Not so much a tea room as a tea garden. Tucked away like a magical grotto past a trickling fountain and through vast trees and hedges, you arrive to a garden where you are served by staff in Victorian aprons, who bring the most delicious homemade scones (if you choose the cream tea - and really you should, you won't regret it). Also accompanying it is a nice big pot of cream and the same of jam, none of that tiddly little amount you get in the chain cafes. Quite right too! All you can hear is the birds and the wind rustling through the trees. It really is the most delightful, thoroughly English experience tucked away in the South Downs near Eastbourne. It's dog friendly too so your pooch can settle under the table for a rest after a lovely walk and refresh him/herself with a bowl of water while you enjoy the quintessential cream tea at this delightful spot.
A large car park accommodates plenty and there's a little gift shop and also a fabulous little plant nursery at the same spot to tempt you.
Find Litlington Tea Room near Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex taking the turning off the A259 signposted to Litlington and follow along. It's narrow so be careful.
Only open in summer.
+44 (0)1323 870222
Google map: bit.ly/qvfkqD
Fantastic event for all interested in great food, well cooked and for enjoying many different wines. I went last year and can still remember the great tastes. There was also a relaxed and happy atmosphere about the whole event.
Fabulous hotel with food that is absolutely wonderful and views over the lake to match. When you have eaten to your heart's content you can wander around some of the beautiful countryside trying to catch a glimpse of some of the local birds of prey.
Its a typlical Roman trattoria with its own specialist dish. No pretension, no frills, no waiters at the door asking you to come in and the speciality of cacio e pepe tagliolini at 11 euros is worth the trip alone - pecorino cheese, pepper and butter served in a cheese basket. You can have two courses, a mezzo (half) a litre of wine and a coffee for 25 euros each.
Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 24, 00153 Roma, Italy
+39(0) 6 5800757
Number 8 tram from Rome centre. Get off after you cross the river. From Trastevere railway station get off before the river, with the river behind you walk left off Vialle Trastevere and you will find it.
Google map: bit.ly/pofQdT
Sorrento is a great place to go for a late summer or autumn break. The evenings are cooler, but the days are still sunny and warm, and the colours of the autumn foliage blaze along the Amalfi coast. The crowds have gone, and the temperature is much more agreeable for visiting the sights such as Pompeii and Herculaneum. Foodies are in for a treat too, as this is the time of year for freshly picked local mushrooms, chestnuts and walnuts. For a splurge try L'Antica Trattoria - fabulous food, a beautiful terrace and a cosy traditional interior for the cooler evenings. For a restaurant with a local neighbourhood feel, try Il Leone Rosso - spot on for an authentic Pizza Marinara.
Set in an impossibly perfect medieval hilltop village, the stripey food tent is crammed with extended family groups dining on chestnut dishes made with beef or chickpeas before strolling the twisting alleys still decked with the last of summer's fading window boxes to choose their desserts from the selection of cakes all made with, yes you've guessed it, chestnuts. A steady stream of full sacks are delivered to a giant hotplate for roasting then transported at a run to the back of the kitchens to be transformed into more chestnut delicacies. Enjoying the tapestry of brilliant autumn colours in the crisp air certainly enhances the appetite. Not easy to find but definitely worth the trip.
When you step into Café Louvre on Národní, it is as if you step back in time. Opened in 1902, Louvre has always ranked highly in Czech kavarna culture. For a time it was the meeting ground of philosophy groups whose members included Franz Kafka and Max Brod. Many key players in the European literary scene of the early twentieth century spent time here, including Czech the Čapek brothers and Otto Pick.
Although the café closed for several years under the communists, its interior underwent considerable reconstruction in the 1990s. Today visitors will still get a feel of the grandiose café scene that existed at the beginning of the last century, as they walk up the wide staircase with marble walls and an iron handrail. The main room of the café, overlooking Národní below, boasts high ceilings, large windows and huge mirrors, which makes this one of the most splendid locations to drink caj or kava in the whole of Prague.
