There are so many great pubs in Camberwell, it can be hard to choose between them, but the Hermit's Cave has something extra: cider!
The small, slightly cramped pub has on tap about a dozen ciders, still and sparkling, and several versions of scrumpy, cloudy and clear.
Many come from Somerset, home of the legendary apple juice and it's a great place for a refreshing drink after doing sport in the summer sun, after all, apples are part of the necessary five (fruit) a day.
28 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8QU
+44 207 703 3188
Open Mon-Sat 11.00, Sun 12.00-22.30
Google map: bit.ly/n2dPRO
Buses 12, 35. 36, 45, 68, 171, 345, 436, 468 to Camberwell Green
This isn’t a tip for one place – but rather for a whole host of them! There are many National Trust properties which are close to motorways or major routes. We have used many of them as midday stop-offs on long journeys. There is usually a refreshment room with a choice of freshly prepared food, and often an opportunity to stretch your legs exploring grounds or parkland (sometimes without an admission charge).
The property we have used most (as it was en route to visit one of our daughters) is Clumber Park, just off the A1 in Nottinghamshire. It really offers a much more civilised break than that offered by Blyth services, a few miles north on the A1M: lovely landscaped parklands and lake, a restaurant which uses food grown in the walled garden – even an opportunity to hire bicycles (if you really want to blow away the cobwebs). There is also the chance of a surprise – we once arrived on a Saturday to find a Georgian re-enactment in full swing.
Before planning a long journey we always take a look at the map on the Trust website to see if there’s a property close to our route. The disadvantage – well Trust properties aren’t open 24 hours, 7 days per week – though the restaurant at Clumber is open every day except December 25th from at least 10am to 4pm.
This delightful Turkish cafe and restaurant has long been a favourite with Camberwell foodies, but it has recently reopened after renovation and is even better. Vast trays of sticky baklava and other tasty pastries, drenched in honey and speckled with pistachio nuts, fill the window and it's virtually impossible to pass by without being tempted inside for a bite. Tadim serves everything from pizza to meze, moussaka to croissants. There are toasted sandwiches, strong, thick coffees and a huge range of vegetarian delicacies. Tadim is a really friendly place, summed up by their motto: 'Love all & serve all'. Sweet.
41 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8TR
+44 207 277 2910
Open daily 08.00-23.00
Buses 12, 36, 68, 171, 345, 436, 468 to Camberwell Green
Google map: bit.ly/qVNbNK
There are any number of reasons to take the ten minute detour off the roaring M1 to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and art is only part of it. Feast your eyes on monumental Moores, Hepworths and Paolozzis, at the same time filling your belly with interesting grub, all the while perched above it all on a glass and steel balcony. Stroll through 500 acres of carefully kept parkland, bumping into Gormleys and Goldsworthys before settling in the impressively modernist cafe, located above the posh shop selling Jaume Plensa fridge magnets and James Turrell torches. I might have made the last one up. Dishes of the Day are chalked up on a huge board, and might include local asparagus with poached eggs, rocket and a dill and mustard dressing, or fishcakes with minted peas, home made tartare sauce and chips. But the cakes are the thing. Scones the size of elephant’s feet, fat slabs of Bakewell tart or a nicely dusted lemon pie hit the spot, particularly since the coffee is so good. Yep, you heard it right. The barrista working the Gaggia last week turned a macchiato into an art form. Frink, Caro, Borofsky and Creed; culture and cuisine pleasingly wed.
Tebay: a diamond in what’s otherwise the slag heap of British motorway service [sic] stations. Both sides of the M6, in Cumbria between junctions 38/39, it’s independently owned and run by Westmorland Ltd and the cafes serve local food as much as possible, including lamb and beef from their own farm. Two extensive shops carry mostly artisan and organic produce including fresh bread and a butcher’s counter. I can’t resist stocking up on their Gloucester Old Spot pork pies and recently bought a wedding present from a display of hand thrown pottery. They have all the usual necessary facilities, plus large kids play areas, views of the hills rather than the traffic, dedicated dog walks, and a proper campsite which is great if you need to break the journey to/from Scotland. My only slight grouse is that it’s become quite pricey lately, but I guess no more so than the incomparably inferior chains. Roll on their new place on the M5 (due 2013).
