Italian Cafe. Good caff snacks of the Italian variety but truly delicious, excellent quality, homemade ice cream in a multitude of flavours (try a dollop of chocolate and a dollop of pistachio.. or hazel.. the strawberry is v. good too... oh dear. I'm getting over excited!
Eating a Marrocco's ice cream whilst staring at the sea is an essential Brighton experience.
On The Kingsway Beach Front (near King Alfred Centr)e.
La Strada is many things...a coffee bar serving illy coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milkshakes, smoothies fresh croissants, filled baguettes and ciabattas, cakes and light meals; a shop which sells Italian designer kitchen ware including the Guzzini and Alessi brands, Belgian chocolates and other edible gifts; a gallery space which exhibits the work of local photographers and artists AND an artisan ice-cream shop!
All of the ice-cream is made by hand on-site using milk from a small local dairy. There are always the three basic flavours on offer, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, but depending on the seasons, customers' suggestions and the imagination of the creators, anything is possible in terms of flavours. There are 16 flavours on offer, with a choice of non-dairy "fruit-ice" (sorbet) for those who can't have milk, and flavours range from strawberry and champagne to white chocolate with Maltesers, the famed gin and tonic (yes, made with real gin), mint choc chip, mango, lychee, blueberry, apple crumble, banana and caramel and many, many more. There is a selection of waffle cones, chocolate-dipped cones or tubs or you can have a sundae made up complete with sauces and cream and eat in the cafe. You can also have 1 or 2 litre tubs to take away and put in your freezer. It really is the best hand-made ice-cream for miles around.
13 Cheap Street
Offering a natural haven to red squirrels and deer - so no dogs allowed - Brownsea is 500 acres of woodland with trails in the middle of Poole Harbour. The walking is easy and there are great views of Studland and the Purbeck hills, and on a clear day you can just about see some of the world's most expensive houses at Sandbanks. Brownsea is where Baden Powell started the Scout movement (100 yrs ago this summer). Take the yellow ferry from Sandbanks quay (£4.50 or £12.50 for a family (2+3) and then the National Trust entrance fee is £4.70 for adults £2.30 for kids. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
The Company Shed serves real Colchester and Mersea oysters in a semi-derelict shed.
Bring your own bread and drink, as you will get nothing but seafood there...
129 Coast Road, West Mersea, Colchester, CO5 8PA.
Tel: 01206 382700
The best bit is the Tearoom at Ettrick Bay, a couple of miles north of Rothesay. This is a semi-derelict shed which desperately needs a lick of paint, but serves the most incredible home cooking including lemon meringue pie with the top four inches high and soup to keep you going for a week.
My view is that this spot is best reached by following the cliff path from Lynton (rather than driving), which is well signposted. As long as you have a head for heights, the walk is beautiful and invigorating with fantastic views of the coastline. The spot itself is a dry valley surrounded by some quite spectacular rock formations which some people choose to climb. There are also several small but secluded bays in the vicinity where you can enjoy the coast in peace, assuming there aren’t lots of other walkers about with the same idea.
Just follow the cliff path from Lynton
Wonderful, wild and interesting. Walney has eleven miles of beautiful unspoilt coastline. You can spend a day mooching around in the sand dunes to the north or visit the bird sanctuary at the south end. Spectacular views of Cumbrian fells and dramatic sunsets.
Off Barrow in Furness. From M6 take A590 towards the Isle of Man. Walney is just before there.
Lochbuie is the wilder side of the island, at the other end from the bright houses and fairytale location of Tobermory. A memorable walk up and over the hills, included narrowly avoiding a couple of basking adders, and we ended up skinny dipping in Loch Scridian and watching an otter playing on the shore.
Afterwards, we supped long and late in the unreconstructed, but utterly brilliant Craignure Inn.
Tel: 01680 812305
Seventeen acres of subtropical gardens constructed over a century ago on a formerly bleak, windswept island. It’s like a Douanier Rousseau painting, with species from 80 countries, from Brazil to Burma. Beyond the garden and on neighbouring islands are some of the best unspoilt beaches in Britain. You could be in the Canaries or somewhere really exotic (until you put your foot in the water).
We love Abbott Lodge Jersey Ice Cream, just off the A6 between Shap and Penrith. The ice cream selection is wonderful and you can even see some of the cows and their calves who make the raw material!
