B R I T I S H T R AV E L JOURNAL City | Coast | Country
AU T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 2 0 | I S S U E 0 7
serene beauty spots
FIND YOUR BREATHING SPACE WITH TRANQUIL PANORAMAS AND HIDDEN PLACES OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
best UK rail trails
HAVE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE WITH A WALK OR CYCLE TRIP ALONG A FORMER RAILWAY LINE
find out why WALES is the perfect destination for a UK staycation in our 10 page special
J O U R N A L BritishTravelJournal.com editors Editor-in-chief 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 expert contributors Melanie Abrams Chantal Borciani Helen Holmes Adrian Mourby Karyn Noble Emma O’Reilly Lydia Paleschi Max Wooldridge Adrienne Wyper FRONT COVER IMAGE St Nectan's Glen, Trethevy, North Cornwall Photo: Editor's own FEATURE CHOICE 48 Hours in Fowey p63 Published by
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HE RISE IN staycations, brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, has opened many more eyes to Britain’s amazing travel destinations. Some are discovering for the first time, as British Travel Journal readers have always known, that our beautiful countryside, sandy shores, spectacular landmarks and world-class hotels are far from a 'second choice' holiday option. Our latest issue - brimming with inspirational travel ideas from around our glorious island - should be enough to convince even the most hardened of international traveller, that a holiday in the British Isles won’t feel like a compromise. That’s why this year we’re offering a special discount on our ‘gift’ subscriptions for families and friends (p68), spreading the word, and hoping that this surge we are seeing in popularity for UK travel experiences will be here long after the virus has gone. Staying in the UK comes with many bonuses too, like not having to worry about what to do with beloved four-legged friends, as we discover in our DogFriendly Holidays feature (p76), and giving back to our spectacular scenery and wildlife in the next of our sustainable travel series, Discovering Nature (p44). We hope you will be feeling on top of the world with our selection of Britain’s Best Panoramas (p48), and you might enjoy painting them too, so we show you how in Nurture your Creativity (p71). We offer a taste of the New Forest in our Interview with Head Chef, Luke Matthews (p54) and discover more spectacular scenery, heading west to Wild Wales (p26), before turning south to the Polperro Heritage Coast, 48 Hours in Fowey (p63). Other featured destinations this issue include The Charm of Clovelly, (p88) and Scotland’s Isle of Arran where we head to Meet the Makers of Isle of Arran Gin (p58). If you're not feeling ready to travel just yet, we hope this issue helps keep your dreams of future travel plans alive - and that planning ahead will help to give you the confidence you need for a safe and memorable trip away soon. Finally, we're delighted to have been nominated this year for 'Best Consumer Travel Magazine' in the 2020 British Travel Awards, and would love your help to try and win! Please vote for us from our direct page britishtraveljournal.com/vote, thank you. We look forward to continuing to share our travel adventures together. u
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Pictured above: Editor visits Clovelly (see p88)
Jessicax Jessica Way Editor -In-Chief
Pe Fl nz y d an ir ce ect H w eli it co h pt er s
Christmas off the Cornish coast ...somewhere else altogether
T R E S C O . C O .U K /C H R I S T M A S
S PA & W E L L N E S S • A C C O M M O D AT I O N • A B B E Y G A R D E N • D I N I N G • G A L L E R Y
CO NTEN TS AUTUMN/WINTER 2020 | ISSUE 07
09 10 17 48
A look at what’s new and travel noteworthy in the British Isles.
Captivating images from our favourite photographers to take you there in an instant.
CULTURAL AGENDA Dates for your autumn/winter diary
BRITAIN’S BEST PANORAMAS
From West Country tors, Scottish mountain summits to elevated city views, feel on top of the world with our selection of Britain’s most awesome panoramas.
FOR YOUR JOURNEY Latest travel essentials and crossword.
F E AT U R E S
To the west of England lies a Celtic principality that has been attracting English tourists for centuries.
THE BEST UK RAIL TRAILS Walk or cycle along a former railway line.
Spend your next trip marvelling at the richness of our native flora and fauna – and help to ensure that our spectacular scenery and wildlife are maintained for future generations.
Wild edibles are in abundance across the British Isles with a tantalising range of fungi, plants, shellfish and seaweed on offer countrywide.
INTERVIEW WITH LUKE MAT THEWS, CHEWTON GLEN
MEET THE MAKERS OF ISLE OF ARRAN GIN
Five-star Chewton Glen has stood the test of time with aplomb, here its Executive Head Chef reveals the secret to its timeless elegance and tremendous new offerings
There’s a growing artisanal movement on Scotland’s Isle of Arran, and now it has its first craft gin, we meet the locals behind the brand.
Pullman Editions original and exclusive limited-edition Art Deco posters of glamorous destinations around the world, from ski resorts in the French Alps to Supercars in Knightsbridge. Priced £395. pullmaneditions.com
Receive the ultimate luxury getaway essential from Noble Isle worth £20 and three issues of British Travel Journal for just £19!
NURTURE YOUR CREATIVITY
We show you how a painting break will open your eyes, and supply inspiration from our island’s wealth of spectacular scenery.
The woof guide to ten of the warmest welcomes for you and your best friend.
48 HOURS IN FOWEY
Find sanctuary on the lesser-known Polperro Heritage Coast, avoiding the crowds and embracing the Cornish Riviera lifestyle.
THE CHARM OF CLOVELLY
Recently named as ‘the most instagrammable village in the UK’, we discover more about this stunning North Devon harbour.
SCOTLAND’S ONLY LUXURY FLOATING HOTEL
If you’re yearning for a UK mini-break with a difference then you’ll be hard pushed to find a better escape than The Birch - the UK’s most trendy new hotel to open this year.
Treat your loved ones to something special this year with an overnight stay aboard Fingal, a luxury floating hotel permanently berthed on Edinburgh’s vibrant waterfront. u
Holmewell House, Lake Windermere, Cumbria
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T R AV E L N E W S WHAT 'S NEW
Destinations | Renovations | Launches | Celebrations
THE MITRE Now open as a relaxed and sophisticated 36 room boutique hotel on the banks of the River Thames with balconies and private courtyards (fire pits and jacuzzis) overlooking the river. Hotel rooms from £195 a night mitrehamptoncourt.com
LARGEST UK EXHIBITION OF OUTDOOR SCULPTURES Influential works of British sculptor Anish Kapoor will exhibit in the grounds and historic interiors of Houghton Hall in Norfolk. The exhibition features 24 mirror and stone sculptures as well as drawings, challenging the classical architecture of the house and the idyllic beauty of the grounds, whilst being in continuous dialogue and engagement with Houghton’s history. Anish Kapoor is one of the most influential sculptors working today, known for creating ambitious public sculptures adventurous in both form and engineering across vastly different scales and materials. Exhibition runs until 1 Nov 2020, tickets for adults £16, students £10. houghtonhall.com
THE BEAR Escape to this newly renovated 18th Century Coaching Inn on the Jurassic Coast. The quirky and cosy inn has stylish rooms, hearty food, fabulous cakes and artisan coffees. Prices from £290 for two nights for two thebearwareham.co.uk
NEW PRODUCT LAUNCH
CORNWALL’S BOUTIQUE BARNS
Escape to holiday luxury in Aria Resorts’ brandnew boutique luxury two, three, four and six bedroomed barns at the 5-star Retallack Resort & Spa in Cornwall. Prices from £383 per night. ariaresorts.co.uk/retallack-resort
THE STORY OF GARDENING
One of the UK’s most innovative new attractions, The Story of Gardening is an immersive experience at The Newt in Somerset, exploring gardens from around the world and throughout time. thenewtinsomerset.com/the-story-of-gardening
This handy 2-in-1 UV sanitiser and wireless charger disinfects your tech and accessories in a 10-minute intensive sterilisation, £59.99. qdossound.com
Captivating images from our favourite photographers to take you there in an instant. This issue we feature Andrew Ray, a full time professional landscape photographer, specialising in the UK Words | Emma O'Reilly
OTTER ISLAND “ T H I S P H O T O WA S TA K E N AT OTTER ISLAND IN ABBOTS B AY N E A R T H E S O U T H E R N E N D O F D E R W E N T WAT E R IN THE LAKE DISTRICT N AT I O N A L PA R K . I T O O K T H I S O N A M O R N I N G I N L AT E O C TO B E R W H E N T H E S U R FAC E O F T H E L A K E WA S S T I L L ENOUGH FOR REFLECTIONS TO B E C A P T U R E D .”
S T M I C H A E L' S MOUNT “ T H E C A U S E W AY T O S T M I C H A E L' S M O U N T I N C O R N W A L L P A R T I A L LY COVERED BY THE INCOMING TIDE. T H E I M A G E W A S C A P T U R E D S H O R T LY BEFORE SUNSET USING A ONESECOND SHUTTER SPEED TO BLUR THE M O V E M E N T I N A B R E A K I N G WAV E .”
BLACK ROCK COT TAG E “ B L A C K R O C K C O T TA G E O N RANNOCH MOOR IN THE SCOTTISH H I G H L A N D S W I T H S N O W C A P P E D M O U N TA I N S I N T H E BUACHAILLE ETIVE MOR RANGE, AT T H E E N T R A N C E T O T H E PA S S O F G L E N C O E I N T H E D I S TA N C E . T H E I M AG E WA S C A P T U R E D O N A S T O R M Y A F T E R N O O N I N E A R LY N OV E M B E R .”
PISTYLL RHAEADR WAT E R FA L L “ P I S T Y L L R H A E A D R , A 2 4 0 - F O O T WAT E R FA L L IN POWYS, IS CLASSIFIED AS ONE OF THE S E V E N W O N D E R S O F WA L E S . T H E I M AG E WA S C A P T U R E D F R O M A H I G H VA N TA G E P O I N T O N T H E O P P O S I T E S I D E O F T H E VA L L E Y O N A M O R N I N G I N E A R LY N O V E M B E R ”
PERRANPORTH “ THIS IS ONE OF THE OLDEST AND MOST P OPULAR IMAGES IN MY PORTFOLIO. THE N AT U R A L S E A A R C H O N PERRANP ORTH BEACH IN C O R N WA L L WA S I L L U M I N AT E D B Y E A R LY M O R N I N G S U N L I G H T.”
MORE ABOUT OUR PHOTOGRAPHER quality light – particularly during the ‘golden’ hours around sunrise and sunset. All of my photographs are captured using Canon Andrew Ray lives in Cornwall, where much cameras (currently the Canon EOS 5D Mark of his inspiration for great photography IV) and a tripod, along with a selection of comes from. Mountainous destinations – the professional lenses and filters which are used to Scottish Highlands, Wales and the Lake balance brightness levels or for creative effect.’ District – are also favourites. 〰 〰 Andrew’s images have received numerous He became interested in photography in awards including Royal Photographic his early twenties. ‘My doctor suggested Society medals for both landscape and spending more time outside could help with wildlife. He regularly features in local the migraines I was suffering with, so I took and national newspapers, books, and up walking. Cornwall has such inspirational magazines. scenery that photographing this was a natural progression. Initially, after taking 〰 an evening course, it was just a hobby, but it quickly turned into a full-time profession Readers can buy Andrew’s prints or book which has lasted for over 20 years’ onto his one-to-one and group photography tuition tours in Cornwall by visiting 〰 andrewrayphotography.com
C U LT U R A L A G E N D A HOT THIS SEASON
Exhibitions | Museums | Galleries | Shows
The Belles Two steel sculptures dotted around the town mark Scarborough as Britain’s first seaside resort. Made by Craig Knowles, an early Bathing Belle steps down from a bathing machine (changing room) on sandy North Bay. Whilst next to the Vincent Pier lighthouse, a modern Diving Belle heads into the sea. discoveryorkshirecoast.com
à Words | Melanie Abrams
PICTURED LEFT: OXANA PANCHENKO AND CLAIR THOMAS IN A PUBLICITY SHOT FOR COME, BEEN AND GONE, 2009. RIGHT: MICHAEL CLARK
WHAT WE’RE BOOKING
Michael Clark 07 OCTOBER 2020 – 03 JANUARY 2021 To celebrate dancer and choreographer, Michael Clark’s 15 years as the Barbican’s artistic associate, the centre’s art gallery is holding a retrospective of his avant garde oeuvre from 7 October. Alongside films of his mesmerising moves, the exhibition highlights his visual artistic collaborations, says curator, Florence Ostend, including his naked body sculpted by Sarah Lucas for her installation, Cnut. barbican.org.uk
Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul 15 NOVEMBER 2020 – 28 FEBRUARY 2021 This season’s most intriguing show pits Tracey Emin’s visceral work with that of The Scream painter, Edvard Munch at the Royal Academy of Arts from 15 November. Loss, longing and other emotions inspired them both, according to Emin, who has picked around 44 pieces from her multi-media archive and his to demonstrate their affinity 100 years apart.
PICTURED BELOW: TRACEY 152 X 183.5 X 3.7 CM. XAVIER
EDVARD MUNCH, THE DEATH OF MARAT, 1907. OIL ON CANVAS, 153 X 149 CM. MUNCHMUSEET
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly in League with the Night 18 NOVEMBER 2020 – 9 MAY 2021 It’s about time that British figurative artist, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye had a major retrospective. Now Tate Britain will hold the first one from 18 November. With her imaginary characters in everyday settings – reading, lounging or in a group hug, she makes art relatable and relevant. tate.org.uk
LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE CITRINE BY THE OUNCE 2014 PRIVATE COLLECTION © COURTESY OF LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE
LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE COMPLICATION 2013 PRIVATE COLLECTION © COURTESY OF LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE
EMIN, IT - DIDNT STOP - I DIDNT STOP, 2019. ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, R HUFKENS © TRACEY EMIN. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, DACS 2020
© 2019 TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING?
