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B R I T I S H T R AV E L JOURNAL WINTER 2019 | ISSUE 04

CITY | COAST | COUNTRY

stargazing DISCOVER NEW WORLDS WITH THE DARK SKIES FESTIVAL

BritishTravelJournal.com

new-age spas

FROM SOPORIFIC SOOTHING IN SUBTERRANEAN LABYRINTHS TO ICE TREATMENTS BY THE OCEAN A NEW ERA OF ZEN IS UPON US!

the great outdoors

BRITAIN'S NATIONAL TRAILS OFFER SOME OF THE LOVELIEST COUNTRYSIDE IN THE WORLD

£5.00

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WHICH IS THE MOST ICONIC HOTEL IN THE UK? #Siblingrivalry

CHEWTON GLEN, HAMPSHIRE

CLIVEDEN HOUSE, BERKSHIRE

THE LYGON ARMS, COTSWOLDS

11 CADOGAN GARDENS, LONDON

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CONTRIBUTIONS

BRITISH

TRAVEL

J O U R N A L

WELCOME

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 Chantal Borciani A R T S & C U LT U R E Melanie Abrams H I S T O R Y & H E R I TA G E Robin Glover S H O P P I N G & L I F E S T Y L E Emma Johnson S P E C I A L E V E N T S Emma O’Reilly U K O U T D O O R S Adrian Mourby T R A V E L & A D V E N T U R E Max Wooldridge L O N D O N I N S I D E R Helen Holmes A U T H O R C O N T R I B U T I O N Sarah Kerr FOOD & DRINK

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HIS ISSUE MARKS one year since the launch of British Travel Journal. One year - and what a great year it’s been! Though never (never, never) quite so soon, did we ever expect, to win an award, let alone one of this prestige. We are thrilled, over the moon, delighted, ecstatic, virtually speechless to be esteemed winners of ‘Best Consumer Holiday Magazine’ Silver accolade in this years’ British Travel Awards. The perfect end to a wonderful year and it’s you, our readers, we have to thank. Without your votes we wouldn’t have won - we wouldn’t have experienced how great it felt to stand together on that stage, or assurance that our hard work, late nights and dedication might actually be starting to pay off - so thank you. Thank you all so, so much for voting for us! As we continue to evolve British Travel Journal into the award-winning UK travel magazine quarterly we aspire to be, we’ve our first-ever whimsical festive issue all wrapped up for you here - and what a joy it has been! We’re dreaming big this season, kicking off with a wondrous winter wishlist of ice-skating and hamper-making to dog-sledding, hoping you will do the same, p18. Tis the season for stargazing, so look up, p40, and in The Great Outdoors, p22, discover some of the loveliest countryside in the world. There’s fairytale celebrations happening at Leeds Castle, p56, creative wreath-making masterclasses at Ellenborough Park, p52, or a country retreat like no other at Thyme Manor, p58. We are shown how to travel the British coastline - one lighthouse at a time, p62, how to fine-dine as a vegan, p36, and where to invigorate the mind with our new-age luxury spa guide, p78. As always I hope this issue of British Travel Journal continues to enhance your upcoming travel plans – and that you have an uplifting and magical winter! u

BTravelJournal PROUD TO BE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH stage 3 - B&W detailed logo

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Contista Media Ltd cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts and photographs. While every care is taken prices and details are subject to change and Contista Media Ltd take no responsibility for omissions or errors. We reserve the right to publish and edit any letters. All rights reserved.

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Jessica Way, Editor -In-Chief Jessica@britishtraveljournal.com

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CONTENTS WINTER 2019 | ISSUE 04

22 40

JOTTINGS

S U B S C R I B E

48

SUBSCR IBE TODAY

Receive the ultimate luxury getaway essential from Noble Isle worth £20 and four issues of British Travel Journal for just £19! B R I T I S H T R AV E L JOURNAL WINTER 2019 | ISSUE 04

BritishTravelJournal.com

B R I T I S H T R AV E L

CITY | COAST | COUNTRY

new-age sPasJ O U R N A L FROM SOPORIFIC SOOTHING IN SUBTERRANEAN LABYRINTHS TO ICE TREATMENTS BY THE OCEAN A NEW ERA OF ZEN IS UPON US! AU T U M N

stargazing DISCOVER NEW WORLDS WITH THE DARK SKIES FESTIVAL

the great outdoors

BRITAIN'S NATIONAL TRAILS OFFER SOME OF THE LOVELIEST COUNTRYSIDE IN THE WORLD

2019 | ISSUE 03

BritishTravelJournal.com

CITY | COAST | COUNTRY

taste a destination

take a journey

AUTUMN FORAGING HOLIDAYS

EDINBURGH TO THE CALEDONIAN FOREST

Interview

raymond blanc

CELEBRATES TWO BIG MILESTONES THIS YEAR

WIN

£5.00 £5.00

idyllic destinations • michelin star restaurants • hotels & sPas • exPeriences • adventures • travel news EVENTS ■ IDYLLIC DESTINATIONS ■ MICHELIN STAR RESTAURANTS

a luxury short break for two in Exeter!

09 11 18

TRAVEL NEWS

A look at what’s new and travel noteworthy in the British Isles

CULTURAL AGENDA

Dates for your diary of things you don’t want to miss out on this winter

10 OF THE BEST FESTIVE EXPERIENCES

From ice-skating in central London and dogsledding in the Scottish Highlands, to making the perfect canapés, mince pies and Christmas wreaths - We have Christmas all wrapped up

35

HEALTH

Keep your body and mind feeling well with our unmissable winter selection of musthaves promoting wellbeing and mindfulness

F E AT U R E S

22 30

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Discover National Trails through some of the loveliest countryside in the world

INTERVIEW WITH PAUL O’NEILL , CLIVEDEN HOUSE

A country estate that has stood the test of time like no other, uncover the secrets of Cliveden House and meet new executive head chef

36

VEGAN DINING

We’ve scoured the British Isles to find the best restaurants serving gourmet, plant-based food, in beautiful environments

40

STARGAZING

Many of us hunker down in winter evenings, forgetting about the world outside, but look out, look up - the Dark Skies Festival is here à

■ LUXURY HOTELS ■ NEW EXPERIENCES

BritishTravelJournal.com

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LIFESTYLE

44

THE HOUSE KATE BUILT

49 52

MEET THE MAKER

Fashion superstar Kate Moss has taken this luxury Cotswolds design-meetscountry-living concept to a whole new level

EDITOR LOVES

Secret Escapes gift cards, ranging from £50 to £5,000, make a perfect Christmas gift for globetrotters or weekend-breakers. For more gifts inspiration see our Style Edits, p85 secretescapes.com

Meet master potter John Leach from the ancient village of Muchelney in Somerset

62

ELLENBOROUGH PARK

This 15th-century manor house is the perfect setting for those looking for an idyllic way to holiday and feel at home this Christmas

56

LEEDS CASTLE

Leeds Castle, a fairytale estate in Kent, brings its 900th birthday celebrations to a grand finale with some magical plans for the festive season

58

THYME MANOR

Nestled amidst the green of the Cotswold landscape, in one of the area's beautiful villages, the Thyme Manor estate is a country retreat like no other

78

ITINERARIES

62

LIGHTHOUSE TRAIL

68

48 HOURS IN BATH

Sarah Kerr, author of The British Lighthouse Trail, shows us how to travel the British coastline – one lighthouse at a time A walk around the city of Bath is to follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps knowing that Roman centurions trod these streets many centuries before her

72

THE ROYAL CRESCENT HOTEL AND SPA

74

FINDING WELLNESS AT SIMPLY HEALING

78

SPA GUIDE - NEW-AGE LUXURY

90

KING'S CROSS

There are many hotels in the centre of Bath, but it could be claimed, none quite as grand and spectacular as The Royal Crescent

A luxury detox retreat offering beautiful woodland walks, nature and fresh air alongside treatments, therapies and juice plans Escape to the countryside, discover soporific soothing in subterranean labyrinths or invigorate the mind with fire and ice treatments by the ocean… a new era of Zen is upon us London’s hippest new area is buzzing with shops and restaurants – it’s the perfect urban base for a city break with attitude

SHOPPING

85 98

STYLE EDITS

Travel souvenirs and gifts lovingly made for the discerning traveller

FOR YOUR JOURNEY

Latest books, travel gadgets and our British travel inspired crossword

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The Coach House at The Lammas, Gloucestershire

Find your special place

From quintessential cottages and country houses to quirky windmills and lighthouses.

A portfolio of over 550 luxury, self-catering holiday properties in the UK and Ireland. View the properties

ruralretreats.co.uk Call for our 2020 brochure

01386 897 959


Spring comes earlier on Tresco. As the year begins, dazzling blooms fill the Abbey Garden, the beaches and are quiet, there’s a sense of wellness in the clear sea air, and the sun sets just that little bit later...

Book now at TRESCO.CO.UK/ SPRING or call 01720 422849

As the island awakens, discover time to be on Tresco this spring. SPA & WELLBEING | ACCOMMODATION | ABBEY GARDEN | GALLERY | DINING


T R AV E L N E W S WHAT 'S NEW

Destinations | Renovations | Launches | Celebrations

N AT I O N ’ S FAVO U R I T E CO U N T RY HO U S E GA R DE N Yorkshire’s Newby Hall has been crowned 2019 Historic Houses Garden of the Year! newbyhall.com / historichouses.org

BRITISH TRAVEL

J O U R N A L

LOVES 2019

BRAND-NEW 300-SEAT BOAT TO BE LAUNCHED INTO WINDERMERE LAKE This multi-million pound investment by Windermere Lake Cruises will help visitors experience ‘The Lakes’ without having to rely on their cars to discover the full 10.5-miles, its surrounding countryside and attractions. The new vessel known as ‘Swift’ is the largest craft to be ‘launched’ onto Windermere for more than 80 years. There will be more stop-off points along the lake, and ‘Swift’ has even been designed to easily access piers such as private jetties at hotels including Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, which until now have been unable to accommodate large vessels. windermere-lakecruises.co.uk

T HE WO R L D ’ S F IR ST D I ST I L L ERY AT S E A Award-winning gin distiller, Salcombe Gin, and P&O Cruises, are launching the first distillery at sea with exclusive gins reflecting the adventurous spirit of innovative new ship, Iona pocruises.com

NEW LAUNCH

DON' T BOTTLE IT

AUCKLA ND CAST L E

The 900 year-old castle and former home of the Prince Bishops of Durham has re-opened this November as an exciting new visitor destination following a three year conservation project. aucklandproject.org

THE YAN AT BROADRAYNE

We love this cosy new 'bolthole' in The Lakes, a 17th century former farm, with seven beautiful bedrooms, rustic bistro and lounge - perfect for a little winter getaway. Priced from £100 a night. theyan.co.uk

CanO Water is a new recyclable alternative to plastic bottles in the form of an aluminium can. Priced £1 each.  canowater.com

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LHM_British Travel Journal Winter issue_ FINAL.pdf 1 31/10/2019 17:00:58

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

Visit a Victorian ‘House Beautiful’, the home of illustrator Linley Sambourne and his family, featuring an eclectic display of decorative objects and the artist’s collection of drawings and photographs.

K

Open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays 11am Conventional and Costumed Guided tours 2 - 5:30pm Public Open Access Evening and Private tours also available Under 18s go FREE! 18 Stafford Terrace London W8 7BH | www.rbkc.gov.uk/museums

Come and buy the very finest art and antiques at this annual event of distinction

18 STAFFORD TERRACE

THE SAMBOURNE FAMILY HOME

STEP BACK IN TIME TO 1899

T H E M AY FA I R

ANTIQUES & FINE ART FAIR THE LONDON MARRIOTT HOTEL GROSVENOR SQUARE, LONDON W1K 6JP

9 - 12 JANUARY 2020 Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

FOR AN INVITATION FOR THREE PLEASE EMAIL BTJ@ADFL.CO.UK

12.00 - 21.00 11.00 - 18.00 11.00 - 18.00 11.00 - 17.00

+ 4 4(0 )1797 252030 www.mayfairfair.com

THE

ANTIQUES DEALERS FAIR

LIMITED


C U LT U R A L A G E N D A HOT THIS SEASON

Exhibitions | Museums | Galleries | Shows

CHRISTMAS TWILIGHT EVENINGS 5–20 DECEMBER 2019 AT CHATSWORTH ENJOY LIVE CHRISTMAS MUSIC WITH A STRING TRIO AFTER THE HOUSE CLOSES TO THE PUBLIC AS YOU EXPLORE THE HOUSE DRESSED FOR CHRISTMAS WARMED BY A DELICIOUS MINCE PIE AND A GLASS OF WINE.  CHATSWORTH.ORG

Words | Melanie Abrams

à BritishTravelJournal.com

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TYRANNOSAURUS 24 JANUARY–04 MAY 2020 EDINBURGH’S NATIONAL MUSEUMS SCOTLAND TURNS INTO A JURASSIC PARK IN JANUARY AS THE TYRANNOSAURUS FAMILY STRIDES IN. ALONGSIDE A 13 METRE LONG SKELETON OF A T-REX IS THE EVEN OLDER DASPLETOSAURUS WITH ITS SHARPLY CLAWED THREE-TOED FEET. SKULLS, TEETH, HIP BONES AND MORE BRING PREHISTORY ALIVE.  NMS.AC.UK

WE'RE SEEING

EXHIBITIONS & FAIRS Steve McQueen 13 FEBRUARY–11 MAY 2020 After movie success directing 12 Years A Slave and last year’s Widows, Steve McQueen returns to his art roots at Tate Modern from February with his first major exhibition for 20 years. (He won the 1999 Turner Prize). His equally visceral installations include a claustrophic deep dive down a South African gold mine.  tate.org.uk

Cornwall as Crucible: Modernity and Internationalism in Mid-Century Britain 19 FEBRUARY–17 MAY 2020 Discover new sides of St Ives as the Cornish harbour town is the inspiration behind a group show at Birmingham’s Barber Institute of Fine Arts. Some artists depict typical boats or buoys, whereas others have a more abstract take.  barber.org.uk

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Kimono: Kiyoto to Catwalk 29 FEBRUARY–21 JUNE 2020 Kimonos have been having a cultural moment - ever since Kim Kardashian West chose the name for her new shapewear (renamed Skims, after a backlash). Now this Japanese garment, tied around the body with an obi (or sash), is the subject of a Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition. Historic pieces, film costumes, catwalk adaptations and more show the kimono’s significance since the 1660s.  vam.ac.uk

London Art Fair 22-26 JANUARY 2020 Discover the best galleries from seasoned and aspiring collectors around the world showcasing exceptional modern and contemporary art.  londonartfair.co.uk

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© M A R C AT K I N S / A R T F U N D 2 0 1 9

WE'RE DISCOVERING

ART FUND MUSEUM OF THE YEAR St Fagans National Museum of History Step back to the Iron Age at the St Fagans National Museum of History, winner of this year’s Art Fund Museum of the Year. Set in the grounds of the Elizabethan St Fagans Castle, near Cardiff, discover original buildings relocated from across Wales including an 18th century tollhouse, a pigsty and reconstructed Iron Age homes.  museum.wales/stfagans

FESTIVALS & SHOWS Words Weekend 06-08 DECEMBER 2019 Gateshead’s Sage hosts this first spoken word weekend. Girl with a Pearl Earring’s Tracy Chevalier and chick lit queen, Marion Keyes are among the writers in conversation, whilst Ben Okri reads his poetic work. Artists, culinary experts, television stars also line up for talks, panel discussions and more.  wordsweekend.com

LOVES 2019

Mayfair Antiques and Fine Art Fair 09-12 JANUARY 2020 Rummage through a treasure trove at this year’s Mayfair Antiques and Art Fair at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square. Among the plethora of paintings, hunt for an iconic piece of art deco furniture, say, or a stylish piece of art nouveau glass.  vervepoetryfestival.com

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 30 DECEMBER 2019-01 JANUARY 2020 Edinburgh is the place to be at New Year’s Eve. Celebrations last three days, starting with a torchlit procession from the Royal Mile to Holyrood Park. Mark Ronson’s pulsating beats kick off 2020 in Princes Street Gardens. Whilst Scottish bands keep the party going in Parliament Square.