Abbott Lodge, Clifton, Nr Penrith Cumbria CA10 2HD
Tel: 01931 712 720
On holiday in Dumfries and Galloway we always try to go to Cream o' Galloway. The ice cream (try the crannoch - raspberry, whiskey and oatmeal) is fantastic and the 3D maze is good for working it off in time for another one!
Rainton, Gatehouse of Fleet,
Tel: 01557 814040
The farm shop which is joined on to the garden center at Houghton hall is fantastic. A great range of local produce, amazing lemon curd, jams, cheese. Possibly the best beef i have ever tasted - nicely matured not like the usual supermarket dross. Friendly staff who seemed to know not only about the products they were selling but also the producers. Well worth a quick 2 minute detour off the motorway. Also a very nice coffee shop.
Houghton Hall Farm shop
just off junction 44 of M6.
north Carlisle near to Kingstown.
This is the most gorgeous romantic bolthole. It has stunning views, is on Gold Hill which was used in the famous Hovis advert and is a real tardis! It has 4 bedrooms for 6 people which all come with White Company bedlinen and smart little bottles of White Company shampoo, etc. The top bedroom is a cool space - really inviting low built-in bed, flat screen TV, etc and ensuite shower. They even provide choccies in a sort of swirly marble run! Downstairs there is a separate music room with baby grand piano, wet room and log burning stove. The basket of yummy goodies was very useful.
Just the place for a lazy getaway with a special person!
12 Gold Hill
Tel: 07710 307202
The phrase "Ambition is critical" greets visitors leaving Swansea railway station. The city has a reputation as a graveyard of ambition, a distinction which owes as much to Joe's Ice Cream as to its scenery and beaches. One taste and you'll never eat ice cream anywhere else.
Anyone who's ever lived in Swansea can tell you that Joe's was established in 1922: it says so on the side of their cartons. Since then, millions of litres of the stuff have been sold to locals and visitors alike.
Make your choice from the extensive range of specials, or just have a cone or carton of pure vanilla ice cream as it comes, rolled in chocolate strands or chopped nuts as you wish.
In addition to the original premises on St Helen's Road (near the cricket ground, Guildhall and university), there are two newer branches at Mumbles and Parc Tawe.
85 St Helen's Road - 01792 653880
524 Mumbles Road, Mumbles - 01792 368212
The Piazza, Parc Tawe - 01792 460370
During a brief island hoping tour of the Hebrides I chose the wrong night to stay on Mull. The island is renowned for its pretty little harbour or Tobermory or Ballymory as any 5 year old will tell you. But its also known in the motor racing fraternity (of which i'm not a member) for the Tour of Mull Rally in October - a night time highspeed race across the islands narrow roads.
I was completely oblivious to this, as i sailed over on the last boat to the isle and was informed by one B&B owner, highly amused that i hadn't pre-booked, that 'Jesus Christ himself couldn't get a room on the island the neet'. I did eventually manage it - but i'd certainly recommend checking first if visiting Mull in October.
During a brief island hoping tour around the Scottish Isles I discovered this lovely little farm house B&B on Islay, which served the best breakfast i've ever had. Freshly laid free range eggs, homemade haggis, award winning sausage and bacon that was probably carved off a pig that morning! I was only disappointed not to have stayed long enough to sample Rachel's dinners. Islay itself is a lovely destination and home to a total of nine whisky distilleries, well worth a tipple!
I asked in the local TIC, i'm sure they'll point you in the direction of Rachel Whytes (I think that is how it's spelt).
Iona is special. An ancient island of Celtic Christendom, it houses an ancient and still very active abbey, chock full of Celtic and Viking remains. In the graveyard outside Scotland's ancient kings, including Macbeth, rub their bones. The late Labour leader John Smith is also buried there in a simple grave. After you've done the history, check out the beaches, which have pure white sand as fine as icing sugar. Better than the Caribbean.
Take the regular Calmac ferry across from Fionnphort on the west coast of Mull. Website: www.isle-of-iona.com
It may be tiny, but this Shetland island has a population of thousands - birds, that is. Species include 45,000 guillemots, 7000 pairs of gannets and fulmars, kittiwakes and puffins galore. Visit in early summer when the puffins hatch out of their burrows in such numbers that you have to be careful not to step on them.
Travel across from the larger island of Bressay in an inflatable boat.
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