting there: The George Best Belfast City Airport has daily services from London.

 

Coworth Park, Berkshire, south-east England

Polo is a quintessentially English game, played on horseback. In grounds managed by the prestigious Guards Polo Club, southern England’s Coworth Park can promise two international polo fields, a devoted teaching paddock and a Polo Academy overseen by professional player Ebe Sievwright, open to guests of all levels. Part of the Dorchester Collection, Coworth Park is close to the famous Ascot racecourse.

Getting there: Coworth Park is located just east of London, with regular trains from Waterloo to Sunningdale, five minutes away.

 

Old Course Hotel, Fife, Scotland

Scotland’s St Andrews is considered the home of golf – and homestays are possible. Situated beside its namesake’s 17th hole, the Old Course Hotel splendidly gazes across the links to West Sands Beach and the North Sea. Awarded five red AA stars, it includes classical suites designed by French maestro Jacques Garcia. As St Andrews is publically-owned land, anyone can play the iconic courses – but reserve ahead, as demand is understandably high. Known for its castle and independent stores, the university town of St Andrews is within strolling distance.

Getting there: From Edinburgh, it’s an hour’s drive north or 55 minutes by train to Leuchars – four miles away.

 

The Manor House & Ashbury Hotels, Devon, south-west England

Neighbouring properties, the Manor House and Ashbury Hotels combine into a sports behemoth. Seven golf courses, 99 holes and over 400 buggies are the chief brag, but extensive tennis, squash, badminton, bowls and snooker facilities make for excellent support acts, as does a synthetic curling rink. Lessons are possible in all. Leave time to explore your surrounds, though: mysterious Dartmoor begins less than a mile to the west.

Getting there: Devon is in south-west England. Both hotels are a four-hour drive from London.

2018 Michelin-starred restaurants list announced

Taste buds at the ready! The Michelin Guide has announced its 2018 list of restaurants in Britain and Ireland awarded with prestigious Michelin stars. The accolade is widely regarded as the hallmark of fine dining, and the most sought-after honour for many chefs.

 

Britain’s food scene has long held plenty of the prestigious stars, and the 2018 list brings the total of Michelin-starred restaurants to 175. This comprises five restaurants with three Michelin stars, 20 with two stars and a total of 150 with one star, including 17 new ones.

 

Click here for a full rundown 2018 Michelin Guide list. Here are the highlights:

 

  • London has gained one new three-star restaurant, one new two-star restaurant, and six new one-star restaurants. This brings the total number of 2018 Michelin-starred restaurants in the capital to 70, comprising three restaurants with three stars, nine restaurants with two stars – including new entry Bibendum, in Chelsea – and 58 restaurants with one star.

 

  • The Araki, a sushi restaurant in London’s Mayfair with just nine seats, was the only new restaurant to gain three Michelin stars, increasing the number of Britain’s three-starred restaurants to five – the most the guide can award.

 

 

  • No London restaurants have lost stars in the 2018 guide, and six more gained one star. This included two Indian restaurants – Mayfair’s Jamavar and Chelsea’s Vineet Bhatia – along with modern Chinese restaurant A Wong and Nordic restaurant Aquavit (both in Victoria), City restaurant Le Dame de Pic, and Elystan Street in Kensington.

 

 

 

  • Northern Ireland has retained its two Michelin stars – for Eipic and Ox, both in Belfast.

 

 

Looking for more foodie inspiration? Check out VisitBritain’s Food is GREAT content guide.