Serving up quite possibly the best Sunday roast in the area, the Bolingey Inn can be found huddled a mile in land from the holiday hoards of Perranporth.
For about £9 you get a huge plate of locally sourced meat – take your pick from beef, pork and lamb – a big old Yorkshire pud (regardless of meat choice), a separate serving of freshly cooked al dente veg, crispy roast spuds and the icing on the cake, an extra helping of gravy served alongside. ‘Coz there’s nothing worse than running out of gravy half way through your dinner, eh?
And the deserts can be pretty special too. I can definitely vouch for their pavlovas - made from crispy, chewy meringue, and mighty cheesecakes – huge, creamy and usually laced with some sort of booze.
Penwartha Rd, Perranporth, Bolingey, Perranporth TR6 0DH
Google map: bit.ly/12lgBfC
* Sian is our Been there local for Cornwall. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/been-there-local-cornwall.jsp and her own blog about Cornish living: www.adventureswiththeblackdog.co.uk/
My boyfriend and I ate at The Square Kitchen for my birthday and it was a wonderful dining experience! Having lived in Bristol for a year we were delighted to find this little gem, tucked away just off the top of Park Street. Not only was the food excellent but the service was second to none and the venue had a boutique arty feel with beautiful prints on the wall by Katalina Bath. I will definitely be going back to enjoy lunch on their lovely terrace in the summer!
For a guaranteed pick-me-up after our long winter head to Brodie Castle in Moray for a fix of bright yellow sunshine. The park around the castle has thousands of daffodils, part of the National Collection and some of them very old cultivars. Warm yourself up in the tearoom with some excellent homebakes before heading to the Culbin Sands for more colour - this time big blue skies and miles of white sands. End your day at The Loft at East Grange with an organic beer from the Black Isle Brewery and good, local produce. Winter blues replaced with spring colour!
From Buttermere to the Kirkstile Inn return, around Crummock Water.
This will take you about five hours including an hour’s stop for lunch at the Inn.
Begin in the small village of Buttermere, following the path to Crummock Water. This skirts the lake on its western shore. The path is clear and hugs the water’s edge.
Spring is coming, heralded at last by the sound of water as the frozen waterfalls melt, there is the gold of gorse, birds nesting and the bleat of lambs.
We recite lines from Innesfree:
‘I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore’ and sing snatches of song as our spirits soar as we tramp along.
Mellbreak soon flanks us as we tramp the mile or so along the path to Dropping Crag’s sheer face, on to High park and then by road to the Kirkstile Inn.
I sampled delicious home made bread and soup and a wonderful plum and cinnamon crumble washed down with half of the local ale before setting off to Lanthwaite wood.
This takes us back towards the lake and her Eastern margins. A path again follows the water’s edge, light glittering on rock and water, milder air.
The last bit is along the road into Buttermere but can be avoided with some careful map reading.
The Sky Tea Rooms are still open for home made ice cream or cream tea to round off a perfect day out.
In Castle Hedingham, Essex not only can you explore this magnificent Castle, you can walk around the beautiful grounds filled with daffodils and bluebells in spring time. There are lots of events that take place here, from jousting tournaments to wedding fairs. A short walk away brings you to the village pub 'The Bell.' This family pub serves hearty, excellent value meals and stocks local ale and ciders. If the pub isn't your thing there is a lovely tea rooms opposite serving up light lunches and home-made cakes.
We love visiting Low Sizergh Barn a dairy farm just south of Kendal in the rolling hills of South Lakeland. Time it right and you can watch the cows being milked while you sip leaf tea at your table - there’s a glass panel in the tea shop and it overlooks the milking parlour. The food they serve is straightforward but delicious, with an emphasis on quality – the scones are fresh, the butter is good and there’s no spray cream here! The cakes and scones are made on the premises and you can buy more to take away from the shop downstairs. The ethical ethos permeates the whole visit - there is a social enterprise nearby called Growing Well (www.growingwell.co.uk/), where volunteers grow vegetables and support is offered to help them return to employment. You can buy their veg in the farm shop, which sells a wide range of other yummy local food, including cheese made from the farm’s dairy herd. Foodie heaven. You can also buy crafts and some lovely quirky gifts from the shop. Or there’s a two mile farm trail to work up an appetite and admire the free range hens whose eggs you have just bought. A lovely afternoon, or morning. And for southerners visiting the Lake District, it’s perfectly situated on the A591 between Kendal and the M6 for a stop off to stock up on Cumbrian delicacies for your way home.