Verve Poetry Festival 20-23 FEBRUARY 2020 The two year old poetry festival has grown up, moving to the Birmingham Hippodrome. The packed schedule includes poetry readings and performances. Whilst for budding talent, grab an open mic slot or a workshop place where poets advise on how to get published and more.

 edinburghshogmanay.com

 vervepoetryfestival.com

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LEICESTER COMEDY FESTIVAL 05-23 FEBRUARY 2020 The Leicester Comedy Festival is a juggernaut. Jo Brand, Griff Rhys Jones and even The Chase’s Paul Sinha are among the 1600 plus comedians taking to over 90 stages across Leicester and Leicestershire. Watch out for emerging stand-up talent like Kwame Asante, nominated for BBC comedy and other awards.

WE'RE LISTENING TO

NEW ALBUM Blue Eyed Soul by Simply Red and Cats We’re holding back the years to the 1980s, toe tapping to Simply Red’s catchy new album, Blue Eyed Soul - as we did for the band’s debut album, Picture Book. Whilst Cats the movie, released 20 December, is evoking another musical memory as we replay the original soundtrack. Or download new song, Beautiful Ghosts, with words written by Taylor Swift.  simplyred.com

© DEAN CHALKLEY

 comedy-festival.co.uk

WE'RE READING

Londonist Drinks: A Spirited Guide to London Libation This is a go-to guide to London’s drinking scene and the city’s rich drinking history – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. We love that there’s pub crawls soaked in history, the best alcohol-free restaurants serving delicious teas and soft drinks, where to seek out London’s best mocktail menu, to the best late-night venues that don’t revolve around drinking in pubs and bars. Priced £16.99 from AA Publishing

BritishTravelJournal.com

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WE'RE WATCHING

WE'RE BOOKING

MOVIE RELEASE

THEATRE

LITTLE WOMEN 26 DECEMBER 2019 DIRECTED BY GRETA GERWIG, WHO BAGGED AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR HER DEBUT MOVIE, LADY BIRD, THIS LATEST MOVIE ADAPTATION OF CLASSIC NOVEL, LITTLE WOMEN IS TIPPED FOR ANOTHER NOMINATION TOO. AWARD-WINNING AND RISING STARS PLAY THE AMBITIOUS MARCH SISTERS – SAOIRSE RONAN (JO), EMMA WATSON (MEG), FLORENCE PUGH (AMY) AND AUSTRALIA’S ELIZA SCANLEN (BETH). WHILST OSCAR MAGNET, MERYL STREEP PLAYS THEIR FEARSOME AUNT.

English National Ballet 70th Anniversary Gala 17–18 JANUARY 2020 The English National Ballet celebrates its 70th birthday this year, kicking off with a three performance gala. It’s a chance to see old and new favourites from George Balanchine’s classic, Apollo, to Akram Khan’s Dust, a haunting take on a First World War munitions factory.

 FACEBOOK.COM/

LITTLEWOMENOFFICIAL

 ballet.org.uk/70th-

anniversary-gala

Endgame 05 FEBRUARY–28 MARCH 2020. PREVIEWS FROM 27 JANUARY The Old Vic has a tantalising head to head as veteran actor, Alan Cummings joins Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe, in Samuel Beckett’s bleak comedy, Endgame. Set after a supposed apocalyptic disaster, Cummings plays blind Hamm, who is unable to stand whilst Radcliffe is his unable to sit servant, Clov.  oldvictheatre.com

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AUCTIONS

© R I C H A R D YO U N G

 fellows.co.uk

Bonhams Jewellery Sale 04 DECEMBER 2019 PREVIEWS FROM 01 DECEMBER Barbara Taylor Bradford has long been a Woman of Substance – with 32 novels selling over 90 million copies worldwide. Now ten of her statement jewels are going under Bonhams’ hammer in its winter jewellery sale along New Bond Street. Gems include an iconic Jean Schlumberger Bird on a Rock brooch for Tiffany & Co.

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE 18 FEBRUARY–21 MARCH 2020. PREVIEWS FROM 06 FEBRUARY EVERY LITTLE THING THE POLICE DID WAS MAGIC IN THEIR POST PUNK HEYDAY. NOW STING’S POLICE AND SOLO HITS FORM A NEW MUSICAL, MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE. OPENING AT LONDON’S PEACOCK THEATRE IN FEBRUARY, THE DANCE SPECTACLE OF THREE ADVENTUROUS SIBLINGS HEADS NORTH IN APRIL.  SADLERSWELLS.COM;

THELOWRY.COM; BIRMINGHAMHIPPODROME.COM

© JOHAN PERSSON

Fellows Fine Jewellery Sale 30 JANUARY 2020 This jewellery auction contains luxury pieces from renowned designers, names such as Cartier, Graff, and Van Cleef & Arpels - as well as pieces of historical interest, ranging from antiquity to modern day.

 bonhams.com

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10 of the best

FESTIVE

EXPERIENCES Words | Max Wooldridge

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MEET A REINDEER

MAKE A FURRY FRIEND OR TWO

The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd Visit the UK’s only wild reindeer herd in the Glenmore Forest Park with an experienced herder and pet and befriend the cute and cuddly reindeer- this unique experience will get you feeling festive in no time.

GLIDE INTO A WINTER OASIS

 cairngormreindeer.co.uk

ENJOY THE MAGIC OF SKATING AT ONE OF LONDON'S MOST BEAUTIFUL ICE RINKS Tower of London Ice Rink

Skate at Somerset House

Head to the Tower of London Ice Rink, where you can glide to the lights, set against the fortress wall, adding to the dramatic jaw dropping views of the fortress beside the River Thames. (16 November to 11 January)

Enjoy Fortnum & Mason shopping followed by ice-skating at London’s Somerset House (13 November to 5 January) as the historic venue’s elegant West Wing gets transformed into a Christmas Arcade.

 toweroflondonicerink.co.uk

 somersethouse.org.uk

BARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING

LEARN HOW TO HARNESS DOGS TO YOUR SLEIGH Dog Sledding at Eagle Brae Imagine whizzing through the beautiful Scottish Highlands on a crisp winter’s day pulled along by eight dogs, experiencing the thrill of dog-sledding at exhilarating speeds over a three mile long championship course! Available to log cabin guests.  eaglebrae.co.uk

MOVIE NIGHTS

HOME ALONE FOR THE HOLIDAYS The Luna Winter Cinema The Luna Winter Cinema returns this Christmas with a selection of classic Christmas films on the big screen at two special historic venues, Kensington Palace in London and Liverpool’s St George’s Hall. Settle back in comfy seats and enjoy festive favourites such as Home Alone, Love Actually, Elf and It's A Wonderful Life. Premium tickets at Kensington Palace events offer film fans a luxury sofa for two and butler service throughout (15 to 23 December).  thelunacinema.com

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HUSKY CHRISTMAS TO YOU

CREATE TRULY UNFORGETTABLE MEMORIES WITH THE CHILDREN The Husky Cave at Drusillas Park Visit real husky dogs in an ice cave at Drusillas Park zoo in East Sussex. Children will love meeting – and being photographed with - these cuddly canines (weekends from 17 Nov, daily from 13 December).  drusillas.co.uk

WALK OUT TO WINTER

A FESTIVE WELCOME AWAITS IN EDINBURGH Winter Windows Exhibition Head to Edinburgh for Winter Windows, a collection of colourful stained-glass window designs on show across the city. This year’s displays, the work of Edinburgh school pupils, focus on ‘A Festive Welcome’ theme (16 November to 26 December).  edinburghschristmas.com/whats-on

CANDLELIGHT TOURS, FESTIVE FOOD, DRINK AND MUSIC

HISTORIC HOUSES

JOY TO THE WORLD IN KENT

A Christmas Candlelight Tour

A National Trust Favourite

Discover Haddon Hall in Derbyshire by candlelight. Throughout December, the stately home hosts candlelight tours of its atmospheric halls and chambers under a myriad of candles. The early evening tours begin with mulled wine and warm mince pies.

Welcome in the festive season with Christmas carols in the outdoor medieval courtyard of National Trust property, Ightham Mote. Enjoy mulled wine and mince pies, and a sing-a-long with the choir (13 & 20 December, 7pm).

 haddonhall.co.uk

 nationaltrust.org.uk/ightham-mote

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© N AT I O N A L T R U S T I M A G E S / J O H N M I L L E R

STAY FOR CHRISTMAS AT HADDON HALL


BRITISH TRAVEL

J O U R N A L

LOVES 2019

TAKE A MASTERCLASS

PERFECT CHRISTMAS IN NORFOLK

ROMANTIC DINING

SPEND CHRISTMAS ON THE WATER

Become a Master at Festive Entertaining

Dine in the Glass Room restaurant

Learn how to temper chocolate and make chocolate praline rum truffles, and perfect festive canapés like smoked salmon lemon blinis, palmiers and mince pies with almond toppings (29 November to 1 December 2019) at the Hales Hall & The Great Barn Hotel.

Step onboard this beautiful restaurant and sail away for Christmas. With chic nautical interiors and an all-glass exterior offering magnificent views of the city. On Christmas Day there’s a five-course set menu, wine, bubbles, a festive band and Christmas present from Bateaux London themselves. But no matter which day you choose to cruise you will be treated to the exceptional views of iconic London landmarks including London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Tower of London. Sip on delicious drinks whilst being serenaded by peaceful live music, watching London unfold around you. Indulge in beautifully created traditional dishes, packed with flavour as busy city life drifts away. With set menus centred around 'in-season' ingredients - it’s British cooking at its finest. Sail from Embankment Pier for lunch or dinner (29 November-30 December). Prices from £49 per person.

 haleshall.com

 bateauxlondon.com

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THE G R E AT

OUTDO 22

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One of the simplest ways to stay fit is to get out and walk. Fortunately in Britain there are 2,500 miles of National Trails through some of the loveliest countryside in the world Words | Adrian Mourby

OORS

The hill fort of British Camp in the Malvern Hills, an Iron Age fort and extensive earthworks

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W

ALKING IS GOOD FOR US. When Bill Bryson made his epic journey along the Appalachian Trail, he was delighted by not only how much wisdom he gained, but by how much weight he lost. William Wordsworth used to tramp around the Lake District all day composing poems in his head before writing them down at home. Rousseau and Dickens both covered great distances on foot specifically in order to think. Our minds and bodies benefit from getting out into the countryside, sniffing the air and taking in the scenery. It’s only when the British try hiking in other countries that we realise how very blessed this nation is with its National Trails and rights of access for walkers. There are fifteen of these major routes established by the National Trust and they are sacrosanct. No one can build their new house across a trail or take pot shots at you for trespassing on their land. All these routes are clearly marked with their own signage or the National Trust acorn symbol so you won’t get lost. Best of all, following these paths means you get to visit some beautiful village pubs and stay at some lovely hotels too. Criss-crossing Britain’s National Trails there are smaller local routes. Take an Ordnance Survey map out into the British countryside and you’ll be amazed how often routes split off and subdivide, offering a seemingly infinite number of ways to get from A to B and back again. Seeing Britain on foot is the best way to appreciate the extraordinary geographical variety in this country. From broad river-valleys to dense, deciduous woodland, from hilltop forts to wild heathland to flatlands that run all the way to the sea, each British county looks so different from its neighbours. And by the end of the day you’ll be feeling a lot fitter too. à

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T H E R I D G E WAY

SOUTHERN ENGLAND The Ridgeway is a splendid 87-mile track from the standing stones of Avebury, Wiltshire to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire. In ancient times this track was a trading route that crossed England diagonally from the English Channel to the North Sea. Today it has the advantage for walkers of keeping mostly to high ground. This means that unlike many National Walks, you are up on the crests of hills much of the time, looking down on the patchwork wonder of England’s farmland. At one point you even pass Chequers, the country home of the British prime minister, where you can wave at the security cameras as they follow your progress. Other parts of the route take in the White Horse at Uffington, carved into the hillside during the Bronze Age, and a crossing of the Thames at Streatley.

Where to stay

The Greyhound Inn, Letcombe Regis The Greyhound at Letcombe Regis is a pleasant, welcoming brick-built Victorian pub very close to the Ridgeway. Walkers turn off at Segsbury Camp, one of a number of Iron Age earthwork forts that stand alongside the Ridgeway, and drop quickly down into the village. The Greyhound has eight comfortable bedrooms for travellers and serves excellent food.

I M A G E S © H I S T O R I C E N G L A N D / V I S I T B R I TA I N / R O D E D WA R D S / © V I S I T B R I TA I N /A N D R E W P I C K E T T

IMAGES Left-right: The White Horse at Uffington; The Greyhound Inn, Letcombe Regis; ncoming tide at Brancaster Staithe on the North Norfolk coast; The hill fort of British Camp in the Malvern Hills, an Iron Age fort and extensive earthworks; The Cottage in the Wood, Malvern.


THE NORFOLK C O A S T PAT H

EASTERN ENGLAND The Norfolk Coast Path is an unusual National Trail because it consists of two very different sections, one of which is not coastal at all. The route starts inland at Knettishall Heath just outside Thetford and then follows a Roman road (now known as “Peddars Way”) to the coast at Hunstanton before running east along the Norfolk coast to Cromer. The whole route is 93 miles - and mostly flat. At one point it passes through The Brecks, remote heathland which is said to be one of the driest places in England. It’s a gorse-covered landscape with just the occasional Scots pine and unusual fauna like the rare - and very shy - golden pheasant. The second half of the route enjoys views of the North Sea which are not to be missed even if the weather is bracing.

Where to stay

The Chequers Inn, Thornham, Stay at Chequers in Thornham, an inn that dates back to the sixteenth century. It has a traditional low-ceilinged bar, large open fireplace and eleven dog-friendly bedrooms under the eaves upstairs. Thornham is perfectly situated for exploring the beaches of Brancaster and Holkham, as well as bird reserves at Titchwell and Holme, and the royal estate at Sandringham.

M A LV E R N S H I L L S

MIDDLE ENGLAND The landscape that inspired Sir Edward Elgar runs for seven miles, north to south along the ridge of the Malvern Hills. The composer could see this volcanic hill-range from his family home in Worcester. He is buried just below the hills at St Wulstan’s Church. Unlike many of the great national trails, the Malvern Hills can be walked north to south in a day if you start early enough. There are a number of steep ascents but great views to be had overlooking the broad Severn Valley to the east and the rolling hills of Gloucestershire to the west. Half way along walkers pass the home of Sir Barry Jackson, founder of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre where Bernard Shaw was a frequent visitor. The country home of the Cadbury family of chocolate fame also lies nearby. Just below Iron Age British Camp, the Malvern Hills Hotel provides great lunchtime sustenance for walkers.

Where to stay

The Cottage in the Wood, Malvern The Cottage in the Wood was built as a dower house for the chatelaine of Blackmore Park. This 3,226-acre estate stood on the plain below the Malvern Hills but in 1921 the main house burned down. By 1919 the cottage up in the woods had already been turned into a restaurant. Today it offers 26 bedrooms - and has just been promoted from a Michelin Plate to a Michelin One Star. à

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IMAGES Left-right: The South Sands Beach; The South Sands Hotel; Boats moored in the marina in the harbour at Torquay in South Devon

JOIN A MIGHTY HIKE Experience some of the UK's most breathtaking scenery while also raising much-needed funds for Macmillan Cancer Support by joining in with Mighty Hikes - a series of one-day hiking marathons in various locations across the UK. The South Coast Mighty Hike takes place on Saturday 6 June 2020

THE SOU TH WEST C OAST PAT H

SOUTH WEST ENGLAND The South West Coast Path is the longest of Britain’s National Trails, a total of 630 miles of gorgeous sea views. It starts at South Haven in Dorset and runs west to Chesil Beach through Lyme Regis, of French Lieutenant’s Woman and Persuasion fame, and round Torquay, the fictional location of Fawlty Towers. The origins of the pathway lie in the coastguard’s need to access every mile of the southwest coast while patrolling for smugglers but since 1978 its purpose has been wholly recreational. Half-way along the southern stretch of the route, near Salcombe, lies the abandoned RAF airfield of Bolt Head. Today this is just grassland but during World War II Bolt Head helped protect shipping in the English Channel. In the middle of the former airfield there's a memorial to 17 RAF service personnel killed here. The pathway then continues on towards Cornwall, past Plymouth and through Polperro and Penzance, turning the corner at Land’s End and ending in Minehead.

