For a truly memorable pub/hotel to visit in Norfolk, one cannot do better than the Royal Hotel, Mundersley. When I visited, the bar offered six real ales and the restaurant served excellent food; being on the coast the seafood was particularly good.
The rooms are furnished with antique furniture and the whole place has a great atmosphere. Room 222 has a huge four poster bed and was stayed in by Admiral Lord Nelson when he was a boy.
The Miller's Arms in Canterbury is a weather boarded pub occupying a rounded corner position overlooking the remains of a water mill complete with mill race. The rooms are not numbered but each is named after a Canterbury Tale, thus we had The Pardoner’s Tale. The bar, open all day, serves real ale in a selection of eclectically-rooms. The smoking area is so pretty and candle lit that it almost makes you wish you were a smoker. Comfortable rooms, all with WiFi, an outstanding breakfast menu, friendly staff and Canterbury Cathedral ten minutes' walk away, all combine to make this an ideal base.
2 Mill Lane, Canterbury, Kent CT1 2AW
+44(0)1227 456 057
Google map: bit.ly/TnU41K
With the Red Lion at Stiffkey, North Norfolk, you get the best of both worlds. Newly built, eco-friendly modern accommodation with power showers, warm heating and comfortable beds and a pub, dating back to the 1600s whose character is allowed to speak for itself with flag-stoned floors, ancient beams and log fires. Mussels are a speciality here, not just the classic white wine and garlic, but more adventurous choices such as mussels with curried potato and spinach. There’s nothing better than a wind-swept walk along the sea-marsh, accessible straight from the pub and coming back to a plate of mussels in front of a roaring log fire, washed down with a pint of Norfolk Wherry, knowing a comfy bed awaits. Dogs allowed.
It's a pub with rooms in a pretty honey-stone village just outside Yeovil, and a walk from NT property Montacute; the perfect stop-off if you're doing the trek to the far West Country from London and don't want to do it all in one go. The Mason's Arms is a friendly, proper pub rather than a gastropub with designer pretensions, with hearty food and its own microbrewery (the beer was delicious, but the quantities the landlord makes are so small, you'll rarely find it anywhere else). The rooms have some luxury extras that you don't usually find in a pub stay (robes, decent toiletries), especially considering the price - £85 for a double, which included a great breakfast.
Not far from the beaches and birdwatching of the Norfolk coast, few drinkers in the bar or diners in the busy restaurant at the Gin Trap realise that there are three traditional bedrooms with luxury en suite bathrooms available at this friendly country pub. In winter we've stayed there and returned from walks along the beach at Hunstanton to a roaring fire, and in summer we've sat in the sunny garden over a drink before an excellent meal with local specialities like samphire (and advice on how to eat it). I like the proper vegetarian items at breakfast - pancakes with blueberries or French toast with fresh fruit - alongside the more traditional menu.
An amazing pub with whisky themed rooms in the heart of malt whisky country. For a whisky fan you could not ask for more - great atmosphere, delicious food, comfortable rooms and probably the largest selection of glenfarclas single malts in the world. And it's located right on the Speyside way long distance walking route so you can use your own steam to visit many of the local distilleries. What a place to have a few drams and rest your head for a night! Found it so good had my wedding celebration there! Wow!
The Wheatsheaf hotel and pub in Virginia Water is set in an ideal location as it is right by Virginia Water Lake and Windsor Great Park. It is cosy with its open fireplaces and it has a large beer garden at the back. The inn welcomes families for dining and staying. Traditional, freshly cooked English food and light bites are available.
For a bit of history, King George III and Queen Charlotte are known to have stayed at the inn in the early 1800s.
London Road, Virginia Water, Surrey GU25 4QF
Google map: bit.ly/RPdXMJ
Fab country pub. While on our way home we stopped off for a drink, but the warm log fire and the snow falling outside lured us to stay the night. Friendly staff, tasty food in a cosy ambience combined for a lovely spur of the moment night away.
Absolutely fantastic pub with rooms. Top notch food, lovely and comfy rooms, often a guy playing piano in the bar, and breakfast to die for. Owner Philip is a delightful host.
You must book a room with a view of the dale. The spectacular view alone would be enough to make this pub a contender for the best in Britain. On our first visit we only stopped for a drink in the beer garden – but then couldn’t resist the homemade soup. Since then we have returned a number of times and stayed overnight. We’ve never yet been disappointed with the food, drink or the welcome.
How do you turn a three night break into a week long holiday? You can't, but The Glenuig Inn in Glenuig on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula in Scotland came close. With a restaurant serving local food so fresh it slaps you in the face, simple but classy en-suite rooms and an en-suite ocean with a landlord come walking/kayaking guide to boot it is easy to fill long summer days and cosy winter nights feeling quite isolated from the world. It's also close to the gateway to the Ferries and Islands.