West Side Story 18 DECEMBER 2020 Whilst Megxit has pit the Sussexes against the Cambridges, from 18 December, it’s the Jets vs the Sharks - as Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake hits the cinemas. Ansel Elgort plays Tony, whilst newcomer Rachel Zegler plays Maria. Watch out for Rita Moreno as Tony’s boss. As Anita in the 1961 original, she turned America iconic. amblin.com/movie/west-side-story/
SPOTLIGHT ON: THE MEMPHIS GROUP
Memphis: Plastic Field 21 NOVEMBER 2020 – 24 APRIL 2021 For a design masterclass, head to Milton Keynes’ MK Gallery. The year old space is showing the influential work of Italian architect and designer, Ettore Sottsass and his 1980s collective, the Memphis Group, from 21 November. See why their bold colours, unusual materials and strong geometric style appealed to fans like David Bowie. mkgallery.org
IMAGES BELOW (CLOCKWISE): KARL LAGERFELD APARTMENT, MONTE CARLO; “HORIZON” BY MICHELE DE LUCCHI 1984. MEMPHIS MILANO COLLECTION; “BURUNDI” BY NATHALIE DU PASQUIER 1981. MEMPHIS MILANO COLLECTION; “LIDO” BY MICHELE DE LUCCHI 1982. MEMPHIS MILANO COLLECTION; MEMPHIS DESIGNERS WITH MASANORI UMEDA'S TAWARAYA BED 1981.
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EXPERIENCE SHUTTLEWORTH - EXPLORE OVER 60 ACRES!
Take a relaxing walk around our Swiss Garden filled with pretty seasonal colour and two delightful peacocks. Wander along the woodland sculpture trail, around a lake home to nesting wildlife. Observe fantastic views of Shuttleworth House and scenic surrounding countryside from North Park’s gentle hills, before a stroll around the paddocks overlooking the grass airfield. Discover the Shuttleworth Collection, showcasing the best of early aviation, vintage vehicles and Clayton & Shuttleworth industrial heritage. FREE ENTRY FOR KIDS & MEMBERS. BOOK ADMISSION ONLINE AND RE-USE YOUR ADULT TICKETS MULTIPLE TIMES FOR UP TO A MONTH!
WWW.SHUTTLEWORTH.ORG Shuttleworth, Old Warden, Bedfordshire, SG18 9DX. Entrance via Old Warden Village. 01767 627933 | firstname.lastname@example.org
UNTIL 3 JANUARY 2021
WHERE WE’RE SPOTTING ART ?
Beacon Hill Woodwork A wizard’s head, a quirky frog sitting upright and a shepherd with his ram are among the 30-odd wooden sculptures and benches carved by Peter Leadbeater across Beacon Hill in Leicestershire. Meet the artist in his workshop in the country park.
Grizedale Forest Sculptures Explore art in a fresh way – walking or cycling through Grizedale Forest in the Lake District. Over 70 intriguing works can be found. There’s a key fixed onto a tree which turns and plays music by Greyworld, say, as well as a baptism which also forms a waterfall by Alannah Robins.
The Scallop Between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness pebbly beaches in Suffolk looms the four metre high Scallop, a stainless steel sculpture by local artist, Maggi Hambling. The two interlocking scallop shells commemorate the equally iconic composer, Benjamin Britten, who used to stroll along these shores.
The Folkestone Mermaid Overlooking Folkestone harbour sits Cornelia Parker’s bronze mermaid. Echoing Copenhagen’s fabled Little Mermaid, this British version was inspired by The Sea Lady novel by H. G. Wells who lived nearby. Delve into the town’s rich maritime and natural history at the nearby Folkestone Museum.
IMAGES LEFT COLUMN: GRIZEDALE FOREST SCULPTURES THIS COLUMN, TOP-BOTTOM: MAGGI HAMBLING'S SHELL AT ALDEBURGH. COURTESY OF THE SUFFOLK COAST; CORNELIA PARKER, THE FOLKESTONE MERMAID PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THIERRY BAL: SCULPTURE CARVED BY PETER LEADBEATER ACROSS BEACON HILL IN LEICESTERSHIRE: PETER LEADBEATER SCULPTURER AT HIS WORKSHOP IS BASED AT BEACON HILL COUNTRY PARK IN LEICESTERSHIRE.
PICTURED ABOVE: IRON BRIDGE; THE ROYAL PAVILION, HORSESHOE FALLS AND GARDENERS AND ORANGE TREE, OSBORNE HOUSE. BELOW: WROXETER ROMAN CITY AND DOVECOTE AT CUMBERNAULD GLEN
WHERE WE’RE DISCOVERING?
Iron Bridge Spanning the River Severn, linking (once) industrial Broseley to the coal-mining town of Madeley in Shropshire is the world’s first cast-iron bridge – symbolising the industrial revolution’s birthplace. Erected in 1779 with 378 tons of local iron, the single arch bridge was restored last year for £3.6 million. Explore its construction by Abraham Darby III in the nearby original tollhouse.
Cumbernauld Glen A round 16th century dovecote that looks like Rapunzel’s castle, old tunnels and even older trees add mystique to Cumbernauld Glen, the rich wildlife reserve, north east of Glasgow. Whether cycling, hiking or on horseback – spot the vibrant kingfishers, badgers – and snowdrops in the new year.
Horseshoe Falls A feat of 1800s engineering, The Horseshoe (shaped) Falls on the River Dee in North Wales was designed by fabled British engineer, Thomas Telford, to channel water into the Llangollen canal. Travel there in style. Either by vintage horse-drawn boat or by steam engine to Berwyn Station with its Victorian waiting room, stationmaster’s house and more.
IMAGES © ENGLISH HERITAGE/ © TRACY LAMBERT
A Prince’s Treasure is revealed at the Royal Pavilion A spectacular loan from Her Majesty The Queen, of art and furniture owned by George IV, is on display at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton this autumn. The items, which can be seen or the first time in 170 years, include majestic 15-foot high porcelain pagodas, exquisite Chinese nodding figurines and the impressive dragon fire fenders.
WHERE WE’RE FINDING NEW LIFE?
Petersham Nurseries in Richmond A stone’s throw from Richmond Park is Petersham Nurseries with eateries serving posh nosh like chargrilled lobster alongside plants, climbers, trees or trowels. Look out for amaryllis with their huge vibrant blooms, say, or the multi-coloured Crocosmia Emily McKenzie. Or handmade wreaths for the festive season. PICTURED BELOW: OSBORNE HOUSE; THE LEECHWELL
Osborne House and Gardens Whilst the next season of Victoria is on TV ice, experience the real queen’s lifestyle at Osborne House, her holiday home on the Isle of Wight. Alongside the home and gardens, designed by Prince Albert, explore the family’s private beach. For a wider regal visit on East Cowes, there’s Carisbrooke Castle where Charles I was imprisoned or the Romanov monument, dedicated to the murdered family. english-heritage.org.uk
The Leechwell Amongst the narrow lanes of Totnes in South Devon is a slice of medieval life: a 13th century healing well, The Leechwell. The sunken stone and slate structure with its three troughs of water were believed to cure snake-bites, skin diseases and more. Today, it’s a draw for meditation and offerings with the water flowing into Leechwell Garden nearby. leechwellgarden.org;
Worton Kitchen Garden Home grown organic produce from its greenhouse, garden, orchard or beehives is the hallmark of Worton Kitchen Garden, the shop and cafe at Worton Farm in Oxfordshire. Own brand products are tasty surprises including quince meat for festive mince pies – and ketchup. wortonkitchengarden.com
Special Plants For the most unusual foliage finds, head to Chippenham in Wiltshire for Special Plants. There’s an edible Sunset Hibiscius with primrose petals, say, or for winter bloom, a rare fragrant pink shrub, Daphne Bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. On a Wednesday, explore the garden for design tips. specialplants.net
Jekka’s Over 400 herbs can be found at Jekka’s farm in Bristol, where the herbetum houses diverse edible and medicinal species with seeds, plants or kits sold in the shop. There’s more to each herb than first glance – like the bright orange Lion’s Tail with its sting-treating roots. (Pre-books for groups needed this season.) jekkas.com
WHAT WE'RE SUBSCRIBING TO?
Beans Coffee Club The UK’s first ‘coffee club experience’ style subscription service, championing the best British independent roasters. Whether you prefer a chocolatey, nutty or fruity coffee, using an Espresso Machine, Moka pot or Cafetiere, Beans Coffee Club offers the biggest selection of carefully selected British coffees, including Hundred House and Coal Town Roasters. Totally tailored to you expertly matched to your individual taste. Plus, we love that all their packaging is fully recyclable and biodegradable - and that you can cancel anytime.
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO?
Album No 8 by Katie Melua 16 OCTOBER 2020 A cosy Cotswolds cottage is where Katie Melua wrote tracks for her new folky Album No 8 – including A Love Like That. Her bell-like voice soars above the rich arrangements from Tbilisi’s Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra. Top track: the rhythmic Voices In The Night.
Browns Flagship store in Mayfair Having discovered Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, Browns fashion boutique is renowned for spotting the next fashion star. Now the store is moving to a four storey house along Mayfair’s Brook Street where new neighbours include Claridge’s Hotel and music museum, Handel & Hendrix in London.
Bird’s Eye London 15 OCTOBER 2020 More than 150 stunning aerial images by photographer, Paul Campbell, who describes his book as a labour of love, offer a totally fresh perspective on some of London’s most famous landmarks, as well as corners of the capital that are hidden from the usual street level view - such as in the Rooftop Secrets section.
Jo Jo's Face Masks Face masks and coverings seem to be here to stay, so to ensure we're prepared, whether it's a trip to the shops or our next staycation, we're subscribing to these specially designed breathable and washable face coverings from the UK’s first face mask subscription service by Essex-based company, Jo Jo Creative Designs’. Joanna Spilman, co-founder of Jo Jo Creative Designs explains: “Life is slowly getting back to normal with face masks here for the foreseeable future, so we wanted to offer comfortable, stylish and safe unique face coverings that can be worn on public transport, in the office and on nights out. By having a subscription delivered to your door, we are giving customers varied, fun and chic options every month to keep up with on-trend fashions and abide by the rules at the same time.”
WHERE WE'RE SHOPPING
WHAT WE’RE READING?
ORIGINAL, LIMITED-EDITION ART DECO POSTERS
Limited to editions of 280, our newly-commissioned Art Deco posters feature glamorous holiday destinations around the world, ski resorts in the European Alps, and the world’s greatest historic automobiles. Over 100 designs to choose from, all printed on 100% cotton fine art paper, measuring 97 x 65 cm.
Pullman Editions Ltd
Priced at £395 each.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7730 0547
Private commissions are also welcome.
94 Pimlico Road Chelsea
London SW1W 8PL
Our central London gallery All images and text copyright © Pullman Editions Ltd. 2020
View and buy online at w w w.pullmaneditions.com
WI LD WA LES 26
To the west of England lies a Celtic principality that has been attracting English tourists for centuries. Words | Adrian Mourby
HERE IS AN OLD SAYING that if the steep hills and deep valleys of Wild Wales were smoothed out, Englandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s western neighbour would actually be the bigger country. Wales used to be considered a dangerous place full of mountains and precipices, deluged with rain and populated by superstitious druids who spoke a strange language. Then in the eighteenth century, the English found it was no longer safe to travel to revolutionary Europe in search of inspiring landscapes.
So Wales became popular with poets and artists, clutching their notebooks and phrasebooks. Once the railways arrived in the nineteenth century, Wales became a place for affordable holidays, with the Welsh coastline turning into a string of pretty Victorian seaside resorts. Today Wales remains another country to be discovered just across the English border and the perfect place for a UK staycation. Here are ten of its top attractions.
BEST MOUNTAIN SNOWDON
BEST GARDENS POWIS CASTLE
Although there are hills everywhere you look in Wales there aren’t that many mountains. Snowdon, the tallest at 3,560 feet is the most popular because it has a mountain railway that will take you to the top if you’re not up to the 5 to 7-hour ascent. There are more dramatic ranges – the Brecon Beacons (which are just under 3,000 feet) form a four-mountain horseshoe that resemble the Drakensbergs in South Africa. But Snowdon dominates in terms of visitor numbers. Moreover the view from the top – Ireland on a clear day - is unmissable. The team that conquered Mount Everest in 1953 trained on Snowdon and stayed at the Pen Y Gwryd Hotel nearby. Today the hotel has a room filled with Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay memorabilia.
Both Chirk Castle and Plas Newydd in North Wales have splendidly cultivated gardens but the stately formal gardens of Powis Castle near Welshpool are unique in Wales. Using terraces and perfectly clipped hedges, Powis Castle presents a hanging garden in classic French baroque style. There was originally a Dutch water garden too, but that was converted into the Great Lawn in the early nineteenth century. Although Powis Castle itself is full of treasures – some bequeathed to Lord Powis by Clive of India whose son married into the Powis family – it is these rare gardens and the surrounding deer park that make the castle essential viewing. The Bothy, an Edwardian cottage within the grounds is now a National Trust holiday cottage meaning you can have the gardens to yourself after all the visitors go home.