Where to stay

The South Sands Hotel, South Devon Near Salcombe sits South Sands on its own beach. This is a bright, white New England clapboard-style hotel with the delicious smell of wood-smoke rising from the fireplace in its bar. At night you can hear the sea surging below the bedrooms as the tide comes in, and in the morning you wake up to stunning sea views. à 26

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RAISE MONEY


WALKING & ACTIVITY HOLIDAYS GREAT REASONS TO BOOK WITH HF HOLIDAYS

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WALK THIS WAY Try a guided trail or walk with HF Holidays, walking & activity specialist. Their 800 volunteer experienced leaders bring location to life with local knowledge and the best walking routes. UK prices start from £284 pp for 3 nights full board stay for more visit hfholidays.co.uk

T H E C O T S W O L D WAY

SOUTH WEST ENGLAND Starting in the Cotswold town of Chipping Camden, this 102-mile route passes through some glorious countryside with quite a few climbs. As well as skirting Cheltenham, Stroud and Old Sodbury, the walk takes in beauty spots like Hailes Abbey, Sudeley Castle and the site of the Civil War Battle of Lansdowne above Bath. Allow a week if you’re attempting the whole route. That said, in 2014 the entire 102 miles was run in 19 hours, 31 minutes by a member of the Swindon Harriers. One of the best sections of the route is actually at its start in Chipping Camden. From here the walk climbs up to Broadway Tower, a tall stone folly built in 1799 so that Lady Coventry would have something imposing to see on the horizon from her home, 22 miles away in Worcester. To get there, walkers pass through tranquil, sheep-cropped fields where in 1612 the British made the first attempt in modern times to revive the Olympic Games. To this day shin-kicking - a little known “Olympick” sport - is still played annually in the fields between Chipping Camden and Broadway.

Where to stay

Kings Hotel, Chipping Camden Stay at Kings Hotel, Chipping Camden, an amalgam of sixteenth and eighteenth-century townhouses overlooking the town’s main square and its mediaeval market hall. Kings has a reputation for fine-dining - and a haunted kitchen. Bedrooms are over the dining room or in an old cottage complex in the grounds. There is also a cocktail bar that mixes a mean martini.

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GUIDED TRAILS


IMAGES Left-right: Kings Hotel, Chipping Camden; Broadway Tower; Traditional Cotswold stone cottages and stone footbridge in the Cotswolds village of Lower Slaughter; UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrianís Wall; The Compleat Angler Hotel; The Thames Path.

H A D R I A N ’ S WA L L

NORTHERN ENGLAND One of the most rugged and rewarding walks in Britain is along Hadrian’s Wall, the 74-mile stone barrier that the Romans built to keep the Picts and Scots out of England. Created in 2003, the Hadrian’s Wall Path runs ten miles longer, stretching literally from coast to coast, starting at Barrow in Furness on the Cumbrian coast and ending at the aptly named Wallsend near Newcastle. Except when passing through a few towns and villages, visitors follow not just the route of the second-century AD wall, but the vallum itself which is the longest Roman remain in Europe. Some keen walkers aim to complete it over a long weekend, but there is a lot of up and down. The Romans, believing in straight lines, when they came to a cliff or hill just went straight up and over it. Better to aim for a five-day trek and enjoy some of the agreeable hotels and inns along the way.

Where to stay

The String of Horses, Great Corby The String of Horses is a traditional coaching inn six miles south of the wall near Carlisle. It dates from 1659 and is built around a large courtyard where tired steeds could be changed for fresh ones (hence the name “String of Horses”). Inside there is plenty of oak panelling and roaring fires in the evening. It’s everything you’d expect of a British coaching inn.

T H A M E S PAT H

EASTERN ENGLAND The Thames Path is unique among Britain’s National Trails because it follows the royal river for almost all of its 184 miles, from the Cotswold hills where it rises, down through London to the Thames Barrier in Greenwich. One of the loveliest sections of the path is from Oxford all the way down to Marlow. Do take the time to explore this lovely Buckinghamshire market town where the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and T. S. Eliot lived (albeit 100 years apart). Both men were residents of Marlow’s West Street. Other writers to enjoy the Thames Path here include Shelley’s wife Mary, who completed her novel Frankenstein while living in Marlow in 1817. Jerome K. Jerome is said to have written parts of his comic novel, Three Men in a Boat at the Two Brewers, a pub on the banks of the Thames here.

Where to stay

The Compleat Angler Hotel, Marlow Famed for its Indian cuisine, The Compleat Angler Hotel takes its name from Isaak Walton’s seventeenth-century classic about fishing. It stands next to a chain bridge constructed in 1832 that resembles the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge across the Danube in Budapest. The Bristol engineer, William Tierney Clark designed them both. u

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INTERVIEW WITH

PAU L O’NEILL

Cliveden House

A country estate that has stood the test of time like no other. Chantal Borciani uncovers the secrets of Cliveden House and meets new executive head chef, Paul O’Neill

S

ET IN 376 ACRES OF National Trust woodland, Cliveden House has one of the most colourful legacies of any British country house. The magnificent estate sets the stage for over 350 years of aristocratic dalliance, regal parties, political scandal and iconic moments in British history. Cliveden was built in 1666 by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, as a gift to his mistress, and since then has been home to three countesses, a Prince of Wales, two dukes, and the Viscounts Astor. Its roll-call of guests is just as illustrious; Queen Victoria is noted as a frequent guest during her reign, writer and playwright George Bernard Shaw visited, as did Winston Churchill, Henry Ford, Teddy Roosevelt, Mahatma Gandhi, and the Beatles – who filmed part of their movie Help! at Cliveden. Today, the elegant hotel is still favoured among the elite – the Duchess of Sussex famously spent the night before her wedding at the five-star luxury hotel – as did many of the star-studded guests of the Royal Wedding. At the turn of the year, Paul O’Neill took on the role of executive chef at Cliveden – a big task considering the calibre of guests rolling up the immaculate drive, but the revered chef

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is no stranger to the pinnacles of power. Paul started his career at Claridges, worked at Ashdown Park, won the Roux scholarship in 2003, and worked under Andre Garrett at Cliveden before taking over the helm. He says it’s impossible not to be inspired by the setting where he works. “When guests walk up that driveway it's an experience in itself and the food should reflect that sense of occasion. This place has such an amazing history.” The building itself most certainly reflects some fine British pedigree. The Grade 1 listed Italianate mansion that stands today was built in 1851 by the architect Charles Barry following two catastrophic fires that destroyed the original mansion and its replacement in 1795 and 1849. Charles Barry designed The Palace of Westminster and the Houses of Parliament and Cliveden is still considered to be one of his architectural masterpieces. Amid such grandeur, it would be easy to rest on your laurels but Paul’s attention to detail and culinary prowess has long-since been celebrated by the industry. “I like to strip things back to great ingredients, we work seasonally and let the produce sing.” The hotel welcomes guests for afternoon


tea, à la carte and seven-course tasting menus at the Cliveden Dining Room, relaxed dining at The Astor Grill and private dining in several opulent banquet rooms – should you wish to follow in the footsteps of Chaplin, Churchill, Lennon and Lawrence. “I want everyone who walks through the door to be wowed by whatever they eat, whether they’re coming for afternoon tea, a sandwich or a seven-course tasting menu,” explains Paul. Seasonality is key, he continues. “Spring is fantastic because it’s the start of all the great produce such as the new season asparagus and wild garlic but also I like autumn with the fabulous root vegetables and British ingredients.”

Life has come full circle for the chef, who visited Cliveden during his Roux Scholarship with legendary gourmand Albert Roux. “A week before the final of the Roux Scholarship we came here with Albert because this was his one of his first jobs when he came to England. Funnily enough, he used to polish silver in what is now my office.” Set up by brothers Michel and Albert Roux, and now run by their sons Alain Roux and Michel Roux Jr,

the Roux Scholarship is the premier competition for up and coming chefs in the UK. “I wouldn't be here today without it,” says Paul. “It was a once in a lifetime experience. Only last week Alain just phoned me up to see how things are going, it's really nice to have that family mentality and for them to be there to help you through anything you need.” Alongside Cliveden’s exquisite dining, guests staying overnight will à

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“Spring is fantastic because it’s the start of all the great produce such as the new season asparagus and wild garlic but also I like autumn with the fabulous root vegetables and British ingredients.” experience the full stately home hospitality. There are 48 flawless bedrooms and suites, including the famous Spring Cottage, which played a part in the Profumo affair that rocked British politics in the 1960s. In July 1961, Christine Keeler was staying at Spring Cottage and met John Profumo, Secretary of State for War, at a party by Cliveden’s outdoor swimming pool. This meeting and their subsequent affair brought down the Conservative Government in 1963. We stayed in the Mansion House, in the sensational newly refurbished Deluxe Suites, furnished in a beautifully traditional, classic style. Luxurious and generously proportioned, the suites feature high ceilings and are decorated with antiques and original works of art with a very spacious lounge area, with open fireplace. Sunlight flooded in through the double set of sash windows, offering spectacular open views of the estate. Complete with complimentary access to the Butler's Pantry (honesty bar), you can enjoy a drink out on the large private terrace (with a table and chairs for six) and simply relax and unwind in what feels like the grandest of settings. Each of the guestrooms and suites (all named after characters in its history) have been refurbished to the highest standard, some with private hot tubs, separate dressing rooms, and there are even some suites designed to accommodate small dogs. The glorious gardens and woodlands, including the grand ‘Fountain of Love’ and romantic ‘Water Garden’, are today maintained and owned by the National Trust, open for hotel guests to enjoy at leisure, and for day visitors to explore for a small entry charge. For those who wish to follow the footsteps of dukes, earls and royalty inside the Mansion House, there are also guided tours of the hotel, held on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, March-October.

Hidden behind the brick walls of the garden and enveloped in tumbling scented roses and lavender, you will discover a tranquil oasis, offering a real sense of well-being and relaxation - in Cliveden’s magnificent spa. There are seven treatment rooms, offering quintessentially British treatments, such as the Signature Oskia Glow 75 minute Facial, an exercise studio, state-of-the-art gym, sublime indoor pool with Jacuzzi and in the centre of it all, the infamous ‘Profumo’ pool - which is incredibly the last remaining listed outdoor pool in England. Time spent here is certainly not time wasted, and if it had not been for our dinner reservation, I’m not sure we would have left the outdoor hot tubs before the evening drew in. The impressive Great Hall, complete with antique suits of armour and a vast, and ornately-carved, 16th-century fireplace, is the ‘reception’ room for incoming guests – and also the perfect setting for an afternoon tea. The bar has found its home in the Library, facing south and overlooking the immaculately maintained 4-acre parterre. As you would expect, next to the bar is the Dining Room, exquisitely appointed and sharing the view across the 17th century terrace and down to the Thames valley, quite breathtaking on its own but absolutely brilliant when, as happens on most evenings, the resident red kites swoop and wheel, majestically, over the parterre. From every corner of the stately home, there are mesmeric views of the countryside, woodland, wildflowers or riverbeds and along each hallway room monikers give a hint of bygone days and historic moments; Gladstone, Kipling, Garibaldi, Asquith and so on. Yet there is only one place executive chef Paul wants to be, and that’s at the heart of Cliveden, in the kitchen with his brigade of 26 staff. “It's my domain and it's what I love,” he concludes. u

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Home to some of the most spectacular landscapes the country has to offer, the Cotswolds will take your breath away with its idyllic villages and beautiful lakes as well as the endless number of activities

and things to do all year round. With self-catering lakeside accommodation in the heart of the Cotswolds, you’ll enjoy everything this part of England has to offer. Many of our holiday properties are dog-friendly

whilst the Cotswold Water Park has activities for the entire family to enjoy including fishing, water sports, cycling, swimming or just relaxing in your private hot tub or at one of the onsite spas.

Book your holiday online at orionholidays.com or give us a call on 01285 861 839

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• Full continental or English breakfast • Dinner on one evening • Full use of our hotel facilities • Daily fitness classes • 1.5 hours use of our Thermal Suite each day

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2020


H E A LT H WHAT 'S NEW

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sort existed, Sarah created a private all-female Facebook group to not only for support, but to create a community that could come together and share each other’s stories and successes. Despite its humble beginnings steeped in a simple desire to bring together a group of females, equally passionate about the world of scuba and free diving, the Girls That Scuba Facebook page gained 100 members overnight, and five months later became the largest community of female divers. An active and aspirational community, Girls That Scuba is dedicated to encouraging, educating and introducing more and more women to scuba diving – while empowering those already addicted to find new ways to stay within the community.

THE SPREAD EAGLE LAUNCH A FOREST BATHING EXPERIENCE

You can now enjoy a morning of forest bathing, using the forest as a source of natural well being with teacher Skoog followed delicious lunch at The Spread Eagle hotel, Sussex. Three years onSwedish and the 600,000-strong, globalHelena group welcomes and celebrates everyone by from a female instructors, underwater photographers, tech divers, activists, marine conservationists and those who 'Forest bathing' simply means the practice of slowing catalogue and explore shipwrecks; through to the courageous, the curious and those who have neverdown and totally immersing yourself in the forest even put on a scuba mask – not only contributing to the sport, but making up 38% of the whole atmosphere. Inspired by the Japanese art of thanks Shinrin-yoku it draws on the therapeutic powers of nature industry; able now to come together as an ever-expanding international community to Sarah’s brainchild. to reduce stress and imparts to you with a profound sense of peace. hshotels.co.uk/spread-eagle Like so many before her, after booking her first Discovery Dive in 2009 Sarah was hooked, steadily Girls That Scuba Community

MO R N I N G BO O ST Wake up in colour and fight off the morning blues, with this newly launched Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB Lumie. Not only does it help you enjoy a better night's sleep, it has bluetooth speakers, a usb to charge your phone, and over 20 wake and sleep tracks from birdsong, woodlark to ping pong! lumie.com

moving up the scuba ranks and increasing her qualifications as she travelled the globe. Realising her passion could not only be turned into a way of life, but a rewarding career, Sarah went on to complete her Divemaster qualification in 2014 and secured a job in the ‘wreck capital of the world,’ Micronesia, where the need for an all-female community was immediately apparent.

WE LOVE

A WASTE F REE WO RLD

Girls That Scuba isn’t about ostracizing, nor being unable to share the industry with men, who currently account for 62% of the industry. The group is founded in the understanding that women have different needs and concerns when diving recreationally or professionally, some of which are more appropriately resolved by a fellow female. Girls That Scuba supports that need, empowers

Going plastic-free has been made easier thanks to ocean enthusiast and British Divemaster, Sarah Richard, whose one-stop sustainable online shop offers alternative products to help save our planet. girlsthatscuba.com awastefreeworld.com

WANDA WATER

Made from 100% bamboo charcoal, this London-based start-up offers Wanda Bamboo charcoal water filters to filter your tap water and provide great tasting water for a month! livewanda.com

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Britain’s Finest

VEGAN DINING As vegan food becomes not just popular, but mainstream, we’ve scoured the British Isles to find the best restaurants serving gourmet, plant-based food, in beautiful environments Words | Helen Holmes

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Three short sentences, coined in 2008 by food writer, Michael Pollan, neatly sum up the movement over the last decade towards eating more plantbased and natural food. We know it’s better for us, and we know it’s better for the planet – and as a consequence, eating food that has been messed around with as little as possible has become almost a given amongst people who really care about cooking and eating. From the championing of vegetables by chefs and writers like Yotam Ottolenghi and Anna Jones, to the creation of vegan menus at the fanciest of Michelin-starred restaurants, plantbased food is taking pride of place at our tables, whether we’re dining in or out. If you’re going vegan for your health, or cutting down on meat and dairy for environmental reasons, you won’t struggle to find amazing places to eat. Up and down the country, chefs are rethinking what good food looks like – and we’re not talking processed vegan junk food here, rather vegetables, as you have never seen them before.