Louvre does offer full savoury meals, including soups, salads and pancakes. However, the best reason for a visit is the magnificent coffee and cake menu. Their homemade cakes, strudels and waffles will satisfy even the sweetest tooth – the blueberry cake on linz dough with vanilla ice-cream (65 CZK) keeps me coming back again and again.
An impressive drinks menu makes Louvre a winter time favourite – hot chocolate with rum and whipped cream (59 CZK) will keep you warm when it’s cold outside.
For good quality coffee and dessert set in historic opulence, look no further.
Národní 22, Praha 1, 110 00
+420 224 930 949
Nearest metro: Narodni Trida or Mustek
Nearest tram: Narodni Trida (6, 9, 18, 21, 22 or 91)
Mon-Friday: 08.00 to 23.30
Sat-Sun: 0900 to 23.30
Google map: bit.ly/mQerhN
* Helen is our Been there local for Prague. Her page is here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-helen-ford.jsp and she has her own blog here: czechingin.wordpress.com/
Situated on the famous “rue Mouffetard” in the heart of Paris, right next to the Panthéon, this fabulous boutique is typically French, and prides itself on selling products that are original, yet quintessentially French and, above all, of the very highest quality. The delicatessen boasts an array of products, such as Fauchon, Hédiart, in addition to delicious products sourced from small French manufacturers. A wide range of designer kitchen tableware is also available on sale. A very pretty boutique, perfect for indulging yourself, or indeed, others. A beautiful selection of luxurious products at prices which won't break the bank.
4, rue Mouffetard, 75005, Paris, France
Google map: bit.ly/pxyyLZ
The Flask is a pub in Hampstead which was built in 1874 on the site of the Thatched House, which used to bottle spring water and sell it to taverns and coffee shops in London.
A beautiful Victorian gem, after you've had a blustery weekend walk from Highgate over Hampstead Heath, this is definitely the place you want to go to. The food is top notch, you can get a venison burger there if you so wish, and with a range of ales on tap and a warm dark wood interior that has plenty of little corners in to sit this is the place to go to warm up and relax.
There are loads of all you can eat meat restaurants in Brazil and we tried three while I was there for a two month stay working my way through Brazil. This place was the best. For meat eaters it was heavenly. Best tip, don't bother having lunch and stroll up about 7pm. You'll feast. If you take a trip to Brazil now it will be coming into their spring - it'll be hot but a great time to visit.
Av Atlantica 290B, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
+ 55 21 2104 9000
Google map: bit.ly/pcXxut
As the leaves begin to fall and recent summer activities become distant memories, we all seek some kind of indulgent escape to tide us over to the festive season.
The Northumbria Food and Wine Festival is one of the big gastronomic events of the North East calendar. This year, it has been organised by the successful and highly capable team at The Feathers Inn of Hedley on the Hill near Stocksfield.
The event is held at Tynedale Rugby Club on the outskirts of historic Corbridge, just outside Hexham off the A69. It will take place over three days featuring a host of wine tasting and buying experiences and live music PLUS the kind of classic British cuisine and culinary adventure chef Rhian Cradock is renowned for.
It's one of those occasions where you could dress smart-casual, take a civilised train journey and pontificate over bouquet and vintage without persecution. In the company of fellow wine lovers and extremely passionate vintners, you can indulge your tastes, explore some great local food, all in a picturesque, rural marquee-based setting.
Much in keeping with today's highly popular beer festivals, entrance includes tokens for wine samples and a commemorative tasting glass to take with you as you trot gracefully (or stagger) between tables.
This event could headline as part of a longer trip to Northumberland and will certainly live up to the region's reputation for taste, understated beauty and accessible culture.