BEST MUSIC WELSH NATIONAL OPERA
Welsh National Opera, based in Cardiff operates out of the Wales Millennium Centre, a dramatic modern building that dominates Cardiff Bay. WNO was started 75 years ago and has since developed a splendid choir and an expertise in the Italian and Russian repertoire. The company almost always open their new productions in the Millennium Centre and then tour them round Wales and into various venues in England. WNO has also toured to La Scala, to Paris and Tokyo. At the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, the New York Times called it "one of the finest operatic ensembles in Europe". The company has had a long relationship with Bryn Terfel who refused all offers to sing Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger until he had debuted the role with WNO in their new Cardiff home in 2010. ď&#x2018;ł wno.org.uk
BEST WATERFALL SWALLOW FALLS
Wales has lots of rivers and plenty of rain to feed them, so it’s not surprising there are many impressive waterfalls. Pistyll Rhaeadr in the Berwen Mountains is 240 feet high, making it Britain’s highest single-drop waterfall. In Snowdonia there are a number of dramatic plunges in the rush down towards the sea and one of the most popular is Swallow Falls. Here the River Llugwy drops 138 feet in white torrents cascading over limestone rocks. So popular was the waterfall in the nineteenth century that a Swallow Falls Hotel was built alongside it to cater for visitors. Nearby on the River Llugwy stands Waterloo Bridge at Betws y Coed. Its plaque announces that it was built by the great engineer Thomas Telford to celebrate Wellington’s victory over Napoleon. visitsnowdonia.info/swallow-falls
BEST CASTLE CARDIFF
BEST SEASIDE BARMOUTH
Wales has many, many castles. Most of them were built by English kings to stop the Welsh declaring independence, which they tended to do whenever the Plantagenets were looking the other way. Nowadays these strongholds are impressive tourist attractions. Caernarvon is where Prince Charles was installed as Prince of Wales and Beaumaris Castle is a perfect example of turreted medieval defences, but Cardiff Castle is the one to visit. Begun by the Romans, remodelled by the Normans and Tudors, Cardiff Castle was transformed into a palace in the nineteenth century for the 3rd Marquis of Bute. Bute commissioned the eccentric architect William Burges to spare no expense in reconstructing the castle so the marquis could live in a medieval world divorced from grubby Victorian reality. The exterior is impressive, like a Welsh Neuschwanstein, and the interior exquisite.
Wales can offer some dramatic seascapes, like Harlech perched on a rock above a huge wilderness of sand dunes, or Rhossili with its great stretches of surfing beach but for a touch of Victorian seaside resort it’s hard to beat Barmouth. Developed because of a quick train connection back to Birmingham, Wolverhampton and other parts of England’s Black Country, Barmouth retains its nineteenth-century slate boarding houses and colourful shopfronts facing a sandy beach. Look closer however and there are remnants of the port when it was a mediaeval centre of fishing and shipbuilding. T Gwyn is an old tower house on the quayside that is now a pub, and T Crwn a roundhouse prison with a cell on one side for men and another for women on the other. The poet William Wordsworth, a visitor to Barmouth in the 19th century, wrote glowingly "With a fine sea view in front [and] the mountains behind Barmouth can always hold its own against any rival.”
BEST FESTIVAL HAY ON WYE
Wales has its own National Eisteddfod, the largest festival of competitive music and poetry in Europe staged predominantly in the Welsh language, but the best-known festival in Wales these days is the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts. This takes place in Hay-on-Wye close to the Herefordshire border and was famously described by Bill Clinton as “The Woodstock of the Mind”. Hay regularly attracts the biggest names in writing worldwide: Arthur Miller, Mario Vargas Llosa, Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis, Hilary Mantel. The festival has taken on responsibility for the nearby Brecon Jazz Festival to provide a musical element. It’s also spawned a dozen sister festivals around the world from Beirut to Cartagena in Colombia. The town of Hay, with its castle and over 30 second-hand book shops, is worth visiting even when the festival isn’t running. hayfestival.com
BEST TOWN CONWY
There are some lovely, unspoilt towns in Wales. Montgomery in Powis looks unchanged since the eighteenth century, Monmouth named Agincourt Square after its most famous son, King Henry V, and Machynlleth contains the building where the rebel, Owain Glyndwr set up a Welsh Parliament in 1404. Nevertheless Conwy stands out. It’s a small, cozy settlement on a North Walian estuary. This garrison town was built by Edward I and today it has an almost complete set of thirteenth-century walls. You can walk the three quarter mile circuit of ramparts with its 21 towers or stroll along the quayside, visit the smallest house in Britain (just 10 feet tall) or call in to drink at one of the many old pubs like the Victorian Erskine Arms or the 1920s Albion Ale House. visitconwy.org.uk
BEST NATURE RESERVE RSPB LAKE VYRNWY
Developed in the 1880s as a reservoir to fulfil Liverpool’s water needs, Lake Vyrnwy in Powys, is an RSPB Nature Reserve with an award-winning sculpture trail to boot. Mixing nature with heritage and history in the middle of the Mid-Wales countryside, the reserve has something to keep those of all ages entertained. Birdlife can be spotted around the waters all year round, although keen birdwatchers should look out for autumn arrivals including mallards, oystercatchers and teals, alongside otters and other rare wildlife. Dotted along the shores of the lake, the sculpture trail features wooden works by a diverse mix of local and international artists, including Simon O’Rourke’s The Giant Hand of Vyrnwy, a 15-metre-high carving made from what was once the tallest tree in Wales! Lake Vyrnwy is free to visit and does not need to be booked in advance. rspb.org.uk
Different locations and attractions across Britain have various measures in place to enable guests to explore with confidence. Visitors are encouraged to look at the official websites prior to travel for the latest information.
T H E B E ST UK
Walk or cycle along a former railway line Words | Adrienne Wyper
AKING TO A former railway line trail makes for an easy-to-follow route that’s easy on the legs, whether you’re walking or cycling. That’s because you can rely on ‘rail trails’ to be reasonably level (as trains struggle with steep gradients) with no stiles to negotiate, which makes it possible to walk the dog or push a pram. They’re well marked, and dotted alongside are cycle-hire centres, pubs, cafés, picnic areas and artworks. You’ll see traces of the stations they used to serve along the way – like platforms, signal-boxes and ancient rolling stock – as you go along, over and through embankments, cuttings, viaducts, bridges and tunnels. There are over 100 ‘rail trails’ in the UK, stretching for over 10,000 miles, and some of them are dauntingly lengthy – but you don’t have to take on the challenge of completing an entire route from end to end; you can opt for a shorter section. Here’s six of the best…
WATER RAIL WAY, LINCOLNSHIRE Based on the former Lincoln to Boston Railway Line, the path follows the river Witham through the marshy Fens with their dykes and drainage channels. The full route is 33 miles, with around nine on quiet roads. Its apt name, which won a competition, comes from the elusive water rail bird. Expect wide skies and expansive views, particularly from the specially designed viewing platforms which offer impressive vistas across the wide-open flat fens or towards Lincoln Cathedral’s square spires. As well as several former station buildings, at Southrey and Stixwould, even the cast-iron station signs can be seen on still-standing platforms. A highlight is the imaginative sculpture trail along the way, featuring works based on local sheep, cow and pig breeds, or inspired by the surrounding environment, all themed on local poet Alfred Lord Tennyson’s quote: ‘I am part of all that I have met’. visitlincoln.com/things-to-do/
CRAB AND WINKLE WAY, KENT Linking the cathedral city of Canterbury to the arty seaside town of Whitstable, the sevenand-a-half-mile route follows the world’s first passenger railway line, which opened in 1830. As well as people, it carried seafood inland, hence the line’s nickname. Mainly flat, the trail passes through a university campus, open fields and the ancient woodlands of Blean Woods nature reserve, before bringing you through Whitstable’s back streets onto the shingly shore and the town’s bustling harbour, with its fishing fleet and artisan makers’ market stalls – and the chance to sample seafood such as Whitstable’s famous native oysters. explorekent.org/crab-and-winkle-way
HIGH PEAK TRAIL, DERBYSHIRE
MAWDDACH TRAIL, GWYNEDD Acclaimed as one of the best walks in Wales, this is a favourite of former Ramblers president Julia Bradbury. Start the nineand-a-half-mile route on a tree-lined trail from the stone-built town of Dolgellau, set beneath Cadr Idris in Snowdonia National Park. As the path itself is flat, it’s a relaxing way to admire the decidedly hilly scenery all around. At Penmaenpool by an original wooden toll bridge, a signal box is now a bird hide, and signals still stand beside the former tracks. Stop off for refreshments in the former station, now the George III pub. The river, and its valley, widens out and laps at the stonebuilt embankment of the trackbed. Finally, cross the half-mile railway bridge that spans the estuary, where Cambrian Coast line trains still run, into the sandy seaside resort of Barmouth. mawddachtrail.co.uk
Completed in 1830, the Cromford and High Peak Railway was one of the world’s first, built to transport minerals between two canals. Nowadays, the 17-mile route runs between Dowlow, south of Buxton to High Peak Junction, Cromford, linking in with a whole network of converted railway lines. Set in the stunning scenery of the Derbyshire Dales, with trackside drystone walls and rocky outcrops, it has unusually steep sections, where wagons were pulled up by steam-powered beam engines using cables. (The official advice today is not to cycle down these sections!) High by name and high by nature (up to 1,266 feet), the path’s elevation above sea level makes for wild and windswept views over the limestone landscape of the Peak District, particularly at the northern end. The southern end is rich in relics of this industrial heritage, including engine houses (Middleton Top engine house is open to the public), rusting machinery, pulley wheels, remains of winch houses, and old wagons. letsgopeakdistrict.co.uk/the-high-
TWO TUNNELS GREENWAY, SOMERSET Follow the former Somerset and Dorset Railway through city, country and canalside settings on this 13-mile circular route. Take in superb views of Bath’s curving Georgian crescents, before plunging beneath the city through the Devonshire Tunnel, just a quarter of a mile long. Next is Combe Down, the longest cycling tunnel in Europe, at just over a mile, with a subterranean son-et-lumière show. Beyond is Midford Castle, an 18th-century folly (owned by actor Nicolas Cage for a couple of years). After the pretty village of Monkton Combe comes the towpath of the narrow Somerset Coal Canal, joining the Kennet & Avon Canal at the imposing Dundas Aqueduct, now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, dizzyingly high above the river Avon. Back in Bath, the Greenway passes through the heart of the city, over Pulteney Bridge and beside the Avon back to the start. Find out more: twotunnels.org.uk
SPEYSIDE WAY, HIGHLANDS AND MORAYSHIRE
Skirting the Cairngorm mountain range, home to five of the UK’s six highest peaks, the Way runs for 65 miles from the winter sports hotspot of Aviemore to the coastal town of Buckie. Its route runs alongside the river Spey, a favourite haunt of salmon – and tweed-clad anglers – following the track of the former great North of Scotland Railway between Boat of Garten and Dufftown, which was primarily used for transporting whisky from the distilleries beside the river, many of which are open for tasting tours. For real rail enthusiasts, there’s an opportunity to do a round trip with a steam train on the Strathspey Railway, between Aviemore and Broomhill. Find out more: speysideway.org
S U S TA I N A B L E T R AV E L Spend your next trip marvelling at the richness of our native flora and fauna – and help to ensure that our spectacular scenery and wildlife are maintained for future generations Words | Helen Holmes
BELOW: RED SQUIRREL. RIGHT: ROE BUCK
HE BRITISH ISLES contain a huge range of natural habitats, from ancient pine forests, to tiny islands with their own unique ecosystems. An incredible variety of plants and animals make their home here with us – so you don’t have to travel far at all to see something new and amazing. Sadly, many of these ecosystems have been under threat, thanks largely to human activities. However, a handful of small companies are both giving people an opportunity to explore Britain’s native wildlife, and working with local conservators to ensure that they preserve existing habitats, and regain some that have been lost. Taking time out to learn more about the fascinating plants and animals that share our islands is rewarding in itself, but it also means coming home with a renewed enthusiasm for living sustainably, so that we can continue to coexist with so many amazing species.