Clinging on for grim death to the back of the Elephant’s concrete behemoth shopping centre, the Charlie Chaplin is certainly an experience. Whether it’s one I would recommend to those of a delicate constitution is another matter, but for thrill-seekers, those intent on exploring the seamier side of London life and drinkers who can’t face going home after all other pubs in the area have long since closed, it’s the perfect venue for a bizarre night out. As soon as we walked through the door, it was clear this was no average pub. I nearly jumped out of my skin when greeted by a large mannequin with a zombie face who could have been an extra from Michael Jackson's Thriller video: surely this wasn’t Chaplin? A plaque on the corner of Walworth Road and East Street market announces that the great silent film era entertainer was born just down the road. The interior is quite run-down but there’s a pool table and a darts board. There’s also a complicated code for the ladies’ loo, which is a good bonding method with the scary, yet surprisingly friendly locals. A cat appears at closing time to shoo off stragglers complete the ‘American Werewolf in London’ ambience. You have been warned.
26 New Kent Rd, Elephant & Castle, London, SE1 6TJ
+44 207 703 6117
Nearest tube: Northern or Bakerloo Line to Elephant & Castle
Open until midnight
Google map: bit.ly/pXlWgI
The café has all manner of taste treats to tempt art lovers inside its bright white walls. The café is at the front, with a massive shop window facing the street. The cakes are homemade and the snacks and sandwiches are prepared from fresh, healthy ingredients. The menu changes regularly. The gallery behind supports local artists and emerging talents. There are often private views and anybody can pop in.
70 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8QZ
+44 207 358 4475
Open Mon—Sat 09.00—18.00
Buses 12, 36, 436, 345, 171, 68, 468 to Camberwell Green
Google map: bit.ly/qa7iD4
This small, bright café serves Vietnamese sandwiches, baguettes and coffee at a bargain £1 a cup. Everything is freshly prepared and great value. The famous Bahn Mi sandwich combines delicious Vietnamese ingredients such as pickled cucumber and carrot, fish sauces, coriander, marinated beef and caramelized roasted pork with ingredients dating back to French colonialism in Vietnam; pate, mayonnaise and long crusty baguettes. A really great venue for morning coffee or a tasty lunchtime snack.
75 Denmark Hill, London SE5
+44 207 703 2531
Open Mon—Sat 09.00-17.00, for breakfast & lunch
Getting there: bus 35, 45, 68, 345, 468 to Denmark Hill
Google map: bit.ly/qDDJYU
My girlfriend and I decided to visit Leeds Seventeen after receiving a recommendation from a friend. The reception by the staff was warm, and the menu was perfect for us (traditional English dishes with a contemporary feel).
I ordered a rib-eye steak (medium rare), and my girlfriend ordered the duck. Both meals were beautifully cooked and presented. The prices where very reasonable for what felt like a high-end restaurant. The side dishes were a bit small, but priced appropriately so we didn't mind.
We took advantage of their early bird deal, meaning we got 30% off our total bill. Highly recommended!
Gallipoli Bazaar offers delicious Lebanese and Turkish dishes in a luxuriously decorated setting. The restaurant is long and thin but crammed to the rafters with shining lamps, mirrors, cushions, exotic paintings and dimly lit to give all diners a flattering hue. The daily specials - I had grilled red mullet - are highly recommended and they do a splendid falafel. Belly dancing is a new feature too ... and shisha pipes for puffing on outside on the pavement terrace.
