BRITISH TRAVEL JOURNAL
SUMMER 2022 | ISSUE 12
an indulgent Champagne afternoon tea in a luxury A F hotel N TERNOO
* WWIN *
FROM CYCLING TOURS IN SUSSEX TO FOREST BATHING IN THE COTSWOLDS
UNIQUE LUXURY BREAKS
BEAUTIFUL BEACHES AND INSPIRING ART IN ST IVES
+ TRAVEL NEWS | BEACHES | INTERVIEWS | HOTELS | SUMMER FESTIVALS
REDISCOVER TIME TO BE Tresco is a unique, family-owned island at the heart of the Isles of Scilly archipelago.
28 miles off the Cornish coast. Somewhere else altogether. ACCOMMODATION | DINING | GARDEN | SPA
A subtropical garden and a soul-soothing spa; beachfront dining and awardwinning accommodation; deserted bays and aquamarine seas. Time to be.
CO NT R IBUTIONS
EDITORS E D I T O R - I N - C H I E F Jessica Way F E A T U R E S E D I T O R Samantha Rutherford C H I E F S U B - E D I T O R Angela Harding H E A D O F D I G I T A L Adrian Wilkinson CONTRIBUTORS
Chantal Borciani, Martin Dorey, Sophie Farrah, Jane Knight, Sophie Minto, Adrian Mourby, Karyn Noble, Natalie Paris
COVER PHOTO —
View of Godrevy Lighthouse in St Ives Bay taken from the headland of Gwithian Beach © Image Editor's own
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hose who recognise the view of Godrevy Lighthouse from our front cover won’t be surprised to hear our focus this edition is on North Cornwall. We love to get the first scoop on exciting UK travel news here at British Travel Journal, so the launch of Una St Ives (page 68) made it to the top of our travel agenda, as did one of our all-time favourite hotels, The Headland, Newquay (page 92) – with the launch of their luxurious £10 million Aqua Club swimming and spa sanctuary. While in Cornwall's beautiful Carbis Bay we had the pleasure of meeting renowned British chef Adam Handling at his latest restaurant, Ugly Butterfly (page 42) and chatted to him about cooking and his passion for zero-waste. Whether you want to go glamping, have a house to yourself or discover the latest hotels this summer, we tell you where to look in our Travel News (page 9) and suggest ten incredible summer staycation ideas in our Unique Luxury Breaks (page 60). From new gardening, cycling and surf-school experiences to food, drink and vineyard tours we are spoilt for choice this year. Have you heard of Boho Gelato, Treleavens or Ruby Violet? Get a taste of these wonderful artisan ice-creams and gelati, including where to find them and where to stay, in our Cream of the Crop summer special (page 34). Plus, don’t miss our adventures on The Northumberland Coast (page 86), our interview with British hotelier Robin Hutson – owner of the PIGs hotels (page 24) – and our Festivals Calendar (page 74). And finally, in celebration as you raise a glass for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend this June, we urge you to do so with a Great British Drink (page 76). Phew! It’s going to be a buzzing summer – enjoy.
JESSICA WAY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF –
- Glenapp Castle - Scotland
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CONTENTS SUMMER 2022 | ISSUE 12
We look at new accommodation (everything from 13thcentury castles to refurbished Georgian country inns) spanning hotels, self-catering and glamping, as well as exciting activities to enjoy this summer, whether it be a vodka school or a cliffside sauna.
PRIDE OF BRITAIN COMPETITION
There are four prizes up for grabs: enter for your chance to win an indulgent Champagne afternoon tea for two at a luxurious Pride of Britain hotel.
10 OF THE BEST UNIQUE LUXURY BREAKS
This is our pick of the ultimate summer experiences, whether you fancy water sports in Cornwall, wine in Buckinghamshire, forest bathing in the Cotswolds, or even a Bridgerton-themed walking tour in Bath.
From summer-solstice-themed events to the world’s oldest golf tournament, these festivals old and new are the cream of the crop for summer.
GREAT BRITISH DRINKS
Need to stock the drinks cabinet for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations or take an impressive bottle to a BBQ? We have four delicious, very British, suggestions.
FOR YOUR JOURNEY
Our summer book recommendations for your beach bag, as well as crossword fun.
CREAM OF THE CROP
WALKING TOUR IN BRISTOL
This round-up of the best independent producers of gelato and ice cream comes complete with nearby cool getaway suggestions to make the most of your summer gourmet expedition. We take a stroll of Bristol’s Georgian port, uncovering the city’s secrets, its historical glory and stately architecture, and provide recommendations for where to eat and stay. Head to Suffolk for a tranquil getaway amid 35 acres of countryside; Retreat East is the ultimate destination for pampering and relaxation.
48 HOURS IN UNA ST IVES, CARBIS BAY
The new Una St Ives luxury resort is even more reason to visit Cornwall; editor Jessica Way takes her family on a two-day adventure by the beach.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ANNE BOLEYN
Want to live like Anne Boleyn (without the unhappy ending, obviously)? Step back in time to Kent’s Hever Castle and the gardens where she spent childhood or to luxurious Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire and sleep in the Henry VIII suite she once shared with her husband.
THE NORTHUMBERLAND COAST
We take a road trip to the underrated Northumberland Coast and find beguiling beauty and diversity, serene beaches and rugged wildernes.
48 HOURS IN THE HEADLAND HOTEL AND SPA, NEWQUAY
With its exquisite clifftop setting and grand Victorian architecture, the Headland Hotel & Spa in Cornwall is one of Britain’s finest destinations, and now with a new £10 million swimming and wellbeing complex called The Aqua Club, there are even more reasons to visit.
EDITOR LOVES The new signature Kew Gin and Tonic and vodka-based Botanical Spritz, made with the help of East London Liquor Co, taste as fresh and delicious as their colourful can suggests. Ready to drink cocktail cans are
available in Kew’s shops, Kew in West London and Kew's wild botanic garden in Wakehurst, West Sussex, priced £4.50. shop.kew.org/kew-organic-gin-new Launching this June, Terrein is the world’s first hiking boot to react to movement three times faster than the human body to reduce ankle injury – the perfect boot to wear on hiking holidays, expeditions and adventures. Terrein is available to purchase from 20
June 2022 for men and women, in two striking colour ways, sand and turquoise, priced £180. terrein-footwear.com
Renowned for THE PIG hotel empire, Robin Hutson OBE has redefined British staycations with his boutique country-garden properties that champion local produce and producers. He chats to us about his new book and much-anticipated vineyard. We take a trip to the sublime Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate in Cornwall and chat to Adam Handling, chef of its Ugly Butterfly restaurant about his zero-waste policy and sustainable ethos.
Subscribe to three issues of British Travel Journal for just £19 and receive the ultimate getaway essential from Noble Isle worth over £20, while stocks last. Prefer digital? Subscribe for one year and receive three issues of British Travel Journal to your chosen digital device to download for your travels, £8.99. britishtraveljournal.com/subscribe
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Explore Greenwich Step on board Cutty Sark and discover the dramatic history of the fastest ship of its time. Greenwich Pier
Greenwich (only 8 mins from London Bridge)
TRAVEL NEWS Whether you want to go glamping, have a house to yourself or discover the latest hotels this summer, we tell you where to look Text by Jane Knight
from page 10
from page 14
from page 18
from page 20
Hare and Hounds
They’ve had a lot of fun playing on the name of this beautifully refurbished Georgian coaching inn. Expect portraits of military personnel with dogs’ heads, hares’ ears sticking out from lampshades, plus hunting-themed fabrics and wallpaper. The pub’s proximity to Newbury explains the stable door in its enormous timber-frame dining room, with horse-head sculptures and bridle accessories. Some of the 30 well-designed bedrooms are in the real stables outside; all come with complimentary gin and Bramley toiletries. And if you want to visit Highclere, aka Downton Abbey, it’s just ten minutes’ drive away. Rooms from £120 a night, with breakfast. ◆ hareandhoundsnewbury.co.uk
Possibly Scotland’s most unique restaurant with rooms, this 13thcentury fortress is the place to enjoy chef patron Colin Nicholson’s six-course tasting menu before retiring to one of four bedrooms. Each named after a Scottish clan, they have hand-carved four posters, one with a private battlement. From £360 with breakfast. ◆ mingarycastle.co.uk
Book one of the new Orchard Cabins at Congham and you get a stylish summer base from which to visit nearby Sandringham, with its exhibition on the royal family’s relationship with the house. Rooms have an outdoor tub and a wall of windows. From £475 with dinner for two and breakfast. ◆ conghamhallhotel.co.uk
The Relais Cooden Beach This summer sees the transformation of a 1930s beach resort to become hotelier Grace Leo’s second Relais property. The first of 45 rooms are already redesigned in coastal blues, with the rest finished by September. Rooms from £295 with breakfast. thecoodenbeachhotel.co.uk
You’re virtually sleeping on the steps of St Paul’s at the latest Hilton Curio Collection property, opening in July. Behind the Grade-II-listed Creed Court building façade lie 145 rooms, some with cathedral views. In keeping with the name, the decor celebrates London’s lost railway stations, historic fashion trends and old city professions. The restaurant, called Found, holds an eight-metre bright-blue resin bar and a Murano glass chandelier featuring figurines of extinct birds, which together form the shape of a two-metre eagle in flight. Classic dishes include prawn cocktail, roast duck breast and Eton mess. Rooms from £170 with breakfast. ◆ lostpropertyhotel.com
Guesthouse No 1 York
If you love vinyls, this fun hotel is the place to come, with a record library, turntables in the rooms, and DJ Upside Your Mind playing every Friday evening in the summer on the heated terrace. A toy train runs through the bar, and rooms have coffee machines hidden in dolls’ houses. Rooms from £165. ◆ guesthousehotels.co.uk
It’s been a long time coming, but Richard Branson’s first UK hotel opens near Edinburgh Castle in June, seven years after Virgin’s first hotel launched in Chicago. Delayed after 10th-century remains were found on the site, it promises to be worth the wait. Some of the 222 rooms have views of the castle, which is also on show from a rooftop sanctuary. They all have Virgin Hotels’ signature layout, with a dressing room and bathroom rolled into one and a red Smeg fridge in the bedroom. Downstairs is a members-style social club and an all-day dining space. Rooms from £330, with breakfast. ◆ virginhotels.com
Talbooth House and Spa
After adding a spa by its outdoor pool, the former Maison Talbooth has rebranded itself to show its new focus on wellness. Top-to-toe Elemis treatments are on offer, or you can just lounge in the outdoor hot tub. Stay overnight in one of 12 bedrooms from £300 with breakfast. ◆ milsomhotels.com
The Georgian, Coppa Club
The all-day lifestyle ethos of Coppa Club has just arrived in the market town of Haslemere. In a Grade-II-listed property, the venue has spaces to work, eat, drink, and relax (with CBDinfused cocktails). You can stay in one of 13 bedrooms, which cost from £90 with breakfast. ◆ coppaclub.co.uk
Royal Marine Hotel, Brora Tartan fabrics and a stripped-back style give a Scandi-Scottish feel to this hotel’s 21 rooms, following a multimillion pound refurb. On the popular North Coast 500 coastal route, it’s just an hour from Inverness. Rooms from £224 with breakfast. royalmarinebrora.com
The Michelin-starred menu created by chef Jean Delport at Restaurant Interlude is up to 21 courses. It’s good, then, that after dishes such as pork with lobster and wild garlic and brown choux with dandelion and hazelnut you now only need to stagger up the stairs at this 19th-century Italianate mansion. Along a magnificent hallway and galleried landing ten elegant rooms mix antiques with contemporary art. Outside are 240 acres of garden to walk off the excesses of the night before, with a wallaby enclosure, an ornamental rock garden, a sculpture park and seven interlaced lakes. Dinner £145pp, rooms from £350. ◆ leonardsleegardens.co.uk
Grove of Narbeth This boutique bolthole near the Pembrokeshire coast is looking fresh from a complete refurbishment, which started in the public areas and finished in April with the last of its bedrooms. A Pride of Britain member, its rooms blend traditional styles and textures with contemporary comforts, and are from £260 with breakfast. ◆ grovenarberth.co.uk
Kirnan Estate Get back to nature at the 400-acre Kirnan Estate on the west coast of Scotland, about two hours from Glasgow. As well as two lochs and a picturesque glen, Kirnan now has three newly renovated cottages. Pick from one-bed Torrnalaich Cottage; Chapel Cottage, with two double bedrooms plus a third room for four singles; or Kirnan Beg, a Scandi-inspired wooden cabin. Then head off on one of the many walks, try clay pigeon shooting, or fly fishing on the River Add, which runs through the estate. Yoga and wild swimming are on offer too. From £200 a night for two. ◆ kirnanestate.com
When you can enjoy views of a lighthouse from the outdoor shower, from the table on the large terrace, or from the master bedroom, you know your holiday rental is going to be pretty special. At this chic beach bolthole, it’s even more special, as the building on show is Godrevy Lighthouse, which Virginia Woolf first visited in 1892 and which inspired her novel To The Lighthouse. Accommodation has clearly changed a lot since then. This cedar-clad beach house with a wall of glass has an open-plan kitchen/living area with wooden ladders leading to further seating in two mezzanine areas. The three bedrooms are stripped back and simple. The master room has its own en suite while the other two (one of which is a single) share a shower room. The Lookout is just 100 metres from the beach, from where you can take a boat trip to the lighthouse, as Woolf did herself. Or try to catch a wave with the help of one of the local surf schools. Just down the coast is the blue flag beach at Carbis Bay, and walkers can join the nearby South West Coast Path. Seven nights for five people costs from £2,560. ◆ luxurycoastal.co.uk 14
The Lakes by YOO at Cotswolds Waters If you’ve always fancied owning a lakeside holiday home, take a look at this development by the original Lakes by YOO estate. Reservations are now open and estate tours are available to book, with a show house opening later this year. Prices start from £765,000 for a stunning two-bedroom lake-view apartment. thelakesatcotswoldswaters.co.uk
Daylesford Houses Joining the litter at The Wild Rabbit’s countrycottage collection are two larger properties for groups. With reclaimed timber beams, exposed Cotswold stone walls, and country-chic interiors, they are just as lovely as their smaller siblings. Fowler’s House sleeps eight adults and four children, with a wooden table for 12 in the farmhouse kitchen, two spacious sitting rooms and a sweeping rear terrace. It costs from £7,000 a week. The 17th-century Old House has four double bedrooms, is surrounded by its own walled garden, and costs from £5,500 a week. Guests also have access to the Bamford Wellness Spa. ◆ thewildrabbit.co.uk
It’s the ultimate romantic escape – the only bedroom in a Norman castle with a four-poster bed and a bath for two. Explore the grounds or book the escape room, then retreat to the Royal Chamber at the top of the keep, which costs £395, with Champagne and continental breakfast. Opens July. ◆ hedinghamcastle.co.uk
Sawcliffe Manor Groups of two to 46 people can stay at Sawcliffe, which has just opened the doors of its historic house and cottages to guests after a careful restoration. Try axe throwing or hit the giant yurt for an on-site party. Cottages from £150, manor for 24 from £1,500 a night. sawcliffemanor.com
Rosehill in Padstow