AUTUMN IN THE CAIRNGORMS
“In autumn the colours of the landscape light up. It’s not just the trees, but the moorland grasses too – the whole landscape just glows. The fungi are fascinating and the changing smells of the vegetation bring a particular atmosphere to being in the forests at this time of year. The sounds of the returning geese and the mass movement of thousands of other birds, some journeying many thousands of miles, make you feel really connected to the whole process of seasonal change and that wonderful mystery of migration.” 44
Sally Nowell has been guiding trips in the Cairngorms for four years, and has lived in this beautiful part of the Scottish Highlands for 27 years. Each year she shares this magical season with a small group of guests, who are here to catch the first call of the whooper swans returning from their summer breeding grounds, and the frantic feeding of winter thrushes, against the backdrop of huge swathes of vibrant autumn-hued woodland, and breathtaking mountain ranges. The red deer rut is a highlight of the trip – you might hear the sound of stags proclaiming their territory with roars that echo around the glen, or hear the clash of antlers in the steep-sided glacial valleys. The Cairngorms are also home to some of the largest remaining tracts of ancient Caledonian pine forest, and contain a multitude of wildlife that depends on this unique habitat – the crested tit, Scottish crossbill and red squirrel, to name a few. And the flora is as distinctive as the fauna, with many orchid species to be found in the forest, as well as the rare twinflower. “I love witnessing the turning of the seasons and the changing of the guard, as our summer visitors gather to leave and the winter visitors arrive,” says Sally. “The deciduous forests change from vibrant green to rich rust reds and the glowing yellow of the aspens. The colours can be outstanding and the autumn light and shade provides a feast for the eyes.” The Autumn in the Cairngorms trip is available from Speyside Wildlife, who are supporting RSPB Abernethy in their work to extend the Caledonian pine forest, and have also received a Gold Green Tourism Award for their sustainable business practices. speysidewildlife.co.uk
SKOMER’S PERFECT PUFFINS
The island of Skomer lies just off the Pembrokeshire coast and covers less than three square kilometres – however, it is home to Atlantic Puffins, as well as the world’s largest population of Manx shearwater. “Skomer is a wildlife lover’s dream,” says Bret Charman, who has led puffin-watching tours to the island for the past four years. “Our dedicated photography tours are timed to coincide with the peak of the puffin nesting season, when the birds spend more time on land. There is also an endemic species of vole found on the island – this is the only place on the planet it exists. And there are nesting short-eared owls, and countless other seabird species including guillemot, razorbill and fulmar, as well as grey seals.” It’s possible to take a day trip to the island, but to see everything that Skomer has to offer, you need to be one of a handful of people staying the night. The simple accommodation on offer is more than compensated by the riches of the wildlife. This is the only way that you will get to see the Manx shearwater, which return to the island under the cover of darkness to feed and care for their chicks – and create an eerie, but magical cacophony as they arrive. “To be one of only 16 visitors staying on the island overnight, it feels like you have your own slice of puffin paradise,” says Bret. “By staying overnight you get the best puffin encounters and the best photography opportunities. Nothing beats being surrounded by thousands of puffins on a warm summer’s evening. Staying on the island allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the 21st century, put technology to one side and immerse yourself in the natural world”. Skomer’s Perfect Puffins is run by Wildlife Worldwide, and the island itself is managed by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, so money from the tours goes back in to the trust’s conservation efforts. wildlifeworldwide.com 46
ATLANTIC PUFFIN WITH FISH
ABOVE: SHORT-EARED OWL. BELOW: SKOMER SUNRISE AND A SKOMER VOLE . ALL PHOTOS BY BRET CHARMAN
YORKSHIRE WINTER BIRDING
You might think of spring or summer as the time to go bird watching, but winter offers unique opportunities – both in terms of the species you might see, and the ease of spotting them. “There’s, surprisingly, a lot to see in winter,” says Richard Baines, who runs winter birding and wildlife photography trips in East and North Yorkshire. “Everywhere is much quieter, and less human disturbance means more birds.” Guests on the trip stay at comfortable Highfield Farm, and from this base explore a huge range of landscapes, from the towering sea cliffs of Flamborough to the wetlands BELOW: WAXWING
of Top Hill Low nature reserve. A short drive away, Hornsea Mere is Yorkshire’s largest freshwater lake, and is one of the best places in the county to see winter wildfowl, from Slavonian grebe to goldeneye. Some of Richard’s favourite spots on the winter trip over the past couple of years include waxwings and kingfishers. The Yorkshire winter birding and photography trip is run by Yorkshire Coast Nature, who have set up partnerships with nature conservation organizations, including the RSPB and the North Sea Wildlife Trust, to ensure that their organisation benefits wildlife and local communities. yorkshirecoastnature.co.uk
ABOVE: EARLY MARSH ORCHIDS. BELOW: RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
OUTER HEBRIDES: MAGICAL WILDLIFE SPECTACULAR
This seven-night tour of the Outer Hebrides takes in multiple islands and offers the opportunity to see a huge diversity of wildlife in this remote region. David Rosair has been running the tours for over twenty years. “I love the remoteness, the wildness, the romanticism, the special wildlife – from hen harriers to short-eared owls, golden and white-tailed eagles, red-necked phalaropes and corncrakes, otters, and the famous machair, covered with orchids, knapweed, wild pansies and buttercups – it's fabulous!” Accommodation on the trip is very comfortable, with hotels providing excellent local food – and having been hand-picked for their environmental credentials. As well as unrivalled naturespotting opportunities, guests can look forward to stunning scenery, deserted beaches, and the fabulous sunsets beyond the western shores of Benbecula. The Magical Wildlife Spectacular is run by Island Ventures. islandventures.co.uk
B R I TA I N â&#x20AC;&#x2122; S B E ST
PA N O R A M A S From West Country tors, Scottish mountain summits to elevated city views, feel on top of the world with our selection of Britainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most awesome panoramas. Words | Max Wooldridge
Z I P WO R L D WA L E S A N D LIVERPOOL
See Liverpool like never before when the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first urban zipwire opens in summer 2021. This fun new 400m aerial wire will run from the top of St John's Beacon over St George's Place, St John's Gardens and William Brown Street before touchdown on the roof of Liverpool Central Library. If you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait until next summer to fly, Zip World already operates at three sites in North Wales - including Penrhyn Slate Quarry (as pictured) - the fastest zip line in the world and the longest in Europe! zipworld.co.uk
G L A STO N B U RY TO R SOMERSET
Rising 158m above the Somerset Levels, this conical hill offers a visual feast, especially come sunrise or sunset. From St Michael’s Tower at the top you can often see the Quantock and Mendip Hills, even the Welsh mountains. A place of pagan beliefs, and steeped in Arthurian legend, it’s one of England’s most spiritual sites.
P E N Y FA N WA L E S
Some of the best walks often include a worthwhile bounty en route. Head to Pen Y Fan – part of the Beacons Way footpath - for marvellous views of the Brecon Beacons National Park. On a clear day you’ll also be rewarded breathtaking panorama of the Cambrian Mountains, the Gower Peninsula and Carmarthen Bay. At 886 metres, this is the highest peak in South Wales.
A RT H U R ’ S S E AT EDINBURGH
There are few more iconic views in Scotland than from Arthur’s Seat, the ancient extinct volcano perched 251m above the Scottish capital. This panoramic landscape of Edinburgh and beyond are great all year round but particularly magical during the city’s Hogmanay New Year celebrations and fireworks display.
G R E E N W I C H PA R K LO N D O N
Even North Londoners head south of the river for the best view of the capital. Atop a steep hill beside the Royal Observatory centuries of London’s past, and present, is laid out like a picnic. There’s Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College and the famous curve in the Thames, then Canary Wharf, the City of London and St. Paul's Cathedral. Nearby Nunhead cemetery offers another magical city view that few Londoners know about.
LEITH HILL SURREY
Enjoy great views from the loftiest point in South East England at Leith Hill, a few miles southwest of Dorking. The London skyline, over 10 different counties and the English Channel are all visible on a clear day. An 18thcentury Gothic tower crowns this Surrey Hills peak, and there’s excellent walking and cycling routes, with several different ways to reach the 294m summit.
B E A L AC H N A B À S COT TI S H HI GHL AN DS
Breathtaking panoramas and an exhilarating mountain drive await you at the top of this Alpinelike mountain pass in Wester Ross, in the Scottish Highlands. Once a drovers' road, Bealach na Bà (the Pass of the Cattle) rises to 626m, and with sharp hairpin bends and gradients of nearly 20%, welcome to the UK’s steepest road ascent. On clear days get set for an awesome horizon of the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye, and the Western Isles.
LUKE M AT T H E W S Chewton Glen
Five-star Chewton Glen has stood the test of time with aplomb, here its Executive Head Chef reveals the secret to its timeless elegance and tremendous new offerings
Words | Chantal Borciani
OW MORE THAN ever travellers are looking for a safe haven where they can spend time with their nearest and dearest in reassuring comfort. Chewton Glen is just this type of sanctuary – one of the first iconic British countryside hotels, the five-star Hampshire residence is only a few minutes’ walk from the sea and features an awardwinning restaurant, world-class spa, nine-hole golf course, croquet lawn, tennis courts, walled gardens, orchard, a cookery school, and 72 individually designed bedrooms and suites including 14 tree-house suites nestled in the canopy of the woodland grounds.
REINVENTING A CLASSIC
Country chic blended with a charming quintessential Britishness, Chewton welcomes guests with the cocooning warmth of an old friend. Just the ticket then for a holiday in these somewhat testing times. Like Chewton’s many patrons who return year upon year Executive Head Chef Luke Matthews has been similarly charmed by Chewton Glen – with 2021 marking his 28th year at the hotel. “We really push the envelope here; the goal posts are always moving and that drives me and has kept me here for all these years. It's a beautiful hotel; fabulous grounds, lovely spa - we're a proper resort destination. We want people to feel relaxed the minute they à
arrive and I think every part of Chewton complements the other. The tree houses are incredible [the hotel is one of the first in the UK to offer treetop luxury suites complete with hot tubs overlooking lush woodland] and we've got the new restaurant and cookery school which again, is a fantastic addition,” says Luke. Inspired by his mother’s home cooking from an early age, at 16 Luke started an apprenticeship in The Green Park Hotel, Bournemouth, before moving to the Dormy Hotel at Ferndown, and later completed work experience at Chewton Glen. Recalling his stint of work experience, Luke says: “I just remember thinking, ‘this place 56
is on another level’. It was ground-breaking, Chewton really was one of the first luxury spa hotels in the UK,” Luke adds. In 1993, Luke joined Chewton as sous chef and rose through the ranks until in November 2003, he was appointed Executive Head Chef. Winning England’s AA Hotel of the Year in 2019, Chewton’s dining is a key part of its allure. Guests can dine at the elegant Dining Room overlooking the hotel’s immaculate grounds and croquet lawn, and The Kitchen; a more informal, relaxed restaurant that also boasts a fabulous new cookery school and open kitchen. There are also a host of private dining options for more intimate feasts.
NEW-AGE NEW FOREST
In today’s changing world, Luke and his brigade have been able to adapt easily to guests’ needs. “We’ve got a lot of space at Chewton in the two main hotel restaurants and we run long opening hours for the restaurant, so there hasn’t been a problem looking after everyone. What we are finding is that guests are tending to stay for a week rather than just a few days and dine with us almost the entire time. I think when they arrive here they feel secure and can really relax. It’s brilliant as every day the restaurant is buzzing.” While times have changed, it’s comforting to see that many things at Chewton remain reassuringly untouched. “I think for us the key is to cook great food with good ingredients and to cook what our guests want to eat. We tweak the menu seasonally to make the most of the new season produce but we don’t do a complete menu change because there are a lot of dishes that have become absolute Chewton Glen classics. We do a twice-baked Emmental soufflé starter, which has been on the menu for decades. Over the last 20 years we’ve probably taken it off two or three times and when we do the letters start to roll in from diners asking where it’s gone. So, we’ve made a pact; the soufflé will never move again!” Another of Chewton’s iconic dishes, the lobster curry, makes it on to Luke’s desert island dish menu, alongside his dressed crab starter and “something chocolatey for dessert”. Luke’s recent projects include working with Estate Manager Darren Venables to develop a thriving walled kitchen garden, nursery and heritage orchard, which produces a vast array of ingredients for the hotels’ own kitchens. In addition to harvesting produce on-site, the New Forest hotel uses local and British suppliers wherever possible. “Especially after the Covid crisis, we need to support local suppliers as much as we can.” This includes sourcing their eggs from a farmer in neighbouring Hordle who “hand picks every one for us”, grabbing the best daily catch from a fishmonger in Bournemouth and using mozzarella from Hampshire’s Laverstoke Park. The most recent addition to Chewton’s culinary offering is The Kitchen, a relaxed restaurant concept which has opened in association with TV chef James Martin. “I've known James for 27 years, we worked together here in the very early days, he on pastry, me as sous chef. He’s returned for charity dinners and other events at Chewton over the years so it was an easy partnership and a great synergy. The cookery school has been a great success and is such a wonderful space.”
During summer 2020, the new-look spa was also unveiled featuring a refreshed interior, and a cool, calming palette to complement the 17-metre indoor pool. In addition to the revamped space, Chewton’s new spa treatment menu includes two alfresco treehouse treatments. Next to the indoor pool, guests can enjoy the hydrotherapy spa, which centres around the ancient tradition of water therapy and offers six hi-tech therapy options including an ‘air-tub’, which provides an all-over bubbly Jacuzzi-like effect. Double height floor to ceiling windows drench the pool area with light and the domed hydrotherapy spa also overlooks the stunning grounds. An outdoor hot tub is cocooned away on a private deck for ultimate relaxation, while the spa’s flower-clad balcony deck provides a perfect spot for an afternoon siesta. Loungers dot the undulating lawns in the summer, with views to a horizon of trees, and every wall, trellis and border is blessed with a festoon of seasonal blooms year round.
He’s actually closing in on his fourth decade there as he’s on his 28th year. The charm of this hotel shows no sign of abating for Luke: “I am thrilled and extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to be at the helm of the kitchen brigade at Chewton Glen. To have cooked for royalty, movie stars, sporting heroes and remarkable public figures has been an incredible experience and I genuinely feel very proud to be part of the history of this great hotel, which has for well over 50 years been delighting guests with its tradition of excellent service and world-class hospitality.” u
Meet the Makers
ISLE OF ARRAN GIN There’s a growing artisanal movement on Scotland’s Isle of Arran, and now it has its first craft gin. From a cosy lounge by the crackling fire at Cladach Beach House, we meet the locals behind the brand Words | Karyn Noble
small island off the southwest coast of Scotland, Arran is accessed via the daily car ferry from the mainland; the occasionally-snow-capped Goat Fell, its highest mountain, looming dramatically into view. It’s a trip that takes just under an hour from Ardrossan, wild weather pending, but the island’s peaceful charm is immediate. Popular with hikers and cyclists for its stunning landscapes, Arran is also home to some impressive food and drink producers, with whisky, cheese and ice cream being strong drawcards. But the island has a secret: one of the most joyful gin distillery locations you may ever stumble across. Isle of Arran Gin co-founders Stuart Fraser and George Grassie still revel in visitor reactions to their rustic set-up at the Cladach Beach House, tucked away on the coast near Brodick Castle. “I love watching it happen the first time,” says George. “This is a very magical little corner. I think people respond to that.” A locally loved cabin that was once the Arran Nature Centre, and then home à
A VERY LOCAL GIN
to a stained-glass maker, has been sensitively renovated by the lads, using furniture they’ve either found or made. The result is an endearing lounge-roommeets-botanical-lab vibe, complete with an open fire, a casual piano in the corner, and stacks of vinyl records piled beside uninterrupted views from a sunroom across the Firth of Clyde. And some random dinosaur sculptures on the beach. “We weren’t looking for something as quirky as this, to be perfectly honest,” says Stuart. “But we want to try and reimagine the distillery experience a bit and put people really close into the production as much as possible. So, while you’re sitting here having a tasting session, rather than standing about a boardroom kind of environment, you sit here by the fire, you have a little taste, we have a blether about it.”