I never thought a pub in St John's Wood could be such good value, but it is connected to a Sam Smith's brewery and when I ordered a pint of bitter and the charming landlord said '£2.11', I nearly fainted and had to be revived with a stiff drink. Situated in the leafy, upmarket suburbs, not far from the Beatles' Abbey Road pedestrian crossing, this pub is a little run-down, with frayed carpets and not much in the way of decoration. Sam Smiths' pubs also have a 'no music' policy, which is a refreshing change. There's a good selection of pub food and it's a good old unpretentious boozer, packed out on a Friday with locals and office workers, even a soldier came in dressed in full uniform with medals gleaming, to complete the military motif.
Last night I finally made it up to the 10th floor of Peckham's multi-storey carpark, after several failed attempts, to discover another world ... hundreds of art students milling around, drinking pale ale and cocktails, munching on scrummy nibbles, flirting, discussing the art installations, but most of all, gazing in wonder at the magnificent view: all of London laid out in 360-degree spleandor, shimmering in the sunset, from the O2 arena, past the Shard, St Pauls, the London Eye, the Post Office Tower, before spinning around to catch the Crystal Palace tower in the corner of the eye. Frank's Bar is part of the Bold Tendencies art project and 15 artists have been commissioned to produce and show work in 2011. The bar stays open throughout the summer.
Frank's Cafe and Campari Bar
10th floor, Peckham Multi-storey carpark,
95a Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST
+44 758 288 4574
Open July 1 to Sept 30, Tues-Sun 11.00-22.00
Food served 12.00-14.30 & 18.00-22.00
Bus 12 to Rye Lane
Google map: bit.ly/n7IQZY
Struggling through the hordes of tourists and shoppers in Portobello Road street market can be a pretty exhausting business. The newly renovated Organic Kitchen provides all kinds of healthy dishes and organic wines to aid recovery. It's a little haven of calm, decorated in tasteful shades of brown, with swift service, the best pizzas north of the Thames and the kindest, friendliest waitresses around. The Italian-inspired menu has salads, bruschetta, antipasti and soups for starters, then some favourites such as shepherd's pie, salmon and haddock fish cakes or braised pork belly with Savoy cabbage. Leave room for the apple and rhubarb crumble too.
207-209 Portobello Road, London W11 1LU
+44 207 792 7999
Open Tue-Sat 12.00-23.00, Sun 12.00-22.00
Nearest tube: Central or Circle Line to Notting Hill Gate
Google map: bit.ly/q0mvTB
Located in the Lake District, northbound and southbound on the M6 between J38 and J39, this motorway services is a new concept for roadside services. The local, family run company hold outside BBQ's on hot sunny days and supply the farm shop and butchers counters, selling a whole variety of products, from their adjoining farm on the southbound side and also from other local producers. Views across the Cumbria landscape are amazing and great as a break on a long journey.
There is also a delicious cafe/coffee shop, petrol station, dog walk, children's play area, duck pond and toilets.
This popular motorway services with a strong reputation, stands out from the rest, being locally owned and built from eco-friendly materials and has won many awards. It has a community type feel, and is always clean, tidy and friendly. A must stop-off point if you're heading past.
It's a 45 acre historic cemetery close to the centre of Bristol, "where the history of the city is told in a leafy and tranquil setting." Don't be put off by the idea of visiting a cemetery - this place is beautiful and so peaceful. Among beautiful monuments, there is an abundance of plants and flowers. And bird song to lift the heart! The guide book says there are about two dozen species there. Also, exhibitions about the history of the place, and a lovely gift shop. A real, and unusual, treat.
The Glamorgan Heritage Coast boasts stunning beaches and breathtaking landscapes with hidden villages and country lanes dotted along the way which are simply some of the best places to see in Wales
The Glamorgan Heritage Coast is a 14 mile stretch of coastal path walks of outstanding beauty between Aberthaw in the Vale of Glamorgan and Porthcawl further west. Dramatic cliffs, secluded coves on golden sands and stunning views make it a must for walkers, cyclists or anyone with a love of the countryside.
And not only are there the views, but the area is also steeped in history.