We’re not sure if Charles Dickens actually stayed here when visiting his friend, who owned the property, but we are sure of Rosehill’s fantastic location. Within walking distance of the beach and all the foodie restaurants that Padstow has to offer, it comes with its own parking space and garden. Inside the Grade-II-listed building, as well as a comfy living room and openplan kitchen diner, there’s also an attic room, ideal for a snug. It has the same views of the Camel Estuary you get from the master bedroom, one of five rooms. A week for eight from £3,328. ◆ boutique-retreats.co.uk
The Other House
Stay for a night or a year at this apartment-style club with hotel services, opening on 5 July. Book studios with kitchenettes from £350 per night or Club Combos sleeping ten with their own front door, from £1500 per night. There’s an all-day café, two bars, and a gym with vitality pool and wellbeing classes, too. ◆ otherhouse.com
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*T&Cs apply and are subject to availability. Brochure price shown is per person based on two sharing a ‘classic’ room on a 7-night UK Self-Guided walking holiday. Non-member fee £30pp applies. Please go online for our most up-to-date offers and prices plus full details: hfholidays.co.uk
Dixie the Daydream Caravan
Think caravans are boring and old fashioned? Then take a look at Dixie Daydream, which has been beautifully done out by two stylists using products from online store Wayfair. Cassandra Doyle and Diana Civil aka The Style Producers have totally transformed the three-bedroom caravan at Camber Sands, adding a copper sink and a contemporary built-in fireplace along with statement furniture and decor. If you like the look, you can shop online for individual elements. From £180 a night for six. ◆ airbnb.com
Lake pods at Clawford Lakes
Fish from the deck of these lake pods on an 80-acre wildlife haven that opened in April with a range of accommodation, from floating cabins to lakeside lodges – close to two National Parks and a spectacular coastline. A pool will open later this summer. The pods sleep two from £340. ◆ clawfordlakes.co.uk
The Log Cabin Dungeness Twin railway carriages make a quirky new holiday retreat amid the unique Dungeness Nature Reserve, with uninterrupted views of the shingle beach. Created by artist Sara Newman, The Log Cabin sleeps six in three bedrooms. Three nights cost from £885. ◆ tlcdungeness.com
Airstream Dolly at the Eden Project Vintage caravans, bell tents and pods make up the YHA’s new glamping site at the Eden Project, where you can eat at The Hub or cook for yourself on a BBQ firepit. Sleeping just two people, Dolly costs from £59. yha.org.uk
Bainland Lodge Retreats Safari tents and shepherds’ huts already abound at Bainland, a 45-acre country estate near Woodhall Spa. Now, for the perfect romantic break, they also have a one-bedroom treehouse with lakeside views and a hot tub on the deck. Cook in the kitchen or use the new Copper Goose delivery service, with food delivered to the door by electric cart — you can even order it by app from the hot tub. There are plenty of activities on site, from cycling to swimming; you can book the pool for private use for £30 an hour. Stay three nights in summer from £1,049. ◆ bainland.co.uk
Pythouse Kitchen Garden You’ve heard of restaurants with rooms – now we bring you the restaurant with a glamping village. Six bell tents and a cosy shepherds’ hut sit in an orchard near this lunchtime-only restaurant. They share showers, a cocktail area, a kitchen and a dining area. Two nights for six people from £950 on weekdays. ◆ pythousekitchengarden.co.uk
Surf Wood for Good
Been to the beach and seen a discarded broken bodyboard? More than 16,000 polystyrene bodyboards are left on UK beaches each year, releasing myriad micro polystyrene balls into the coastal ecosystem, according to Keep Britain Tidy. Jamie Johnstone from Dick Pearce Bellyboards felt compelled to act after seeing the sheer volume of snapped boards at his local beach. He came up with a brilliant solution in the form of the Surf Wood for Good campaign. Through it, wooden boards can be hired free of charge in 24 locations around the UK coast, allowing everyone to enjoy sustainable surf and seaside fun. ◆ dickpearce.com
Launch your own digital Sputnik, experience a meteor show or try ‘driving’ a radio telescope at the interactive exhibition in the observatory’s First Light Pavilion, which opens on 4 June. The 76-metre grass-topped dome mirrors the shape and scale of the Lovell Telescope and will also feature planetarium-style shows. ◆ jodrellbank.net
SUSSEX AND YORKSHIRE
Duck and puffin trails
Follow an art trail of 30 five-foot rubber duck sculptures along the Sussex coast from Hastings to Bexhill from June. Each has been painted by a local artist and will host a wellbeing activity. In Yorkshire, look out for giant puffins from July, with 40 sculptures placed along the coast. ◆ followthatduck.co.uk / puffinsgalore.co.uk
Racing at Newmarket Go behind the scenes at the races before taking your seat in the private enclosure during the Champions Lawn Race Day Experience, with dates throughout the summer, for £65pp. Pay an extra £10pp for the tour, evening racing and a top-name concert. discovernewmarket.co.uk
Sweat it out this summer in a sauna with a view, looking out over beautiful Watergate Bay. You can hire the Canadian cedarwood cabin for your group of up to ten people or join a communal session. Either way, there is a range of complimentary essential oils to enhance the experience, a freshwater rainfall shower outside to cool down afterwards and even cold-water immersion if you’re feeling brave. A series of workshops are also planned, dealing with breathwork, hot and cold immersion and holistic health. From £20pp for an 8am communal session or £95 for an hour’s private hire. ◆ sauna-society.com
Colwith Farm Distillery
Done your share of gin distilleries and want something different? Then try a plough-to-bottle vodka school, using Cornish potatoes. The two-hour class (£79pp) looks at the history and origins of vodka and then lets you try your hand at blending botanicals to your own taste and filling your own 70cl bottle. ◆ colwithfarmdistillery.co.uk
Matilda The Musical THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY
Make time for Matilda as part of your trip to London this summer
atilda The Musical is the record-breaking production from the Royal Shakespeare Company which has been performed in countries including Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, USA and more. Adapted from the much-loved Roald Dahl book, the globally acclaimed
musical has won 99 international awards including 24 for Best Musical and has been seen by more than 10 million people across more than 90 cities worldwide. Matilda The Musical premiered at the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratfordupon-Avon in November 2010, playing to sold-out audiences before transferring to London’s West End, opening at the
Cambridge Theatre on the corner of Earlham Street facing Seven Dials in October 2011, and is currently taking bookings until the end of May 2023. With book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, who dares to take a stand
Photos by Manual Harlan
and change her own destiny. A tonic for audiences of all ages, this anarchic production continues Roald Dahl's theme of bravery and standing up for what you believe in, inspiring young audiences all over the world. The London production has welcomed over 4 million audience members to the Cambridge Theatre, where it recently celebrated 10 years in the West End. Your visit to London this summer just isn’t complete without a trip to experience Matilda The Musical. ◆
HOW TO BOOK TICKETS Matilda The Musical is now taking bookings until 28 May 2023 with excellent group rates available midweek throughout the summer holidays. Tickets priced from £20. Call 020 3925 2998 to book. For the full performance
schedule visit; matildathemusical.com
ROBIN HUTSON One of Britain’s most influential hoteliers, Robin Hutson OBE, tells British Travel Journal about his renowned PIG hotels, brand-new book, and much-anticipated vineyard Text by Sophie Farrah | Images by Jake Eastham
hey say that from little acorns great oaks grow, but in the case of Robin Hutson, the starting point was in fact a few weeds and a couple of carrots. After selling his hugely successful hotel chain Hotel du Vin in 2004, Robin was ready to kick back and relax, but a chance encounter in the New Forest quickly changed all that. “I was planning to put my feet up!” he laughs. “Then I got a call from Jim Ratcliffe who asked me to help him get Lime Wood (a five-star hotel in the New Forest) open. I was looking at other bits of property that the hotel owned; tidying things up, closing and selling, and there was this little hotel in Brockenhurst called Whitley Ridge…” he recalls. “I went there to have it valued for sale, but when I walked into the kitchen garden I had a lightbulb moment, I suppose. This small but perfectly formed garden had two carrots and a few weeds growing in it, and I just suddenly thought, I wonder if there’s a way of bringing the kitchen garden right to the fore of everything?”
And with that seed firmly sown, great hotels began to grow. Robin and his wife Judy transformed Whitley Ridge and in 2011 it reopened as THE PIG. Since then, the litter has expanded considerably, and there are now a further seven PIG hotels spread across every county along the south coast of England. Today, Robin, who earlier in 2022 was awarded an OBE for services to the hospitality industry and philanthropy, is one of the most influential hoteliers in the country. He is deeply admired by his peers and, most importantly, well-liked, and it’s easy to see why; when we speak, he is full of warmth, sincerity and has a palpable sense of fun, much like his hotels. “Coming from a background of five-star properties, I was aware that the country-house sector was peddling an out-of-date concept, really. It was all rather formal and stuffy – punters were scared to go up the drive,” he explains. “Not being too grand was central to what we wanted to do. That’s really where the name THE PIG comes from. I wanted it to have an agricultural
connotation because of the garden, but I also thought – it sounds a bit like a pub, people aren’t scared of going to pubs. It was never going to be ‘the something-something grand manor hotel’, or anything that sounds too posh.” Having weathered the recent pandemic storm, Robin’s unique porcine properties have been at the forefront of the UK hotel scene for over a decade now. Widely celebrated for their laid-back ethos and distinctive sense of organic style, THE PIG offers guests a luxurious, yet unpretentious stay immersed in the bucolic British countryside, with plenty of delicious sustenance on offer. This same recipe for success (and the perfect weekend break) has now been applied to PIGs in Somerset, Southampton, Dorset, Devon, Kent, Cornwall and Sussex, but despite this impressive expansion, much of what was first sown in the New Forest way back when remains part of the glorious experience today; the walled garden, the Potting Shed
Elizabethan manor, nestled in Devon’s green and pleasant Otter Valley. Its bedrooms are characteristically PIG, with rich and cosy fabrics, reclaimed textures and wood, rolltop baths, locally stocked ‘larders’ and each one totally unique. There are also three bountiful walled gardens, one home to an old stone folly, now a scenic spot designed for ‘quaffing and troughing’, as is positively encouraged. “I always say that the hotels are like kids and that you can’t have a favourite, but there are certain ones that have particular significance. Brockenhurst was the first, so that makes it very special, and the last one you do is fresh in your mind, as you live it night and day for so long,” Robin explains. “But Bridge Place (in Kent) is very special – Judy, my wife, lived in the village of Bridge throughout her teenage years, so we knew that beautiful building very well.” Today, each hotel is undeniably shaped by the historic
There are common elements to all the hotels – the restaurants follow a theme, “ but we allow the buildings themselves to dictate how we lay the rest out. We don’t fight the building; we allow it to give us the clues as to what we should do.” treatment rooms, roaring open fires, upcycled furniture, resident animals and the hotel’s highly acclaimed 25-mile menus, which use ingredients sourced from within a 25mile radius alongside fresh, seasonal produce harvested from the kitchen garden. “We let the garden inform everything that we do, from the menu to the design and decor and so on. I want it to feel very natural, comfortable, friendly, not too designed, and somewhere you can put your feet up on the table if you want to and have fun,” Robin enthuses. Ingeniously, while retaining the unique formula of the first, each PIG also has its own distinct sense of identity. They share the same handwriting, but each one has its own unique signature. Because of this, most regular guests are known to have a favourite, from THE PIG-on the Beach, which overlooks the golden sands of Dorset's sweeping Studland Bay, to THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay in Cornwall, with its abundance of original features and indulgent outdoor dining hotspot, The Lobster Shed. I love THE PIG-at Coombe; a secluded, Grade-I-listed 26
property that it inhabits. These grand old buildings are carefully hand-picked by Robin and Judy, who is also responsible for the group’s celebrated interior design. “We look at loads of properties all the time, and I get a gut feeling. Sometimes I don’t even get out of the car,” Robin laughs. “There are common elements to all the hotels – the restaurants follow a theme, but we allow the buildings themselves to dictate how we lay the rest out. We don’t fight the building; we allow it to give us the clues as to what we should do,” he explains. “And our design philosophy is very personal – Judy and I just choose stuff that we like. Our dining room table at home is always full of swatches and things, every surface is covered. It drives me nuts sometimes!” The couple’s latest transformation is THE PIG-in the South Downs, a beautiful old dower house tucked away near the ancient market town of Arundel in Sussex. Much to Robin’s delight, it is home to THE PIG’s very first vineyard.
“It’s my train set,” he says, grinning from ear to ear. “Wine is a bit of a passion of mine, I am quite partial to the odd glass. So, it's very exciting. All the team are involved in the pruning and picking, and we’ve all adopted a row.” With Robin’s eyes firmly on the vines, it is son Ollie who oversees THE PIG’s allimportant kitchen gardens and has done ever since their conception. Robin's other son, tattoo artist Will, has also recently made his distinctive mark by creating
striking treasure map-esque illustrations that feature in the hotel group’s brand-new book, THE PIG: 500 Miles of Food, Friends and Local Legends (see page 98). Released in May 2022, this lively and energetic coffee-table compendium celebrates the several counties that THE PIGs now call home, shining a spotlight on the unique produce and flavours associated with each one and the cast of characters that all play their part, from scallop divers and surfers to farmers and foragers.
FIRST PAGE: ROBIN AND JUDY HUTSON. PREVIOUS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: BEDROOM AT THE PIG-AT COMBE; WISTERIA AT THE PIG-NEAR BATH; RESIDENT PIGLETS; CHEFS FORAGING AT THE PIG-AT HARLYN BAY; PICTURED CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A MEAL AT THE LOBSTER SHED AT THE PIG-AT HARLYN BAY FRESH EGGS FOR BREAKFAST; THE VINEYARD AT THE PIG-IN THE SOUTH DOWNS; HERB GARDEN AT THE PIGAT COMBE
For those who prefer glamping there are “ six brand-new shepherd huts, each with built-in stargazing roofs and wood fires.”
[The vineyard] is [like] my train set. Wine is a bit of a passion of mine, I am “ quite partial to the odd glass. So, it’s very exciting. All the team are involved in the pruning and picking, and we’ve all adopted a row.” “We like to work with people that we like to work with, and I hope that comes through in the book. There are some very interesting, wonderful characters,” Robin explains affectionately. As well as mouth-watering recipes and some handy gardening tips, the book also provides a potted history of each remarkable building, and some truly riveting and often heart-warming stories and anecdotes of how Robin and Judy are connected to each one, making THE PIG feel even more personal than ever.