A GAP IN THE SCOTTISH GIN MARKET Far from having distilling or drinks industry experience, Stuart and George have come to the business in a roundabout way. George regularly forages for botanicals on Arran, but 60
primarily to use in the kitchen: he’s an artisanal baker at Blackwater Bakehouse at Blackwaterfoot on the southwestern side of the island, having previously honed his craft in Norway. Stuart and his wife own the Bay Kitchen & Stores, a cafe and grocery shop that stocks George’s bread in Whiting Bay, a 20-minute drive south of the Beach House, which they purchased in 2013 after running a hair salon in New York. “Straight away I noticed we were selling a lot of craft gins and craft beers,” says Stuart. “I said to George ‘we’re selling a lot of gin from all these different [Scottish] islands, why not our own? There’s no other Arran gin. I spotted a gap in the market and we jumped in.” A New York–based friend of Stuart’s, Ross Hamilton, is the third (mostly silent) Scottish partner in the business. While the business was launched in 2017, the visitor experience at the Cladach Beach House has been a work in progress, with a series of event pop-ups across the summer of 2019 helping them hone the offering, as well as establish partnerships with local food vendors.
While they might be novice ginmakers, they have had some expert advice and guidance, and become almost evangelical of their ‘shorelineto-mountain’ approach as they bring out boxes of the local ingredients that comprise Arran Gin, recalling foraging expeditions with their friend Mark Williams, of Galloway Fine Foods. “He’s worked with other gin companies and he had a good handle on what grows here… because he [also] grew up here,” says George. “And he does a lot of wild booze as part of his repertoire.” Initially picking between 50 and 60 plants, of the Arrangrown botanicals they eventually settled on six for their gin: sea lettuce (“salad fresh, but very full of that rockpool brine…sort of coastal scent”), hogweed (“the seeds are incredibly punchy in flavour: orange bitters, coriander-like aromas…a real belter”), meadowsweet (“one of the big flavours”), lemon balm (“our idea for citrus… but you also get [notes of] forest floor, woodland tobacco box”), noble fir shoots (“more of a grapefruit pine not a floor-cleaner pine”) and fuchsia flowers (“rifled from the [Brodick Castle] National Trust gardeners’ hedge…they actually quite like it now”). And while they use other ingredients common to most London dry gins – juniper, a little bit of orange peel, cassia bark and angelica – they venture that the microclimate on Arran lends the locally grown ingredients a somewhat mystical, unfathomable power, citing an experiment they did with a friend who picked the same plants on the mainland in Largs. “It’s the same stretch of water
but the Arran ones are much stronger. Why are the plants bigger and better here?” Stuart shrugs. “We’re not asking too many questions…just accept it and enjoy them.” While the Cladach Beach House was being readied, the gin has been distilled on the mainland at Glenshee Craft Distillery in Perthshire with advice from Simon Fairclough (of Persie Gin), who they met at a drinks event in Glasgow a few years ago. “We could go somewhere a lot closer to do some of our work than go all the way up into Glenshee but he’s our guy,” says Stuart. “We just have that connection; we’re almost like his apprentices.” They make between 300 to 400 bottles a month and the gin is sold mostly on Arran as well as some bars and shops on the Ayrshire coast, part of a deliberate ‘anti-distribution’ philosophy. “We want to try and have a personal relationship as much as possible with the people selling the gin, because it does require a bit of education,” says Stuart. “It’s not trying to be a supermarket brand.”
FUTURE EXPANSION OF THE BUSINESS
Having dipped their toes in the gin waters, the boys already have another product: Arran Cassis made from blackcurrants in Whiting Bay. There’s potential for an Isle of Arran kombucha and/or kefir down the track, expanding the brand more broadly into a drinks company. “It’ll be whatever it’ll be,” says Stuart. “We really don’t have a particularly explicit business plan. I think we are to some extent just going where it takes us.” u
STUART & GEORGE’S FOOD TIPS ON ARRAN
The local lads favour independent places that are in keeping with their rustic, pared-back, community-spirited ethos. 〰 Mara Fish Bar & Deli: “Offers an authentic taste of the windswept, salty Arran coastline. It’s not a fishmongers or a fish-and-chip shop, it’s proper cheffy fish. Local catches always come with a twist; think of it as a premium takeaway served up right by the beach.” mara-arran.co.uk The French Fox: “The best of traditional French cooking sold from a cute old Peugeot van, which they drive around the island.” facebook.com/ thefrenchfoxfood The Sandwich Station: “It’s a hut in the middle of nowhere which is so cosy you think ‘I shouldn’t be getting a sandwich this good from this hut in this place’.” thesandwichstation.weebly.com
Isle of Arran Cheese Shop: “You have to get the Arran Blue cheese from Bellevue Creamery, I <George> use the creamery’s whey to make my croissants (at Blackwater Bakehouse: facebook. com/bakehouseblackwater). Calum’s the only real cheesemaker left on the island now and it’s the best blue you’ll taste bar none. He’s a milk whisperer.” arranscheeseshop.co.uk The Wineport: “Our next-door neighbours in Cladach, serving great-value lunches… and they have outdoor tables. It often doubles as a pop-up space for other foodie events. Right up our street (and on our street).” wineport.co.uk
NESTLED IN THE ROLLING VALLEYS OF DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK, YOU WILL FIND AWARD WINNING LUXURY AT BOVEY CASTLE
Escape to Bovey Castle Set in 275 acres of beautiful countryside within Devon’s Dartmoor National Park. The hotel offers 60 bedrooms and 22 self catering country lodges tucked away in the grounds, fashioned from local granite and vaulted with English oak. Smith’s Brasserie, luxury ‘Elan Spa’, award-winning 18 hole championship golf course and an array of outdoor pursuits and activities.
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48 HOURS IN
With its open spaces and beautiful beaches, it comes as no surprise that Cornwall tops the table as one of the most sought-after destinations to visit post lockdown. Jessica Way finds sanctuary on the lesser-known Polperro Heritage Coast, avoiding the crowds and embracing the Cornish Riviera lifestyle Words | Jessica Way
WHERE WE STAYED
FOWEY HALL HOTEL
Perched up high on the hillside we stand together for a moment, bags down by our sides, in awe of the sweeping views, beautiful sounds from the harbour, the glistening blue river and the small fishing village of Polruan on the opposite bank. We’d arrived at our luxury home-from-home getaway for the weekend, the majestic Fowey Hall Hotel, South Cornwall. The original inspiration for Toad Hall in The Wind in the Willows, this luxurious country-house hotel is one of the Luxury Family Hotels’ five stunning hotels, renowned for their individual character and exceptional family-focused hospitality. And, as almost every parent with young children will know, it really is the small details and finer touches that can make or break your holiday experience. Complimentary childcare, baby monitoring services and a morning breakfast club can be a godsend for exhausted parents in need of some extra shut-eye on a Sunday morning. Take the opportunity for some additional precious couple’s time, a guiltfree pamper in the spa or to simply enjoy the sea views over a glass of locally-made Camel Valley wine. And it’s far from a half-hearted ‘family-friendly’ approach, we discover that at Fowey being family-focused is at the heart of ‘everything’ they do. The warmth and friendliness from the staff meant there were big smiles all around. The fully-fledged games room, cinema room, children’s library, and Wind in the Willowsinspired outdoor play area with a zip line help to keep those smiles in place throughout the stay. For guests with babies in tow, heated bottles and fresh morning and evening milk can be brought up to your room (free of charge) - and the chef is able to make puréed food from morning to evening. There is an all-day welcome hours policy for 64
babies and children at the swimming pool, and lots of places to relax quietly without the feeling of being on top of other guests. The hotel’s recent multi-million-pound refurbishment has highlighted many of the hotel's impressive original features, to include feature fireplaces and a beautiful parquet floor dating back to 1899 when Fowey Hall was built as a private house by local businessman Sir Charles Hanson. Inside the hotel’s historic lobby, you are welcomed by a roaring log fire, and antique white walls lit by an eye-catching Jamb globe chandelier on the ceiling. Sofas have been upholstered in a combination of British heritage-inspired luxury fabrics including tweeds, hounds tooth, and herringbone with velvet and leather accents and striped canvas and rustic reclaimed stools add a playful twist. Everywhere you look there’s something interesting to catch your eye, from handmade smoked oak coffee tables to creative wallpapers and beautiful artwork by local artists taking inspiration from the surrounding landscape. My daughters especially enjoyed seeing the charcoal prints of characterful dogs by Cornish artist Justine Osbourne, an ode to the dogfriendly ethos of the hotel. Our Family Room was located in the Mansion House, one of 16 bedrooms that have been refurbished featuring oak wooden floors painted in soft grey, vintage pieces of furniture, oversized wool rugs, and bespoke handmade turned oak beds made by Cornwall furniture and homeware designer-maker Headandhaft. There was ample space, even an additional play room, which would be the ideal setting for reading a bedtime story. My girls are a bit too old for that now, but still young enough
to adore the ‘softhead’ dogs in top hat and glasses displayed on the walls, which we also enjoyed spotting elsewhere around the hotel. The bathroom was designed in an authentic Victorian style finished in two-tone crackle glaze tiles - and I was delighted to find Elemis shampoo, conditioner and body wash. There are 36 rooms in total, 12 family rooms and plenty of interconnecting bedrooms, to include the Garden Wing and separate Coach House, around a minute’s walk from the hotel. Bedrooms in the two-storey Garden Wing have a more modern feel, designer furnishings and a deep rust coloured freestanding bath to enjoy a long, relaxing soak. While the hotel’s rustic Coach House bedrooms feature four-poster beds and a mix of new and antique furniture. Over in the restaurant, Head Chef Wesley Pratt and his team have certainly got to know their local suppliers. Seafood is sourced from a small family business, Fish For Thought, while their eggs are laid by free-range hens at Colin Carter’s Eggs, near Truro. Their award-winning artisan ice cream comes from Treleavens, churned at Tretoil Farm in the north Cornish countryside. Not to mention the finest Cornish tipples such as Fowey Brewery ales and Tarquin’s gin, distilled in the southwest. (Rooms from £249, bed and breakfast).
Fowey is an ancient Cornish seaport, with narrow winding streets, flower-bedecked houses and pretty cottages jostling side by side. Quaint shops and ancient pubs stand beside the new trendy restaurants, luxury hotels and fancy icecream parlours. Fowey has held on impressively well to its picture-perfect harbour charm. Today Fowey is regarded as one of the most stylish and picturesque towns in Cornwall - with a flourishing food and drink scene. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, its deepwater harbour is the perfect pull for sailing fans and the old town is a vibrant reminder of its fascinating maritime history. For foodies the many bistros, cafes and restaurants, offering the best in local produce, will certainly not disappoint either. It’s no surprise that Fowey attracts tourism and homeowners from across the globe, to include famous actress, writer and comedian Dawn French, whose beautiful £3million coastal mansion overlooks the Fowey River. Fowey’s history has an equally extraordinary story to tell, as it was home to author Daphne du Maurier in the 1920s - and references to her work can be found everywhere in and around the town. Daphne took much of her inspiration for writing her novels from Fowey, including this beautifully descriptive extract from ‘Vanishing Cornwall’: "There was a smell in the air of tar and rope and rusted chain, a smell of tidal water. Down harbour, around the point, was the open sea. Here was the freedom I desired, long sought for, not yet known. Freedom to write, to walk, to wander, freedom to climb hills, to pull a boat, to be alone." à
Following a delicious stress-free breakfast, a game of table tennis, a couple of rounds of Pac Man and then Space Invaders, beach towels and picnic lunches in our hands, we head out on our way to discover Readymoney Cove. It’s a fifteen-minute walk from the gate at the bottom of the garden to this beautiful sandy hidden beach sheltered by the surrounding cliffs. The shimmering water was clear and still, and we enjoyed a swim followed by a coffee and cake from the Readymoney Cove Beach Shop. We decided to take a stroll a little further around the coastline, and headed up a pathway leading us onto the South West Coast Path, where we discovered the medieval St Catherine’s Castle with views back down to Readymoney Cove and to the harbour entrance. Later that afternoon we decide to head into the old town, passing the grand parade of Edwardian and Victorian houses. A special highlight was discovering the Quiet Gardens, a wonderful collection of planting by local garden designer Ali Siddell with a fascinating history. More than 300 years ago, Fowey landowner John Treffry donated land to the town to build a free school, Fowey Grammar School, where 30 poor boys could be educated in maths, history and navigation. The school has long since been demolished, but this garden, planted in the school grounds, still survives as a very special place - and view. Reach the main Fore Street and you will find many small, independent shops selling unusual gifts, artwork, clothing and books. If you’re a foodie then Fowey is home to many bistros, cafes and restaurants where you’ll find menus offering the best in local produce. We ate dinner at Sam’s, a bright bistro with pop memorabilia hung all over the walls - wherever you choose to dine, Fowey River mussels are a recommended choice!