The ruins of Dunraven Castle stand upon the headland at Dunraven Bay. More a large fortified house than a castle, it had its own kitchen gardens and landing stage in the bay. It was lived in right up until the 1940’s but was demolished in 1963 as it was crumbling and considered unsafe.
There are many legends of smuggling and shipwrecking associated with this dramatic spot in times gone by but today it is more noted for the spectacular sandstone cliffs and for Southerndown beach which is an excellent swimming and recreational area.
Ogmore-by-Sea is another popular destination for a great day out, with amazing views along the coast and across the estuary to Merthyr Mawr and Porthcawl. Discover the many caves and explore the flora and fauna of the rock pools (but always taking heed of the ever-changing tides).
Here too stands the extensive ruin of a castle - by the River Ewenny and the Stepping Stones over to Merthyr Mawr.
Ogmore Castle guards a major fording place into southern Wales, and sits on flat land rather than atop a ridge-crest where nature would have provided extra defence. From Ogmore, Welsh access to this Norman lordship was effectively barred.
Take your time here, relax a while and refresh yourself in one of the tea rooms by the river or enjoy a cool drink in one of the traditional local pubs.
Halfway along the heritage coast on a promontory with precipitous cliffs on the west stands the medieval St. Donat's Castle.
In the 13th century St Donats was held by the de Haweys family who also had estates in Somerset and Dorset. In 1925 the Castle was sold to the newspaper millionaire William Randolph Hearst and it was commandeered for training of army officers during the war. Then in 1960 was taken over by an international school called Atlantic College, which is still thriving there today.
Waternish is the middle bit in the North of Skye. It is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt places I have ever been to. Fantastic views to the Outer Hebrides. Some interesting craft places dotted about. The clearest air I've ever breathed. Wish I could have bottled it to take home. I have to make do with the photo I took of the Minch (Loch/Sea?) which is now the background on my computer.
Its a wool shop like no other! They sell naturally dyed yarn (including the softest, most snuggly double knit with cashmere in it) in a spectrum of sumptious colours. Some of the plants that make up the colours are grown locally too. They also sell natural yarns - I never knew sheep came in so many shades: nothing boring about these greys, browns and black wools. If you don't knit, you can come away with a hand made jumper or scarves, socks ... and wonderful buttons! There is also an exhibition about the process of dyeing and about the plants used.
I recommend it because the stuff in the shop is lovely, the people in the shop are friendly and helpful, and the exhibition is interesting.
And, Waternish as a whole is one of the lovliest places I have ever been.
I completed a tour with Context this morning (From Shakespeare to the Globe: the evolution of theatre in London), which was, in a word, fantastic. My guide, Jim, displayed incredibly detailed knowledge well beyond what I would reasonably expect his remit to have been, painting a colourful picture of the city's theatrical present and past while also sharing a great many enlightening facts about London itself in the process.
Look out for the beautifully restored Art Deco facade and the white on black lettering reading 'Electrical Engineers' as you head up Peckham Rye for a stroll around the park.
Visitors are tempted inside this former electrical and hardware store by the beautiful furnishings, comfortable sofas, giant sanded dresser behind the bar and the collection of paintings by local artists adorning the walls. This cafe and art gallery hosts different exhibitions and private views every month. The cakes are all home-made and the menu includes some mouth-watering items such as smoked haddock, baby spinach and lemon fishcakes. The cafe/gallery opened in November 2010 and French manager Julie plans to incorporate a large deli, with meats, cheeses, home-baked bread and a vast range of tempting treats and there's an arts and crafts fair every Saturday morning on the leafy terrace, over the road from the Common. It's a wonderfully sophisticated, cultured yet friendly place to hang out in south Peckham.
184 Peckham Rye, London SE22 9AQ
+44 (0)203 490 3039
Open Mon-Sat 09.00-17.00, Sun 10.00-17.00
Evening openings and website coming soon
Bus No. 12 to Peckham Rye
Google map: bit.ly/p6WAxc
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