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FARMACY

74 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 5SH From plant-based high tea, through to candlelit dinner, accompanied by organic wines and sugar-free cocktails, Farmacy is the Notting Hill home of all things vegan. It’s a light and welcoming space, and their commitment to all things natural is reflected in the aesthetic, with lots of greenery and wooden surfaces. Founder Camilla Fayed says, “At Farmacy, we know that eating can heal both us and our world; we see food as medicine and are hyper conscious of the impact our eating habits are having on the planet.” The restaurant has its own farm in Kent, and all ingredients are either grown there or sourced from local suppliers. “I strongly believe that chefs and restaurants of the future have a duty to coexist with nature and constantly challenge food conventions,” says Camilla. “The speed the plant-based movement is taking in London is very exciting – people’s appetite to learn has increased, and we want to understand where the food on our plate has come from and the wider impact this has on the environment.”

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around.” Their high-end food and elegant decor attract an eclectic clientele, “At any one time our diners could include a politician, a rock star, and a couple of students.” 17-18 Took’s Court, London, EC4A 1LB Originally opened in York 2004, and relocated Half of the menu at Vanilla Black is vegan, to London in 2008, Vanilla Black is possibly the and Andrew says that the movement towards country’s most upmarket vegetarian restaurant. vegan food has prompted them to explore new ingredients and processes. “A lot of people think Serving a gourmet vegetarian and vegan the whole world is going to become vegan. I menu, in an unassuming side street near personally don’t. What I do believe is that plantChancery Lane, owner Andrew Dargue is proud to be confounding people’s expectations based eating will enter the mainstream more heavily, and not be seen as a sub-standard choice.” of plant-based food. “When we first opened, vegetarian offerings consisted of pasta bake and vegetable curry, and vegetarian restaurants looked more like cafés. We wanted to flip that

VANILLA BLACK

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ANNA-LOKA

114 Albany Road, Cardiff, CF24 3RU Since opening in 2015, Anna-Loka has twice been voted best vegan or vegetarian restaurant in Wales, and was shortlisted for the best restaurant in all categories at the Welsh Restaurant Awards 2019. Owner Adam El Tagoury says, “We try to deliver exceptional vegan food without compromising on taste. Our mission here is showcase vegan food to everyone.”

HENDERSONS

Various locations, Edinburgh With four locations across Edinburgh, including a fully vegan restaurant on Thistle Street, Hendersons claims to have the UK’s longest-running vegetarian restaurant. Their first outlet opened in 1962, and today the restaurants serve cutting-edge vegetarian and vegan cuisine made with fresh, local and organic ingredients.

ACORN

2 North Parade Passage, Bath, BA1 1NX The first fully vegan restaurant in the UK to be included in the Michelin Guide, Acorn is based in one of the oldest buildings in town – quite a feat in historic Bath. The menu is inventive and sophisticated, “We make refined food from plants,” says owner and head chef Richard Buckley. “Top quality ingredients and providence are a primary concern for us. Once you have such wonderful vegetables, it makes sense to treat them as well as you can.” Acorn moved from being a vegetarian restaurant to a vegan one in 2016. “It became a moral responsibility to do as much as we could for the future of the planet,” says Richard. “The menu was already 95% vegan so it wasn’t very difficult to make the final push.”

WULF & LAMB

243 Pavilion Road, London, SW1X 0BP From a light and airy building in a Chelsea mews, just off Sloane Square, Wulf & Lamb serves up ‘fiercely kind food’. Head Chef Franco Casolin has created a 100% plant-based menu of familiar favourites with a vegan difference. Owner Rosanna von Zweigbergk is confident about the future of vegan food, “We think we’ll see more innovation within the plant-based food industry – it’s very exciting!” For when the weather warms up, the restaurant also has a palm tree-lined courtyard for outdoor dining – an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

THE ALLOTMENT

18/22 Lloyd Street, Manchester, M2 5WA This award-winning vegan restaurant in the heart of Manchester offers a ten course taster menu, as well as à la carte choices – all regularly updated to make the most of locally-sourced, seasonal produce.

TERRE À TERRE

71 East Street, Brighton, BN1 1HQ Now a Brighton institution, Terre à Terre was founded by globetrotting chefs Amanda Powley and Philip Taylor in 1993. Located in the historic lanes area of the city, the restaurant serves up playful and exotic vegan and vegetarian food.

BUBALA

65 Commercial Street, London, E1 6BD A relative newcomer, but already highly thought of, Bubala offers middle eastern vegetarian food – with plenty of vegan options – in a chic Shoreditch restaurant. u

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S TA R G A Z I N G

Dark is the night

As winter descends, and we instinctively hunker down in our homes, it’s easy to forget about the world outside. But one winter festival is determined to ensure we don’t forget to look out - and up. Emma Johnson explores the world of the Dark Skies… Words | Emma Johnson

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T

HE DARKER THE SKY, the more you can see; the blacker the night, the brighter the moon.” So starts the poem by Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan, commissioned in 2017 to write a poem that captured the essence of the Dark Skies Festival. His beautiful verse – entitled ‘Of Darker Skies and Lighter Thinking’ - speaks to a culture of busy people, too caught up in their own lives to see the beauty around them. McMillan likens the darkening skies to a map of the heavens, the wonders of time and space stretching out for us to see, and reminds us all to take a moment to remember how special the natural world can be. Now entering its sixth year, the Dark Skies Festival encourages people to look up, showing visitors that you don’t have to travel far to find a spot where you can look up at a pristine sky and stand in awe of the amazing array of stars shining above you. Organised in conjunction with the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Park, with Northumberland and South Downs joining in later years, the festival started in 2015 as way to encourage people, and children, to spend more time outdoors during the February half-term. The festival has grown exponentially each year since, with over 100 events and more than 7000 people attending everything from after-dark runs, talks and crafting sessions to the 50-mile off-road cycling race, True Grit, through the North York Moors, as well as starlight safaris and fine-dining events. Recent years have seen several other National Parks added to the Dark Skies programme, while an army of volunteers and businesses are now involved with staging events throughout autumn and winter. As areas of designated low light pollution, National Parks are some of the best places for spotting constellations, shooting stars and other cosmic happenings. In an urban area you will be lucky to see 20 stars on a clear night whereas in an area of low light pollution you could see as many as 2,000. This time of year is also the best for stargazing. Longer nights and clear skies, coupled with weaker light from the moon during autumn, and winter, means the inky black skies reflect even the smallest stars. In February 2020, the festival will also coincide with a new moon meaning the possibility for extraordinary lunar views. à

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There are some 88 constellations of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, as well as planets, to be spotted during this time. Richard Darn, an astronomer and Dark Skies Hunter with the festival explains that this time of year is dominated by the winter constellation of Orion, which is unmistakable with its hourglass shape. “In Greek mythology this is Orion the hunter,” explains Darn. “The top lefthand star called Betelgeuse looks orange to the naked eye and is a giant star near the end of its life. The three central belt stars are particularly distinctive and may - or may not! - have been the template for the line-up of the pyramids at Giza.” Darn also reminds us to look out for the wonderful sphinxlike profile of Leo toward the end of the winter season. While there are numerous great places for stargazing across each of the four protected landscapes involved in the festival, some spots deserve particular mention, including those which have been designated as Dark Sky Discovery Sites where it’s possible to see the Milky Way under the naked eye (see our side bar for more info) and are well-worth a special visit on a clear night.

SHINING BRIGHT

One of the best ways to enjoy the Dark Skies is with a stargazing safari in the company of an astronomer, in places as diverse as Malham Cove or outside Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in Britain. In the North York Moors, popular astronomy sessions are held deep in Dalby Forest, on a coastal cliff top or in the grounds of Castle 42

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“You can now do anything from night zip-wiring at Go Ape in Dalby Forest to visiting the pop-up planetarium on Hidden Horizons tours throughout the dark sky season. ”

Howard, with the stately home acting as a backdrop. In addition, you could also go canoeing on Scar House Reservoir in Nidderdale under a canopy of stars or try a yoga and mindfulness session from Adventures for the Soul at Great Fryup Dale in the North York Moors with a dark skies walk afterwards in the company of an astronomer. In the South Downs, open evenings at various observatories allow you to see the stars, planets and moon through some of the country’s largest, and most powerful telescopes, while you can also take guided tours of the celestial wonders which are on view during the winter months, including Taurus and the Pleiades. Other events include a hike under the stars up to Beacon Hill and stargazing evenings in Lewes, Petersfield, Arundel and Midhurst, while on 19 February you can enjoy a ‘star party’ on Brighton Seafront, or join the wildlife in Petworth Deer Park for an evening of moongazing with the astronomer John Mason from the South Downs planetarium. As the festival has grown, many businesses have been inspired to get involved too, meaning you can now do anything from night zip-wiring at Go Ape in Dalby Forest to visiting the pop-up planetarium on Hidden Horizons tours throughout the dark sky season. There are also several popular night photography courses; Gaze and Graze evenings at local eateries and destinations, which match astronomy with fine-dining and a backdrop of stars, as well as nocturnal wildlife sessions and opportunities to see how artists interpret the dark skies.

I M A G E S © P A U L H O W E L L / V I S I T B R I TA I N / K R I S W I L L I A M S

THE WINTER SKY


TINY STARGAZERS

Family astronomy is a big focus for the entire event, and there are several theatrical and scientific displays that children will love. Star Seekers in the South Downs is a unique theatre experience for children, while the Little Star show is a starlit display designed to delight babies aged 6 – 18 months. In Yorkshire, early evening events include several sessions with experts who can point out some of the most well-known constellations, while children can also join a ghost walk through the atmospheric fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay, accompany rangers and guides out into the countryside to watch nocturnal wildlife or head to the National Centre for Birds of Prey near Helmsley to watch owls in flight. There is a wealth of natural wonders to explore this winter, with many events entirely free and many others that will expand your mind and open your eyes a world above our heads, showing how easy it is to enjoy the cosmos without leaving planet Earth. As Ian McMillan reminds us: “The inky sea is waiting; the night boat sets sail.”u

SOAK UP THE ATMOSPHERE

GOOD TO KNOW

STAY WITH A LOCAL NIGHT SKY ENTHUSIAST

DARK SKY DISCOVERY SITES

Embrace the beauty of the skies > Cawthorne House, Pickering This lovely B&B will take guests into Dalby Forest for a stargazing session armed with a powerful telescope, flask of hot chocolate, blankets and deck chairs. £180 for a two night stay per couple.

> Carr House Farm, Ampleforth Stargazing fans, Anna and Jack will gladly provide guests with chairs, stargazing guides, red light torches, blankets and bacon sandwiches if they want to spend an evening outside. £100 per room per night based on two people sharing.

Where to see the Milky Way > National Park Centres: Danby and Sutton Bank; or Hawes and Malham > Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society Observatories in Dalby Forest > Buckden National Park Car Park > Tan Hill Inn, Yorkshire Dales > Nidderdale: Toft Gate Lime Kiln; Scar House; Fewston; or Thruscross Reservoir > Hampshire: Winchester Science Centre & Planetarium; Old Winchester Hill Nature Reserve; Butser Hill; Queen Elizabeth Country Park > Sussex: Iping Common; Devil's Dyke; Ditchling Beacon; Birling Gap

U P C O M I N G D A R K S K I E S F E S T I VA L S

> SOUTH DOWNS 7 - 2 3 F E B R U A RY 2 0 2 0 > N O RT H YO R K M O O R S A N D YO R K S H I R E D A L E S 1 4 F E B R U A RY T O 1 M A R C H 2 0 2 0  DA R K S K I E S N AT I O N A L PA R K S .O RG .U K

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THE HOUSE Kate built Fashion superstar Kate Moss has taken this luxury Cotswolds design-meets-country-living concept to a whole new level, Chairman John Hitchcox shows Emma Johnson around

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OHN HITCHCOX is everything you’d expect from someone who counts Simon le Bon, Kate Moss and Jade Jagger amongst his friends – charismatic, mischievous, very cool – but also down-to-earth and refreshingly pragmatic. He came up with the concept for The Lakes, he tells me, after finding himself trudging around Regent’s Park, two young children in tow, thinking, ‘There has to be something better than this’. “I wrestled with where I wanted to raise my children. I was a total urbanite, but I wanted the kids to be brought up in the country – somewhere they could play outside, explore woodland, go sailing. For years I had a real jostle about where we should live.” The answer, it seems, was The Lakes – a place where parents could come with their children, at weekends and during school holidays, and pick up as much country living as they could, while enjoying the benefits of a life in London too. “The idea was to create somewhere you could come and get all the luxuries you were used to in a hotel or an urban environment, but in the country.” 44

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Hitchcox found the site in 1999, and in 2008, after numerous years of planning machinations, work began. It was no small venture. Over the past decade the team have taken what was previously a barren 850-acre gravel pit expanse to a beautiful secluded setting, complete with a wealth of natural wildlife and stunning scenery. There are today 160 luxury, contemporary, designer 4, 5 and 6 bedroom lakeside and woodland homes, and managed 3 bedroom luxury apartments, (their newest investment opportunities) nestled amongst over 500,000 indigenous trees. There's also the Orchard Spa with a glorious 17-metre heated pool, Elsa’s - a relaxed and informal restaurant - not to mention numerous on-site activites including paddle boarding, zip wiring, yoga, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and bike hire. A little bit reminiscent of parts of north America, or even the Scandinavian forests, The Lakes feels very unique. Plots are available to purchase both on the lakes and woodland areas - and houses are designed from a range of layouts and à


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styles, making each house bespoke. “Our only restriction is to make sure each house blends in with the scenery, so it feels harmonious,” Hitchcox explains. “And we insist on using entirely local materials – larch from local farms, Cotswold stone, for instance.” Even though the development feels like it has naturally evolved into its landscape, it is clear that the level of planning and precision is secondto-none. And, what is perhaps most unique about The Lakes is the way that a community has sprung up amongst residents here. Saturday evenings during the summer sees a communal barbeque in the woods, where everyone pitches in, while the well-attended spa provides a space for parents and children to relax or keep fit and woodland activities educate and entertain children during the holidays. “Everyone feels like they’re part of things here. We wanted to build a community and have residents be part of those things they care about. And that’s what we’ve got here – a group of likeminded 46

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people, most are from London, but with an international flair. Now our residents all know each other, and they appreciate that – they know what it’s like to be in a new country and start again with the social life.” And it’s not only their social life that is taken care of. Because of the nature of the development, maintenance issues are dealt with centrally and the Lakes’ concierge service means you can organise a wealth of activities and services from your own home, including having your fridge pre-stocked before you arrive and your fire lit. “I suppose it’s almost the opposite of the country pile,” says Hitchcox. “You don’t have maintenance and management issues, your house is looked after when you’re away and when you arrive the place is ready for you.” This concept of a country mansion without the maintenance headache is more pertinent than ever. With water on all sides, and hundreds of trees surrounding each acre plot, these woodland houses offer a real sense of secluded luxury and boast an enviable amount of space to


EDITOR'S HIGHLIGHTS

STAYING AT THE LAKES BY YOO

boot. “With the lake houses, we built them on the water, so your garden is the lake. Here we’ve got an acre of land to play with in each plot. I’m even thinking about building treehouses…” smiles Hitchcox. As we talk, sitting in the impressive double-height sitting room, looking out to the garden and the lake beyond, the autumn rain is lashing against the floor-to-ceiling windows. How has Hitchcox and his team rationalised this indoor/outdoor living that their designs seem to encapsulate, with the inevitable British drizzle? “There are little details in the house throughout that lend themselves to that,” he says, jumping up and taking me into a smaller, second sitting room with glass walls on two sides. “These open completely, so the whole room changes and you’ve got that real sense of being outside, even if the weather means you’re inside. Suddenly the entire house becomes completely open – and you start to live outside more.” It is clear that every detail has been considered here. Even if it was Kate Moss’s first foray into interior design, it’s a confident one, with real splashes of inspiration: a painted peacock darts across a skirting board, a vintage record player encourages you to stop and sit, and a striking image of Moss herself, dressed in a figure-squeezing

gold lamé suit dominates the main landing. It could feel affected, out-ofplace in this quiet Cotswolds enclave, and yet, it fits somehow, despite its starry aspirations. “Well, Kate lives down here,” says Hitchcox. “And she seems to know what works. When we first started talking about this, I walked around her house and said, ‘This place is really cool, you should design something for us’. We talked about several different projects, and then she came down here one day, and saw The Barnhouse and loved it – she said it reminded her of Johnny Cash’s woodland house. It just seemed like a great place to start. It wasn’t too big, a nice intro into what Kate could do.” And, by all accounts, this new direction into interiors has been a successful one for the model, and the team at The Lakes. As a local girl, it’s clear Kate Moss has an eye for the Cotswold style. “She’s a perfect fit really – local influence with an international outlook. And she’s done a brilliant job. It offers something completely different from the lake houses, and I’m thrilled with it… I want to move in,” finishes Hitchcox. u Barnhouse sleeps 10 with 5-bedrooms, 7-bathrooms and dining space for 12 guests. Minimum 3 night stay priced from £1,000.00 per night, thelakesbyyoo.com

DON'T MISS Breakfast and pizza from Elsa’s

Enjoy smashed avocado and poached egg for breakfast and wood fired pizzas (takeaway options also available) Fri/Sat evenings in this cosy, cute tipi restaurant.

Kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddle boarding on the lake

Take to the water and you’ll see the wildlife and unique Cotswold reed beds up close. A leisurely paddle will take you past swans, tufted ducks, water voles, heron and more.

Zipwiring over the lake

There’s little to rival the excitement of launching yourself into the abyss suspended on a single steel wire!

Take time out at Orchard Spa

With treatments by Daylesford and Oskia, a 17-metre indoor pool, gym, steam room and sauna, it rivals any in the Capital.

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MEET

the M A K E R

THE POTTER’S WHEEL

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Emma Johnson visits the ancient village of Muchelney in Somerset, to meet master potter John Leach, who has made his home and his life in this beautiful place for over 50 years…

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ESTLED AMONGST the water-flanked lanes and thatched-roofs of the Somerset Levels, is the village of Muchelney, home to the John Leach Pottery. This tranquil place, with its ancient abbey and 15th century church, has a rich heritage and a wealth of beautiful houses and quaint cottages, surrounded on all sides by the expansive green fields and watery stretches of the Levels - but it is the peace of the village which master potter John Leach loves most. “It’s a silence you can almost hear,” he says. Muchelney has been home to John Leach Pottery since 1965, when John and his wife Lizzie decided to turn John’s family background in pottery into a business. Both John’s father and grandfather (renowned potter Bernard Leach) were potters, and John was raised on the tradition of high-quality hand-thrown ceramics, made with love and care in a small family pottery. The pottery produces a series of kitchen pots and serving dishes, as well as cups, jugs, plates and storage jars. Made using local clays, the honey-coloured pieces are wood-fired in a three-chambered kiln to 1320°C, giving them a distinctive 'toasted' finish. “The flames in the kiln impinge on the pot's surface marking it uniquely and unpredictably,” explains John. 50

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“My pieces are all about understanding line and form – a tactile feast for the eyes as well as the hand”

Leach’s aesthetic is for tactile, robust pieces, with an earthy, simplistic feel and a rawness to them that connects to both the landscape around and the heritage which inspired them. The creation of the pots is based on using natural substances, and knowing how they can be worked to create items of beauty and functionality. “My pieces are all about understanding line and form – a tactile feast for the eyes as well as the hand,” explains John. Leach pots are not decorated or painted during the process of making them, as John and his team feel that the natural marks from firing create a unique design that speaks directly to the process of their creation. “Our pots are mainly 'decorated' or scorched by the long snaking flames in the kiln, each pot is always unique with its own special qualities,” says John. The present three-chambered kiln was designed by John Leach following a traditional Japanese climbing kiln and was built by the pottery team in 1998. It takes about 37 hours to fire the kiln at Muchelney, while three extra helpers take shifts to stoke the kiln with offcut wood and monitor the temperature. The pottery does around six firings a year and occasionally has public kiln openings. Working with John are two potters, both of whom have been with John for decades. Nick Rees began potting in 1972 at the pottery in Muchelney and has been with John Leach ever since. Now his daughter Rachel also works there, alongside John’s son, Benedict. Mark Melbourne completes the team, having also trained at John Leach pottery before working in West Africa as a VSO volunteer, building kilns, training and making pots. It’s clear that building this team has


been as important for John as building the pottery or the kiln itself. “Our pots are made by happy people who care, fashioned by hand on the potter's wheel,” he says. John’s range of stoneware pots has now been in constant production for over 50 years, but, he says, his great joy is in creating one-off designs. Some are fired in sawdust-filled saggars, producing exciting black pots with unpredictable white markings – his ‘Black Mood’ pots while others explore his fascination with antique leather bottles, African and early English and American country pottery. These collectable, signed pots are available in the John Leach Gallery, adjacent to the pottery, which opened in 2003. The beautiful gallery is a light airy space, run by John’s wife, and its exhibitions feature the work of local and internationally-renowned potters. Inspiration for John’s signature pieces comes from a variety of sources – travel to Africa, local museum pieces

“Working with John are two potters, both of whom have been with John for decades. Nick began potting in 1972 at the pottery in Muchelney and has been with John Leach ever since”

and the traditional skills of fellow potters from all over the world. But, mostly, explains John, he is inspired by what’s around him, including John's Pond - a County Wildlife Site (CWS) which John dug in 1988, and is home to a wealth of local wildlife, including hundreds of dragonflies. Stretching over nine acres and flanked by 4,000 broad-leafed trees native to the area, the pond is an essential part of the fabric of the village, and a beautiful secluded place to find inspiration and solitude. And John continues to work on restoring and developing the pottery too. In 2008, following a major restoration of two Grade II Listed buildings - the pottery cottage and the old pottery - the John Leach Pottery re-opened, and today, the pottery produces all its pieces on site, which are then sold in the adjacent gallery and shop. Bringing everything together has been very important to John, reinforcing the important identity of this very British, very local business. At the centre of this, of course, are the pots – beautifully simple, woodfired stoneware, individually handcrafted in classic and friendly, unpretentious forms. For John they are as much a part of his family business as his wife, children and fellow potters, and to hear him talk lovingly about his stoneware is both endearing and inspiring. In a world where our consumption of ‘things’ has reached an all-time high, craftsmen like John remind us how special it is to invest in something that you can keep for decades and which will become part of the fabric of family life. “These pots are reaching out to be used,” he says. “And each one has a personality all of its own. Warm and toasted by the flame, we like to think that the pots become friends for life.” u

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ELLENBOROUGH PA R K This 15th-century manor house is the perfect setting for those looking for an idyllic way to holiday and feel at home this Christmas Words | Jessica Way

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ITUATED IN THE MIDST of 90 private acres of idyllic Cotswold countryside, this indulgent 15th-century retreat, with lavish bedrooms, a serene spa, fine dining, and so much more, makes celebrating Christmas in the Cotswolds a wonderful and unforgettable holiday treat. There’s so much to do both in and around the hotel, you can bring all the family with you, and you don’t need to worry about your four-legged friends either - as there are dog-friendly rooms throughout the hotel, and dogs are encouraged to join in festive family fun and enjoy their own five-star experience! Wake up to views over nearby Cheltenham Racecourse in one of their 61 individually designed bedrooms and suites, each named after successful

“Once home to the Earl of Ellenborough, steeped in history, The Great Hall, built in 1485 is spectacular with its oak beams, stone fireplaces and intricate stained glass”

racehorses. Enjoy a Christmas morning swim in the hotel’s outdoor heated pool, or grab a pair of Dubarry boots or Hunter wellies and venture out to explore the beautiful rolling hills of the Cotswold countryside. On returning, cosy up by the roaring fire in the Great Hall to open gifts or battle it out over a board game or celebrate with a glass of champagne in the hotel’s own country pub, The Horse Box. Once home to the Earl of Ellenborough, steeped in history, The Great Hall, built in 1485 is spectacular with its oak beams, stone fireplaces and intricate stained glass. Don’t miss the cosy snugs and spiral staircases leading up to private balconies above The Great Hall, perfect for nestling down and relaxing after a festive feast. à

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Afternoon tea is an essential part of the Christmas experience at Ellenborough Park; with a festive twist of warm mulled and spiced seasonal sweet treats - and you don’t get better than the truly unique and spectacular ambience of The Great Hall for crunching into your cream cheese and cucumber sandwich. For a more laid back, casual dining experience The Horse Box offers a great option - especially for families with younger children. Back to exploring. For the more adventurous, guests can ride through some of the 90 acres on a sled led by a pack of Siberian huskies, before warming themselves up by toasting marshmallows over a campfire - and if really lucky by cuddling husky pups. Take your Christmas decorations to another level this year by creating a bespoke wreath. Ellenborough Park is running wreath-making masterclasses in late November and early December with local florist Donna Beaver, helping you create a wonderful wreath to display proudly at home. Grab a tipple from their stunning blue bar that boasts an impressive cocktail menu and reflect on the day with a mulled wine or glass of 54

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Ellenborough Park gin and tonic, carefully curated by the nearby Cotswold Distillery. For those looking for more traditional winter experiences, various regal pursuits including archery, clay pigeon shooting, Land Rover off-roading or duck herding are also available on request. If you can bring yourself to leave the estate, Ellenborough Park is just a short hop from the centre of Cheltenham where you can enjoy a glass of warming Glühwein while the children ogle the goodies on the stalls at the Christmas Market on the Promenade. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to the panto, so you could make it even more special with tickets to the Everyman Theatre to watch Jack & the Beanstalk or A Christmas Carol. No cooking, no housework, at Ellenborough Park you can spend all of your time as the Lord or Lady of the manor, revelling in 500 years of history admiring the historic architecture and magnificent backdrop. Now that's something worth adding to your Christmas wish-list u Luxurious 3-day packages from £659 per room per night or for exclusive, unlimited access prices starting from £12,000, ellenboroughpark.com


EXPERIENCE MORE...

...COUNTRY ESCAPES We’ve selected and approved 50 of the best independently owned luxury hotels and spas around Britain for you to enjoy. Call FREEPHONE 0808 250 3121 to request your free directory or visit prideofbritainhotels.com

T H E A R T O F G R E AT H O S P I TA L I T Y


LEEDS CASTLE Leeds Castle, a fairytale estate in Kent, brings its 900th birthday celebrations to a grand finale with some magical plans for the festive season Words | Emma O’Reilly

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HEY LIKE THEIR CHRISTMASES quirky at Leeds Castle, which claims six medieval queens and King Henry VIII amongst its former owners. Not for them the usual tired Santa’s Grotto and blingy fairy lights. The aim is for something unusual, enchanting and ethereal…which they are pulling off with aplomb in this, their 900th birthday year. The theme is ‘Magical Birds and Festive Feathers’, playing on the castle’s long connection with all things ornithological. The Leeds Castle crest features two sleek black swans and, even before arriving at the castle itself, beautifully sited on two islands in a lake, guests wind through glorious gardens where peacocks strut past waters teeming with ducks, egrets, geese… and some of the aforementioned black swans. Kirsty Harris , designer of this year’s Christmas decorations, picked up on the theme early on when she visited. She has let her imagination run wild

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“It’s all rather enchanting – and adds to the already bewitching atmosphere over the festive season, when lights twinkle and fires are lit all over the castle.”

to create a winter wonderland which begins in the Queen’s Bedroom – where visitors enter a forest full of owls, escaped from their cages to fly free in the trees. There’s a cheeky robin on a spade in a glittering snow-covered garden in the Queen’s Bathroom and four and twenty blackbirds bursting out of a pie on the banqueting table in the Queen’s Gallery. Kirsty’s favourite design is a magpies’ nest in Lady Baillie’s Bathroom, filled with snatched gems and trinkets, befitting the former royal location. ‘I want to involve the public as much as possible, too’, says Kirsty, ‘so I have made some of the pieces interactive. One of the installations has winged doves fluttering from a Christmas present. Further paper doves are provided, on which visitors can write their Christmas wishes and hang them on any one of the four Christmas trees in the Seminar Room. There are hats and feather boas to try on in Lady Baillie’s Bathroom, too. Some of the decorations are more subtle and sculptural, such as the intertwined black and white


swans atop the giant tree beside the Grand Staircase or abstract, like the cluster of Christmas cards that swoop from a mantelpiece into the shape of a Christmas tree in the Catherine of Aragon room. It’s all rather enchanting – and adds to the already bewitching atmosphere over the festive season, when lights twinkle and fires are lit all over the castle. Magical Birds and Festive Feathers is on from 23 November until 1 January, and is the culmination of events that have been taking place all year long for this special birthday. Leeds Castle has had many transformations during its long history, beginning life as a Norman Stronghold before becoming a royal castle, then a magnificent Tudor Palace, greatly embellished by King Henry VIII for his Queen, Catherine of Aragon. The castle then moved into private ownership (gifted by the king) and has lived through Jacobean and Georgian incarnations.

The timelines are displayed for visitors but the public rooms mainly concentrate on the Medieval and Tudor periods – the Henry VIII Banqueting Hall is particularly impressive - as well as the time of heiress and socialite Lady Olive Baillie, who lived here from the 1920s. She was famed for her extravagant house parties when royalty, politicians, film stars and authors would regularly descend, Charlie Chaplin and Noel Coward amongst them. She certainly knew how to live in style and luxury, judging by her bathroom with its underfloor heating and walls lined with Russian onyx. Apparently she also had England’s first wave machine in the garden! What is special about Leeds Castle is that it feels like a living house, rather than a cold ‘showpiece’ castle. Indeed, visitors still stay for occasional house parties, weddings and the like. We can’t imagine a more wonderful place to celebrate! u Rooms start from £90 per night, leeds-castle.com

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THYME MANOR

Nestled amidst the green of the Cotswold landscape, in one of the area's beautiful villages, the Thyme Manor estate is a country retreat like no other Words | Emma Johnson

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AKING UP AT THYME is like waking up in another time altogether. The simple quiet of birdsong, the sound of the gardener walking past on the crunching gravel, the smell of blooming roses through the bedroom window - if it sounds like a bucolic idyll, that’s because it is. Opened in 2002 as a cookery school, housed in a beautiful tithe barn next door to owner Caryn Hibbert’s home, Southrop Manor, Thyme is now described as ‘a village within a village’ – a collection of houses, barns, lodges, gardens, a pub and a restaurant, that has slowly, and sensitively, evolved over the years. Following the opening of the cookery school, Hibbert bought the village pub, The Swan, before

“The simple quiet of birdsong... the smell of blooming roses through the bedroom window - if it sounds like a bucolic idyll, that’s because it is.”

adding several cottages, an old farmhouse and the old village rectory to Thyme’s portfolio – creating up to 31 bedrooms and several self-contained cottages for accommodation. Next door to the original tithe barn, which still houses the cookery school and also functions as an event space for intimate weddings or parties, another farm outbuilding has been loving restored, creating The Ox Barn, a new restaurant for Thyme which opened earlier this year. Elsewhere there is the imaginatively titled The Baa – serving classic cocktails with views across the courtyard and olive garden beyond. All this is set within a 150-acre working farm, housing hens, quail, geese and rare-breed sheep and pigs, and extensive gardens managed by celebrity à

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gardener Bunny Guiness, which all provide produce and provisions for the kitchens, pub restaurant and cookery school, as well as flowers and cuttings for Thyme’s beautiful interior spaces, created with Hibbert by interior designer Roger Hall. Hibbert and Hall’s expert eye is everywhere at Thyme. Décor is country chic, but bold and creative too – colour, prints, antiques, decorative mirrors and elaborate chandeliers meet wellington boots, reclaimed wooden tables, vintage vases and potted herbs. We stayed in the old rectory, renamed The Lodge, a beautiful, warm stone house with eight gorgeous bedrooms, shaded by the striking Cedar of Lebanon tree on the lawn in front, from which one of the most beautiful bedrooms here takes its name. The large Cedar of Lebanon room features a stunning French bateau bath, from which you can indulgently soak away an afternoon, gazing out at the countryside and perfect lawns beyond. Further down the garden is the Meadow Spa – which opened last 60

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year – and is truly reflective of its natural, countryside surrounds. Encompassing an old greenhouse and a couple of smaller stone cottages, and painted in a soothing grass green, the spa features the most beautiful outdoor pool filled with natural spring water, a hot house, a yoga studio and treatments by probiotic British skincare brand Aurelia. Staying here, it is easy to completely relax. The quiet surrounds of the village and the field beyond seem to cloak Thyme in a permanent state of calm – time ceases to matter, the world weariness seeps away, aches and pains are soothed and rested, your mind is still and contented. It is a rare thing to find a place that can do all these things – but Thyme does it by being entirely a product of its surroundings. Created and designed with nature in mind, it brings the best of the countryside into every part of its day to day life, from food to flora - a unique haven in a magical place u Rooms start from £250 per night, thyme.co.uk


Author Contribution

LIGHTHOUSE TRAIL Have you ever dreamed of travelling the British coastline but not known where to begin? Sarah Kerr, author of The British Lighthouse Trail, shows us how to do so – one lighthouse at a time

The British Lighthouse Trail, a regional guide by Sarah Kerr. Priced £18.99 whittles publishing.com

The only book of its kind to provide a comprehensive listing of all lighthouses in Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands

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WALES

South Stack, Anglesey Surely one of Anglesey’s most popular day trips has to be South Stack lighthouse. Housing a Visitor Centre with guided tours of the tower, the lighthouse is located on a small island linked by a bridge. The views from the top of the 28-metre 1809 tower are panoramic to say the least. Reaching the lighthouse is no mean feat though as there are 400 steps weaving down the cliff, which make for a rather strenuous return journey. The Smalls, Pembrokeshire Almost 35 kilometres out to sea off St David’s Head is the 41-metre lighthouse known as The Smalls. Introduced in 1861 and designed by Trinity House architect James Walker, this remote wavewashed tower is not the easiest to visit. Getting a closer look is possible though using boat operators in the area who do run occasional, and very weather-dependent, trips. It is well worth the effort and just one of a number of offshore lighthouses dotted around our coastline.