“We’ve opened three new hotels since the last book (THE PIG: Tales and Recipes from the Kitchen Garden and Beyond), and I felt it was time for an update. I was proud of the first book, and I like it a lot, but I felt it was safe. It was a bit 'John Constable' for me. A bit sweet! I felt that there was more of a story to tell.” Indeed, there is. And how about the next chapter? Before we part ways I ask if there are plans afoot for further additions to the much-loved piggy litter? “Yep,” says Robin, smiling. “And there could be more vineyards too…” BritishTravelJournal.com
Discover the Celtic Spirit in West Wales and Ireland’s Ancient East
ou’ll find it in the land, the sea, and the sky. You’ll find it in the people, their languages, and their stories. And you’ll find it in the rivers, the trees, and the stones. But what is it? We call it the Celtic Spirit. It’s hard to describe, but if you travel to West Wales and Ireland’s Ancient East, it’s easy to discover. Recent years have been difficult for all of us. Now in 2022, we are ready to discover new places. And for many it’s about finding lands where we can feel closer to nature and history. Places to restore a sense of balance and harmony in this pressured and sometimes scary world. But there is no need to travel a long way to feel a million miles away from the everyday.
Celtic Routes is a collection of authentic Celtic experiences. They offer fresh ideas and inspiration to discover the counties of Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow in South-East Ireland and Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire in West Wales. Celtic Routes encourage visitors to go beyond tourism honeypots and take roads less travelled. In Wales, Pembrokeshire is a popular destination but it’s still possible to avoid the crowds and really get to know the county. In the Preseli Hills you can walk ancient tracks through captivating prehistoric landscapes – it’s known in Welsh as Gwlad Hud a Lledrith, meaning ‘Land of Magic and Enchantment’. If you visit Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber, particularly at dawn or dusk, you really
There is no need to travel a long ‘ way to feel a million miles away from
the everyday... Celtic Routes encourage visitors to go beyond tourism honeypots and take roads less travelled.
have a sense of time of place. The hustle and bustle of modern life will feel a world away. North Pembrokeshire shares many characteristics with Ceredigion, its neighbour to the north. A dramatic and beautiful coastline, wild and wonderful uplands and a strong Welsh culture. Visitors to Ceredigion who decide to leave the coast and head for hills will be rewarded with an area of astounding natural beauty, otherwise known as the Cambrian Mountains. Here you will feel close to the land as you tread in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims enroute to ruined Strata Florida Abbey. And as you enjoy the tranquillity of the Teifi pools, you are more likely to hear skylarks and the whistling call of Red Kites soaring above, rather than the constant hum of traffic. Carmarthenshire is farming country. Agriculture has always been important, so you’ll find plenty of places serving food and drink from the area, locally sourced, prepared with care and presented with passion. Towns in the county are blossoming, alive with independent shops and full of products and stories connected to the county. You can also find your lunch in the wild. On a foraging experience along the Carmarthenshire coastline, you’ll learn how to find prawns, mussels, cockles, wild samphire, sea anemones and scarlet elf cup mushrooms. The reward for your efforts is your very own zero-waste, organic lunch on the beach. Southeast Ireland is less visited than some other parts. But a visit to Ireland is not complete without venturing to this corner known as Ireland’s Ancient East. Visitors to Dublin can head to the nearby Wicklow mountains to get a real sense of being in the “Emerald Isle”. In the foothills lies scenic Blessington Lakes. As well as being the main source of drinking water for Dublin, it’s a popular base for water-based activities like fishing, boating and kayaking. You can walk or cycle the Blessington Greenway along the lakeshore and into natural woodland. Or drive the 26km route around the valley. Novelist and poet Brendan Behan described his trip to the area as a ‘journey to the jewel of Wicklow’. Perched on a green hill overlooking the River Bann in north Wexford is a special place. Ferns is special because here, the many strands of ancient stories which shape modern Ireland,
come together. In this Ancient Capital of Leinster, you can trace the steps of Saints, Celts, Vikings, and Normans who have all influenced the nation we know today. Stay in nearby Enniscorthy and visit the castle which has played a key role in Irelands turbulent history. Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and has attracted visited for 1000’s of years. In 914 a fleet of Viking ships landed in what is now Waterford City. They settled, forged alliances and established trading routes and became an important part of Ireland’s story. If you join The Epic Tour of the Viking Triangle, you’ll discover six national monuments that date from 1190 AD to 1783. This is a wonderful way for visitors to get an overview of Irish history in Waterford. ◆ If you are planning on visiting Ireland or Wales in 2022, make sure you take a Celtic Route and truly discover the Celtic Spirit; celticroutes.info
WIN! PRIDE of BRITAIN
Enter our competition to win one of four indulgent Champagne afternoon teas for two at a luxury hotel
n a year that celebrates Her Majesty becoming the first British Monarch to reach the Platinum Jubilee milestone of 70 years of service, there is even more reason to indulge in a spot of tea or raise your Champagne glass – and there is nothing quite like sitting down for afternoon tea: the warming tea blends, sweet and savoury treats.
British Travel Journal has teamed up with Pride of Britain Hotels to offer you the opportunity to win one of four Champagne afternoon teas in a luxury hotel with glorious gardens. Our fortunate winners will be hosted in one of four gorgeous hotel settings: Mediterranean-inspired luxury hideaway Feversham Arms in North Yorkshire; four acres
of English cottage garden at The Priory, on the banks of the River Frome in Dorset; the romantic restored 17th-century parterre, lily pond and rose gardens of Bodysgallen in North Wales; or the secluded three-acre rose garden of Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa in Newmarket, while looking out to one of the world’s most famous racecourse and stables. Enjoy the tradition of Afternoon Tea at The Priory, served in the relaxed comfort of either The John Turner Restaurant or on The River Terrace in the summertime. Afternoon tea here includes a selection of traditional finger sandwiches; delicious home-made cakes, and scones, jam and clotted cream, served with a pot of your choice of Hoogly
Tea blend. At Bodysgallen, afternoon tea is served in their oak-panelled hall, library or drawing room, or on warm summer days outside on the terrace. Bodysgallen’s Traditional Afternoon Tea includes a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, cakes and pastries and a choice of freshly brewed teas. Afternoon tea at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, popularised by their very own Anna Maria, The Duchess of Bedford, is served daily and can be taken in Squires Restaurant, Roxana Bar, or on the sun terrace overlooking the stunning lawns and rose gardens at the hotel – the choice is yours. ◆
HOW TO ENTER
ON OUR WEBSITE
britishtraveljournal.com Pride of Britain Hotels is a collection made up of the finest properties; each one unique and characterful. With manor homes, castles, woodland retreats, elegant lodges and city boltholes on offer, there is a special experience awaiting every guest. Experience the best places to eat, stay and unwind within the British Isles. Last entries August 31 2022.
Prize is to be taken before 20 December 2022. BritishTravelJournal.com
CREAM OF THE
From artisanal ices and locally churned velvety scoops to family recipes dating back decades, Britain’s top independent ice cream and gelato makers provide the perfect accompaniment to a long, hot summer Text by Chantal Borciani
Swoon Traditional gelato is said to be smoother, creamier and carries less fat content than ice cream. At Swoon it's made from scratch and churned fresh using Somerset milk. Set up by the latest generation in a family of gelato makers going back 120 years, the first Swoon store opened its doors on College Green in Bristol in 2016. The family-run company now has outposts in Bath, Oxford, Selfridge’s in London and will be opening its newest swish set-up in Cardiff this summer. Ingredients such as lemons, hazelnuts and pistachio are sourced direct from Italy, and Swoon offers ten traditional flavours and six monthly changing seasonal varieties, alongside a selection of gelato cakes and artisan coffee from Naples. BritishTravelJournal.com
Flavours on offer include pistachio, dark chocolate sorbetto (vegan) and Bacio (chocolate and hazelnut) with a selection of dairy free and vegan sorbetto options. Visit: We love the decor and vibe of the Swoon store in Bristol for an eat-in parlour experience but if you prefer to head out into the sunshine with a towering cone, take a rug and relax on College Green overlooking Bristol Cathedral or pile a tub high and chill out in Bath’s Green Park overlooking the Avon. Stay: The Aspiring Cook is the newest addition to a clutch of luxury self-catering boltholes in Bath renovated by The Curated Collection. A short walk from the city centre, this cosy flat is perfect for a couple and sits among a handsome row of classic Georgian terrace houses, built around 1790 by Thomas Baldwin. thecuratedcollection.co.uk
Visit: While it seems churlish to not enjoy at least one scoop on Brighton’s famous pebble beach, why not also take a picnic out of town and head for the Devil’s Dyke, a 100-metre-deep V-shaped valley on the South Downs laced with beautiful walking trails offering incredible views of the Sussex countryside. Stay: The Garden Room sleeps two and is set at the foot of the South Downs – meaning guests can enjoy the best of countryside and coast in one vacation. Exquisitely appointed, the romantic hideaway features a secluded garden complete with hot tub. ruralretreats.co.uk
Boho Gelato Boho Gelato has been producing Italian-style ice cream, sorbet and vegan gelato on site in Brighton for 12 years. Gelatiere Seb Cole and his team use Sussex-produced milk and cream as well as ingredients from around the world (such as Sicilian DOP Bronte pistachio and Indian alfonso mangoes) to make 24 ever-changing flavours daily. All flavours are suitable for vegetarians and Boho also offers a selection of gluten-free and vegan scoops. Now with outposts in Weymouth and Worthing, the award-winning gelato producer has created more than 500 flavours over the years. Some cool new additions include malted miso choc nougat, coconut cocoa nib, strawberry, basil and black pepper, and hazelnut custard pie. 36
Having started as a small enterprise in Looe, Cornwall, Treleavens ice cream is now made in a custom-built premises on Tretoil Farm in the north Cornish countryside. Keeping things local is still key – all of Treleavens’ dairy ice creams have a base of Rodda’s clotted cream and ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible, including Cornish sea salt for its moreish salted caramel ice cream. Treleavens dairy ice creams are made with Trewithen Dairy milk – sourced from 25 farms within 25 miles. The award-winning ice cream maker has around 50 flavours in total with a few new vegan flavours launched recently, including mint choc chip, Biscoff, salted caramel and raspberry ripple. Small theatre tubs of vegan vanilla and a vegan chocolate are also available. Visit: St Ives Coffee and Ice Cream nestled in the pictureperfect Cornish harbour town incorporates Treleavens’ ice cream into milkshakes, crepes, and epic sundaes.
Or hit the surf off Watergate Bay and head shoreside to the coastal bolthole hotel for an ice cream. Stay: Molesworth Manor is an exquisitely restored 17thcentury manor house just a short walk from Padstow on the north Cornwall coast. Sleeping 14 guests in seven ensuite bedrooms, this Cornish hideaway is complete with a games room, a garden room, a banqueting hall, two cedar clad six-seater hot tubs and a cinema room – perfect for a film and your favourite scoops. cornishgems.com
Baboo Gelato Baboo Gelato was set up in 2015 by Annie Hanbury, a trained gelatiere, who wanted to combine her passion for ice cream with the glut of fabulous ripe fruit she found at her new home’s overflowing and abandoned market garden near the Dorset town of Bridport. Today, Baboo’s artisanal gelato is still handmade using fresh, seasonal
fruit and local organic milk. A lot of the fruit is still sourced locally, whether it is plums from North Perrott Fruit Farm, pears from Ellwell Farm, elderflowers from the local hedgerows, or gooseberries from Forde Abbey. The artisanal gelato comes in scoops, tubs, or chocolatecoated ice cream ‘Baboos’ bites. All Baboo ice creams are suitable for vegetarians and all its sorbets are suitable for vegans. Visitors can head to the Baboo Gelato kiosks in West Bay, Weymouth, Morcombelake and Lyme Regis.
Doggy Doggy Yum Yum Baboo’s fabulous doggy offshoot is its Doggy Doggy Yum Yum – a frozen treat made with bananas, coconut yogurt, agave syrup and 100% peanut butter. Made for dogs who want a cool treat in the summer heat, Doggy Doggy Yum Yum is 100% organic and uses no artificial flavours or refined sugars. It is also suitable for vegetarian and vegan pups. BritishTravelJournal.com
Visit: Ice cream lovers can head to the Baboo Gelato kiosks in West Bay, Weymouth, Morcombelake and Lyme Regis, with their canine pals in tow of course. Don’t miss a spot of fossil hunting at Monmouth beach (particularly for ammonites), and East Cliff beach between Lyme Regis and Charmouth. Stay: The Beach House is perfectly located for exploring the Jurassic coastline and has been renovated with
a sublime coastal palette running through the guest areas. The captivating family homestay sleeps four and sits between Lyme Bay and West Bay – ideal for beach hopping. boutique-retreats.co.uk
New Forest Ice Cream Born and bred in the New Forest and a family-run business to this day, New Forest Ice Cream was founded over 36 years ago, with the velvety ice cream now sold to restaurants, pubs, cafés and kiosks across the UK and beyond. Of course, you can’t venture far in Hampshire’s spectacular New Forest without seeing a sign for its velvety ice cream. Since 2012, New Forest Ice Cream has received at least one new gold star for a product every year in the prestigious Great Taste Awards, with a total of 17 product awards to date. Winners include the company’s vanilla ice cream, liquorice ice cream and sambuca sorbet. Visit: A stone’s throw from New Forest Ice Cream’s HQ, the bunting-lined harbour town of Lymington has cobbled streets, a pretty quayside and a breakwater walking trail
with far-reaching views across the Solent. The town is also home to a host of ice cream parlours and cafes, selling locally churned New Forest Ice Cream. Stay: The sublimely romantic Undercastle Cottage in the heart of the New Forest has magnificent views with gardens that gently roll down to the river's edge.
The three-bedroom oak-framed cottage is also home to half a mile of exclusive private fishing. boutique-retreats.co.uk
Rossi’s Weymouth’s Rossi’s Ice Cream was established in 1937 by Fioravanti Figliolini and is currently run by his grandson Fulvio Figliolini. All the ice cream is still handmade using the same traditional method and uses the same closely guarded family recipe. Rossi’s doesn’t use vanilla of any kind – saying that its natural ice cream creates its own flavour while being cooked. Other flavours include chocolate, coffee, banana, peppermint & dark chocolate, mango, and more. In addition to tubs, cones, and sundaes, Rossi’s serves up pancakes, waffles and cream teas and is a fantastic spot right on Weymouth’s Western Esplanade. Visit: Weymouth beach is literally on Rossi’s doorstep while the famed Chesil Beach lies around the headland.