You can kayak with basking sharks, walk to deserted crofting villages and inaccessible bays or just sit and watch the golden eagles soaring. The finest kippers I have ever eaten from a local smoke house started the days with a mouthful of heaven and I even managed to catch my own supper. It has also been built, and is run, to the highest eco friendly standards. Everything is recycled except for the experience.
This fine pub fits into a bend in the young River Esk – you can enjoy looking at the wildlife from the open terrace in the summer. Inside there’s a traditional bar and a superb restaurant featuring locally produced cuisine. Try the jugged hare then follow it with celebration of rhubarb – crumble, syllabub, jelly and sorbet, the ultimate pudding! Upstairs there’s a spacious family room sleeping four – you can put the kids to bed then spend the evening sampling the landlord’s personally collected stash of malts.
Lealholm, Whitby, North Yorkshire, Y021 2AJ
Google map: bit.ly/UP1xJ2
Lealholm is in the North Yorkshire National Park and has its own railway station
According to one architectural guide Edinburgh's famous Cafe Royal has a "swaggering Parisian air". It was opened in 1863 and boasts Corinthian brass lamp standards, tall beveled windows, marble-topped counters and large tile pictures of famous inventors. It was said that this was the venue where Princess Margaret met a certain Roddy Llewellyn. What is less well known is that it was planned as a showroom for sanitary fittings. It’s a wonderful cathedral to the bon vivant – whether on a hot sunny day or a cold winter evening. It’s the sort of place you might go with mates for a swift half and when someone says lets have oysters and champagne everyone says yes!
The Dock is a newly-opened restaurant in Docklands, just a short walk from Canary Wharf. It's a bit off the beaten track but a real hidden gem. It serves delicious seafood - I had the scallops with bacon, and tried some of my friend's calamari. It was really good! I was tempted by the steak but in the end opted for the fish and chips which were great. The batter was light and crispy and the chips nice and chunky. The food is top-class but there's nothing stuffy about it - it's very relaxed and the owner and staff are very friendly. It's great value too. I am looking forward to my next visit to try something more adventurous. I would really recommend it as a place for lunch, or for meeting friends after work.
Cal Boter is the right place to try traditional Catalan restaurant food in Barcelona. They cook the kind of food you might find in a restaurant in the country, but they are in one of the most traditional, full of local flavor, barrios of Barcelona.
I visited my sister in Bristol last week to see the Christmas lights turn on and catch up over a nice meal at The Square (we used a groupon voucher for the seven course taster menu). We'd never been before and were both pleasantly surprised! The staff were all friendly and very helpful, the food was A-MA-ZING and the building was really quirky and arty inside! I'd definitely recommend it for special occasions as it isn't cheap but it is definitely worth it. It has a real warm feeling about it and the food was as if we were in a top notch London restaurant - we felt very spoiled.
We discovered cosy Café Calma on a recent visit to Prague and it became one of our favourite haunts. They served a good range of cakes and pastries, and the breakfasts were great, with excellent croissants. The café also serves proper meals, including decent vegetarian options. Eating at Café Calma was inexpensive and the staff were friendly and helpful. In summer you can sit outside and watch life go by in the adjacent square.
As its name suggests, simple and homely Koldunine specialises in koldunai, ravioli-like dumplings which are basically the Lithuanian version of Polish pierogi or Russian pelmeni. I popped in for lunch and tried koldunai filled with potato, which were much tastier than they sound. The service was quick and friendly, and if I had more time in Vilnius, I would have definitely gone back. Koldunai is not a gourmet restaurant, but it’s a good option for lunch or when you’ve built up an appetite after sightseeing. The food is tasty and authentic, and doesn’t cost much either.
Savičiaus g. 6,
+370 679 26259
Google map: bit.ly/U5X4gW
Excellent pub with rooms in a small village a mile or so off A19 between Easingwold and Thirsk. Food is locally sourced, well presented and good value for money. The view from the car park is amazing. Quite a lot of themed nights and special events - Galtres Festival, Race Days.
Bedrooms are in former outbuildings and are of very high quality. They also host wedding receptions in a marquee behind the pub and provide next day brunch, including for those staying elsewhere.
I visited on a chilly autumn morning in October so I needed something to stave off the cold. The hot chocolate and muffin that I ordered did the job perfectly. Among other things, Kuuka Kafe serves great coffee, superb homemade cakes (try the carrot cake), and panini. The interior is cosy and welcoming, and try to nab the very comfy sofa if you can. While not extortionate, Kuuka Kafe isn't the cheapest café in town, but it’s worth it, and you’ll probably find yourself going back at least once.
Grēcinieku iela 5, Old Town, Riga
(+371) 28 77 39 34
Google map: bit.ly/RWGvUq
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