After another leisurely morning at the hotel, today’s main adventure is a two-hour kayaking river safari adventure with Fowey River Hire. On our wander down to meet Ben, our tour guide, we stumble across a blue telephone box transformed into what must be one of the UK's smallest libraries. We also pass the magnificent St Fimbarras church, rebuilt in 1460 by the Earl of Warwick after being destroyed by French marauders -and don't miss The Ship Inn, Fowey's oldest pub, also known as ‘The Old Lady of Fowey'. We arrive at our meeting base, the Caffa Mill car park where we meet Ben and his daughter, keen to share their passion for the Fowey Estuary with us right from the get-go. It’s high tide, so we head up river towards Golant, admiring the views, paddling around the river, spotting the birdlife, while looking out for seals or dolphins. Ben and his daughter guide us under a bridge to see what must be Cornwall’s most unusual waterside property, The Old Sawmills in its own private inlet with no road access, surrounded by woodland. The
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY Visiting the Fowey Aquarium: Pop into the charmingly old fashioned Fowey Aquarium on the Town Quay where you can literally get in touch with local sea creatures in the petting pool. A great nostalgic fishy fix. Taking a ferry trip to Polruan: Take the passenger ferry across the harbour to Polruan and explore the narrow lanes that climb steeply through the village, or out towards the medieval blockhouse. Hiring an open cockpit canoe: Take to the water yourself on an escorted river trip in an open cockpit canoe, perfect for observing the abundant river wildlife and a real adventure even if you’re a total novice. Taking a countryside hike: There are many fantastic coastal and woodland walks around the area including The Hall Walk which links Polruan with Bodinnick via the hidden creek at Pont. Taking a River Cruise: See the town from the water with a trip on board one of the pleasure boats that regularly depart from the Town Quay steps. Cruises take you upriver past the docks, where you will see huge china clay ships being loaded with cargo, and out to sea taking in the best views of the town. Visiting the Fowey Museum: Located in the town centre the Fowey Museum holds an interesting collection recording Fowey’s rich and varied history. Includes the Daphne Du Maurier collection, Mayoral Regalia, costumes, old photographs, models of old sailing ships and postcards.
“As far as an enjoyable family staycation goes, Fowey Hall comes out on top - an ultra-stylish and luxurious hotel, located in one of the most quaint and relaxing seaside settings in the British Isles” hidden creek, known as Bodmin Pill, was used by merchants in medieval times, as a landing point to avoid paying landing dues upriver at Lostwithiel (the ancient county capital). In the 1970s, owner Dennis Smith, a music-industry mentor transformed the 3,135sq ft main building into one of the UK’s first-ever residential recording studios! We were floating outside the legendary studio, where bands such as The Stone Roses, Oasis, The Verve, Supergrass and Muse worked by day and partied by night, and where Oasis recorded their breakout album, Definitely, Maybe in 1990. We stop in at Ruby’s, Fowey’s newest ice cream parlour before heading home; I chose a limited edition Tarquin's gin and berry sorbet - and I don’t want the moment to end. It’s no wonder the location has already had so much fame, inspiring authors, songwriters, and comedians, and leaving a special mark on all who visit. As far as an enjoyable family staycation goes, Fowey Hall comes out on top - an ultra-stylish and luxurious hotel, located in one of the most quaint and relaxing seaside settings in the British Isles”. u To book your stay at Fowey Hall call +44 (0) 208 0765555 or visit luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk
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Whether you’re a complete beginner, or an experienced artist, a painting break will open your eyes, and supply inspiration from our island’s wealth of spectacular scenery Words | Helen Holmes
ith our lifestyles having had an enforced change of pace over the past year, many people have found themselves discovering, or re-discovering their creative side. For some this may even lead to a permanent change of direction, but whether you feel the calling of a new, more creative career, or are looking for a rewarding hobby, it can be hard to find the time and space that creativity needs to flourish when the concerns of day to day life start creeping back in.. A holiday which combines a visit to a stunning part of the UK with expert artistic guidance is the perfect way to ensure that your muse doesn’t get neglected – while giving you a relaxing break in the company of like-minded people. There are a great range of courses and locations out there – all offering the opportunity to develop your artistic style in truly extraordinary environments. à
CALLINGTON SCHOOL OF ART
Set on the west coast of Argyll, amongst spectacular beaches and rock formations, courses at the Whitehouse Studio encourage students to take inspiration from the magnificent changing landscape throughout the seasons – scenery which has inspired famous groups of artists such as the Glasgow Boys and Glasgow Girls. Founder of Whitehouse, Karen Beauchamp, welcomes students of all levels, “I always take the students along a path which covers the basic rudiments of shape, form, tone and colour – even experienced artists often like to reset their appreciation of these fundamental principles. I especially enjoy teaching beginners – as a
self-taught artist myself, I know how the journey feels and can tailor the tasks to help them on their own journey.” Accommodation is in Glenreasdale House – a light and airy arts and crafts style house, which is part of a hunting lodge built in 1905 by a whisky entrepreneur. The rooms are large and comfortable – with Karen having used her previous experience as an architect and interior specialist to decorate in an eclectic style. The rooms overlook either the loch and the Kilberry peninsula, or the walled garden, and the atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, “Everyone congregates in the kitchen or the south west facing sitting room by the log fire,” says Karen. whitehouseart.co.uk
Tessa Sulston and her husband Peter moved to Cornwall in 2006 and founded the Callington School of Art. Located in the Tamar Valley, the school is within easy reach of Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor, and both the north and south coasts of Cornwall, and accommodation is provided in Tessa and Peter’s spacious Georgian townhouse. The school mainly runs six day courses, which Tessa believes enables students to become immersed in their art. “We supply a wide variety of materials so artists can experiment with different media. There is a structured element to all courses but an important part of our philosophy is that each artist, with guidance, follows their own path.” This philosophy works, as guests will testify – one student, Mileva Novkovic, has returned seven times: “Tessa and Peter look after guests really well. Tessa provides invaluable art tuition – she’s a talented artist and an experienced teacher. Peter is a great chef and delights guests with his beautifully cooked and presented dishes, taking into account the whole range of dietary needs.” “These holidays are about art and fine food in an authentic Cornish setting, run by people who really do know their stuff and make it all such fun. There’s always an element of surprise because at first you don’t know the other guests but it’s fascinating to meet new people and see what inspires their work.” callingtonartschool.com
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BIG SKY ART
Big Sky Art, on the stunning North Norfolk coast, offers painting courses in a range of mediums led by well-known artists, and the accommodation is in a luxurious country house. Non painting partners are welcome too – so while you receive expert tuition, your other half can explore the nearby harbours and beaches, shop in Burnham Market, or visit RSPB Titchwell Marsh. The location is ideal for painting seascapes in the open air. Regular tutor at Big Sky and watercolour artist, Jem Bowden, loves the area, “There are superb painting locations – picturesque small harbours, creeks and inland village scenery all of a type that is full of character and unspoiled by time. People who enjoy coastal scenes, boaty things and water – and of course big open skies will be in their element.” 74
As the co-ordinator of Big Sky Art, Janie Preece, and recent student, Liz Monk, testify – time to focus on your art alongside fellow enthusiasts complements the scenery perfectly. “It’s so lovely to be able to concentrate on what you want to do,” says Janie, “it’s also a wonderful opportunity to relax, to be looked after, well fed and comfortably accommodated.” “I can’t choose one favourite thing”, adds Liz, “the facilities, the catering, the studio, the plein air locations, the guests, the staff and our tutor all combined to provide an unforgettable painting and learning experience. The company, the conversations and the laughs we had during our painting sessions and over dinner provided the icing on the cake.” bigskyartcourses.com
THE LAKE DISTRICT SCHOOL OF ART
The Lake District is famous for inspiring artists and poets, and local artist Colin Halliday is passionate about sharing his skills, and knowledge of the region, with visiting students. “I’m from Cumbria originally, so I know the area very well, and we take students to some spectacular locations.” Colin’s speciality is working in oils with a palette knife, “We work with only eight colours and I show students how they can mix any colour they need. They learn to look and see colour and understand it better – to see them get better at it over the days is wonderful.” Guests stay in Keswick, but travel around the surrounding area to paint in a variety of dramatic outdoor locations. Lucy Wickens studied with Colin last year, “The accommodation and hospitality were excellent – a gorgeous, spacious house, perfect to accommodate the painting group, and the location of central Keswick was perfect. Colin was an exceptional tutor and I’ve taken a huge amount from working with him.” artpaintingholidays.co.uk
ST IVES SCHOOL OF PAINTING
The St Ives School of Painting was established in 1938 by painter Leonard Fuller, and the school have been running art classes from the same studios overlooking Porthmeor Beach ever since. St Ives is an iconic destination for artists and art lovers, with a wealth of art to look at, as well as coastal scenery to inspire. Tutors at the school are all experienced practising artists, and the studios are the very same spaces where famous residents of St Ives, such as Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth once came to life drawing classes. The school offers a huge range of courses, though accommodation is not provided, so visitors need to find their own – there are plenty of options in bustling St Ives. schoolofpainting.co.uk
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
This new art trail in Guernsey lets you follow in the footsteps of the famous French impressionist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir - showcasing how the island inspired some of the artist’s greatest works. Located in the Moulin Huet valley on the island’s south coast, the Renoir Walk is a short, self-guided trail that takes visitors to locations where Renoir painted during a summer holiday in 1883. The famous Impressionist spent just over a month on Guernsey and created 15 paintings during his stay, the majority of which depict views of Moulin Huet bay and beach, and which are considered to be among his best pieces of work. The Renoir Walk follows his footsteps around the bay and is marked by five empty picture frames, which are placed in the exact spots where Renoir worked on his own paintings. The frames – especially commissioned to echo the ornate frames Renoir chose for his own artworks – allow viewers to see Moulin Huet from the same perspectives as the Frenchman did. Next to each frame, a panel offers further information plus a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to play an audio guide by Mr Cyrille Sciama, Director of the Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny and a world authority on Renoir. A PDF guide is also available to download at artforguernsey. com/renoir. Or visit visitguernsey.com
FOR BEACH LOVING DOGS
If your pet loves nothing better than tiring themselves out with runs and ball games on the sand, the Bijou Apartment in trendy Rock, Cornwall, should be on your holiday wishlist. As the name suggests this is a cute little crash pad for two with stonking sea views and the beach just steps away across the coastal road. The huge windows and decked balcony afford sweeping vistas across the Camel Estuary. Rock is a great place to hang out year round, with sophisticated eateries both here and in nearby Padstow from the likes of Nathan Outlaw and Rick Stein. beachretreats.co.uk
FOR DOWN WITH IT DOGS
Hipster hounds should get themselves and their humans down to South Place Hotel in London, near Liverpool Street station. Glamorous Conran-designed interiors include contemporary art from emerging London artists. You can eat with your dog in any of the bars, or in the Secret Garden, a magical outdoor space with retractable roof. Some of London’s coolest neighbourhoods are on the doorstep, such as Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Hoxton. When walkies call, you can both explore the area with the hotel’s walking/jogging map of the best sights, calling in at Spitalfields Market and dog-friendly cafes and pubs nearby. southplacehotel.com
O F T H E B E ST
DOG F R IHEO N D LY L I DAYS
FOR WATER LOVING DOGS
Undercastle Cottage is a fairytale hideaway in a magical setting on the edge of a river, deep in the New Forest. When it’s too cold to swim in the river, your dog or dogs (two are allowed) can accompany you on fishing trips along it in the rowing boat – just bring your own rods. Or, delve into the forest on long walks or cycle rides – there’s a hire shop nearby. Back at the house, all is cosy and comfortable, with beautifully decorated light filled rooms. Two double bedrooms are in the main house and there’s an extra twin room in the separate fishing lodge. boutique-retreats.co.uk
FOR DOGS WHO PREFER THE BEST OF BOTH
Just five minutes away from the rugged beaches of Cornwall’s north coast, set within its own attractive gardens, Wren Cottage is a beautiful countryside escape. Scandi-inspired contemporary styling with beautiful, restored traditional architecture and a postcard-perfect serene garden. There is plenty of choice for incredible walks and places to discover, from the doorstep. With easy access in minutes to Perranporth, St Agnes and Newquay, you can spend your days flipping between the coast and countryside. cornishgems.com
FOR ROCK ‘N’ ROLL DOGS
Candyland Studios is a cool, fun, open plan log cabin – just the place to hang out for a few days or more, with family, friends and up to two dogs. There’s lots to occupy, especially for the musically minded. Grab a guitar or a ukulele or have a tinkle on the baby grand piano. Or, record your own song in the recording studio (it’s actually in the cabin!). You can even hire a technician to figure out all the fiddly bits for you. Outside, play in the woods, or have a campfire. Jump in the car and head to the Tarka Trail, a former railway line, for 31 miles of traffic free walks and cycling, or explore the wild North Devon coastline. There’s never a dull moment here.
FOR ANTI-SOCIAL DOGS
If your dog likes to socially distance, pandemic or not, then The House at Mackay’s could be the perfect holiday choice. This thoughtfully designed bolthole sleeping six people is close to Durness, the most northerly village on mainland Britain. The house is remote (four wheel drive recommended in the winter months) but within easy reach of shops, restaurants and cafes. Guests can enjoy mile upon mile of walks through the rugged countryside, including cliff and beach walks. When the weather is wild, hole up and enjoy the panoramic views towards the ocean from the big windows (look out for the Northern Lights after dark) or curl up next to the wood burner! coolstays.com
FOR DOGS WHO LOVE THE SEASIDE
Who doesn’t love a traditional British seaside holiday? Especially with the revival of exquisite beach hut accommodation lining our coastlines and offering simple fun by the pier while staying in luxury in your own beachside sumptuous suite. Coupled with the recent rise we’ve seen in staycations, I think it’s fair to say that old-fashioned ‘bucket and spade’ fun is making a powerful come-back. The newest arrival to the scene are the Beachcroft Beach Huts in West Sussex which have made a huge splash in our desire for a high-end holiday hut. The four adjoining luxurious two-bedroom suites are located on the beach front in Felpham Village. Each is furnished in a modern beachside art-deco style complete with bathroom and stylish lounge area with a cosy corner sofa, and wall to wall glass doors opening out onto your own private terrace overlooking the beach. You and your four-legged companions can enjoy fresh sea air, sandy toes and relaxing sounds of gently lapping waves from morning to night, regardless of the weather. Dogs can even enjoy a swim on the beach all year round. Wrap up in your dressing robe and gaze out to the sea over a morning coffee, or be mesmerised by the evening sunset while dining with your guests (furry or not!) alfresco-style. Fancy a movie night in? There are all the latest mod-cons including
J O U R N A L
EDITOR'S HIGHLIGHTS ALFRESCO DINING
Enjoy traditional English dishes freshly prepared with a modern twist. Order from the 3 course à la carte menu or selection of lighter bites and home cooked classics. The food is delicious and can be delivered to your door, to be enjoyed on your terrace, or to your own private dining Pod in the garden.