Against the backdrop
DON’T MISS of a renowned collection experience critically acclaimed Love Life: David Hockney Drawings 1963-1977 exhibitions of historical and 27 May to 18 September 2022 contemporary art, lectures,
concerts, workshops and Rodin & Degas: Impressionist Sculpture events or indulge in our 3Garden September 2022 to 2 January 2023 Café. George Shaw A Corner of a Foreign Field
Édouard Vuillard Against backdrop of a Thethe Poetry of the Everyday renowned collection experience Lauren Child critically exhibitions The acclaimed Art of Illustration of historical and contemporary Rembrandt art, lectures, workshops A Life inconcerts, Print and events or indulge in our Henri Matisse Garden Café Master of Line
Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB www.holburne.org Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB www.holburne.org
Biscuit-themed Events, Exhibitions and more:
VISIT-READING.COM/BISCUITTOWN Official Travel Partner
For a quieter day out head for the captivating water-lily ponds, adorned gazebos and Monet-style bridges of the eight-acre Bennetts Water Gardens. Stay: A spectacular barn conversion ensconced in the Dorset countryside, Merry Hill Barn is a wonderful jumping-off point to explore the Jurassic coast – well positioned for Weymouth, Chesil Beach and West Bay and features exposed stone walls, original beams and contemporary flair. ruralretreats.co.uk
Ruby Violet What started as a culinary passion project has grown to a famed London ice cream name with a devoted following. Named after her maternal grandmother – who loved a choc ice – Julie Fisher started Ruby Violet from her kitchen. Currently the capital is home to just one Ruby Violet parlour, in King’s Cross – though there are plans for it to reopen a second in North London. Visit: Head to Ruby Violet’s King’s Cross parlour for its unique afternoon tea experience. Alongside savoury treats, the menu serves up an array of tasty morsels including mini Genovese sponge ice cream sandwiches, Belgian chocolate shells, raspberry rosewater and Prosecco lollipops, rounded off with a three-tiered ice cream cake and ice cream chocolates. Stay: Put your feet up just around the corner at one of London’s most recognisable hotels. St Pancras Renaissance Hotel originally opened in 1873 and following its extensive renovation now marries historic finery with modern luxury. BritishTravelJournal.com
MEET THE CHEF Sustainable cooking has never looked – or tasted – this good. We speak to chef Adam Handling on taking eco to new heights in Cornwall's Carbis Bay and catering for presidents and prime ministers Text by Chantal Borciani
inding down the hill towards Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate, it’s hard to picture a more perfect Cornish setting. The emerald bay, glinting in warm shimmering sunshine, dominates the vista as the horizon reveals itself like blue-green pages of a book falling open. The steep valley sides are dotted with white-washed homes and verdant foliage and Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate sits snug right in the centre of this cosiest of Cornish nooks.
A presidential enclave Privacy is one of the hotel’s calling cards, not least because the luxury coastal boutique hotel hosted the2021 G7 Summit. The presidential motorcades were quite the sight as they rumbled into the quiet Cornish hamlet last summer yet it’s easy to see why the estate was selected as the venue to showcase to the world the beauty of Cornwall. We, like Macron, Merkel, Johnson and friends, stayed in the extraordinary beachfront lodges. The chic, neutral-toned desirable residences wisely makes the most of the sea views at every opportunity, spanning three sweeping floors. The hot tubs and roof terraces overlook the surf, and spiral stone staircases lead down to sumptuous bedrooms where you can laze and
When you walk into the restaurant, you have that “view, which is a million dollars,” says Adam. “I don’t think there’s a more beautiful place in the world.” listen to the waves from your bed. A capacious open-plan living space with full kitchen, a fireplace, a grand dining table, and a private garden leads down to the butter-coloured sand. While the main hotel building has a traditional luxurious appeal, and was built by celebrated Cornish architect Silvanus Trevail, the newly built lodges are more modern-Scandinavian in style than seaside bolthole, offering exclusive living with only the best roll-top baths and sea views. High-quality natural materials used throughout lend a soothing quality to the swoon-worthy decor. The spectacular living room features floor-to-ceiling sliding doors so, from sunrise to sunset, the captivating light from the water fills the space. Light again cascades into the bedrooms where yet more floor-to-ceiling glass frames the uninterrupted sea view. Two of our three bedrooms feature a wide connecting balcony, bringing the picturesque shore even closer. The balcony proved a perfect spot for a morning coffee overlooking the rolling waves. A lodge concierge is on hand for everything – aperitifs and signature canapes at sundown, bountiful breakfast hampers served at a time of your choice with the finest of Cornish ingredients and oven-warm bread, dinner reservations and turn-down services.
New beginnings Alongside the hamlet of Carbis Bay’s luxury beach lodges, and just steps from the main house, is the Ugly Butterfly. The new restaurant on the estate is the brainchild of revered chef, Adam Handling. Ugly Butterfly opened in August 2021 and sits elevated above the beach with uninterrupted views of the ocean so breathtaking that walking in feels like a cinematic experience in itself. Full-height windows run the entire length of the vast restaurant and bar space, filling the view to the metaphorical brim with sand, sea, surf and sky. This is one restaurant to book for lunch or an early dinner so your jaw can suitably drop. “When you walk into the restaurant, you have that view, which is a million dollars,” says Adam. “I don’t think there’s a more beautiful place in the world.” Ugly Butterfly embodies three crucial elements for Adam: sustainable, local and luxurious. The restaurant focus on sustainability means using every ingredient, creating food that is both artistic and theatrical. “We only use items sourced in Cornwall. We hope to look after and work with the locals, because if it isn’t in Cornwall we aren’t using it.” Adam says he strives to make menus that are delectable and the highest culinary experience, in spite of them being zero-waste.
“I love luxury. I love to eat really good food. And I like to drink really good wine. And I like to know that I'm doing something good for the environment and good for the planet. But lazy chefs just put fermented food on everything and call it sustainable, because all they know how to do is ferment it.” During the G7, Adam and his team oversaw all the presidential requests, including private lunches and breakfasts for the delegates. “It's always exciting, it's always nerve-wracking, it's always scary. But it was great to be able to showcase that sustainable can be luxurious,” he says. “I wanted to utilise as much zero-waste as possible, but in a way where it's still luxury enough and tasty enough to serve to world leaders. Sitting down and speaking to the leaders about that sort of stuff, and them enjoying it was really quite really special.”
Hero of zero Ugly Butterfly is Adam’s newest restaurant, he also has Frog in Covent Garden and The Loch & The Tyne in Windsor. “We lost four restaurants in the group during the lockdown,” Adam continues. “When it came to reopening, I went down a different route. Everyone with a passion thinks they're invincible but nowadays, learning from the mistakes of the past, we said instead of opening a lot of restaurants quickly, we're just going to strip it back. I want each of my restaurants to have its own identity, rather than having a number two of a number one restaurant.” “I don't want people to think, ‘oh, he just put his name on another luxury property and popped off’. I have a house in Cornwall and a house in London and I split my time 50/50. We spent months finding the right Cornish suppliers. This isn’t just a concept, it’s years of experimenting coming to the fore.” The chef’s favourite dish on the menu is the ‘lobster, beef fat’, a dish that hails from another of Adam’s restaurants. “Many years ago, I bought a whole Wagyu cow from Highland Wagyu in Scotland. This dish was created because these 1,300 kilo animals have a lot of fat and one of the challenges was what we could do to utilise all the fat.” The solution was to use the Wagyu fat to cook the fresh lobster. “Here, we now use a Cornish dairy that’s around five minutes from the doorstep.” The lobsters, we are told by our excellent waiter, are caught under the lighthouse we can see in the distance through the window of the restaurant.
I don't want “people to think, ‘oh, he just put his name on another luxury property and popped off.
“It's just really wonderful to build up such a relationship with suppliers, a stone's throw away from the restaurant door, and use wonderful things from what they're doing in imaginative ways that they hadn't thought of doing either. So you excite both the supplier, the chef, and fundamentally of course you excite the guests, because they feel like ‘this is so cool’. But it's cool in a way where you’re actually having a great experience. It doesn't taste like garbage, and it's been sustainable.
think I'm a “bitPeople bizarre because I'm a chef yet I'm more front-of-house focused because, for me, it's all about how a guest is made to feel as soon as they walk in this place.
And I say that doesn't taste like garbage quite literally, because I can't stand bowls of fermented foods. I understand it's zero-waste but when I'm spending a lot of money, I want a delicious mouth-watering meal. I don't want to just be eating sour fermented stuff because it's saving the planet, I still need the experience, I still want the luxury.” We can attest that nothing tastes dodgy or sour at the Ugly Butterfly. Fresh, local and zero-waste – the philosophy runs deep and works – even the fantastical cocktail menu features takes on classics but uses ‘waste’ from the kitchen: herbs, shrubs, peels and ingredients that infuse and produce the most wonderful distillates and flavours.
Luxury and connections The food is also a spectacular journey full of real standout moments. The ‘snacks’ – a table laden with achingly pretty and elegantly precise dishes is a triumph and sets the bar exceedingly high for the tasting menu proper, featuring tastes Adam loves, including a crisp duck and plum sauce, a flavour bomb cheese doughnut, and a punchy beef and kimchi roll. The tasting menu is one of a kind – if you’re going to invest in a special meal, this is where ours would be. The execution is elevated and intricate, while the food is unpretentious and delicious. The ‘Bread, chicken butter’ dish is inspired by Adam’s fussy eater sister resolving only
ever to eat roast chicken for Sunday lunch when they were kids. The deliciously salty bowls of yellow butter topped with crispy chicken skin and IPA-infused sourdough arrives with a note that reads: ‘But Mondays were my favourite. Leftover chicken in a white floury Scottish bap with loads of salty butter. This is my take on the happy memories of that Monday morning roast chicken sandwich.’ Cornish crab with apple and jasmine is the prettiest plate – light and with a taste of both the sea and Cornish orchards tangy Victoria plum, beetroot and luxuriant English truffle accompanies salt-aged duck with crisp skin; while playful heart-shaped waffles top local salmon and sturgeon. “Nostalgia, relatability, connection with dishes – it’s so important,” says Adam. “I think the way that you're made to feel in a restaurant is equally as important as how the food tastes. If you have great food somewhere but you’re treated like dirt, it’s never going to be a good experience. I want the diners to have a very one-to-one intimate experience at the Ugly Butterfly. For it to be memorable. People think I'm a bit bizarre because I'm a chef yet I'm more front-of-house focused because, for me, it's all about how a guest is made to feel as soon as they walk in this place.” Fortunately, it’s clear his team are imbued with the same passion and ethos, keenly sharing titbits of Adam’s stories, menu revelations and details of the ingredients
FIRST PAGE: ADAM HANDLING. SECOND PAGE FROM TOP: ADAM HANDLING WITH HEAD CHEF JAMIE PARK; BEACH LODGE. PREVIOUS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: SEAFOOD PLATTER FROM THE BEACH CLUB; CHICKEN & CHIPS, COURGETTE, BASIL; SMOKED COD; BEEF AND KIMCHI; SPA AND OUTDOOR POOL; CORNISH CRAB TART; DISPLAY OF DISHES INCLUDING CRAB CORONATION, CHEESE DOUGHNUTS AND MORE; PICTURED LEFT TO RIGHT: THE UGLY BUTTERFLY BAR; THE UGLY BUTTERFLY DINING
without it being forced, laboured or overbearing. Following a belt-busting meal, the hotel has a host of relaxing offerings for guests to enjoy. A beautiful seafront orangery and patio is perfect for morning coffees and afternoon teas, while the hotel’s C-Bay Spa is recently renovated and features a spine-soothing infinity pool and open air Jacuzzi, with tiered decking offering private hideouts from which to drink in the glorious views. The South West Coast Path passes across the hotel grounds – ideal for avid walkers. St Ives, with its mix of tea shops, galleries and shops, is an easy mile and a half (2.5km) hike along the breathtaking hills or eight minutes by the equally charming branch-line train that chugs into the Carbis Bay station just up the hill from the hotel. All told, for a slice of Cornwall and one of the most innovative restaurants in Britain to date, Carbis Bay is a perfect seafront escape.
WALKING TOUR IN THE CITY OF...
From the imposing heights of Clifton Gorge down to this city's lovely reclaimed harbours, Bristol is a beautiful Georgian port full of energy and colour. Join us for a stroll around its streets
of 19th-century buildings that gaze out at the bridge. First comes the old Clifton Rock Railway, a funicular that used to drop tourists down to the Hotwells volcanic springs on the banks of the River Avon. Next is the Avon Gorge Hotel, which opened in 1896 as the Grand Clifton Spa and Hydropathic Institution, using water pumped up from those wells to provide an efficacious Turkish bath for guests.
Text by Adrian Mourby | Illustrations by Sophie Minto
TART IN ONE of England’s grandest suburbs at the Clifton Observatory, a former windmill that was converted into a camera obscura in 1828. From here, there are impressive views across the Avon Gorge (300 feet deep at this point) and of Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge that has spanned it since 1864. Taking the path down Sion Hill, you pass a complex
These buildings form one end of a 19th-century terrace that was intended to rival Bath’s Royal Crescent. It was named Prince’s Buildings but was left incomplete. Today, single-storey extensions fill the gaps between grand town houses.