7-9 October 2011
Tynedale Park, Corbridge, NE45 5AY
Google map: bit.ly/oBYTt3
Hedley, Stocksfield, Northumberland NE43 7SW
+44(0)1661 843 607
Google map: bit.ly/oScxq5
Northumbria is home to many of the country's surviving farms and food producers, and this new event - reckoned to be the biggest of its kind in the north east - gives them a showcase alongside the region's leading wine importers and distributors. Sounds like a recipe for a good day. One of the main exhibitors is the Feathers Inn at Hedley on the Hill, which is well known as the county's finest gastropub, having won the Good Pub Guide's Northumbria Dining Pub of the Year in each of the last four years under chef proprietor Rhian Cradock, who'll be running a pop-up restaurant. Essentially it's a sort of giant farmer's market combined with a wine festival. There's live music too, and it's all in floored and heated marquees, so a pretty weather-proof day out.
7-11 October 2011
Tynedale Park, Corbridge, NE45 5AY
Google map: bit.ly/oBYTt3
Hedley, Stocksfield, Northumberland NE43 7SW
+44(0)1661 843 607
Google map: bit.ly/oScxq5
So you've walked (or stumbled) along the oh-so-touristy Leidseplein and its collection of pubs, clubs and cafes, all about as subtle as a pie in the face. Or maybe you're a return visitor to Amsterdam and you've grown a little wiser. Either way, you are looking for something better, cooler, and devoid of Eurotrash. I'd suggest you turn the corner and head to Bo Cinq.
A bar/lounge/restaurant on Prinsengracht, one of the main canals that make up the city center, Bo Cinq (I have no idea what that means - will have to check with them on my next visit) is a great spot for a drink or a bite to eat. Lined with red bricks on both sides of the long, low-ceilinged interior, this place just makes you 50% cooler and relaxed as soon as you walk in the door. The low-slung couches and chairs invite you to lean in or get close to people. If that's not your thing, the other room has a long bar made for standing and mingling.
The ambiance is great - toeing the line but staying well on the good side of pretentiousness, with good tunes and good-looking people hovering near the 30-year-old mark. The vibe is good for groups and singles, though you won't feel like you're in a meat market. Subtlety is the key to the place, in the food and the mood. Later in the evening, it fills up and the energy follows suit.
They have other things going on each week, including a canal boat tour that leaves from just outside its doors - check out the website: bo5.nl/index.php
It's not cheap, mind you, with pricey cocktails appetizers that are a little too precious for my taste - they quality is great, but one might prefer some heartier fare when having a few drinks. But overall it's well worth a visit.
(Tip: if you want to use your phone here or you're waiting for an SMS that hasn't come, head outside for a moment. Inside, you're surrounded by too much brick and only the heartiest of mobiles will have a signal).
Prinsengracht 494, 1017 KH Amsterdam
+31 20 622 0682
* Jeff is our Been there local for Amsterdam. You can read his profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/amsterdam-local-jeff-funnekotter.jsp and follow his tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/jefffunnekotter
Google map: bit.ly/pO3GJS
This little place on the lake shore - opposite the huge Overlanders place - is quiet and pretty with room for camping as well as the huts. Each of these is perfectly comfortable, even though the shower is more like standing under a dripping tap! But it's the staff that make this place - young, friendly and with Ronald cooking delicious food. Try the crayfish curry. The lake is stunning, especially from the top of the hill, the 29 islands seeming to float on its surface.
P.O Box 242,, Kabale, Uganda
Google map: bit.ly/nktzRQ
Riegrovy Sady in Prague 2, is an excellent place to while away a sunny afternoon. Its gentle grassy slopes offer excellent views northwards over the city towards Petrin Hill. It definitely has a touch of Primrose Hill cool about it and is popular among Czech and expat couples and friends.
The park is well served by drinking establishments. Mlíkárna is my favourite beer garden. It’s open from early April until late October and, while it can be crowded on a sunny weekend day, offers a takeaway (“sebo” in Czech) option so you can enjoy your beer in a quieter spot.
At the weekends Mlíkárna also has an outdoor barbeque offering sausages (klobasa) and other snacks.