The Shipwrights Arms overlooking a beauiful creek in Helford changed hands in 2012, and re-opened in time for the Easter weekend 2013 after a re-fit. It was very long overdue a refurbishment and new energy, because the location has to be one of the most beautiful in Britain, with views down the Helford River, but it had been going downhill for a number of years. I popped in for a quick pint after walking Frenchman's Creek, and enjoyed a very well kept locally brewed beer (Harbour Light) and checked out the menu. There is something to be said for a pub menu which is not complicated as you know the the chef will focus on doing a few things really well - this one looked interesting, and also had a few pub staples (fish and chips for £10, pasties for much less). Definitely worth dropping in for a look and a bite to eat - even the soup and bread should be good - the manager is well known locally for making her own artisan bread which is sold in the region.
Helston Village, Helston TR12 6JX, England
+44 (0)1326 231235
Google map: bit.ly/16mvhgS
Low Sizergh Barn, three and half miles south of Kendal, is definitely not "just another" open farm.
In addition to being an exciting place for all ages with lots to see and do, it is a place where great importance is attached to good husbandry – using the 138 hectares (341 acres) of land to its greatest potential while at the same time protecting and nurturing it for the future. This is a place where past and present seem to seamlessly merge. "Sizergh" is an old Norse word meaning "summer pasture." The farm has been part of the Sizergh estate since 1239, providing milk and other produce for the occupants of the nearby castle.
Some of the older remaining farm buildings, including the Westmorland stone barn which now houses the farm shop, date from the seventeenth century. Also over 400 years old are some of the hedgerows and the ancient semi-natural woodland to be found here. The land is now owned by the National Trust and since 1980 the farm has been leased to the Park family, in whose caring hands it has now thrived and prospered across two generations.
This is the take-away arm of one of my favourite places, Cafe Retro. Serves food and drink in compostable packaging! I also bought reusable sandwich wraps which are brilliant for the kids' packed lunches. Full marks for sustainability (and their stuff tastes good too!)
Alliumphobic? Take a trip to the Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight and face your fear.Taste scapes, giant baked elephant garlic, breads, dips and chutneys. Garlic sculptures, topiary and murals satisfy the art lover. Ride on the farm tractor to tour the growing fields. Plait it, buy it, eat it, smell it. Learn curious snippets and historic facts at the heritage centre.
From the café watch the red squirrels scurrying past while sampling the menu of food cooked with …
If you’re feeling really adventurous, try some garlic ice-cream or a garlic Bloody Mary. And for the positively dedicated garlic lover, join in the festival frolics with 25,000 like minded enthusiasts in August.
Low Sizergh Barn tea room not only serves really great food, much of it from the farm or local area, but it comes with a great view.
Every afternoon around 3.30pm you can head for the tables by the windows overlooking the farm's parlour for a bird's eye view of milking time, or you can watch the action relayed live on large screens.
Should you miss milking time, you can enjoy Cow Cam throughout the day. It provides entertaining viewing of the herd's ladies indulging in a satisfying scratch on the oversized brush suspended from the cowshed rafters.
And it's just a small part of what's on offer just off the A591 near Kendal, there's also a well stocked farm shop, working farm, farm nature trail, and craft, clothing and gift galleries.
A family run dairy farm set in rolling Somerset countryside with an incredible restaurant. Food is sourced from the farm and neighbouring land celebrating all that is fresh and local. A warm welcome, fair prices and food created with love.
A tea garden in remote Rosedale, North of Pickering.
I recommend it because it is such an unexpected find at the head of this gorgeous valley. Also, because the food is such high quality and all homemade including Yorkshire tea-bread and elderflower cordial. It's all served in a sun-trap garden with fabulous views down the valley and up to the moors.