One of them displays a coat of arms depicting St George killing a dragon under the Prince of Wales’ feathers, confirming that the prince in question was indeed the Prince Regent, England’s future George IV. At the end of Prince’s Buildings on the right-hand side there is a lovely crescent, almost hidden from passers-by. It’s known as The Paragon and, like many houses in Clifton, it enjoys wonderful views across Bristol and its harbours. This row of houses is also remarkable for its unusual semicircular vestibules with their different coloured doors. It was
At the end of Prince’s Buildings on the ‘right-hand side there is a lovely crescent, almost hidden from passers-by.’ constructed between 1809–1814 during the Napoleonic Wars. The builder John Drew went bankrupt halfway through the project, something that happened to many speculators in those turbulent times. The same fate befell the builder of Royal York Terrace, which branches off from the left-hand side of Prince’s Buildings. Begun in 1791 as the longest terrace in Europe, this graceful stretch of Regency town houses was designed by Bristol architect William Paty and stands on a huge plinth that had to be constructed first to mitigate against the steep slopes of Clifton. Only completed in 1820, Royal York Terrace was where novelist Angela Carter lived (at No 38) during the Swinging Sixties. At the end of this terrace turn right into Regent Street, where Victorian Bristol suddenly appears in a series of closely packed Clifton shops. When they end, at Clifton
WHERE TO STAY
AVON GORGE BY HOTEL DU VIN –
High above the Avon Gorge stands this 78-bedroom hotel with the best views of Clifton’s Suspension Bridge from its dining room. Opened in 1896, the Avon Gorge is now run by Hotel du Vin, which means that the interiors have the HdV signature features we’ve come to love: dark walls with bright downlighters, moody bedrooms with white-tiled bathrooms and lots of irreverent art. hotelduvin.com
MARRIOTT ROYAL HOTEL –
Bristol’s grandest 19th-century hotel opened in 1868 on College Green, overlooking the Floating Harbour. For many years, the Royal was hotel of choice for visiting celebrities like Laurel and Hardy, Gracie Fields, Winston Churchill and Cary Grant. Closed for decades, the hotel only recently reopened with its original Palm Court majestically restored. A four-storey car park dug into the ground beneath the property is one of the many modern conveniences of this 241-room hotel. marriott.com
THE BERKELEY SQUARE HOTEL –
In a dignified square between Cabot Tower and Bristol University’s Wills Building stands the Berkeley Square Hotel, an amalgam of two Georgian town houses that was once the home of Sir Frank Wills, the man whose family endowed so much of the university. It’s a lively, modern hotel with a commitment to modern art and a kitchen that serves excellent food. Leave your windows open at night and you’ll hear 'Big George' tolling in the university's bell tower. cliftonhotels.com
WHERE TO EAT FISHERS RESTAURANT –
Fishers is a Clifton original, founded by Alison Brown in 2001. If you like fish and seafood, head here for an unforgettable meal. From the outside, it’s a small, unremarkable whitewashed building with blue awnings. Inside it’s low-key too, with small tables and some touches of nautical decor but superb food and wine. If you fancy a picnic ask about the Fishers’ Champagne & Oyster Hamper Box (£59). fishers-restaurant.com
High up on Whiteladies Road and down on the quayside at Welsh Back are two outlets of this family-run mini-chain of cheery West Country restaurants. Aqua was founded in 1998 by Richard Smithson and is now run by his son, Ben. Monday to Friday there is a great three-course lunch menu for £18 that extends till 7pm – ideal if you are catching a show. There are also two-for-one Bellinis available from 12pm till 7pm. aqua-restaurant.com
COPPA CLUB CLIFTON VILLAGE –
Taking over an old Clifton department store, the Coppa Club's huge plate-glass windows look out on to Regent Street while inside a modern mezzanine floor has comfortable sofas for sitting with your laptop. The Coppa ethos is to combine a bar, a restaurant, a workspace, and café in one welcoming space. The all-day menu focuses on uncomplicated dishes, from Coppa Vegan Burger to Lamb Rump and Flash Steaks plus excellent cocktails. coppaclub.co.uk/clifton
Road, the street curves east with Cabot Tower in the far distance. Bristol consists of a number of hills of which Clifton is the tallest. Cabot Tower, which commemorates John Cabot’s journey to Canada from Bristol in 1497, stands across a valley on nearby Brandon Hill. To get to it from Clifton it’s necessary to walk down Constitution Hill – one of the steepest in the city – to cross Jacob’s Well Road and then climb up through Brandon Park.
But first at the top of Constitution Hill stands Goldney Hall, which was built in the 1860s by a Quaker family who, among other ventures, financed the voyage that rescued Alexander Selkirk (the original Robinson Crusoe) from his desert island. Starting down the hill, there’s a sprinkling of pretty 18th-century cottages that reflect how rural Clifton was before the Regency building spree. On the other side of busy Jacob’s Well Road, Brandon Hill has been kept as a large, inner-city nature reserve. It’s topped by Cabot Tower, a 105-foot monument built in 1897 with panoramic views from its Venetian-style balcony. After visiting, leave the park by walking down Charlotte Street to Great George Street, which contains some very imposing houses from the reign of George III. One of these is now the
Georgian House Museum. It was built in 1790 for a sugar merchant and plantation owner in the West Indies. Many believe that it was here that the poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge first met in 1795. From Great George Street turn right down Whiteladies Road, another steep hill where no two shops have rooflines at the same height. The road gets its name from the White Ladies public house that once stood on this major route between Clifton and Bristol docks. Look left up the hill and you’ll see the monumental bell tower of Bristol University, completed in 1925. It’s 223 feet high and was the last neoGothic structure erected in Britain. Walking downhill to the right brings you to College Green and Bristol’s Cathedral.
Because it was successively built, destroyed, and rebuilt from Norman times right up until the Bristol Blitz of 1942, this cathedral seems to contain every style and period of English architecture, although it was all cleverly knitted together in the 19th century. Take a while to look inside. It’s a perfect place to rest your feet after all those hills. Next Issue: We take a walk around the medieval walls of York, a city that combines Roman, Viking and Georgian architecture with one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Britain.
Hidden London Tours Are you bored of visiting the same old places on days out? Are you on the hunt to explore somewhere new? If so, why not take a look at the Hidden London tour programme run by London Transport Museum
idden London tours are a fascinating collection of tours run by London Transport Museum giving guests exclusive access to disused and abandoned Tube stations and sites across the London Underground. Many people are unaware that behind many inconspicuous doors and vents there are often secret passageways and tunnels
from bygone eras just waiting to be explored with the Museum’s expert team. Many of these unique sites have remained untouched for decades. Down Street station, situated between Hyde Park Corner and Green Park stations, had a short life a as working station from 1907 to 1932. However, it became critical to winning the Second World War when it was
covertly transformed into the Railway Executive Committee’s bomb-proof headquarters where Prime Minister Winston Churchill secretly took refuge during the height of the Blitz. Think you’re familiar with Charing Cross station? Think again. On a Hidden London tour, you can go behind the scenes to see exclusive disused areas of the station normally off-limits to
the public, including the chance to walk underneath Trafalgar Square! As part of a tour, you will get to explore the Jubilee line platforms at Charing Cross that have been closed to the public since 1999 which are now frequently used for filming purposes, including blockbuster movies such as Skyfall and Paddington Bear. Other tour locations include Aldwych, Clapham South, Euston, Moorgate and Piccadilly Circus stations and Kingsway Tram Tunnel. Each group has a limited number of people per tour so you will get to see these spaces without the crowds. Tours are lead by the Museum's expert guides telling you all you want to know about the history and design used to create these iconic spaces. As well as in-person tours, London Transport Museum runs a variety of virtual tours too, meaning you can join a tour from the comfort of your home anywhere in the world. Conducted over Zoom, guides will talk to you about secret stations including King William Street and Brompton Road stations through a gallery of contemporary photos, archival images and never before seen footage.
Access to many sites on the virtual tour roster are so restricted that in-person Hidden London tours will never be possible, making these virtual experiences particularly special. For any transport fans, Hidden London tours include a number of locations featured on UKTV’s popular Secrets of the London Underground series. Fans of the show can follow in the footsteps
of presenters Siddy Holloway and Tim Dunn to explore these special sites for themselves. The much anticipated second series of the hit documentary returns to Yesterday channel on Thursday 5 May at 8PM, and on catch-up at UKTV Play. ◆ Tickets for all Hidden London tours
are on sale now. To book head to ltmuseum.co.uk/hidden-london
Quiet and secluded, Retreat East offers a tranquil experience, both day and night. Spend some time enjoying this à la mode Suffolk hideaway and you are guaranteed to leave feeling both pampered and restored Text by Jessica Way
asily accessible from London, Retreat East is situated in the heart of Suffolk, surrounded by 35 acres of pristine British countryside. It is no wonder it has quickly gained popularity with celebrities – from football freestyler Jeremy Lynch to reality TV star Millie Mackintosh, who recently celebrated her 30th birthday at the retreat. Previously a working 16th-century farm, the site has been converted into a luxurious spa resort with 15 beautifully appointed eco-conscious barns, including their first barns to have private outdoor baths under canopies with sun loungers (launched this summer), and a further eight coming soon, some with their own wood-burning fires and four-poster king-size beds. Ranging from cosy sleeps for two, such as The Piggery, a large romantic barn with a fantastic sculptural bath and private sunny and sheltered courtyard twice the size as the barn itself, to four-bed farmhouses like the Cow House, the oldest barn with enormous kitchen and dining area and a luxurious double shower with underfloor heated pebbles – the barn stays are eco-luxury at its finest. BritishTravelJournal.com
Retreat East was the vision of Dominic Richards who, 20 years ago, bought a house in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. His home became incredibly popular with the friends he had left behind in the London Spitalfields area. It was the countryside residence they all wanted to visit as it offered them an opportunity to recharge, enjoy the clear skies, fresh air and artisan seasonal food. This gave Dominic an idea, and when a nearby redundant dairy farm came up for sale he immediately identified its potential as a retreat for more sapped Londoners. The farm had certainly seen better days; its 16th-century farmhouse, historic barns and surrounding fields needed a lot of work, but the challenge was not enough to deter Dominic – he was determined and had already identified the potential with urbanites looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
stylish farmhouse-style kitchen complete with SMEG fridge, a Nespresso coffee machine and, in the bathroom, a state-of-the-art walk-in shower. The interiors are homely. Think laid-back woven rugs, rustic brickwork and wooden beams throughout (dividing the otherwise open-plan living spaces), pretty throws and cushions, modern artwork and contemporary furnishings. Natural light floods in from the Velux window above and there’s a spacious dining room with patio doors out to the terrace. Offering a very warm welcome to guests and locals alike, the triple-height Great Barn restaurant is a fabulous foodie experience. Seasonal menus feature an array of beautiful dishes, prepared using ingredients from local artisan producers. Choose from chicken liver pâté, scallops, organic rainbow chard, fennel, smoked scallop roe or green curry. Take your time to savour, leaving some space for dessert; on the menu during our visit was banana and spiced rum baked Alaska with caramelised pecans and smoked caramel sauce – the flavour was divine. The Great Barn is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (including Sunday lunch). You might visit to simply enjoy a cocktail, one made with Suffolk Distillery gin
THE RETREAT Guests check-in at the reception area, which doubles up as Retreat East’s farm and coffee shop, selling delicious farmyard essentials and locally made gifts such as Loggigue candles, Framlingham soaps, Pump Street chocolate and Tiptree cakes. On the accommodation side, in the heart of the retreat is the historic picturesque four-bedroom farmhouse. Perfect for multigenerational family stays, group stays and weddings, the timber-framed property has its own private garden and is packed with character. We stayed in The Granary, an authentic eco-luxurious converted dairy barn with its own private terrace overlooking the Suffolk meadows. Luxury touches include a heated floor throughout, a wood burner, a 58
perhaps – and you can choose to wine or dine al fresco on the south-facing terrace while sipping some bubbles and watching the sun go down. Talking of bubbles, the south-facing terrace is also where you will find the retreat's outdoor hot tub and spa facilities – and watch this space, as the retreat has plans to extend the spa area. Unwind and experience a tranquil moment of pure relaxation with a treatment. I opted for their Five Element Aroma signature massage and felt the
home-baked cakes, and exploring the stunning Shrubland Park. There are plenty of walking-route maps for you to enjoy during your stay from the front desk, and bike hire is complimentary to guests. Retreat East is pooch friendly throughout, including in the restaurant, with all properties allowing up to two dogs (other than The Little Warren & The Little Hive). There is even an impressive doggy shower for muddy dogs returning from their countryside walks. Plus, they sell local dog products from Pooches and Sniffe & Likket in their farm shop. Prices from £130 for Little Hive & Little Warren barn rooms, £225 for a one-bedroom barn and £325 for a two-bedroom barn; retreateast.co.uk
— tension in my shoulders melt away. An in-barn massage service is also available. Take a tour of the wild flower meadow, farm and the kitchen gardens that supply organic produce for use in their restaurant. Little ones will love meeting the ducks by the pond, stroking the farm chickens and watching the bees at work in their hive. Guests can also take part in clay pigeon shooting, axe throwing, archery, yoga, floristry classes, meditation, and chocolate making. Popular local footpaths pass through the retreat grounds. Favoured walks include strolling the fields to the pretty village of Coddenham for a cup of tea and some
Whether you're looking to get out and about and explore by road or by foot, there are some must-visit places within very easy reach. Ipswich Ipswich is just under 20 minutes' drive away from Retreat East. With direct rail links from London, it's a great option if you're travelling to Retreat East by train. Woodbridge Woodbridge is a pretty market town that sits along the River Deben. It'll take you around 25 minutes to get there, but it is more than worth the journey. Southwold A quaint and pretty little seaside town, home to the famous Adnams Brewery. Southwold is ideal for beer, wine and spirits lovers to take a tour of Adnams Brewery brewing and distillery plants, or to enjoy a walk along the beach. Aldeburgh The drive is around 40 minutes but a visit to Aldeburgh is worth it. Perfect open beaches for a nice long dog walk and some of the best seafood restaurants around.
10 OF THE BEST
UNIQUE LUXURY BREAKS Need inspiration for a short break? We bring you the most interesting experiences to book now, for exploration that is more memorable this summer Text by Natalie Paris
WATERSPORTS IN WATERGATE BAY
Perfectly positioned on a two-mile beach in northern Cornwall and a firm favourite with families, the Watergate Bay Hotel is well-known for its surf school. This summer, however, there is even more to tempt water-sports enthusiasts. A recent expansion means that hotel guests can add everything from paddleboarding to beach yoga and outdoor fitness sessions to their active break. These are run by local Wavehunters instructors who take pride in knowing the sea here really well. They recommend the big, sandy break as being gentle, so great for beginner surfers. Both private and group lessons are available. Time away from the beach can be spent watching the rollers from one of the varied hotel restaurants or from the glass-fronted indoor pool. Alternatively, have a soak in a clifftop hot tub or enjoy a hot rocks massage or pedicure. watergatebay.co.uk Two nights from £250 per person
A SPARKLING TIME IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
English wine has enjoyed a vintage few years, with certain winemakers growing in stature and producing bottles to really treasure. For an insight into the creation of award-winning English wine, head to Horwood House in the Buckinghamshire countryside. The hotel is a 20-minute drive from the familyrun 23-acre Chafor wine estate, where guests who book a Grape Escapes experience are welcomed with a glass of Chafor’s top-rated Vintage Cuvée Sparkling Wine. They are then taken on a tour of the vineyard and winery, wandering among the rows of gnarled vines while listening to head winemaker Tim Chafor talk about the estate’s history, his grapes and the winery’s signature style. A tasting and cheeseboard follows, after which guests can retreat to the hotel to try its new spa, with a swimming pool, a sauna and steam rooms. Dinner at the hotel restaurant is also included. horwoodhouse.co.uk One night from £325 per person BritishTravelJournal.com
Idyllic escapes in the heart of Suffolk
Nestled amongst 35 acres of rambling countryside Retreat East is the ultimate escape. Savour the moments with wildflower walks, hot tub dips, tranquil treatments, delicious dinners and cosy nights in your character barn...
SLEEP | EAT | RETREAT
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We are a dog friendly hotel so you are welcome to bring them too!