The Beachcroft Beach Huts are situated on a seven mile coastal footpath, and with a plethora of doggy friendly trails including the stunning South Down Way and local heritage trails on your doorstep you are spoilt for choice.
ENJOYING THE WATER
smart TV with Netflix, Nespresso machine, Smeg fridge, and a welcome amenity bottle of Rose, decanter of Sloe Gin - perfect for warming the body up again after a dip in the sea! Dogs are offered the same fivestar treatment, with dog beds, toys, water and food bowls, biscuits and chews, dog bags, and doggie ice cream vouchers to spend in the local Pinks Parlour. As the suites are owned by the adjacent Beachcroft Hotel, guests are also welcome to enjoy the hotel facilities including the bar and restaurant, the bistro garden and indoor heated swimming pool. Breakfast is included in all room rates and can be enjoyed by breakfast hamper delivered to your door. You can also order picnic lunches and even borrow deckchairs from the hotel! beachcroftbeachhuts.co.uk
West Wittering is the place to go for watersports, including paddleboarding and windsurfing hire - its about a half an hour drive. Or if you prefer to stay closer to home you might enjoy a spot of rockpooling. Nets, buckets and spades are available for guests to enjoy.
The Beachcroft Beach Huts make a fantastic base for exploring other popular attractions in West Sussex, including Goodwood, Arundel Castle, Chichester Cathedral, Chichester Theatre and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Beach Hut Suites are priced from £250 bed and breakfast per night based on 2 adults sharing.
FOR ENERGETIC DOGS
Modern country chic abounds at The Fish Hotel, on the Farncombe Estate in the glorious Cotswolds. Pull on some wellies to roam 400 acres of wooftastic walks. Not enough exercise for your bouncy companion? Then try out the hotel’s own agility course for size. After all that exercise, afternoon tea calls and your best friend can accompany you here, too. In fact they are welcome most places, except in the restaurant. Dog friendly rooms, suites and even luxe tree houses are all available, with dog beds, bowls and towels making it easy for owners. There are some doggie treats too – they are also on holiday after all! thefishhotel.co.uk
FOR GOURMET DOGS
The Lake District is world famous for its wonderful walks. Your dog can fuel up for them with a gourmet stay at the Broadoaks Country House, Windermere. The owners’ cavapoos, Flo and Scout, encourage well behaved new friends to visit their home, enticing first with a welcome pack of treats, then offering DBB (that’s Doggie Bed & Breakfast) or DDBB (Doggie Dinner, Bed & Breakfast). Dinner choices might include salmon bite canapes, lamb with carrots or roast chicken breast, while breakfast features warm bacon or sausage with gravy. Dogs aren’t allowed in the main restaurant but welcome to hang out with their owners in the bar and music room. When nature calls, the hotel’s dog walking field is just across the road. broadoakscountryhouse.co.uk
FOR DOGS WHO ENJOY THE WILD SIDE OF LIFE
Skye has to be one of Scotland's most exquisite islands and one which has inspired many notable people, from Agatha Christie to Virginia Woolf, with its wild beauty. Corry Bothy is a romantic Scottish beauty, nestled on the water's edge, formerly a fisherman's shelter (which is what Bothy means in Gaelic). Today, Corry Bothy has been lovingly restored by its owners and turned into a beautiful dog friendly abode for couples. Situated close to the village of Broadford, this wonderful retreat is perfectly situated to explore the simply epic beauty of Skye, whether you're hiking around the Old Man of Storr, marvelling at the Fairy Pools, taking a boat trip to spot sea eagles or enjoying a tipple at one of the islands' three whiskey distilleries. ď&#x2018;ł boutique-retreats.co.uk
C OA S TA L
F O R AG I N G Wild edibles are in abundance across the British Isles with a tantalising range of fungi, plants, shellfish and seaweed on offer countrywide Words | Lydia Paleschi
hether you’re looking to expand your knowledge of your local ecosystem, spend more time outdoors or make your dinner parties all the more interesting, coastal foraging promises the discovery of a world full of beauty, flavour and intrigue, all whilst providing you with the opportunity to visit Britain’s beautiful coastlines. Expert forager Matt Vernon gives me an introduction to coastal foraging and his top tips for heading to the coast and giving it a go.
Originally from Lacock, Matt has been foraging since his childhood and spent years researching and honing his skills. He has featured on multiple television programmes and worked with many of the most prestigious restaurants in Cornwall, supplying them with wild edibles from around the coast. He now holds both coastal and woodland foraging walks and pop-up feasts around the county.
Why we should forage Matt begins by explaining that wild foraging is important for our countryside. Much like pruning your garden plants, by picking some species, foraging enables others to grow. However, he emphasises the only way this to be the case is to forage sustainably. “Safe foraging is sustainable foraging. By picking new leaves from plants you lower the risk of taking poisonous varieties home, whilst ensuring you’re not taking away huge handfuls of plant growth at a time”. Whilst it is important to be aware of plants with toxins, there are many others with immense health benefits. “Take wild nettles for example, they are pretty much classed as a superfood and have higher nutritional values than spinach and almost as much protein as pulses. They’re the perfect compliment to a vegan diet as they’re high in iron and calcium.” One of the reasons Matt enjoys foraging so much is because finding wild edibles around the coast is possible all year round and helps us to develop an affinity with our natural surroundings. “You develop a connection with nature and feel a part of it. When you become a part of something you become protective of it, so many foragers are also environmental campaigners.” How to give it a go The first thing Matt advises is don’t try to forage a whole meal. “The idea is to incorporate wild food into your everyday diet. This also means that you’re not setting yourself up for failure or disappointment when you can't forage your whole dinner.” Having done some homework and equipped with a couple of books (Matt recommends that Emma Gunn’s Never Mind the Burdocks is one of them) it’s time to head to the coast. “At your local beach start in the splash zone, just above the high tide mark and look for small areas of soil where plants will be able to grow. Sea beet is the easiest one to look for and has similar characteristics to chard, with green leaves and purple stalks. You can use different parts of the sea beet plant at different times of the year. For example, during spring you can make a salad from the leaves and when it goes into flower during the summer the flower stalks have a crunchy texture.” Next on the list is Rock Samphire. Well known for its popularity in Michelin star restaurants, it
is also found above the high tide line and even grows out of sea walls. “It’s easily recognisable and therefore easy to identify, but is a strong flavour so should be paired with other things. The flowers are also delicious, especially when they’ve been dipped in tempura batter.” Sea Radish can be found in the splash zone too, further up than sea beet and also in sand dunes. From late summer to late spring, the many varieties of seaweed are at their best for foraging. Matt’s favourite is Thong Weed, alternatively known as Sea Spaghetti. “It’s a lovely seaweed to eat and is great for kids. It starts a khaki colour but when submerged in boiling water for 10-20 seconds turns bright green.”
OUR FAVOURITE FORAGING EXPERIENCES ACROSS THE BRITISH ISLES: Cornish Wild Food, Cornwall, England Specialising in wild food education and wild cooking, Matt offers coastal foraging walks and feasts at various sites around the Cornish coast. cornishwildfood.co.uk Coastal Foraging, Pembrokeshire and Camarthenshire, Wales Discover sea vegetables and shellfish whilst learning about the seashore environment. At low tide, discover deep water species such as crabs and lobster. Craig, accompanied by his dog, aims to inspire people in their knowledge of the coastal environment and to promote its conservation. coastalforaging.co.uk Coastal Survival School, UK Based in the South West but available across the UK, Coastal Survival School brings together a range of experts to provide you with fantastic foraging experiences on the British coast. Choose from a wide range of courses including foraging for coastal plants or for seaweed and shellfish. coastalsurvival.com Wildwood Bushcraft, Moidart, Scotland For the all out coastal foraging experience, Wildwood Bushcraft holds full day courses where you will learn to fish, forage and cook. Finds include seaweed, crustaceans, shellfish and fish.
Matt makes it very clear that it is crucial to be aware of the health and safety risks of coastal foraging. “Don’t eat anything unless you’re one hundred percent certain. It’s as important to be able to identify the poisonous plants as it is the edible ones, as there are some toxic species such as Hemlock Water Dropwort which can often prove fatal upon consumption.” Here are his top tips for keeping safe: Don't rush it: Practice sustainable foraging by picking one leaf at a time Cross-reference: Use two or more books to crossreference during identification Be safe: Never eat anything unless you are certain of your identification Be sure: Double check your harvest when you get home Use social media: Use social media groups to contact foragers and botanists to help you with identification. They will have seen species in their multiple stages of growth, whereas a book may only show you one. Having said this, Matt tells me that this shouldn’t put people off from heading to the coast and foraging at their local beaches. For those who find it difficult to access the beach or rockpools, you can look for edibles in car parks, gardens, or anywhere with a hedgerow. Wherever you go, it’s worth going foraging with an expert to begin with, to learn the fascinating history and etymology of the plants, including their historical botanical usage. Matt tells me, “You will also learn about sustainable foraging and woodland management, useful knowledge for helping you find wild edibles, to appreciate and understand habitats, and help us to protect them more.” u
THE CHARM OF
C LOV E L LY
Recently named as ‘the most instagrammable village in the UK’, British Travel Journal's Editor checks in at the new Sail Loft harbour suites in Clovelly to discover more about this stunning North Devon village Words | Jessica Way
AM GOING TO BE HONEST, even if a little embarrasing to admit, that yes, it was one of the 134,353 Instagram captures, giving Clovelly its title as the UK’s most Instagrammable village, which inspired me to visit for the first time. Seeing the extraordinary view of the famous cobbled street, built of stones from the beach, know as 'Up-a-long' or 'Down-a-long', with a glistening sea and inviting blue sky in the vista this was more than enough to tempt me. I soon discovered, however, that as wonderful as this well-acclaimed snapshot might be, it's not the only reason for visiting Clovelly - in fact, there are many more incredible highlights just waiting to be discovered in this little village. Most incredibly, Clovelly is very special in that it has been privately owned, managed and preserved by the same family since 1738. There is a small community of around 400 residents (known as the cobblers) who rent their pictureperfect houses from the family's Clovelly Estate Company, and together, they run the village. There are no holiday homes allowed and no option to buy. However together with the owners, the residents look after the village and enjoy living in it just as it would have been in the mid 19th
century - making this one of the most unique, famous and beautiful villages in the world. Properties in the village do not become available very often, but when they do, potential newcomers are interviewed, as they must have a skill or business attribute where they are able to personally contribute to the community if they are going to live there. All residents are expected to join some of the village groups and take an active and supportive role in village life. If you are born living on the cobbles however (a cobbler baby) then you are exempt from this interview process - instead, you will be given priority status on rental opportunities when looking for a home of your own. This exceptional sense of community spirit gives Clovelly its unrivalled charm - the tour guides, restaurant staff, museum workers to the local fisherman, everyone’s a team, living and working together on the cobbles - and this includes entire families who have lived in the village for generations. Take the Perham family, for example, one of the oldest families in Clovelly - they have been cobblers now for six generations. Artist siblings Rachel and Stephen (Perham) follow in their Mother's tradition of painting on pebbles, their
naïve and folk art paintings are displays of Clovelly as they see it through their eyes today. For day visitors to the village, there is a modest admission charge, which includes parking, an informative video on Clovelly’s history in the Visitor Centre, the museums in the village, and free admission to Clovelly Court Gardens. The profits made from this charge, the pubs, hotels, restaurants and shops, are invested straight back into preserving the village. And that comes at an eye-watering price! Just the upkeep of the stonework in the village has cost the Clovelly Estate Company over £76,000 in the last few years, upkeep of the Harbour wall and quay around £50,000, and over £200,000 on exterior decorations alone. For day visitors the large Visitor Centre offers plenty of parking spaces at the top of the hill. From here it is a short downhill walk to the top of the high street, passing the donkey stables and craft workshops of pottery, silk and soap (don't miss watching the skilled craftsmen at work in the converted stable-yard), before tumbling its way all the way down to the ancient fishing harbour and 14th Century quay. Clinging to a 400-foot cliff, once you are in the village, there is no traffic, just donkeys and man-powered sledges to transport all goods, from groceries to furniture. Donkeys used to be the main form of transport for centuries, but now they are mainly seen giving children rides around their meadow during the summer or posing for photographs in the street. It is a joy to gently meander your way past the whitewashed cottages lining the streets, while navigating the passageways and winding lanes that lead off to further picturesque treasures. It is as if the illustrations from your favourite childhood book of the most à
beautiful village you could possibly imagine comes to life around you. The purring cats greet you from the doorsteps of their homes, beautifully decorated with blooming flowerbeds, pastel-colours and ornamental shells. Children play without a care in the world, carrying with them crab buckets, bodyboards and just the smell of sweet roses. It is no wonder with all this magic in the air that Clovelly has so many literary and artist connections; Charles Kingsley lived here, Charles Dickens wrote about it, William Turner painted it and Rex Whistler featured it in much of his work too. In the village, you can visit the Kingsley Museum where you’ll see Charles sitting at his desk in his 90
“It is as if the illustrations from your favourite childhood book of the most beautiful village you could possibly imagine comes to life around you.”
study composing a letter to his bride-to-be. There’s also the Fisherman’s Cottage, where you can see how a Clovelly fisherman and his family lived in the 1930s. You could easily spend the entire day exploring the village shops, museums, pubs and picturesque harbour, and when hunger calls there are several options of restaurants and bars. Stop off for a famous Devon Cream Tea at Hamlyn’s, located in the New Inn, a magnificently beam-hung room featuring a portrait of Christine Hamlyn in her wedding dress. Or for delicious home-cooked pub grub while watching the world go by there’s the beer garden at the Upalong Bar,
outside at the back of the Inn. You might also enjoy walking in the footsteps of Lily James with a visit to the Snug, as seen in The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society, with views looking out across the harbour and bay. Fresh fish, crabs and lobster land on the quay at Clovelly daily - straight off local boats into the Harbour Restaurant, so sampling some of their famous Clovelly lobsters is an absolute must. The Harbour Restaurant is open for dinner every evening with stunning views across the quay and harbour. For those who do not want to walk back up, there is a fare-paying Land Rover service for much of the year to return you to the top of the village.