Riegrovy Sady, 120 00 Praha 2, Vinohrady
Nearest metro: Jiřího z Poděbrad or Namesti Miru (walk down Mánesova and turn onto Třebízského)
Nearest tram: Vinohradská tržnice (11)
Monday – Sunday 10.00 to 22.00
Google map: bit.ly/oQi0st
The Haga district in Gothenburg is like stepping into a fairytale town. Having explored Kungsportavenyn (the Avenue) and the inner city area of Gothenburg, I was starting to get tourist fatigue. Craving some greenery, we headed for Slottsskogen, a vast and beautiful open space littered with open-air zoos, restaurants, and grand oak trees. It was on our walk there that we inadvertently stumbled across the Haga district. It was like walking straight into a fairytale; cobbled lanes with secrets to tell, tired looking shop fronts dripping with vintage nick-nacks, and row after row of delicious coffee shops. Far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, the Haga district emanates calmness and coolness, welcoming both tourists and locals alike. It felt like I'd wandered into the heart of a local Swedish tow, and was being welcomed as a regular, rather than just another visitor. Besides soaking up the atmosphere of the Haga district, it implores you to engage in the serious business of 'fika', right beside the locals. Fika, the Swedish practice of taking a break usually with coffee and cake, is best enjoyed in Cafe Husaren where they offer great coffee and the biggest, most generous cinnamon rolls. They were literally bigger than my head - not for the faint hearted. Although, after exploring the many cute cobbled streets and shabby chic shops, it's a well-deserved break. The attitude of this place offers a really unique edge to the city of Gothenburg, I would strongly recommend a visit, no matter how brief your trip.
Haga Nygata 28, 411 22 Gbg
+46(0)31 136 378
Google map: bit.ly/rstpLh
Literally meaning vegetable garden in Spanish, La Huerta, offers just that. Lots of veggie tapas - you can even find croquetas (croquettes) free of ham (choice of cauliflower or pesto). Tapas prices ranging between €2-3. Three tapas and 4 drinks (2 people) was about €20. Great summertime dining as plenty of outdoor seating and near other tapas bars (including the infamous Rinconcillo) if you wished to make a little tour of it.
Plaza Terceros 9, Seville, Spain
+34 655 270 079
Google map: bit.ly/ovIJK5
* BecomingSevillana is our Been there local for Seville. You can read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/seville-local-kim.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/BecomingSevillana.jsp
She also has her own blog: becomingsevillana.blogspot.com/
Barrio: La Encarnación
A mix of simple wooden tables, utilitarian steel shelves and brown floral seventies wallpaper.
Delecta is another of my favourite small Brussels bars, an intimate after-work venue both in summer and winter, where you can share bottles of wine and plates of antipasti or huddle round the stove when it’s cold. There is a good selection of beer and light meals: more interesting variations on the ubiquitous croque monsieur, quiches and lasagne. Thursday evenings host the popular “les apéros
du Delecta”, complete with DJ.
Rue Lannoy/Lannoystraat 2, 1050 Ixelles
+32 (0)2 644 19 49
Google map: bit.ly/pkPES7
Les Gens que J’aime is a short walk away from the Grand Place and an ideal place to pause sightseeing for refreshment. It used to be another naff chocolate shop, but luckily the owners are faithful to their 60s retro theme: believe me, you don’t hear The Doors too often in Brussels! I liked going upstairs to the low-ceilinged gallery, where I ate lasagne off a psychedelic circle tablecloth and drank ginger tea from a dribbling teapot. The food is reasonably priced and includes bagels, meatloaf and waffles, which should keep you going at least until evening.
Rue du Midi 15, 1000 Brussels
Google map: bit.ly/qGWyXm
In a city as well-trodden as New York, it's always fun to do something off the beaten path. Hudson Clearwater is a hidden gem of a restaurant at 447 Hudson Street on the corner of Morton Street in the West Village. On the outside, it appears to be an insurance/tax office. But open the unmarked green door and walk straight ahead. You'll know you're in the right place if you find yourself in a garden greeted by attractive waitstaff. And if you don't find that, exit and look for another green door. I hear the traditional fare's so good, that it's worth the hunt.
447 Hudson Street, NYC, 10014
Google map: bit.ly/nrrWBV
* Amanda is our Been there local for New York. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/new-york-local-amanda-green.jsp and her own NYC blog here: www.noisiestpassenger.com/
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