WWW.RETREATEAST.CO.UK � 01449 760480
Experience thethe new Experience new
Experience the newChef menus by Executive menus by Executive Ricki Weston and his Chef team
Ricki Weston and his team
Bursting with flavour. Choose eithereither the the Bursting with flavour. Choose Michelin-starred restaurant ‘The Dining Room’, Michelin-starred ‘The Dining Bursting with restaurant flavour. Choose eitherRoom’, the Grey’s or Brasserie. Grey’s Brasserie. Michelin-starred restaurant ‘The Dining Room’, or Grey’s Brasserie. a one-night joy a Enjoy one-night break break with dinner in Grey’s Brasserie from £449. Enjoy a one-night break with dinner in Grey’s Brasserie from £449. Or the Michelin star experience with dinner in The Dining Room from £784. Or the Michelin star experience with dinner in The Dining Room from £784. Book online whatleymanor.com ok online whatleymanor.com or call reservations on 01666 822 888 Book online or call reservations onwhatleymanor.com 01666 822 888 or call reservations on 01666 822 888
Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa Easton Grey Malmesbury SN16 0RB whatleymanor.com
ELECTRIC CYCLING THROUGH THE COUNTRYSIDE
A gentle way of exploring the rambling Sussex countryside, from hills to coast, is offered by Ockenden Manor and Bailiffscourt hotels, who invite guests to take electric bicycles out on a new, well-planned route. The starting point at Ockenden Manor, a hotel with a spa and Michelin-star restaurant in the High Weald, has guests on the ‘Cycling for Softies’ tour will riding to Climping, which is the location of Bailiffscourt, a second spa hotel on the coast (40 miles). The route then continues onto the South Downs and The Spread Eagle, another historic hotel in the charming market town of Midhurst, for the final night (25 miles). The journey wheels along country lanes, river and coastal paths. Pedalling is a breeze on these bikes, with GPS routes included for ease and a luggage transfer service provided between each night’s accommodation. prideofbritainhotels.com Three nights from £1,034 per person
‘FOREST BATHING’ IN THE COTSWOLDS
The summer months are a great time to explore the patchwork of fields and rolling hills that make up the Cotswolds. The region’s impossibly pretty villages are a highlight, built from honeyed stone and hiding quaint teahouses and oak-beamed pubs up quiet, cobbled lanes. Guests at Whatley Manor on a ‘Cotswold Explorer’ break can enjoy a genteel, end-ofthe-week stay that includes afternoon tea. It also offers the chance to indulge in the British equivalent of forest bathing, by including two entrance tickets to Westonbirt, the National Arboretum. Here, visitors can stroll between 2,500 different species of tree, grown all over the world. The hotel, set a short drive from the arboretum on the edge of the Cotswolds, also has a newly appointed Executive Chef who has been awarded a Michelin star for The Dining Room restaurant, which guests can book separately for another night if they wish. whatleymanor.com Two nights from £456 per person BritishTravelJournal.com
THE WONDERS OF LOCH NESS
Those whose knowledge of Loch Ness is limited to the legend of a waterborne monster might be surprised to learn that this Scottish beauty has many more secrets. From castles and battlefields to standing stones and tumbling waterfalls, the best way to explore this enigmatic body of water is by going on a day tour of the lake with an expert. It is not all walking either, with picturesque drives included, as well as a boat cruise across the deep, mysterious water. Ness Walk is a five-star hotel located in Inverness, not far from the loch. Its ‘Wonders of Loch Ness’ break includes a picnic lunch and visits to Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns, Urquhart Castle and Divach Falls, which is where J M Barrie wrote Peter Pan. Round off the day in fine style with a dram or two of local whisky back at the hotel, which sits on the banks of the River Ness and was once a 19th-century house. nesswalk.com
Three nights from £735 per person
A SUMMER FESTIVAL WITH STYLISH WHEELS
As camper vans combine freedom with little luxuries, they make a savvy choice for a music festival. In fact, some say the campervan field is where the real fun happens when the stage lights dim. Highlights for the forthcoming festival season include Bigfoot, in Buckinghamshire, where the artisan drinks and food are as important as the music, or Wilderness in Oxfordshire, where revellers relax in a lakeside spa in between acts. Alternatively, a weekend at Latitude – known for its strong spoken word programme – can be combined with a few days exploring sand dunes along the Suffolk coast. The smart vans from new, Dorset-based company OTBT, for example, are stylishly put together, containing tiled kitchens with leather cupboard handles and oiled wood surfaces, as well as a cleverly hidden away boot area, solar panels and a hammock swing. yescapa.co.uk Three nights from £468 in OTBT’s Maya van
A JUBILEE VIEWING OF THE CROWN JEWELS
What could be better during Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations than a private tour to marvel at the Crown Jewels, travelling in a chauffeur-driven Daimler car that once belonged to the Queen Mother? This very exclusive luxury break has been masterminded by London’s Hotel Café Royal to provide an unforgettable experience for guests who check into the two-bedroom Royal Suite. On arrival at the Tower of London, a tour is conducted by a Beefeater, before a private viewing of the Crown Jewels and Royal Collection takes place. Those who visit during the weekend of 4 or 5 June will not only get to enjoy being inside a Royal Palace during the jubilee celebrations but will also receive a Champagne reception on arrival and the chance to extend the visit by booking dinner afterwards in a private dining room at the Tower. hotelcaferoyal.com
SCOTTISH FOOD AND DRINK TRAIL
One night from £6,147 per person
From whisky to lobster, it’s possible to sample some of the best of Scotland’s culinary treasures on a luxury tour that uses a private chauffeur. Guests of both the Edinburgh hotel Prestonfield and The Witchery by the Castle – an oak-panelled restaurant with suites – can be driven to destinations within two hours of the city as part of a new Taste of Scotland trail. Locations visited include Dunbar Harbour, to see the seafood catch arrive and learn about sustainable fishing from Belhaven Lobster; East Lothian for a distillery tasting and a foraged-food-pairing workshop with Buck & Birch; Old Leckie farm for a quad-bike or tractor tour and Scotland’s oldest working distillery, The Glenturret. Here guests can expect a tour and lunch at Michelin-starred The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant. Dinner back at the accommodation will feature plenty of the day’s produce. sleigh.co.uk Two nights from £1,720 per person
BE A GARDENER AND CHEF AT THE NEWT
The gardens at Hadspen House, first designed by Penelope Hobhouse, have been transformed by luxury hotel The Newt into one of the south’s must-visit estates. With an apple-tree maze, a 'beezantium', deer quietly milling about in the woods and an interactive gardening museum, not only is there much to see on the average day here but the hotel is offering gastronomes an extra treat this summer. Taking a tour of the edible garden area, guests can, with the help of the estate’s head chef and a head gardener, pick their own lunch. They can then take their produce-laden trugs up to a spot above the wildflower meadow, where a fire will be lit. Under chef’s guidance, guests can create dishes and then help cook their finds, for a slap-up picnic lunch that is as inventive as it is fresh. thenewtinsomerset.com Two nights from £720 per person
IMAGE © LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX / VISITBRITAIN/ANDREW WELSHER
GEORGIAN SPLENDOUR IN BATH
The television drama Bridgerton has gripped the nation recently, stirring up interest in the lives of high society during the Regency period. There is nowhere better to imagine the whirlwind of balls and park strolls loved by characters from Bridgerton than in Bath, with its dashing Georgian buildings that were used as a backdrop during filming. To spot key sites from the show, and to learn about this Unesco-heritage city at the same time, the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is offering guests a private Bridgerton-themed walking tour, plus a Champagne afternoon tea as part of a package called ‘Promenade like a Bridgerton’. The hotel is located at the heart of the sweeping Royal Crescent, the city’s bestknown architectural masterpiece. prideofbritainhotels.com Two nights from £260 per person
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UNA ST IVES CARBIS BAY Coastal walks, sandy beaches, surfing and art galleries: there’s many reasons to visit St Ives, north of Penzance. With the opening of Una St Ives luxury resort it is now easier than ever to plan your perfect trip to this much-loved destination Text by Jessica Way
ituated on the north coast of Cornwall within easy reach of the white sands of Carbis Bay and buzz of St Ives town, Una St Ives is an idyllic holiday village delivering laid-back indulgence in one of the county's most desirable hot spots. British Travel Journal first wrote about Una St Ives in our Spring 2021 edition, featuring the resort as one of the most exciting new coastal launches in the UK. It is no surprise then, that given the first opportunity to stay in one of their brand-new luxury lodges, we had our suitcases packed. Named ‘Una’ after the ﬁrst boat to win the Cornish Gig Rowing Championships and built with beautiful Cornish stone amid stunning landscaped grounds, the resort has taken its Cornish heritage and artistic influences to heart. The design is consistent
throughout the lodges, leisure facilities, restaurants and spa, with spacious and creative spaces and contemporary furnishings, inspiring coastal living. Packing is made easy as your home-from-home lodge is kitted out with items you might need, including a washer/dryer and all your bathroom luxuries. It is so easy to put down your bags and let your holiday begin, whether by making yourself a cuppa in the kitchen, relaxing in the dining area, putting your feet up on the sofa, or unwinding on your private terrace. The Scandi-inﬂuenced ecolodges, using solar panels and lamb's wool insulation, range from one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom properties. The exciting next phase of development will see a further 27 high-end two- and three-bedroom villas with private hot tubs, a 20-metre heated outdoor lido with an BritishTravelJournal.com
additional kids’ pool, an outdoor kitchen, a bar and restaurant serving barbequed burritos, rotisserie chicken and flat iron steaks prepared al fresco over charcoal to create a street-food-festival vibe by the pool, along with a games room and padel-tennis courts. Plus, there's a 55-bedroom apartment–hotel with its own central piazza, bar, restaurant and further leisure facilities in the pipeline – in total there will be 93 new luxury villas to be completed by the end of 2023, making it the largest luxury resort in the south-west and a spectacular jewel in Cornwall’s crown. Yet, even with just the newly completed lodges and Atrium (home to the the leisure club and Una Kitchen restaurant), and some construction work taking place around us, it was already a fabulous resort – far exceeding our expectations. (The new villas are also available to purchase under a holiday-home-ownership scheme.) 70
After a restorative night’s sleep in the super-comfortable beds, the tranquility and calm continued through the morning, helped largely by a stocked fridge following our pre-arranged supermarket delivery the night before. It was weekend breakfast-as-usual only in a much brighter, more uplifting setting than our usual Hampshire abode. It had been such a long time since I had been to a spa (due to COVID-19) that I was delighted to kick-start my holiday wellness with an ELEMIS bespoke deep-tissue body massage while my husband and daughters enjoyed the swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms. Following a Cornish coffee espresso and slice of home-made banana cake from Una Kitchen we jumped in a taxi to St Ives (to avoid parking on a Saturday – it costs around £5 for the journey), excited to explore the picturesque town.
One of Cornwall’s best-loved and most ‘ visited places, St Ives is famed for the artists, past and present, who have visited and settled here.
Perched above the town, Tate St Ives looks over Porthmeor Beach. Part of the famous Tate family, with siblings Tate Britain, Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool, this landmark is recognised as an international showcase for modern art, with a permanent collection and regular contemporary exhibitions. It epitomises the unique culture of St Ives, celebrating the artists associated with the town, including Barbara Hepworth, Naum Gabo, Alfred Wallis and Mark Rothko. Join in one of the guided tours or stop for a light lunch while enjoying the sea views and activity below. Contrasting with the space and openness of Tate St Ives is the intimacy of the neighbouring former home and studio of Barbara Hepworth (one of Britain’s most recognised 20th-century artists) known as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. Here you can wander among the stunning sculptures, perfectly placed in their garden setting, take time to sit and reflect and feel yourself getting to know and understand the great sculptor. The shade, solitude and sheer beauty of the garden is there to inspire, refresh and enliven any art lover or green-fingered visitor. Just a short journey from this buzzing art scene is another of Cornwall’s top tourist attractions: The Minack Theatre. In 11931, local Rowena Cade, who lived at Minack House, felt that the cliffs she saw
One of Cornwall’s best-loved and most-visited places, St Ives is famed for the artists, past and present, who have visited and settled here. This isn’t surprising given its natural charm and beauty and, important to any painter, its crystal-clear light. Hugging the shore is the town itself, with higgledy-piggledy lanes presenting no end of treasures. Around every corner, a tiny workshop, gallery or studio beckons, and there are many independent boutiques selling fashionable seaside clothing brands, handmade gifts, chocolates and other artisan creations. We wandered down the cobbled streets before stumbling upon Noall Square, a pretty courtyard with coloured flags, a rock shop, a record shop, and a tea room where we had some lunch. By the time we arrived at the picturesque harbourside it was time for an ice cream, which we enjoyed on Town Beach before meandering back through town to the opposite coastline to discover Tate St Ives – the world-renowned must-visit attraction. BritishTravelJournal.com
like your sea-to-fork fish dishes, ‘the...ifUnayouKitchen Seafood Chowder is tasty enough to give Rick Stein a good run for his money...
from her garden would be the perfect setting for a production of The Tempest. After that performance, the theatre was established and today attracts audiences from all over the world. There's no better backdrop for any play or musical performance than a sun-kissed shore, a Cornish sunset and distant waves. For us, though, it was time to get back to Una St Ives for our dinner reservation at Una Kitchen. Led by multiple AA-Rosette-winning Cornish chef Glenn Gatland, Una Kitchen’s Mediterraneaninspired seasonal menus have been quick to impress. So much so, that at the recent Cornwall Tourism Awards they were declared the winners of the highly acclaimed Restaurant of the Year award. Starters include much-loved favourites like sticky chicken wings and salt & pepper squid, and for the mains, if you like your sea-to-fork fish dishes, the Una Kitchen Seafood Chowder is tasty enough to give Rick Stein a good run for his money, while children are likely to be fans of their woodfired Gozney-oven-cooked pizzas. To finish off we devoured some chocolate ganache and strawberry and cream pavlova. Guests are also welcome in the evening to enjoy the bar, which offers a wide selection of wines, local beers and handcrafted cocktails with Cornish Orchards Gold cider, Alba IPA or Hella Pale Ale from St Ives Brewery, and St Ives Blood Orange gin.