CLOVELLY COURT GARDENS
Back at the top is where you will discover a true gem in the village - one that is often be overlooked by visitors. Clovelly Court Gardens, located adjacent to the 13th Century parish church of All Saints, is a perfect example of a real working Victorian kitchen garden. The gardens are a contrast to the rest of the village, protected from the winds and bounded by an avenue of lofty lime trees, bordered by herbaceous beds, which in summer are a blaze of colour. Several blissful hours could be spent admiring its splendid herbaceous borders and magnificently restored Victorian glasshouses. In the run of glasshouses, you will find apricots, peaches, nectarines, melons, grapes, lemons and figs, ripening in the warmth, along with cucumbers, peppers, chillies, aubergines – and a tropical Abutilon. Outside there are apples, pears, quinces, medlars, soft fruit, and two mulberry trees – and even Chinese gooseberries. The Red Lion and the New Inn at Clovelly are both supplied with the fruit and vegetable produce from the gardens.
WHERE TO STAY
There are two hotels, the 400 year old New Inn, in the heart of the village and the 18th Century Red Lion on the quay, or Hamlyn’s hostel - a simple no-frills bed and breakfast opposite the New Inn. The Red Lion has recently launched six beautifully refurbished Sail Loft bedroom suites following an impressive a conversion of an old Grade II listed building store adjacent to pub, previously used as a cobbler’s shop and store room for the Coastguards gig rowing boat and fishing tackle. The bedrooms are stylishly decorated, and you just can’t beat the spectacular sea and harbour views. The private guest parking offers you the unique opportunity to enjoy the harbour and the village before, during and after-hours from the day visitors, and of course access to the harbour by car (rather than on foot). The evenings in Clovelly have a very different feel. Calm and serene, the village reverts back to a peaceful village of residents.u
You might also enjoy: Book on a village tour: Joining a village tour is a perfect way to learn more about the village history and traditions.
A romantic boat trip to Lundy:
Lundy (Norse for island of puffins) lies twelve miles off the coast from Clovelly. This three and a half mile-long granite outcrop sits on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, with nothing but sea between it and North America, three thousand miles away. You can book a trip there from the Quay at Clovelly
Walking the South West Coast Path:
From the very top of the high street Clovelly offers breathtaking scenery and lengthy walks along the cliff tops.There are lovely signposted walks on the South West Coast Path in both directions.
Join in the fun:
Time your visit and experience one of the annual festivals including the “Seaweed Festival” in June, “Maritime Festival” in July, “Lobster and Crab Feast” in September and the “Herring Festival” in November.
THE BIRCH If you’re yearning for a UK mini-break with a difference then you’ll be hard pushed to find a better escape than The Birch - the UK’s most trendy new hotel to open this year. Unleash your creativity, feel at peace and be prepared to be impressed. Words | Jessica Way
T IS EASY TO INTRODUCE The Birch as you would for any luxury new hotel launch, it’s a 140-bedroom converted Georgian Mansion, set in Theobalds 55-acre Estate, Hertfordshire, just 30 minutes from London’s Liverpool Street Station. However, this is where the comparison ends, as The Birch is not like any other hotel, it’s a totally new concept - I expect you’re either going to love it or hate it. Even the name, Birch (handle.silk.comet), takes on an innovative approach - as the first British brand to use new location technology, what3words, an app which enables people around the world to share precise locations, with every 3 metres square having a unique combination of three words. The brainchild behind it is Chris Penn, former Managing Director of The Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, recently the highest-placed hospitality operator on the CoolBrands list, he leaves behind one cutting edge hotel to launch another. The Birch is a members club, but one where everyone’s welcome, as you do not need to be a member to stay here. Non-member hotel guests and restaurant diners still get access to everything
“The Birch is not like any other hotel, it’s a totally new concept - I expect you’re either going to love it or hate it”
on offer. The incentive to become a member, for a cost of £120 a month (and a £200 joining fee), offers you full access to the Wellness Space, two restaurants, three bars, co-working space... and the daily-run programme of classes and events (including wild yoga on the lawn, ceramics workshops in the pottery studio, sourdoughmaking, beekeeping and foraging walks around the grounds). There are a few other perks too, such as discounts on room rates, spa treatments and food and drink. The concept is both bold and brave, and although (it seems) aimed principally at the Gen-Z and Millennials generations who work in the city, amongst the many fashionable city-dwellers the hotel was bustling with multi-generational families and parents with young children too. The mornings took on a very different feel to the party-vibe in the evenings, where cocktails were flowing and DJs were playing their latest sets on the lawn. The hotel was much quieter, people were few and far between during breakfast time, with just a handful queuing for coffee dressed in their gym gear, or taking their pampered pooch out for a stroll. à
The Birch is described to look like a hotel, and to feel like a festival. And I think this is quite an accurate description - a boutique festival mind, more Larmer Tree and Wilderness rather than Glastonbury. The number of classes and activities on offer is really what sets it apart from your more usual hotel stay, and with so much going on it is unstuffy and feels non-judgemental. Everyone is made to feel welcome and encouraged to give it a go, to try something new. With so much variety to choose from, every visit is likely to offer a personal and individual experience. Here’s how we spent our time...
GETTING INTO THE GROOVE
The sun was shining so once we had settled in we headed out onto the lawn where we had our own evening BBQ pit. You have the option to book a BBQ pit by day or by evening, with both meat and veg boxes available - it’s a DIY-style affair, although you’re provided with 94
instructions, tongs, and all the treats you need. We also had our QR code to hand, given to us when we checked in - this was the link to our food ordering app, another unique idea from The Birch’s chef Robin Gill who wanted to create new ways for guests to feast on food. You simply order your food and drinks from the online menus, then collect from Valeries who will call or text you when it’s ready. You can then choose to sit and dine in the restaurant, or, take your food away and eat wherever you like. You are encouraged to quite literally eat and drink anywhere, be it on a deckchair in the movie room, on a blanket or hammock in the back lawn, or even in the Library. There is plenty of space and beautifully furnished rooms to choose from - especially in the Grade ll-listed Mansion House with its impressive entrance, mosaic floors, grand staircase and original paintings uncovered on some of the ceilings during the two-year-long renovation. In fact, we spent much of our first evening exploring the
rooms, wandering our way through the creative corridors, stopping in at the games room, popping our head into the pottery studio, and taking a peek at the think pods, art studios and music rooms. Originally The Birch was home to the eccentric Victorian socialite Lady Meux, who it is claimed, used to ride through Mayfair in a zebra-drawn carriage, once had a menagerie and her own roller skating rink at the house (now the wellness space a separate building just across from the Mansion).
ACTIVITIES AND CLASSES
First on our activities schedule, Wild Yoga outdoors on the lawn. We were lucky with the weather, it was a beautiful morning. The stretching and the sound of the gentle breeze through the trees restored our energy and set us up for the day ahead. Following a coffee and breakfast from The Store we popped into the bakery for one of their drop-in sessions and joined the bakers in one of their daily rituals making delicious sourdough. We enjoyed it so much that we returned in the afternoon where we made Pain au chocolat. One of my highlights was attending a guided nature walk with farmer Tom Morphew around the Birch grounds. Tom’s passion for nature and biodiversity and knowledge in his field was fascinating. We met his pigs, collected eggs from the chickens and admired the kitchen-garden. Tom explained his vision, and how together with chef Robin Gill, they had ambitious plans to grow much more estate-made produce and be as self-sustainable as possible. Tom also told us about the garden walkabouts and farmer days he would be launching, where he’ll be teaching guests how to grow and compost as well as forage in the woodland. You can’t leave The Birch without trying something new, for me, this was Watercolour botanicals. Illustrator Katie Rose Johnston led the workshop designed to help you relax and unwind through painting. Inspired by the flowers and nature surrounding Birch we learned some simple techniques to paint plants and foliage in watercolour. I took a look around the Wellness Centre, it was fully kitted out with state-of-the-art fitness equipment - and is a huge space. As is often the case in hotels there was no-one actually working out there at the time. I imagine when they open the eagerly anticipated Lido - a 25-metre outdoor pool surrounded by nature with poolside BBQ and Lido bar - it will become more popular.
“The number of classes and activities on offer is really what sets it apart from your more usual hotel stay, and with so much going on it is unstuffy and feels nonjudgemental. Everyone is made to feel welcome and encouraged to give it a go, to try something new. ”
THE ZEBRA RIDING CLUB
The culinary heartbeat of The Birch, The Zebra Riding Club restaurant is a much more ‘normal’ dining experience than that of the grab-and-go concept at Valeries. Here you must book a table in advance, you then order from the waiter or waitress, and dine in the restaurant. With much of the produce from the growing farm, woods, and local surroundings, the unfussy menu is described as being led by nature. I ordered oysters sourced fresh from Achill Island off the West Coast of Ireland and they were delicious.
The Birch (handle.silk.comet) is the first to open, with no secret that the vision is to roll out the concept with further hotels launching close to other major cities across the UK. And you could suggest the timing is impeccable too, with more people searching for work-life balance following the coronavirus pandemic lockdown having had an opportunity to reflect while on Furlough. Plus, with more businesses closing their offices and previous commuters now working from home, The Birch might also fulfil the demand for a co-working sociable space, especially important for those in the media and creative industries. So the questions is, could this community-centred creative work-play hub become the hotel of the future? Personally I am one of the lovers (not haters) - I really enjoyed my time at The Birch and I definitely plan to return. u
A DVERTORI A L
nautical but nice!
S C OT L A N D' S O N LY
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Relax on seats covered in the softest leather and watch the vibrant Leith Docks transform from bold daylight into soft, dusky tones, as the evening sun spills across the ocean. Experience beautifully prepared dishes bursting with flavour, created with passion by the galley team. Enjoy dinner on board including Fingal’s smoked salmon, which is smoked on board, as well as delicious seasonal dishes. Eat and drink surrounded by the finest Art Deco interiors, inspired by Fingal’s rich history. Vouchers range from cocktails for 2 to Afternoon Tea and overnight stays. There really is a gift for everyone. All vouchers are valid for 24 months so plenty of time to arrange your visit. u To purchase a voucher visit www.fingal.co.uk or call us on 0131 357 5000.
BRITISH TRAVEL JOURNAL CROSSWORD 07
8 Tree whose product is used in making soap (3,4) 9 Symbol of Christmas (4,3) 10 Card game or brandy (8) 11 Wifely word (6) 12 Grand National site (7) 13 Point at the western end of the Jurassic Coast (7) 14 Invasion vessels of 1944 (1,1,2) 17 Loch with the Falls of Lora at its mouth (5) 19 Fake (4) 23 Chairs fit for kings (7) 24 Skye's --- Hills (7) 25 Major West Country rock festival (6) 26 Fantastic liar (8) 27 Unthankful person (7) 28 The Farne ---, where the Forfarshire was wrecked (7)
1 Westernmost English county (8) 2 Movable rope fastening (4,4) 3 Tars (7) 4 Full of oneself (8) 5 Dive (8) 6 Preludes to conflict (8) 7 Female personification of the United States (8) 15 Where 10 Across died (2,6) 16 Residents north of the Mersey (8) 17 Theme you messed up for a Berwickshire town (8) 18 Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace (8) 20 Approximately the last 10,000 years (8) 21 Port in the north of Angus (8) 22 Of considerable proportion (7)
Answers will be printed in the Spring Issue out 5 February 2021 The first correct crossword received will be rewarded with a free gift from The Travelling Reader. Simply send your completed crossword (or the answers) with your choice of The Original, The London, or Simply British Tastes box, (thetravellingreader.com) and your postal address, by post to British Travel Journal, Mitchell House, Brook Avenue, Warsash, Southampton, Hampshire, SO31 9HP, or email the answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
ANSWERS TO CROSSWORD 06 | SUMMER 2020 ACROSS: 9 Neutron 10 Abusive 11 Inductees 12 Ethic 13 At a gallop 15 Major 16 Portchester 20 Osier 22 Yorkshire 24 Lucid 25 Gravelled 26 Kashmir 27 Glutton. DOWN: 1 Anti-war 2 Tundra 3 Armchair 4 Inverlochy 5 Oaks 6 Museum 7 Nightjar 8 Keycard 14 Prearrange 16 Princess 17 Tossed up 18 Hoylake 19 Leading 21 Radome 23 Islets 25 Gore.
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