The Low Sizergh Barn tea room menu is for lovers of local, seasonal and home made food. It’s also a proper and very well run working farm. Before 11.30am enjoy a hearty Cumbrian breakfast, sip tea that’s blended to suit their water by a Kendal merchant, lunch on freshly made favourites and daily specials, or tuck into a farmhouse tea. They use eggs from their free-to-roam hens which greet you in the car park, fruit from the orchard, organic vegetables grown in the fields by Growing Well, and their our own award winning Kendal Creamy cheese (made from milk from the herd) is the highlight of the menu.
Famous for it's surfing credentials, but also a great family beach, with brilliant walks via the South West Coast Path. Smallish and pebbly on high tide, but huge and two miles wide on low tide. Blue bar is great for food and drink deep into the night, or take a stroll up the sand (keep an eye on the tides) for a clotted cream infused snack at the National Trust caff on Chapel Porth. there's a great little guide here
Set just behind the main shopping high street of Briggate on Central Road is another edition to the thriving independent coffee scene of Leeds.
Walking into Mrs Atha's feels like you have just entered a downtown New York coffee house. Exposed brickwork, high ceilings, and mood lighting add to the feel. The guys who work behind the counter are all really well informed about the coffee served. Along with the regular house blend each week they have a guest coffee. The all day breakfast menu has mostly sandwich fare along with pancakes. Pastries and cakes are also available from the counter. Nearly everything on the menu comes in around the £3 50p mark.
The atmosphere is friendly with sofas and communal tables giving an informal air to the place.
18 Central Rd, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DE
Google map: bit.ly/ZVFGOt
It's a sausage and mash restaurant, believe it or not, right in the heart of Oxford's Castle Quarter, and it's just 'right' - a celebration of all that's great about great British food. It's not a chain, but a single place, run by a single guy and his enthusiastic team. He's bound to be there, telling you which creation of sausages goes best with which creation of mash. Local beers, local staff and a good feel. Best place I can recommend
I discovered this place yesterday, even though I have lived in Leeds for four years. Hidden away next to a fish and chip shop (I think that's new too?) just off Wellington Street, this place serves up a brilliant sandwich.
Although I had never been there before, I was clearly late to the party on this one as it was very busy and there was a queue for sandwiches. I had a roast beef sandwich on the biggest slices of bread I've ever seen, and my friend had a jacket potato slathered with tuna mayonnaise!
We were lucky to get a table as most people were ordering lunch to take away. The food was delicious, and we had to go back for some carrot cake to finish it off in style. I would really recommend Appetite cafe.
Widemouth Bay is quintessential English seaside. A huge expanse of sea and sand welcomes you as you drive into the bay. The Bay View Inn is a great, friendly pub/restaurant and has good reasonably priced rooms, including family rooms with DVD players, comfy beds and terraces overlooking the ocean. It's a popular place for the locals and gets busy but at 11PM all goes quiet and a good night's sleep can be had with just the sound of waves to help you drop off. The Bay has a surf school, local shop selling fresh seafood, good cafe on the beach and a charming old-fashioned 50's fresh fish and chip van for cheap and cheerful evening suppers.
From small formal gardens, the architectural structure and arts and crafts style of Jekyll and Lutyens, to a Victorian terrace and shrubbery, to my favourite, the landscaped Georgian gardens which take up a small valley, there is something for everyone at Hestercombe.
I love a good stomp and the valley walk through woods, up hill and down dale is fabulous and so many of the follies are a delight to stumble across: the Mausoleum, all Gothic Hobbity; the Witch House's coppice-woven-comfort; the Temple Arbour, Tuscan Doric style, which is positioned to turn your back on and stare breathless at the stunning view. The cascade where nature's power crashes through the woods and knocks the stuffing out of me.
And if all that isn't enough, there is a watermill and a gallery to leave the indoory types happily indoors or sometimes I just have lunch in the restaurant - which is literally in the stables - and plan my next route around the grounds.
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