DAY TWO Eager to explore the many beautiful beaches, including Gwithian, Hayle, Porthmister and Porthmeor, all within easy reach of Una St Ives, we got dressed into our wetsuits. Together with our beach bags and our Dick Pearce wooden bellyboards from Newquay, (see my article on page 92) we were ready for a day of wave riding. We had been told by one of the locals about The Towans (Cornish for ‘dune’) – a three-mile stretch of sand linking Godrevy Beach at the eastern tip of St Ives Bay to Gwithian Beach, all the way to Hayle Sands. We headed to Gwithian and couldn’t believe our luck: white sand, turquoise water, dramatic cliffs, glistening rockpools and rolling dunes. 72
FIRST PAGE: UNA ST IVES LODGE. PREVIOUS PAGE LEFT TO RIGHT: TOWN BEACH, ST IVES; TATE ST IVES; THE MINACK THEATRE. PICTURED CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: UNA KITCHEN SEAFOOD CHOWDER; GODREVY LIGHTHOUSE; JESSICA HEADS TO GWITHIAN BEACH; UNA KITCHEN
The sun was shining and we hit the surf under the backdrop of Godrevy Lighthouse – the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s seminal novel To the Lighthouse. There were a few dog walkers and surfers, but for one of Cornwall’s best-loved and most visited coastlines it was surprisingly uncrowded. We might have been lucky due to the time of year (it was late April), but possibly it is the vast natural wilderness and expansive coastline that helps keep it so peaceful. We weren’t lucky enough, but you might see dolphins in the waves here, and seals are frequently spotted in the rocky shallows. For lunch or light snacks there’s the Sunset Surf Cafe adjacent to the Gwithian Beach car park, or if you fancy a wild clifftop walk, head towards Godrevy on the South West Coast Path in search of The Rockpool (20 to 25 minutes). Both beach cafes have a laid-back and rustic vibe, catering for surfers, wild swimmers and dogs, while the kitchens serve great, fresh Cornish food with both indoor and outdoor seating, and incredible beach views. For wild sea swimming you just can’t beat the glistening waters of Carbis Bay, an absolutely gorgeous spot, with golden sand surrounded by subtropical plants, just 15 minutes by foot or five minutes by car from the villas. In complete contrast to The Towans beaches we had visited earlier in the day, the coastline here rarely has big waves, so, rather than attracting adrenaline-seeking surfers, families and sunbathers come here in search of relaxation – and we were happy to leave our bellyboards behind. I urge all Una St Ives guests to feel the sand here between their toes – it comes as no surprise that this
stunning beach is listed as one of the world’s best by the Most Beautiful Bays in the World organisation. You know you have arrived as you hear or see a train pulling into the picturesque railway station, and you cross the line over a pretty bridge to a convenient coastal path taking you down onto the golden sands. It wasn't quite yet summer and the water was cold, but knowing the hot tub was bubbling away back at the ranch gave me the encouragement to fully submerge, in true Wim Hof style. At low tide you can walk across to Porthkidney Sands, where you’ll find an RSPB bird sanctuary, an important habitat for seabirds. If an afternoon walk is more your scene than swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, there are many excellent hikes from Una St Ives too, including winding your way to Trencrom Hill where you are rewarded for your effort by the farreaching vistas across to St Ives Bay in one direction and St Michaels Mount in the other. Or, another local favourite is the path to Porthkidney Beach, the former home of artist John Miller, famous for his series of beach landscapes. Una St Ives certainly lived up to my expectation and was the wellness break I had needed; memorable, rejuvenating and life-affirming. Prices to stay self-catering in a one-bedroom lodge at Una St Ives from £180 per night for a three-night break, including leisure club access; unastives.co.uk BritishTravelJournal.com
With music, art, cars, yoga – and a goat, Britain is celebrating this summer in glorious style. So pack shorts or tuxedos and join us on our journey from Edinburgh to Cornwall to find the best festivals JUNE
HENLEY FESTIVAL, RIVER THAMES
17-19 BIRCH ARISING
This Summer Solstice at the Birch, Hertfordshire there's a brand new and exciting three-day-long summer festival with live music and DJs, incredible food feasts, chefs, producers, pool parties, restorative wellness experiences and a comfy bed to lay your head on at the end of the night. birchcommunity.com 74
Don a black tie and tux or slinky maxi dress for this year's headliners, including The Script and Tom Jones. henley-festival.co.uk
RHS HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDEN FESTIVAL
Nursery exhibits, workshops and talks, rare and wild world plants and exotic living spaces. rhs.org.uk
150TH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the world’s oldest golf tournament at The Open in St Andrews, Scotland. theopen.com/st-andrews
10-14 BOARDMASTERS, CORNWALL
There's surfing, skateboarding and BMX bike riding on Fistral Beach Beach along with gigs up the coast at Watergate Bay, with shuttle buses between the two.
Set in 5,000 acres, the wellness, sporting, themes and food lineup is as strong as the music. wildernessfestival.com
GREEN MAN FESTIVAL IN THE BRECON BEACONS
Nestled in the picturesque South Wales’ National Park. greenman.net
JUPITER RISING FESTIVAL, EDINBURGH
Rock around the installations at the art-and-music festival in Jupiter Artland, the contemporary sculpture park. Focusing on emerging artists, highlights include the Durban duo, Destruction Boyz, who bring their Gqom music (electronic dance with repetitive sounds and heavy base beats) to Scotland, and don't miss Antony Gormley’s 1019 steel balls or Anish Kapoor’s caged metal chute. jupiterrising.art BritishTravelJournal.com
Great British Drinks
There are going to be big celebrations of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee during the weekend of 2 to 5 June, so here's a range of delicious Great British drinks from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England for when you are raising your glass for a toast HIGH POINT RUBY
The world’s first premium nonalcoholic fermented aperitif, made with natural ingredients from the surrounding Cornish countryside, £19.99. highpointdrinks.co.uk MERMAID GIN
COTSWOLDS PLATINUM JUBILEE GIN
The limited-edition Platinum Jubilee Gin is bursting with fruity notes of jammy raspberry, strawberry and fresh citrus, leaving a delicious taste of smooth vanilla ice cream, £34.95. majestic.co.uk 76
Produced at the Isle of Wight Distillery, the first and only distillery on the island, a small batch, beach-to-bottle London Dry Gin with a hint of sea air, £38. harveynichols.com THE GLADSTONE AXE
Created in honour of William Gladstone, four-times Prime Minister during the reign of Queen Victoria. There are two whiskies in the range, from £32. masterofmalt.com
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF
Enjoy exclusive access in the gardens where the Tudor queen grew up when you stay the night in the Tudor Village at Kent’s Hever Castle, and spend an evening in the same room where she slept with Henry VIII at Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire Text by Jane Knight
night at Hever Castle get exclusive use of the grounds before they open to the public and after everyone else has gone home. It’s a delicious feeling having all this history to yourself, imagining Anne strolling along with Henry VIII, the Tudor king she so enraptured that he broke with Rome and set up the Church of England just so he could marry her. The story might not have ended
t’s so quiet as I stroll along Anne Boleyn’s walk that I fancy I can hear the swish of her skirt skimming the grass. To my left is the fairy-tale castle where she grew up and the formal Italian garden; ahead lies the lake, with its pleasant hour-long circuit by the water. The only person I meet on my early-morning perambulations is a gardener; guests staying the
enamoured pair may have promenaded, two of the illfated Queen’s prayer books, one exhorting the reader to ‘remember me when you doth pray’, and the room believed to have been slept in by the Tudor king. I wouldn’t mind curling up in the four poster there, but visitors to Hever can’t stay in the castle. Instead,
well – Anne was one of Henry’s two wives who were beheaded – but it still never fails to entrance me. At opening time, I’m first through the door of her crenelated, moated home, where the door to the great hall with its huge fireplace, wood ceiling and minstrels’ gallery still has the lock Henry brought with him to ensure his safety. Upstairs is the long gallery where the
FIRST PAGE TOP RIGHT: FEATURE ROOM AT HEVER CASTLE. BELOW: KING HENRY VIII SUITE AT THORNBURY CASTLE
I’m just next door, in the Tudor Village (now called the Astor Wing) created for guests of its 20th-century owner William Waldorf Astor. It’s a long way from slumming it – Astor really did things properly when he ploughed some of his vast fortune into restoring Hever, landscaping its gardens and creating the lake. Insisting on only using materials and methods current in 16th-century Britain, his guest extension featured rooms with half-timbered or elaborate plastered ceilings that have welcomed everyone from Winston Churchill and Arthur Conan Doyle to Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly. Even the least expensive of the 28 rooms are beautifully done out. Henry VIII himself would have surely felt at home in the Tudor Village’s dining room with its enormous fireplace, brocade curtains, oak panelling and ribbed wood vaulted ceiling. While they don’t serve dinner here (for that you need to stroll to the Henry VIII pub through the grounds or drive further afield), the breakfasts are particularly impressive. After consuming what feels like my body weight of fresh
fruit, yogurt with granola, cheese, pastries and avocado on sourdough, I feel a bit like bluff king Hal myself. So much for eating like a king, but if you want to truly live like one you need to drive west for three hours to Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire, the only Tudor castle that operates as a luxury hotel, and is now a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux group. Here, I hit the jackpot and sleep in the very room that Anne Boleyn shared with Henry for ten days during their
royal progress in 1535. Up a spiral stone staircase with steps worn deep by the imprint of footsteps over the centuries, the Henry VIII suite is magnificent,
Here, I hit the jackpot and sleep in the very room that Anne Boleyn ‘shared with Henry for ten days during their royal progress in 1535.’
with an ornate ceiling, a four-poster bed and the original garderobe toilet (thankfully now with plumbing). When the royal couple visited, Henry was already beginning to tire of his second wife – he had her beheaded in 1536 and married Jane Seymour, who didn’t stay at Thornbury but still has a room named after her, just beneath this one in the octagonal stone tower. Right at the top of the tower, up a dizzying 77 steps, lies the most opulent suite of all, named after Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The enormous tenfoot by six-foot bed here is surely big enough for all of Henry’s six wives beneath its canopy of 24-carat inlay, while the capacious bathroom could have held all their ladies in waiting too. You don’t need to pay a king’s ransom to stay here though; even the least expensive of the 26 rooms have a regal feel, some with four posters or a seating area in the oriel window area. Like the rest of the castle, they are fresh from a multimillion-pound facelift after the Emirati Khamas group bought it in 2019. Under the watchful eye of English Heritage, it has been restored sympathetically, adding contemporary comfort to the Tudor trappings. Carpets have been peeled
back to reveal Tudor flagstones, Victorian tiling and floorboards; furnishings were overhauled, plumbing and electricity upgraded, and discreet modern frescoes added.
You certainly get a lot of history with your hotel here. Thornbury was one of the last castles to be built before firearms rendered them obsolete, so while it has the traditional crenelated walls, turrets and arrow slits, there is a distinct palatial side to it, with 12-foot red brick chimneys and luxurious apartments. The most lavish of all is the double-height drawing room, its elaborate oriel windows framed by crimsonand-gold curtains. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy pre-dinner canapes and cocktails, and although its twinkling chandeliers wouldn’t have been around in Tudor times, they certainly add to the atmosphere. Carved into the ornate arched doorway and the enormous fireplace surrounds I can make out the Stafford knot, the emblem of Edward Stafford, the third Duke of Buckingham. It was Stafford’s pretensions to grandeur and probably the throne (he was a descendant of Edward III) that led to his downfall. Fearing for his throne, and fancying the castle for himself, Henry effectively cried “off with his head” by signing the duke’s death warrant before nabbing Thornbury. After he visited with Anne, his daughter, Mary Tudor, spent part of her childhood there. Moving from the drawing room into the woodpanelled restaurant, the arrow slit in the four-foot castle walls by my table reminds me that I’m still in a castle, albeit a palatial one. It’s a lovely place to savour the sixcourse tasting menu, which becomes quite ceremonial with a succession of perfectly cooked dishes along with a matching flight of wines.
BELOW: THE LOUNGE AT THORNBURY CASTLE
IMAGE © VISITENGLAND/SUDELEY CASTLE/CLIVE BURLING
Daytime brings the chance to explore other Tudor castles nearby. Berkeley Castle, which also belonged to Henry, is just nine miles away. While the king and Anne probably didn’t stay here, their daughter, Elizabeth I did – and left behind her bedspread when she stormed off after a row about hunting. An hour’s drive from Thornbury takes you to Sudeley Castle, which Henry and Anne visited, but which is better known as the home and resting place of Henry’s last wife, Catherine Parr, the Queen who outlived him.
Back at Thornbury, there is falconry and archery on offer by way of regal pursuits, or afternoon tea beneath the minstrels’ gallery. Here, too, are gorgeous gardens, with ancient yew hedges, sections for roses and herbs and a particularly pretty walled garden. In Tudor times, its creeper-clad walls were topped by a timber gallery, allowing the duke to walk from his rooms to his pew in the adjacent St Mary’s church without mixing with the hoi polloi. Now, as I walk at ground level around a flower bed carefully planted in the shape of the Stafford knot, my thoughts turn to Anne again. She too must have walked here, probably aware that she was losing the king’s favour. Her story doesn’t end at Thornbury, but at the Tower of London, where she was taken by barge, passing through the shudder-inducing Traitors Gate. It’s no surprise that after she was executed on Tower Green and buried in the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula that people frequently report seeing her ghost there. I prefer to think of it at Hever instead, running around in the garden, happy and smiling outside her childhood home. Rooms at Hever Castle cost from £175, B&B, including access to the castle and grounds during the stay; hevercastle.co.uk. Thornbury Castle rooms start from £249, B&B, with the Henry VIII suite from £559; thornburycastle.co.uk
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Author Martin Dorey headed north in search of solitude on a road trip to England’s least-populated county and a coastline that’s beautiful and often overlooked. Between the summer crowds he found just what he was looking for and more. And that can only mean one thing: a bracing dip in the North Sea Text and Images by Martin Dorey
e parked the van at Beadnell Bay, a long, sandy bay to the south of Seahouses, in a little car park behind the dunes. We were looking for solitude, in a year when solitude was hard to find; seeking out the kind of places where most people don’t go. I wanted to prove that it is still possible to get ‘off the beaten track’ in England in 2021, the year we all stayed at home. Happily, it is. Northumberland, by many standards, is one of those places where the majority of people don’t go. It has the lowest population
density of any English county and remains resolutely off the radar for many, despite a coastline that’s sparsely populated, rugged, diverse and often achingly beautiful. Between the hotspots of Holy Island, Bamburgh, Seahouses and Amble, there is still plenty of space, especially when you compare it to other places: Northumberland welcomed 10 million visitors in 2018 compared with 47 million for the Lake District (on the wetter, western side of England). The county might not have the lakes or the mountains but it more than makes up for it with castles,
ancient sites, beaches, puffins and dark skies. And did I mention the beaches? A drive up the coast from Whitley Bay to Berwick will take you to them all. Give yourself time and dawdle. Lizzy took off her shoes to walk through the dunes to the beach. It was a warm day, with thin, wispy cloud and little wind. When we emerged from the tall marram grasses we looked out at a low-tide beach with maybe three or four people on it. Most of them were walking. Lizzy led me off to the south to show me a beach she had wanted to explore.
We let the coast path take us around a low headland of rocks, across cool, still-damp sand, and through more marram, to another small arc of beach with a rocky reef in the middle and points on either side. Below the tideline, and between the rocks, flat sand. The beach was deserted, save for a few gulls pecking at seaweed. A couple walked along the coast path, away from us and around to the next bay. A few small waves broke on the sand in a small clean swell. If ever there was a time to embrace the North Sea this was it. The water, though chilly, was bearable. I blew out as I submerged to avoid the risk of cold-water shock – something to remember – and allowed my breathing to slow back to normal. The beach was gently shelving so it took us a while to get deep enough to dive in and swim. My skin fizzed as I got used to the cold and swam a few strokes out into the bay. We swam a little more and then, once back in our dry clothes, walked back up the beach hand in hand, feeling the warmth from the sun on our backs. With the beach to ourselves it was a good sign we were, truly, off the beaten track, especially considering it was August.