ISLE OF MAN

Point of Ayre The Isle of Man attracts many visitors at certain times of the year, but few recognise its value as a location for spotting some fantastic lighthouses. While Point of Ayre at the northern tip lacks the dramatic scenery of many of the bigger lighthouses on the island, it has two, very different towers to take in. The 30-metre tower with its distinctive red bands was the creation of Robert Stevenson - the first of the famous “Lighthouse Stevensons” dynasty - and was first lit in 1819. Closer to the shore, on the shingle beach, can be found a lighthouse known as The Winkie. This tower, which is considerably smaller than its older counterpart, was introduced 70 years later and shone until 2010 when the light was discontinued.

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SCOTLAND

Muckle Flugga, Shetland The island of Muckle Flugga off the northern tip of Unst in Shetland, is home to the most northerly lighthouse in Britain. In fact, the island itself is only beaten by its neighbour Out Stack as the most northerly piece of land in the British Isles. Visible only from Saxa Vord or from the Hermaness headland, Muckle Flugga is not an island you would want to attempt to build on, and yet that is exactly what the Northern Lighthouse Board did in 1854. The 20-metre tower that stands today, designed by David and Thomas Stevenson, was built in 1857, to replace the original tower. Ornsay, Skye Another David and Thomas Stevenson design is the 19-metre Ornsay lighthouse, which sits on the small island of Eilean Sionnach off the east coast of Skye. Accessible on foot only at low tide via Ornsay island, the views from this tower are outstanding at any time of year. With the stunning mountains on the Knoydart peninsula as the backdrop, there is a lot to love about this place. It is also possible to stay in the old lighthouse keeper’s cottage here if superb views and being cut off from civilisation when the tide comes in appeal to you.

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NORTHERN IRELAND

Rathlin West, Rathlin Island Perched high on the cliffs at Bull Point, the most westerly tip of Rathlin Island, off the Northern Irish coast, is Rathlin West lighthouse. This incredible feat of engineering stands out not only for the awe-inspiring views that surround it, but also for being the only “upside down” lighthouse in the British Isles. Open to the public during the summer months as an RSPB Seabird Centre, this 18-metre tower designed by Charles William Scott is entered from the top of the tower. One must then descend the 98 steps down to see the lantern with its red tinted light at the very bottom. A real treat to visit and filled with lighthouserelated displays too. à


Cosy Up Offer

COSY UP WITH A STAY AT BOVEY CASTLE Our winter offer includes a Veuve Clicquot Kir Royale Champagne cocktail, a two course dinner in Smith’s Brasserie, sumptuous overnight accommodation and a full English breakfast the following morning. From £239.00 per room per night (based on two people sharing a classic room) Offer valid until 31/03/20 Subject to availability. T&C’s apply. Minimum stay 2 nights.

Get Muddy this Winter

AS GOOD IN THE WINTER AS IN THE SUMMER! Visit Bovey Castle on Dartmoor National Park over the winter and ‘Get Muddy’ with our onsite activities! What’s more we have some special offers on selected activities, ideal for families, friends and couples.

TO BOOK CALL RESERVATIONS ON 01647 445007 BOVEY CASTLE, NORTH BOVEY, DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK, DEVON, TQ13 8RE WWW.BOVEYCASTLE.COM 22_11_19 -BC.indd 1

22/11/2019 15:32


Winter is Coming... Snuggle-up with us at The Fermain Valley Hotel


ENGLAND

Lundy, North Devon The island of Lundy offers far more in lighthouse terms than you would expect. The island tells the common story of an old lighthouse – in this case the old 29-metre 1820 tower – built in a prominent position only for it to be discovered that it was so often shrouded in fog. In Lundy’s case this resulted in two more towers being built at the most northerly and southerly points in 1897. The island has a lot to offer both day-trippers and those on a short break, with passenger ferries operating from Ilfracombe and Bideford.

CHANNEL ISLANDS

La Corbière, Jersey There is something special about lighthouses that are only accessible at low tide and Corbiere lighthouse off the west coast of Jersey is certainly that. Designed by Sir John Coode and first lit in 1874, Corbiere lighthouse itself stands at 19 metres tall, but its prominence on top of the highest section of rock gives it a much more elevated position. It’s a popular spot to visit so be warned that you will be lucky to capture any people-free photographs from your visit.

Flamborough Head, Yorkshire The 27-metre tall lighthouse at Flamborough Head stands majestically over some astounding coastal geology. With its chalk coves, arch and stack, it’s the perfect place to while away a few hours. The lighthouse, designed by Trinity House architect Samuel Wyatt, was first lit in 1806 and now houses a Visitor Centre with the opportunity to join a guided tour up the tower, giving you an elevated view of the glorious landscape below. Be sure to look out for the old chalk lighthouse on the approach road. Built in 1669, this tower is one of the oldest lighthouses in Britain. u

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48

hours in B AT H

A walk around the city of Bath is to follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps knowing that Roman centurions trod these streets many centuries before her Words | Adrian Mourby

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B ▶

ATH IS UNIQUE AMONG British cities, having been recognised by UNESCO both for its Roman remains and as the most complete Georgian city in the world. Built entirely out of honey-coloured local stone, Bath is also recognised as a sacred site having been a place of worship since pagan times, long before the Romans arrived in the first century AD. These three elements come together in the busy piazza known today as Abbey Churchyard. Here, surrounded by buskers and street artists, the eighteenth-century Pump Room is built alongside the most complete Roman bathing complex in Britain, which was in turn built over the sacred shrine to the pagan goddess, Sulis. Three hot springs bubble to the surface in this low-lying part of Bath. The water – over a million litres of it a day - emerges at a temperature of 46C, after having been underground for centuries. Still no one knows exactly how deep into the Earth this water originally plunged before emerging in the centre of Bath. The well-attested healing properties of Bath’s springs made it a place of religious, medical and finally social pilgrimage for thousands of years. This city owes its very existence to hot, healing waters. Starting outside the Pump Room walk through the neoclassical arcade that leads to Bath Street. Ahead of you appears the Cross Bath, a small, open air eighteenth-century bathing pool that was restored and reopened in the 1990s.

Opposite it looms the Thermae Spa, a huge modern complex on five levels. Whereas the Cross Bath can only accommodate a dozen bathers, up to a thousand visitors a day queue up for the Thermae Spa. Its rooftop pool, known as the New Royal Bath has one of the best views across the city. These days this area is known as the Spa Quarter. It contains a number of picturesque old hospitals and small churches, and Bath’s Little Theatre. Passing between the theatre and the St John the Baptist Alms House, turn right into Westgate and head up hill towards the Theatre Royal. On the corner ahead of you sits a Thai restaurant in a delightful semi-circular building with a lead-roofed balcony. Behind it a series of wine bars are tucked inside a low Georgian colonnade. Bath is full of eighteenth-century buildings repurposed for the twenty-first century. The theatre itself was founded in 1805 and saw performances by great actors of the English stage like Edmund Kean and Mrs Jordan, the mistress of King William IV. The main entrance and lobby we see today is a Victorian addition. Walking round the corner into Beaufort Square reveals the theatre’s entrance as Jane Austen knew it when she lived in nearby Trim Street. It’s a much more impressive facade with just two doors opening into the large, quiet square. Continuing up Barton Street we come to Gay Street, which faces onto Queen Square. Enter the park in the centre of the square and walk to the obelisk, which was erected by Beau à

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EDITOR'S HIGHLIGHT

DON'T MISS

Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years at The Holburne Museum 24 Januar y to 25 May 2020

Built as a club house for residents of Great Pulteney Street, The Holburne is now home to a collection of Old Masters and silverware, and runs an exciting programme of events throughout the year. One of the most eagerly anticipated shows is that of English contemporary artist, Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years - known for his ceramic vases, tapestries and cross-dressing. The show includes Perry’s early works, pieces from the artist’s own collection and many works not even seen publicly before.

Nash, the Master of Ceremonies in Georgian Bath, in honour of Frederick, Prince of Wales. This square was the first new development of Bath by John Wood the Elder, who designed most of the city’s best buildings including the Circus and Royal Crescent. Wood’s ambition to make his hometown the most beautiful city in Britain were continually thwarted by local aldermen so he ended up building his neoclassical streets and squares in fields outside the old city walls on land owned by one Robert Gay. Leave the park via Gay Street itself and climb the hill to the Jane Austen Museum at No 40. The Austens lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806 and Jane set scenes from two of her novels in the city. Gay Street is very steep indeed – you are climbing a hill - and each house sits on its own step, like a staircase. At the top however the ground levels out for the Circus, which was one of John Wood’s boldest creations. Houses here are arranged in a circle surrounding a huge tree. Wood didn’t design the houses themselves, just this harmonious façade. Individual entrepreneurs in effect bought the doors, windows and roofline created by Wood, and built houses of their choice behind. 70

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From the Circus, Brock Street leads west to the most famous of John Wood’s developments, the Royal Crescent which, like the Circus, was actually completed by his son John Wood the Younger after the old man’s death in 1754. In a massive graceful arc 30 town houses look out over the city. No1 Royal Crescent is now a museum showing how life was lived in Georgian Bath while No

Great Pulteney Street, 01225 388569 holburne.org

MUST VISIT The Roman Baths

This superb underground museum of life in Roman Bath is actually housed in the precincts of the original bath complex. Stall Street, 01225 477785 romanbaths.co.uk

16, once owned by a son of King George III, is now the Royal Crescent Hotel. Nothing in the design of the sweeping neoclassical façade was allowed to impinge on its visual impact, so much so that all the downpipes that drain the long roof are hidden inside the walls rather than visible to passersby. The Royal Crescent once looked out on countryside, now it looks over the modern city of Bath but it is a perfect place from which to gain an overview of this unique and beautiful city. u

No 1 Royal Crescent

Learn how life was lived at the top of Bath society in this detailed recreation of one of its grandest eighteenth century townhouses. 1 Royal Crescent, 01225 428126 no1royalcrescent.org.uk

Thermae Bath Spa

Bringing Bath’s story up to date, this modern thermal bathing experience has a wonderful open air rooftop pool, novelty saunas and busy treatment rooms. Hot Bath Street, 01225 331234 thermaebathspa.com


WHERE TO EAT The Pump Room Built in the eighteenth century as a meeting place for visitors to Bath, the Pump Room is still the place to drink the waters as well as eat breakfast, lunch and tea. The afternoon tea here is a Bath tradition as is the three person orchestra, the longest established ensemble of its kind in Europe. 13 Abbey Churchyard 01225 444477  thepumproombath.co.uk

WHERE TO STAY

The Circus Tucked round the corner from the famous Circus, this small family-run café doubles as a sophisticated, candlelit dining room in the evenings. Local sourcing and modern takes on traditional British cuisine have made Alison Goldman’s dining room a must for foodies. 34 Brock Street, 01225 466020  thecircusrestaurant.co.uk

Ponte Vecchio This small, modern Italian restaurant has a few, much coveted outdoor tables overlooking Bath’s famous Pulteney Bridge. The bridge itself links fashionable Great Pulteney Street to the city and the food is as good as the view. Spring Gardens Road, 01225 424800  pontevecchiobath.com

See article on next page

The Royal Crescent Hotel

Fashioned out of two houses at the centre of John Wood’s grandest achievement, The Royal Crescent opens up at its rear into a huge garden with spa and restaurant. From here it is easy to see how the uniformity of the façade stands in complete contrast to the highly individual houses built behind it. 16 Royal Crescent, 01225 823333  royalcrescent.co.uk 

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

This recent conversion of a Victorian hospital, built for taking the waters, is now a 99-room hotel close to the Pump Room and Roman Baths. The hotel spa has its own source of thermal spring water and its bar is one of the best in the city for cocktails. Beau Street, 01225 358888  thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk

Savouring Bath

Sample the city's best independent culinary artisans as part of a scheduled walking tour, or as a private experience. Each culinary adventure lasts around three hours and includes a meal's worth of food samples, introducing you to the best of the city's food scene. Bath city centre, 01225 425843

A trendy, dramatically decorated hotel in what became late eighteenth-century Bath’s splendid new development across the river Avon. In Jane Austen’s day this broad street leading east across Pulteney Bridge was where the wealthiest visitors stayed. 15 Great Pulteney Street, 01225 807015

 savouringbath.com

No. 15 Great Pulteney

 no15greatpulteney.co.uk

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Hotel Review

T H E R O YA L CRESCENT There are many hotels in the centre of Bath, a popular world heritage spa city, attracting almost five million visitors every year, but it could be claimed, none quite as grand and spectacular as The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa Words | Jessica Way

T

HIS MAGNIFICENT 5-STAR HOTEL occupies two central townhouses of Bath's architectural masterpiece - the Georgian crescent. This Bath stone curve houses thirty dwellings, all with a uniform Palladian design to the principal facade. Located in a quiet residential area with no passing traffic, it is far enough from the hustle and bustle of town that it feels almost rural. There’s an immaculate semi-circular lawn to the front of the building, leading to the north entrance of Royal Victoria Park, and an acre of gardens exclusively for guests use at the rear. The quiet, peaceful location is however just a 10-15 minute stroll from the heart of the city where you will find the world-famous attractions including The Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and Thermae Bath Spa. You are also minutes from the most fashionable shopping street of Bath, Milsom Street, lined with charming shops and restaurants. If you are planning a stay around Christmas time, this location couldn't be more perfect, as for the first time in its 18-year history, the Bath Christmas Market now lines Milsom Street with twinkling chalets of designers showcasing their artisan gifts. Having launched last year, it was deemed to be a ‘roaring success’, and confirmed they will be repeating the fun in 2019. I was lucky enough to be there last year for the first day of the markets. Arriving in Bath early with the intention to do some of my Christmas shopping, I took a short taxi ride from the train station to the hotel, left my luggage with the extremely friendly concierge team, and then wandered freely into town; it was fabulous. Be sure not to miss Milsom Place, a pretty courtyard with one-off designer shops and great cafés and restaurants. And just across the road from Milsom Place is Jolly’s, a House of Fraser store open since 1831 and one of the world’s oldest department stores. On my way back to the hotel I stopped in at No.1 Royal Crescent,

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the first house in the curve to be built. Today it’s a museum decorated and furnished as it would have been during the period 1776-1796. For a reasonable entry price, (£10.60) you are free to explore the bedrooms, reception rooms, kitchen and outdoor terrace in your own time, imagining what life was like for Bath’s fashionable residents. The visit certainly got me into the spirit of the occasion, with such a magnificent hotel awaiting my arrival, and, numerous stylish shopping bags over my arms, I checked in imagining myself as Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. With a prestigious history that spans more than 250 years, the hotel feels similar to the experience of a museum, only much larger and more glamorous than the one I had just visited. Quite incredibly The Royal Crescent Hotel is one of the few landmark buildings in the world you can sleep in, so quite special then and certainly no ordinary hotel. My name is handwritten on the bedroom door, one of their Master Suites, (The Duke of York) and it is absolutely breathtaking, I am lost for words by the beauty (and size) of this room. The chandelier hanging from the ornate high ceiling is utterly exquisite, there are three floor-toceiling sash windows, light flooding in, with views across the elegant Royal Crescent Lawn and beyond. Cream and green colour tones warm the room, there’s an opulent four-poster bed, silk cushions, oil paintings, and sitting/lounge area, combining contemporary style with the 18th-century charm. The beige-marble double-everything bathroom is equally as extravagant and lavish. The porter must be used to seeing this type of reaction from delighted guests. He tells me that every one of their 45 bedrooms has a completely unique design and décor. “This room though is my personal favourite,” he says. Usually, I think this is something hotel staff say to all their guests, to make them feel special - but on this occasion, I believe him.


