We visited this lovely Bed and Breakfast a few weeks ago, which is a beautifully restored barn on a beef and sheep farm. After a day exploring the Peak district (with many options for walking, cycling etc), this is the perfect place to completely relax.
The owner, Jane Bassett was very welcoming, made a delicious breakfast and told us all about the farm including her part-time role as Midwife during lambing season! Highly recommend for a peaceful stay on a really interesting working farm.
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.
We - my wife and I and our then 15-year-old youngest daughter - were walking Hadrian's Wall a few years ago, with pre-booked accommodation. The rain set in as we left Birdoswald Roman fort; we crossed the River Irthing on a new bridge and walked alongside the ancient Roman bridge; and there, built in the remains of a milecastle, was our next bed for the night: Willowford Farm, run by a couple from Manchester, Liam and Lauren, who breed sheep. Our rooms, with a view over the farmyard, had footbaths - very welcome after a long day's walk - and their home cooked evening meal, for meat-eaters and vegetarians, was superb: they're part of a consortium of farmers who produce locally sourced food. The next morning, as we put our damp boots on for the next bit of the walk, we were entertained by Milly the dog in the farmyard. Willowford had the best food and the nicest people of our whole walk along Hadrian's Wall.
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
Docharn Lodge B&B is a jewel in the Cairngorm National Park. It is the only B&B in the Highlands to have accommodation better than some five-star hotels we have stayed in throughout the UK (they even have Molton Brown products, fluffy robes and slippers, a wee nip of whisky and wine in the rooms!) Newly opened - get there quick before they have no room. Such wonderful hosts, it's a haven in some of the most beautiful countryside in the world.
We treated ourselves to luxury by staying in a Welsh castle near Aberystwyth. It is in fact a grand house built as a Gothic folly complete with turrets and ramparts but inside it is very deservedly a five-star boutique hotel that is sumptuously decorated and inviting. Our room had a four poster, a bathroom with a circular bath and we had tremendous views out over the beautiful Aberdovey river which was ideal for our romantic stay. The breakfast was excellent and our host was friendly and made us feel at home. Well worth staying for something special.
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
B&B, with licensed bar, overlooking the North Shore of the town. Fantastic hearty Yorkshire breakfasts which should keep you going all day. Jude and Alan are very knowledgeable about places to eat and drink in the town. The place was so good we stayed an extra night. Ask for a sea view when booking.
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
Just outside the train station car park is a viewpoint from which the whole of Durham is spread before you.
The cathedral and castle are both there to admire. I was lucky enough to see them both during the fading light of the sunset (a view I will never forget). Once the sun had gone they were both brilliantly illuminated
Google map: bit.ly/UIGFUQ
It really is a joy to walk by the river Wear and to take advantage of photo opportunities to take photos of Elvet bridge (the recommended starting point), Kingsgate bridge, Prebends bridge and Framwelgate bridge. Stop for lunch here and lookout for the lovely cute birds which inhabit the riverbank just by Framwelgate bridge. The best route to take is between Elvet bridge (follow the signs for riverside path/walk) and Framwelgate bridge
One of the most impressive cathedrals I have ever seen. Its twin towers dominate the riverbank. The spiral swirls and designs on the interior columns as well as the exteior and interior arches reminded me so much of the mosque I visited in Córdoba in Spain. The Norman architectural splendour is apparent as you look up to the central tower and at the intricate adornments. Sadly photography is not allowed inside the cathedral but you can pause for reflection and take photos in the quieter cloisters of the adjacent Dominican monastery which has it's wonderful original wooden ceilings.
From the cloisters you can appreciate the stupendous views and photos of the central tower and nave. Entry is free but a donation is suggested (£5 is sufficient)
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.
The Chambers is an incredible hidden gem in Leeds city centre and would give any five-star hotel a run for its money.
The Chambers is in a grand building on a quiet street in the city centre. We went inside to be greeted by a roaring fire and a very friendly welcome from the receptionist. The reception area is very grand and has the feel of a private members' club or boutique hotel.
All of the rooms are serviced apartments so we had a bedroom that was just like a luxury hotel room (big bed, huge mirrored wardrobe, TV on the wall), plus a lounge with sofas and an armchair, another TV, a dining table set for four people and a kitchen! We really liked the decor, which was modern but still cosy. The lounge area was perfect as I could spend time there with my parents, unlike in a hotel room.
My parents really enjoyed their stay and found the bed was very comfortable, the staff very friendly and were happy with everything.
30 Park Place, Leeds, LS1 2SP
+44(0)113 394 6379
Google map: bit.ly/12p9pDU
Quite apart from having six floors of books (you can happily spend hours browsing) this store has a handy cafe and bar on the fifth floor which I found nice and relaxing having dodged into the store to get out of the rain!
203-206 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LE
+44(0)843 290 8549
Google map: bit.ly/W4Nfj8
Exmouth is wonderful for cycling for all levels and certainly family friendly. Cycle paths include along Exmouth's two mile sandy beach with sand dunes and red cliffs at the end. Or follow the ever-changing Exe Estuary cycle path that goes from Exmouth all the way to Exeter. The scenery is stunning and passes through beautiful Devon villages (with some lovely watering holes on route!) you can even take your bikes on a boat (from Exmouth or Topsham) to the cycle paths on the other side or visit Turf Lock, which can only be reached by bike, foot or boat! Or try the bicycle path along a disused railway line through woods from Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton where there is another wonderful beach to visit. You can hire bikes at Bikelands, a funky family run boutique bicycle shop in the centre of Exmouth. Their bikes are gorgeous colours with wicker baskets and adorned with flowers. They have options for all the family and lots of tips on routes.
Smack bang on the National Cycle Route 1, Ivy Grange Farm Yurts is the perfect place to start your cycling season off by exploring the bike-friendly Suffolk countryside. You can take your own bike or borrow one from the owners, select your Sustrans map and choose your route - the popular Brewery Tour, including St Peter's; the beaches at Southwold and Walberswick; or the market town of Beccles, the self-styled Gateway to the Broads. It's perfect for families, novice or expert cyclists. And when you get back to base, you can relax at your beautifully finished yurt, refresh yourself in the solar-thermal woodland shower and watch the sun go down by your campfire.
Cycle away the winter cobwebs in the Brecon Beacons!
Park in the village of Talybont on Usk, where you can start and finish at the White Hart or Star pubs. One has a bunkhouse and the other a B&B and restaurant open through the winter; both have great beers and good food.
Cross the canal by the footbridge then cycle north on the Taff trail which begins with a long climb alongside the Talybont reservoir. you will see the high peaks ahead of you to the left. You then pass through Talybont on Usk and Taf Fechan forests, before crossing a B-road leading to a fantastic climb up stone tracks to the Cwm Cynwyn pass as the base of Cribyn at an altitude of nearly 2000ft. On a clear day the views are stupendous and you may surprise a few walkers, fell-runners and sheep.
The descent is very technical with huge boulders and terrifying drops coming down the other side before the surface improves to a fast tarmac descent into LLanfrynach, where there's a pub for a well-earned pint, before following the roads back to Talybont.
Talybont on Usk village:
White Hart Inn:
Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon, Powys LD3 7JD
Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon, Powys LD3 7YX
Google map: bit.ly/UILn0F
Amazing day out for the family with zip wires, wobbly bridges, den building and lots of slides and activities for all ages.
Cycle hire for the area on site. Horning itself is a lovely marina town with lovely pubs and restaurants for a great lunch or evening meal.
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