PREVIOUS PAGE LEFT TO RIGHT: LIZZY AT BEADNELL BAY; ST MARY'S LIGHTHOUSE; MARTIN HEADING FOR SURF AT COCKLAWBURN. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: SNIPE AT LINDISFARNE; THE ABBEY AND CASTLE, HOLY ISLAND; WILD TEASEL; LIZZY SWIMS AT SNOOK. NEXT PAGE LEFT TO RIGHT: THE RIVER TWEED; BEACH HUTS AT AMBLE; NORHAM CASTLE ON THE RIVER TWEED.
the wildness and the fact that, with a little effort, we could find a ‘sliceI loved of heaven to ourselves. That’s a rare quality. And it made me feel truly alive and happy at a time when so much was uncertain.’ This experience was the peak of my time exploring the Northumberland coast: I loved the wildness and the fact that, with a little effort, we could find a slice of heaven to ourselves. That’s a rare quality. And it made me feel truly alive and happy at a time when so much was uncertain. I have been to Northumberland in the depths of winter and found it to be
beguiling even then. But in summer it was truly lovely. We surfed on a tiny beach behind the railway lines near Cocklawburn while a few walkers trudged up the sands and a woman played in the waves with her children. We bought kippers in Craster. We strolled through Amble. We got ‘that picture’ of Bamburgh Castle reflected in the shimmering shallows. BritishTravelJournal.com
We strolled on empty sands and swam in empty seas. We cycled in Kielder Forest and got completely lost in the vast nothing of the Otterburn Ranges. What more could you ask of a road trip? When it came to visiting Holy Island – the hugely popular island of Lindisfarne – we employed a tactic divulged to us by a fellow camper: he waited for a day with a midday high tide. This meant that any visitors to the island would have been cut off all 90
day by the tidal causeway, unable to return to the mainland until the water receded in the evening. Waiting on the mainland for the tide to ebb away, he drove across to Lindisfarne when everyone else was leaving. It worked for us too. We arrived at about six o’clock on a clear, sunny evening. Sure enough, idling on the island side, we found a queue of cars. As they streamed off the island, we cruised on, enjoying a quiet evening of spiritual wandering as the sun set.
Our final stop, Berwick, was as surprising as the rest of it. We found the lovely beach at Spittal by accident while trying to find the (brilliantly located) Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. It is a quiet, sandy beach, backed by beautiful, elegant stone houses and terraces of neat cottages. Some had gardens that led onto the promenade. Bound by the railway and cliffs, Spittal is a dead end kept quiet by a lack of through traffic. I fell in love with its wide, quiet streets
straight away. There were probably no more than 20 people on the sand. It passed the ‘I could live here’ test. And that’s a big ask: I live in Cornwall. Sadly, Berwick was as far as we’d get on this trip. It didn’t really matter that we’d stopped short of Scotland. Northumberland was wild enough without heading for the NC500, the Trossachs or the Outer Hebrides. And with all the driving we’d save, there was always time for one last cool swim. Breathe out as you submerge.
Off the Beaten Track: England and Wales
MARTIN IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF THE TAKE THE SLOW ROAD SERIES, WHICH FEATURES INSPIRATIONAL JOURNEYS BY CAMPER VAN AND MOTORHOME. THE SERIES INCLUDES SCOTLAND, ENGLAND AND WALES, IRELAND AND FRANCE
Off the Beaten Track: England and Wales is a book about getting away from it all. Martin drove the length and breadth of England and Wales to find places that are forgotten, overlooked or simply dropped off the map. With sections on how to do it the hard way or the easy way, Martin kayaked the Tweed, hiked river valleys to the sea, cycled up mountains and fished remote wilderness lakes in search of that rarest of commodities: solitude. Did he find it? You bet he did. Martin Dorey is the author of Off the Beaten Track: England and Wales and The Camper Van Bible: The Glovebox Edition, published by Conway and out now.
CHECK IT OUT ON THE WAY
— Craster The home of the Craster Kipper is a must! Go early. Parking is easier – and pick up a freshly smoked kipper from the quayside. There's a great coastal walk to Dunstanburgh Castle too.
Amble There are many good reasons to amble around the fishing town of Amble. The harbour village prides itself on being the ‘friendliest port in England’, and its annual puffin festival, brightly coloured beach huts and seafood shacks are just a few of its quirks.
Warkworth Castle Stunning castle on a bend in the river, owned by the National Trust. View the awe-inspiring keep as you wander around the nearly intact circuit of towered wall.
Bamburgh Castle Experience a different level of Northumberland at England's finest fortress, home of the real Last Kingdom of Bebbanburg. Great views, overlooking a beautiful, white sand beach. BritishTravelJournal.com
48 HOURS IN NEWQUAY
THE HEADLAND HOTEL AND SPA
Set on an exclusive clifftop overlooking the famous sands of Fistral Beach, The Headland is, without doubt, one of the grandest and finest hotels in the British Isles. Although you don’t need a reason to stay here, the brand new £10 million Aqua Club could be your motivation to check-in this summer Text by Jessica Way
ramatic, unapologetic and authentic, The Headland Hotel & Spa is an Victorian architectural masterpiece, made famous by Roald Dahl’s movie The Witches. The striking red-brick façade and imposing peninsula position on Fistral Bay’s rugged cliffs simply demands attention. It was in June 1900 when the first guests stayed in this beautiful Duchy of Cornwall landmark, when the hotel was at the height of luxury for its time, with lavishly decorated rooms, hot and cold running water and electric lights. Fast forward 122 years with the opening of a brand new state-of-the-art Aqua Club, and we
are seeing history repeating itself, as this awardwinning, much-loved five-star hotel once again raises the bar high. It has been far from straightforward, however. The Headland’s owners, John and Carolyn Armstrong, have invested over £45 million since taking on the hotel in 1979. Despite joyful beginnings that lasted through the fruitful twenties, the combination of postwar rationing and owners unable to invest in the property, left it neglected, creaky and dilapidated. Despite its run-down state, peeling paint and rotting wood, John and Carolyn were ready to take on the challenge, which included a serious amount of structural work and interior refurbishment.
The phenomenal husband-and-wife team still own the hotel today, and have stopped at nothing to reinvent The Headland as a modern, luxurious destination of distinction. Their labour of love, making improvements and restoring the hotel might have taken four decades, but it has now paid off. The Headland Hotel & Spa is now a multi-award-winning, 94
five-star 88-bedroom property, with a state-of-the-art gym, a five-bubble spa, a six-pool wellness centre, three restaurants and the best sea views in Cornwall. If you want to impress your kids, book hotel rooms 223, 227 or 205, as these were used in the bedroom scenes of The Witches. Or for a special occasion, you might want to stay in
a Fistral suite, Ocean suite or Best suite. We struck it lucky in room 210, an absolutely beautiful suite with its own private balcony, separate lounge with electric fireplace, an exquisite bathroom and spectacular sea views. If you would prefer something more private, in 2020 the hotel launched their ultra-stylish exclusive guest village with a selection of contempary one-,
FIRST PAGE: FISTRAL BEACH. CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: THE HEADLAND HOTEL & SPA; AQUA CLUB; JESSICA IN HER HOTEL SUITE
two- and three-bedroom self-catering cottages and apartments. Whether in one of the cottages, apartments or the hotel itself, all guests are welcome to enjoy the hotel's new Aqua Club. Three years in the making, the eagerly anticipated Aqua Club is a no-luxury-spared swimming and wellbeing complex situated adjacent to the hotel. The new facility has six stunning pools (both indoor and outdoor), a sun terrace overlooking the ocean, and a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant named The Deck. Outside on the sun terrace, there is a heated sunset spa encircled by an infinity-edge pool. There is also a heated outdoor vitality pool that has a Cornish granite menhir at its centre – the perfect spot to let go of the stresses and strains of everyday life. Don’t disregard The Headland’s original spa sanctuary located inside the heart of the hotel, however, where there’s a sumptuous relaxation suite and further treatment rooms, a Rhassoul mud chamber, a Swedish sauna, a Cornish salt steam room, aromatherapy showers, hydrotherapy pool and a state-of-the-art gym. In celebration of the Queen’s incredible 70 years of service this summer, you might also enjoy devouring a decadent Platinum Jubilee afternoon tea. The Headland chefs have created a menu of quintessentially British treats and light bites, including cucumber, cream cheese and coronation chicken sandwiches and The Queen's Chocolate Cake. BritishTravelJournal.com
are not many hotels in the world that can claim this level of enchantment ‘There for their guests, and this makes The Headland a very special hotel indeed...’ With an old-fashioned charm and attentive staff throughout the hotel's restaurants, you are made to feel like royality wherever you are, from doubleA-Rosette-awarded dining in The Samphire restaurant to sampling the Mediterranean-inspired menu in The Deck and enjoying sundown cocktails on The Terrace. Menus change with the seasons, reflecting the best regional produce with a selection of fresh local seafood, chargrilled cuts of the finest
meats and irresistible daily specials, along with expertly mixed cocktails. The Headland is remarkable in how it has maintained a traditional service and charisma from the early 1900s, when royals King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra stayed at the hotel, and it is no surprise that the current Prince of Wales and Princess Royal have also enjoyed several visits in recent years, along with celebrity royalty George Clooney.
To really appreciate the history of the place, take some time out to dwell in the sitting room, where vintage photos, hotel memorabilia and press cuttings from days gone by adorn the walls and antique furniture. You acquire a sense of timeless connection to those who have stepped the same footprint before you at The Headland, from standing on the balcony sharing the same mesmerising experience of losing yourself in the
LEFT TO RIGHT: THE HEADLAND HOTEL BEDROOM SUITE; JESSICA RIDES THE WAVES OF FISTRAL BEACH WITH WORLD BELLYBOARD CHAMPION, JAMIE JOHNSTONE
sights and sounds of the perpetual waves to the glamorous feeling of gracefully winding your way down the grand sweeping staircase. You know that, while this is your moment to enjoy the charm of the hotel, it comes with the familiarity of these ageless qualities, the breathtaking views and preserved architectural beauty, having been enjoyed for over a century by others before you. There are not many hotels in the world that can claim this level of enchantment for their guests, and this makes The Headland a very special hotel indeed, especially when you consider its remarkable achievement of modernising the hotel with à la mode luxuries without compromising this exceptional quality. And if this historical significance isn’t spinetingling enough for you, the hotel's unrivalled location just a stone’s throw from the golden sands of Fistral Beach, offers every reason to brace the sea and enjoy the waves. Head down to the Surf Sanctuary to get kitted out – introductory surf classes, equipment hire and private lessons, as well as all you need for coasteering, kite surfing and standup paddleboarding; it's all available here. And, Fistral, although positively popular with the surf professionals, is extremely welcoming to everyone, no matter your level of experience or confidence in the water. We picked up one of Dick Pearce's environment-friendly wooden bellyboards, loaned to hotel guests on a complimentary basis. Founder and
World Bellyboard Champion, Jamie Johnstone and his team make the ecoconscious handmade boards at their workshop just a short stroll from the hotel in Hope’s Yard. Take some time to visit the two-storey studio and surf shop to see the sanding, smoothing, varnishing and painting, and to treat yourself to a gift or two. As well as selling the surfboards, at the shop you'll find fashionable artwork prints, t-shirts, blankets, books and more. (Read all about Jamie’s Surf Wood for Good campaign in our Travel News, page 20.) If surfing and wave-riding has left you feeling hungry on the sand dunes, a delicious Cornish pasty from the Fistral Beach Pasty Shack should hit the spot, or for Rick Stein’s famous fish & chips there’s a laid-back restaurant with the option to take-away. The Headland Hotel & Spa really does have it all: the spas, the sea, and the incredible hospitality. But transcending its glitz and glamour, for me, it has become more than just a
hotel. It's a place that makes you feel so special during your stay, giving you such a sense of place in all its alluring history that your memories become even more magical. In a similar way to cherishing an heirloom, you feel a desire to savour these moments and to enjoy The Headland with your family, who will hopefully continue to pass the tradition down, perhaps even sharing their family holiday memories with their own children – from generation to generation – in the same spot, and with the same ocean view as you. Jessica Way was hosted by The Headland Hotel, a member of Pride of Britain Hotels, a very fine collection of hotels dotted around the British Isles. The carefully curated collection includes privately owned properties, each one unique and characterful. Prices for an overnight stay start from £210 per night based on two people sharing, including breakfast. Contact Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929. prideofbritainhotels.com
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B O OWe'reKreading... SHELF
THE PIG: 500 Miles of Food, Friends and Local Legends, THE PIG’s second book is a celebration of the counties we call home, £30, thepighotel.com | The Responsible Traveller: This book is your ticket to positive, guilt-free, sustainable and ethical travel, £7.99, summersdale.com | The South West Coast Path: 1,000 Mini Adventures Along Britain's Longest Waymarked Path: An inspiring guidebook highlighting the adventures to enjoy along its entire 630-mile route, £20, bloomsbury.com | 100 Piers: Paintings at the Water's Edge: In this collection of 100 beautiful paintings it is clear that every pier, from the grandest to the most modest, has its own story, £35, unicornpublishing.org 98
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9 --- East, Suffolk escape and spa (7) 10 Shannon town distils ethanol (7) 11 Tricked (5) 12 Grouped together for a private conversation, perhaps (2,1,6) 13 Picturesque region of middle England (9) 15 Faint (5) 16 The part that matters (8,3) 20 Fabulous writer (5) 22 Wine steward (9) 24 Skin (9) 26 Anne Boleyn's family castle (5) 27 --- Manor, hotel and spa in 13 Across (7) 28 Disruptive Pacific currents (2,5)
1 Isle of Arran fortress, which became a family seat (7) 2 Words to a naughty child (4,2) 3 Disappointments (3-5) 4 Youths (10) 5 Accumulation of information (4) 6 Shoulder signals (6) 7 Festival of Speed location (8) 8 Belittles (7) 14 Hamburger bun feature (6,4) 16 Lulworth camp and musical event (8) 17 Large pachydermatous quadruped (8) 18 Early in the story (4,3) 19 19th-century castle near Inverness (7) 21 Rice dish made with saffron (6) 23 Cook up (6) 25 Noss ---, South Devon beauty spot (4)
Answers will be printed in the Autumn/Winter 2022 Issue ANSWERS TO CROSSWORD 11 | SPRING 2022 ACROSS: 9 A gogo 10 On a budget 11 Rat-a-tat 12 Katrine 13 Artisan 14 Hidcote 15 Coach houses 19 Long arm 21 Ammonia 23 Yeotown 25 Dare say 26 Carbis Bay 27 Ebbor DOWN: 1 Hadrian 2 Lost it 3 Southsea 4 Nottingham 5 Sark 6 Gutted 7 Ignitors 8 Uttered 14 Hook and eye 15 Contours 16 Somerset 17 Play-act 18 Halyard 20 Atomic 22 Naseby 24 Nabs
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