© C O L I N H AW K I N S

“Quite incredibly The Royal Crescent Hotel is one of the few landmark buildings in the world you can sleep in, so pretty special then - certainly no ordinary hotel.” With four further Georgian buildings including a spa garden yet to explore in the back of the garden I was quick to put down my shopping bags. Ready for a blissful afternoon, I sauntered back down the curvaceous staircase in fluffy white robe and slippers. For such a grand hotel it is completely unstuffy, you are made to feel more than welcome. I would compare the experience to be more like staying with family than being a hotel guest. Perhaps this is the reason they have so much loyalty from repeat visitors, who come here to stay from across the globe. The spacious Mediterranean-styled walled gardens are such an unexpected delight for a city-centre location like this - a perfect romantic setting for an indulgent afternoon tea - and understandably popular for weddings too (there’s a separate Wedding Garden). High stone walls are covered in honeysuckle and roses, secluded seating areas are surrounded by mature trees, with delightful floral aromas floating through the air. Then there’s the 12-metre heated relaxation pool, vitality pool with massage jets, sauna and steam rooms, six treatment rooms and complimentary herbal teas to see you well and truly pampered. You are welcome to complete the experience with a glass of Champagne in the holistic haven of the Taittinger Spa Garden, open throughout the seasons. The contemporary-style Montagu Bar & Champagne Lounge is a great option when you’re peckish for lunch or light-bites, serving British classics including a Fish and Chip Basket or Royal Crescent Club Sandwich. Diners also enjoy this space as a place to enjoy pre-dinner drinks and cocktails before heading into the main restaurant, Dower House, and when it’s warm outside seating options include al-fresco dining in the beautiful gardens. David Campbell, Executive Head Chef has been at the hotel for seven years, overseeing a sustainable and seasonal award-winning menu with

elaborately presented dishes. I ordered from the A La Carte menu opting for Slow Cooked Duck Egg with Morteau Sausage and Roasted Sea Bass with Hay Baked Potato - the attentive service, gourmet ingredients and the gracious atmosphere was the perfect ending to my whimsical day. The attention-to-detail, from complimentary valet parking to bedrooms being turned down so beautifully in the evening - or the unrivalled knowledge of Bath from the concierge team in planning your day, to providing you with a picnic for the journey stand this hotel apart. This is a true destination hotel - and what a destination Bath is. u Rooms start from £350 per night, royalcrescent.co.uk

To book a stay at any of Pride of Britain Hotels’ collection of 50 luxury properties, contact Pride of Britain Hotels (0800 089 3929).  prideofbritainhotels.com

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FINDING Located in a beautiful 18th century Sussex country house set in 15 acres of lush countryside, Simply Healing is a luxury detox retreat offering beautiful woodland walks, nature and fresh air alongside treatments, therapies and juice plans Words | Jessica Way 74

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A

HEALTHY GUT EQUALS a healthy mind. They're connected - it's simple, look after your gut - and it will look after you”, explains Kate. It’s day one and I’m having my introductory consultation with one of the integral members of the small, but fullhearted, team. We're sitting in the consultation room of a large and characterful country home (come wellness business), located in rural Sussex, named Alliblasters - an old French term for crossbowman, believed to stem back to the Normans and named after William Le Alblaster (1279). This impressive property is owned and family-run by Vivien Kay and daughter Caroline, who together with the help from Kate and Carolyn, (and occasionally dog Poppy) have spent a decade mastering their secret winning formula that results in guests dancing their way out of the door by the end of their detox plan. I’ve not been here long, just enough time to check-in and to see my room (a deluxe double), suitably equipped and tastefully furnished, and I’m surprised by just how homely it feels - the house is elegantly decorated, full of colour and character, with high ceilings and a grand staircase. Photos, books, DVDs and elegant travel ornaments and souvenirs, line the book shelves and table tops in every room and corridor, giving guests an insight into Vivien’s intrepid worldtravels. She is one of a family-generation of healers and herbalists, and has worked with shaman in countries including Peru, Canada, Mexico and Egypt. Kate takes my blood, weighs me, and chats to me generally about my physical and mental wellbeing. People come here for many different reasons; it’s a celebrity favourite for keeping the weight off, others come for a general cleanse, some

more for the emotional or shamanic healing therapies. I am here just in search of a kick-start to a healthier lifestyle. It’s simple, or at least that’s what I thought - a few spa treatments, some juice, cut out my caffeine and sugar intake, what could be so hard about that? Other than owning a Nutri-bullet I know very little about the detox journey I am about to take. I head back to my room with my treatment itinerary in hand, keen to research more into Colonic Hydrotherapy and Manual Lymphatic Drainage. I make my way down to the lounge before my first treatment; Outer Glow Body Scrub. It is easy to relax here. However, I am still struggling to allow myself to. As I am sure most of you will relate to, I’m so used to being on-thego, juggling both family and work life, deadlines, meetings, emails (mostly coffee-fuelled), that I am feeling guilty, and slightly uneasy, at doing so little. I look out of the window and it helps, the uninterrupted views of the South Downs and beautifully kept English gardens are a world away from my usual daily routines. Guests are asked to refrain from using their phones, laptops and other devices in guest areas, (although there’s wifi in the bedrooms) and this 'out of sight out of mind' digital-detox approach doesn’t take long to have a positive effect. Therapist Kate works wonders on me - feeling much more relaxed I head to the dining room wrapped up in my fluffy dressing gown and slippers ready to meet the other guests and enjoy a fresh juice. I am in great company. There’s a scientist, musician, doctor, actor and owner of a top London talent agency. We hit it off, there’s lots of laughter and many share their stories having been here several times before. à

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There is around a 70% visitor return rate here, so they must be doing something right. Vivien joins in the conversations and takes the opportunity to tell us about her latest venture - restoring antique chairs into reimagined vintage masterpieces. I had already spotted a few finished gems dotted around the house, each design unique with exquisite colourful fabrics. Vivien was enjoying naming them appropriately, Daisy, Purple Star and Sunshine, and tagged, we could see, many were already sold. (see vintagechairsreimagined.com) Clearly Vivien is a lady of multi-talents, passionate and positive, with a warm caring aura that permeates her home. In the evening we gather in the lounge for a group-meditation session, the open fire roaring, throws, blankets and soft cushions all-around, we settle, listening to the crackling sound of the wood, as Kate’s voice sends us into a sleepy trance. The day is finished off with a delicious detox soup and one of the best night's sleep of my life. It takes less than 24 hours to really start embracing the detox experience as I begin relaxing. I am no longer fretting about emails, or checking my phone with every alert, and I am acutely aware of a mental shift to a calmer mind, and an ability now to properly unwind. The following four days adhere to a similar schedule, filled with various combinations of fresh juices (apple, pear and ginger being my personal favourite) and treatments throughout the day to fill our time. The juices are prepared to keep our blood sugar levels stable, sometimes served along with Psyllium Husk, Bentonite Clay and Cleansing Herbs which take me a little more getting used to. We are given five juices a day, soup in the evening and treated to a delicious fresh fruit breakfast and salad lunch on the day of departure. Everyone agrees how surprising it is that this is enough to stop you feeling at all hungry - if anything I actually felt pretty full most of the time - but thirsty. It is important to also drink plenty 76

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of water while detoxing, Vivien suggests at least eight glasses a day. Other than a slight headache I felt mostly fine throughout the detox, although I was sick several times on day three. This can happen but apparently it is not all that common - perhaps because I was a first-timer, and I maybe should have better prepared my body in the weeks approaching my stay. I carried on though and managed to brave it through my colonics, which weren’t anywhere near as terrifying as I had feared. The house has a lovely conservatory with a running machine, and you are advised to make use of the chi machine and toning plates which I really got into using (said to be good for shifting the toxins out of your body). Each morning we went on an invigorating woodland walk too, making the most of our surroundings and connecting with nature while we talked - great for bonding time. My last treatment was the ‘totally quenched and drenched facial’, a Temple Spa special, booked as an extra on one of the other house guests recommendation - and I am so pleased I did. Carolyn my therapist was fantastic. In fact, all the therapists at the retreat were brilliant, but if you can ask for Beatrice for your Detox Massage, her hands work magic, and Carolyn for your colonics, she will make you feel immediately comfortable and is extremely knowledgeable about the detox process, with 20 years' experience. I must admit I came into the process a little naïve and I had to work much harder for the reward than I imagined I would. But, while it wasn’t all plain sailing, it was entirely worth it. You feel positive, energised, focussed and I have never felt so emotionally well-balanced and ready to face the winter. I am a firm believer that you can’t buy happiness, but at Simply Healing you can buy the helping hand you need to make you feel happier - and what more could you want than that? Simply priceless u Simply Healing detox programmes start at £1475 for a 5 Day Juice Cleanse Detox Plan. simplyhealingcentre.com


S PA G U I D E NEW-AGE LUXURY

Escape to the countryside, discover soporific soothing in subterranean labyrinths or invigorate the mind with fire and ice treatments by the ocean… a new era of Zen is upon us

▶ SOUTH LODGE HOTEL & SPA The newest of our top 10 list of new-age luxury spas, South Lodge Hotel, West Sussex, launched J O U R N A L its impressive spa in March this year with high LOVES anticipation and much ambition - and they’ve firmly 2019 delivered, both on expectation and promise. It’s a seriously sleek, modern, immaculately polished spa - a luxury ‘destination’, whether staying as a guest at the hotel or frequenting as a day-visitor. The contemporary facilities, utilising the beautifully designed indoor and outdoor spaces, have been crafted with BRITISH TRAVEL

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perfect precision, together with the state-of-the-art appliances, including top-of-the-range Dyson hairdryers, and their very own collection of bespoke products, ‘The Spa’, created exclusively for The Spa at South Lodge and sister-property, The Spa at Pennyhill Park, (both are part of Exclusive Hotels) it seems there’s been no expense (of the £15 million invested) spared. Arguably the most impressive, and certainly the most unique, is their completely natural, 18m long heated wild swimming pool. Already very popular in Austria and Germany, this is a concept that is fast becoming fashionable here in this country, although the one at South Lodge is said to be the UK's first ‘heated’ natural swim pond. The reduced nutrients prevent algae from growing and keep the water clear. Experience a dip


EDITOR'S HIGHLIGHTS

STAYING OVERNIGHT AT SOUTH LODGE

The Earle of Athlone Suite

This is just one of South Lodge's indivdually designed 89 bedrooms - with a luxurious free standing bath and spectacular views out to their 93 acres of gardens, lakes and parkland and across to the South Downs.

Outdoor Activities

Borrow one of their mountain bikes or play a round of croquet on the lawn - that's if you can pull yourself away from the spa!

The Cellar at its best after a session in the sauna - it’s glacial at first, but soon gets you feeling wonderfully refreshed and energised. The indoor infinity pool is especially remarkable for how it has been designed to bring the outside in – you are inside but still feel surrounded by the natural contours of the landscape. It’s invigorating and does absolute wonders for the mind - even before swimming any lengths. Such an incredible space - and if I didn’t live quite so far away I would be enquiring about membership based on this pool alone. Then there’s the 14 nature-themed treatment rooms, nail bar and pedicure suite, thermal suite with infused sauna, marble-lined salt steam, jasmine herbal steam rooms - and a multi-level terraced sun deck and fabulous hydrotherapy pool outdoors. When hunger kicks in, the Botanica restaurant is open to serve brunch, lunch or dinner - with scenic views and extensive alfresco dining. Head Chef Jonathan Spiers draws on the South Downs as a larder for fresh and seasonal ingredients - try their buttermilk pancake with berry compote and maple syrup, or BBQ courgette with pumpkin butter and lemon yoghurt. And if you can't quite pull yourself away from the poolside, there’s The Watershed, providing a refreshing range of drinks, alongside some tasty treats and light bites, including gelato and fresh juices - delicious. u

One for the adults... previously hidden from view, the original subterranean Victorian cellar has been fabulously restored, featuring a large tasting table. Each day there's a selection of 16 wines available ‘on demand’.

The Camellia

The two AA Rosette winning Camellia restaurant offers mouth-watering dishes made with skill and flair by the brigade of chefs. Using fresh vegetables from the hotel's walled kitchen garden and the finest local Sussex ingredients.

To book a stay at any of Pride of Britain Hotels’ collection of 50 luxury properties, contact Pride of Britain Hotels (0800 089 3929).  prideofbritainhotels.com

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From state-of-the-art FIVE-STAR SPAS to treatments that harness the wonders of the natural world, THESE SOUL-SOOTHING, INDULGENT GETAWAYS ARE just what the doctor ordered…

Nestled amid the Lake District’s ice-dappled lakes and snowy mountains, Gilpin feels like a magical Scandinavian wonderland sprinkled with steamy lakeside cedar hot tubs and hideaway log cabins. All 25 hotel bedrooms boast Lakeland views, six with their own cedarwood tubs, and five intimate Spa Lodges feature their own ensuite spa (rainmaker showers and steam rooms inside, hydrotherapy hot tubs and saunas outside). One mile away, hunkered down in the endlessly romantic landscape lies Gilpin Lake House, a sanctuary where just 12 guests enjoy 100 acres of private grounds, complete with a lake, boat house, hot tubs, saunas, and swimming pool. At the hotel’s Jetty Spa, the Swedish style spa treatment room is raised three metres into the tree canopy for a connection to nature like no other and one of the most captivating forest and lake views in the land. Pictured  thegilpin.co.uk on our front cover!

Words | Chantal Borciani

GILPIN HOTEL & LAKE HOUSE

ROCKLIFFE HALL

For mindful rejuvenation and sensory indulgence, Rockliffe Hall’s 50,000 sq ft spa, complete with mesmeric infinity pool, tepidarium beds, indoor hydrotherapy pool, Roman sauna, cleansing tropicarium and igloo, should do the trick. For the ultimate de-stress, the spa, situated on the County Durham and North Yorkshire border, has recently opened its new Mind Therapy Room, which features a Spa. Wave bed that uses computer-controlled acoustics, gentle sound waves and vibrational massage therapy to soothe the brain. Benefits can include deep relaxation, easing of muscle tension, reduction in stress levels and improved sleep quality.  prideofbritainhotels.com

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GALGORM RESORT AND SPA

On the banks of River Maine in Northern Ireland lies forest bathing and natural thermal healing at its best. Cocooned in 163 acres of lush parkland, Galgorm’s woodland ‘thermal village’ offers saunas, therapy pools, private wood-fired riverside tubs, a sanarium and Celtic sauna. For the brave hearted, Galgorm’s Snow Cabin will invigorate mind and body with powder snow and crystals and is said to boost circulation and have a positive effect on the lungs and respiratory system.  galgorm.com

COTTONMILL AT SOPWELL HOUSE

Connection to the elements runs deep in Sopwell House’s new three-storey Hertfordshire spa, where an indoor/ outdoor hydrotherapy pool leads out to a restful spa garden created by award-winning designer, Ann-Marie Powell. Inside, a labyrinth of ice and fire experiences with an organic sauna, panoramic sauna, salt steam room and botanical steam room, while a Whisper Room and Rose Relaxation Room provide blissful cocoons of calm. The spa’s true calling card is the UK’s first ever amber and quartz crystal bed, which provides soothing thermal therapy by immersing the body in hot sand to ease tension and deliver muscle-melting relaxation.  sopwellhouse.co.uk

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RUDDING PARK

Hibernate in the garden sauna cabin, sun deck and spa bath of this rolling woodland garden near Harrogate, Yorkshire. The luxury hotel also boasts a rooftop spa with hydrotherapy pools and thermal experiences designed to reflect the beauty of its natural surroundings. A few slippered footsteps from the rooftop pool, Rudding Park’s new Sunlight Therapy Room features heated, sculpted loungers and ‘sunlight simulators’ to boost energy and wellbeing even in the darkest days of winter. Replicating natural sunlight, a 20-minute session can help reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), encourage sounder sleep, ease aches and pains and see an increase in energy and vitamin D production.  ruddingpark.co.uk

SOURCE SPA AND WELLNESS

Perched atop the cliffs on North Devon’s stunning coastline and providing world-class treatments in an uber luxe setting, Source Spa and Wellness at Saunton Sands Hotel is the place to find yourself in nature. Inspired by its natural playground, the Spa utilises the breathtaking backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean’s gentle waves and the golden sands to create a tranquil environment. Spanning three levels to rejuvenate, relax and recharge including a lavish marine view thermal suite, a state-of-the-art gym, swimming pools and seven treatment rooms. Begin the Source wellness journey bathing in the mineral-rich marine vitality pool before soothing in the Finnish aroma sauna, salt steam room and ice fountain. Relax in one of the treatment rooms where therapies, rituals and treatments restore, invigorate and beautify. Gently awaken the senses on the top floor rooftop sun deck and restore your equilibrium with awe-inspiring views of huge skies, rugged dunes and rolling waters. Take the experience one step further and plump for an overnight stay in one of the sumptuous bedrooms and delight in two AA Rosette dining for ultimate luxury.  sourcespa.co.uk

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LUCKNAM PARK

Recharge and restore at this 18th century pile set in 500 acres of divine parkland, just six miles from the historic city of Bath, Somerset. The ESPA spa is the place for decadent relaxation, with a 20m indoor pool, outdoor and indoor hydrotherapy pool, outdoor salt water plunge, an ice bar and thermal cabins featuring Japanese salt, an amethyst room, aromatic steam and sauna. In addition to holistic practices including personalised Ayurvedic dosha and reiki, guests can opt for the innovative Dry Flotation treatment, where the body is cocooned and submerged on a thin warming membrane allowing you to peacefully float without touching the water for ultimate relaxation and weightless rest.  lucknampark.co.uk

CHEWTON GLEN A five-star, quintessentially English luxury Country House Hotel & Spa located on the fringe of the New Forest, Hampshire - this is a perfect venue to replenish the mind and body. Swim in the 17-metre swimming pool, before enjoying the hydrotherapy spa pool, outdoor whirlpool, aromatherapy saunas, and crystal steam rooms. With twelve individual treatment rooms offering no fewer than 50 different treatments and holistic therapies you're spoiled for choice. Or for something more active, there’s a state-of-the-art gymnasium, dance studio with daily programme of classes, 9 hole par-3 golf course, indoor and outdoor tennis centre and acres of woodland jogging and walking trails.  chewtonglen.com

STOKE PARK

Stoke Park Spa is set within the sweeping natural beauty of a thousand year old estate in Buckinghamshire. Since its visionary creation as the first country club in Britain in 1908, Stoke Park has become a unique and accessible fusion of heritage-rich elegance and contemporary luxury, where some of the finest sporting and leisure facilities in the world can be enjoyed. The Spa is situated in The Pavilion, which also houses 28 contemporary luxury bedrooms. The Pavilion offers a haven of luxury, indulgence and serenity, with facilities that include an indoor heated swimming pool, changing rooms with Italian marble steam rooms, deep relaxation room, a private atrium with stunning five metre tropical aquarium, outdoor Scandinavian Sauna and hot tub, nail bar and boutique.  stokepark.com

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w e n a r e v o c s Di t i r i p s d e r d n i k

Luxury English gin made in Surrey with 24 botanicals. Full bodied with delicate florals, fresh citrus and velvety local honey. Smooth, refined, refreshingly individual.

#forthespirited @silentpoolgin


STYLE EDITS

Travel souvenirs and gifts lovingly made for the discerning traveller Y U Y U BOT T L E Luxurious body-length hot water bottles available at Harrods and Selfridges, from £25 yuyubottle.com

BRITISH TRAVEL

J O U R N A L

LOVES 2019

MADE IN DEVON

P R OT EST FA S HI O N Stand out both on and off the slopes in this tomic colour block ski jacket, £149.99

S TAY I N G W A R M

protest.eu

Winter essentials to beat the cold CHRISTMAS MUST

DRY ROBE

This huge cape with waterproof material on the outside, towel lining and cosy hood, was launched by North Devon surfer, Gideon Bright - who owes credit to his mum for creating the first ever ‘dryrobe’ when he was a teenager, utilising her accomplished sewing skills, made to keep him warm after a day of surf. The dryrobe is now a celebrity favourite to keep you dry and warm, whatever the weather - the trajectory of dryrobe has been quite incredible. Long Sleeve dryrobe (as pictured aboved) priced from £130. dryrobe.com

luxury, handsewn slipper socks for children, priced from £20, and for adults, from £40  moccis.co.uk

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GIFT SHOP

Keep a memento from your visit

STO N EHEN GE T R I L I T HO NS Celebrate and commemorate the magic of Stonehenge with Trilithon Drop Earrings, £22 english-heritageshop.org.uk

S I MP LY BR I T I S H TA ST E Enjoy tea and confectionery from different parts of Britain each month with a taste box subscription, £19. Also available with a monthly fiction book, set in the British Isles, £34.99 thetravellingreader.com

MADE IN HAMPSHIRE

WHITCHURCH SILK MILL

After exploring the Mill itself, a gem of industrial heritage, with stunning views of the River Test, and wonderful gardens, head over to The Mill Shop and Riverside Café. Here you can buy unique gifts made from the silk woven at the Mill like these blue and pink herringbone spun silk scarves, with one wsm spun silk pashmina, priced £85 each

whitchurchsilkmill.org.uk

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V& A C A L EN DA R S FO R 2 02 0 Enjoy lavish designs from the V&A’s collections with these mini wall calendars, priced £5 each vam.ac.uk/shop


T R AV E L T E C H

Smart gizmos for when you are on-the-go

CONTACTLESS PAYMENT RING Simply tap your hand on the contactless card reader to pay, whether you’re buying a coffee or taking the Tube! £99.99 fifthandblue.com

IN STYLE

O ST R I C HP I L LOW GO Create your own snugly space in the world and feel-good anywhere with the ultimate cocoon pillow. £47 eu.ostrichpillow.com

COMPACT ELECTRONIC SCALE Save money, time and hassle weighing your bags before you get to the airport. £70 uk.tumi.com

CO N N EC T S MA RT PAC K Link your phone to your bag with this portable power and wearable technology. £299.99 kathmandu.co.uk

KO DA K’ S N EW S M I L E The latest style in the collection, the new Classic instant retro camera offers a nostalgic look and feel with modern features. £149.99 amazon.co.uk

A I R - SA F E MA N I C U RE S E T Create hands worth holding with this stylish set from Jermyn Street’s Czech & Speake, £225 fortnumandmason.com

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H I G H F LY E R S

For those who have everything already SO L ID GO LD PAY MEN T C A R D A first of a kind by The Royal Mint - personalised for each Raris accountholder, with their name and signature directly engraved into the precious metal! Priced £18,750 (card only) raris.com

LOVE O F T HE S LO P E S Limited-edition original posters featuring glamorous winter sports and summer resorts around the world evoking memories of holidays and special occasions. Priced £395. pullmaneditions.com

F LOAT I N G I N LU XU RY Give the gift of Fingal this Christmas with a voucher for a stay on board Scotland’s first luxury floating hotel in Edinburgh. fingal.co.uk

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE GIFT CARD For all experiences, the Mill Bar and Gin Shop both online and at the distillery distillery.bombaysapphire.com/experiences

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RHUBARB GI N & GO BL ET S ET INSTAX MINI 90 INSTANT CAMERA Serve your Yorkshire Rhubarb gin in style with Have fun with the creative new shooting these branded Slingsby goblets, set priced £59.99 modes including double exposure, £134.99 spiritofharrogate.co.uk

instax.com


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 Austrian, French and Swiss 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

www.pullmaneditions.com

info@pullmaneditions.com

Our central London gallery

All images and text copyright © Pullman Editions Ltd. 2019

View and buy online at w w w.pullmaneditions.com


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In the Capital

KING’S CROSS London’s hippest new area is buzzing with shops and restaurants – it’s the perfect urban base for a city break with attitude Words | Helen Holmes

If you’re already in London it’s almost impossible not to pass through King’s Cross at some point, as the tube network converges here. Trains from all over Britain also arrive at King’s Cross and St Pancras stations, as well as nearby Euston. St Pancras is the home of the Eurostar terminal, with trains direct from Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and beyond. Tube or rail links will also bring you direct to the area from most of the capital’s airports.

Pictured left page: Coal Drops Yard London's newest shopping and dining district

T

HE LOCATION OF KING’S CROSS – in the heart of London, and easily accessible from almost anywhere, makes it surprising that it was ever an unloved patch of the capital. But just a few years ago it was nothing more than a grimy transport hub, with a few derelict warehouses thrown in for good measure. However, the neglect that the area suffered has turned out to be its saving grace. From the neo-gothic exuberance of St Pancras, to the urban majesty of the repurposed gas holders that line Regent’s Canal, via the sleek brutalism of the former Town Hall extension, now The Standard hotel, you could come to King’s Cross just for the architecture – but it offers so much more. If the area had been developed hotchpotch over the years, many of its architectural gems might have been lost when they were out of fashion – as St Pancras, famously saved by John Betjeman in the 1960s, nearly was. As it is, the buildings have been largely preserved – and over the past decade King’s Cross has undergone a transformation that has been social as well as architectural. World class hotels nestle side by side with quirky gems, like a floating bookshop in a 1920s Dutch barge, and a peripatetic café cooking up food grown on site. à

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I M AG E S © J O H N ST U R R O C K

SHOPPING

Next door to Granary Square, Coal Drops Yard is a great place to sample the best of London shopping – with stores from iconic British designers like Paul Smith and Margaret Howell, as well as relative newcomers such as Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, selling London-made denim clothing, and independent British spectacles brand, Cubitts.

coaldropsyard.com

St Pancras Station is more than just a railway terminus, it’s also home to numerous stores – Cath Kidston, Hamleys, Fortnum and Mason, and Aspinal – to name a few. For a more off-beat shopping experience, visit Word on the Water – a floating bookshop on the canal by Granary Square. à 92

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Pictured above and Immediately right: ‘Semaphores’ a series of three sculptures by BritishArgentinian artist Amalia Pica. Other images left-right: Granary Square; and Lower Stable Street, Coal Drops Yard.


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Pictured above-right: Everyman Cinema and Anthracite martini lounge

WE LOVE

IFO (Identified Flying Object) in Battle Bridge Place (at the crossroads of King’s Cross and St Pancras International stations) challenging our perception of the everyday. This spectacular installation was part of the Lumiere London programme - now a permanent public artwork, it stands at 9m (29ft) in height and, magnificently lit in neon, it invites us to walk through its bars and enjoy the swing that's in its centre.

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KING'S CROSS

FOOD AND DRINK

With the regeneration of the area, numerous great restaurants have sprung up, and King's Cross is positively bristling with places to eat good food, and watch the world go by. The German Gymnasium creates delicious Germaninspired food, in a truly stunning period building.

germangymnasium.com

ATTRACTIONS

Although it’s easy to reach any of London’s multiple attractions from King’s Cross, there’s plenty to do without leaving the area. Take a walk along Regent’s Canal, and you can enjoy a tranquil view of this slice of London – the gas holders at dusk are a particular joy. The canal will also take you to Granary Square, home of Central St Martin’s art college, spectacular fountains, and regular events and outdoor art installations. Also in Granary Square is the House of Illustration. Founded by Quentin Blake, this is the only public gallery in Britain dedicated solely to illustration and graphic art. houseofillustration.org.uk King’s Cross station itself is worth a visit – both for the original building designed by Lewis Cubitt, and the spectacular 2012 extension. Not to mention the Harry Potter connection – while you’re there, don’t forget to have yourself photographed flying into platform 9¾. Swap your soft drink for a nice glass of red wine and a slice of freshly made pizza served to your seat while you watch the latest movie or one of the classics at Everyman Cinema in Handyside Street.

At Caravan, an eclectic global menu is cooked up in an old grain store, very much in keeping with the whole area’s industrial chic. caravanrestaurants.co.uk. Indian with a difference – Dishoom offers a scrumptious Iranian-Indian menu in a restaurant with décor inspired by 1920s Bombay. dishoom.com For an ultra-glamorous and sophisticated martini lounge head to Anthracite in the Great Northern Hotel.

anthracitelounge.com

For low-key Italian, try Albertini on Chalton Street. Tasty, unpretentious food and friendly staff make this a tried and tested local institution. albertini.co.uk The Skip Garden Kitchen serves vegetarian food from around the world, using local, seasonal and organic ingredients – some of them grown on site. It moves around King’s Cross as different spaces become available, so check out its latest location online.

globalgeneration.org.uk à

everymancinema.com

Just the other side of St Pancras is the British Library. You’ll need a reader pass to visit the famous reading rooms, but there are also numerous exhibitions inspired by the library’s collections, all open to the general public, and many of them free. bl.uk A short stroll down Euston Road will take you to the Wellcome Collection, a free museum and library which hosts inventive exhibitions exploring the connections between science, medicine, life and art. wellcomecollection.org And if you do manage to exhaust everything King’s Cross has to offer, a pleasant amble through Bloomsbury will take you to the British Museum – or after a few minutes on the canal towpath you can find yourself in Camden Town or Islington.

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KING'S CROSS

WHERE TO STAY

The Standard The only European outpost of this ultra hip US hotel chain is housed in a mid century brutalist monument, once home to the local council. The building, which opened as hotel in July 2019, has been lovingly refurbished, with pleasing, playful touches. Furniture is upholstered in customwoven Harris tweed and the reception area has a ceramic installation by London-based artist Lubna Chowdhary. Carpets echo London Underground moquette, and the hotel lounge houses an eccentrically-curated library – a nod to the fact that the ground floor of the building was once home to the local municipal library (this has now been moved to the council’s new offices just across the road). If you’re looking for idiosyncratic luxury, with a mid-century James Bond vibe, The Standard is your place.

standardhotels.com/london

St Pancras Renaissance Facing The Standard across Euston Road, the Renaissance is a different experience altogether. A fairytale in red brick, designed by gothic revivalist George Gilbert Scott, it’s stage-set Victorian London (and, in fact, several films have been shot here, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Ceilings are vertiginously high, and rooms are packed with period features. Perfect for train spotters and Potter fans alike – some of the rooms actually overlook the interior of St Pancras Station. stpancraslondon.com u

Pictured right-left: The Standard; and St Pancras Renaissance

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BRITISH TRAVEL JOURNAL CROSSWORD 04 































 



 















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 crossword@britishtraveljournal.com

ACROSS

DOWN

9 Bearing in mind (7) 10 How air usually flows through an electric fan (7) 11 The St. ---, classic Doncaster horse race (5) 12 Suffolk town hosting a music and arts festival every June (9) 13 Cheshire village, home to the Duke of Westminster's estate (9) 14 Last movement of a sonata (5) 15 Captain who first recognised Cheltenham's spa potential (11) 20 Video game plumber (5) 22 Norwegian midnight sun spot (5,4) 25 Shredded desiccant causes mishaps (9) 26 Pop the cork (5) 27 Unsettled scores (7) 28 Not found on tank tops (7)

1 RHS Great Spring Show venue (7) 2 British Iron Age tribal type (6) 3 Victorian Prime Minister and author (8) 4 Shocked (6) 5 Bitterly derisive (8) 6 One who likes a drop or two (6) 7 Prince Charles's official House (8) 8 RAF multi-role combat aircraft (7) 15 Began to play (6,2) 16 Southern extremity of the Isle of Man (8) 17 Moves to a different home (8) 18 Trade restriction (7) 19 Tester support (7) 21 Stage of life Shakespeare said was "sans everything" (3,3)

Answers will be printed in the Spring Issue out 26 February

ANSWERS TO CROSSWORD 03 | AUTUMN 2019 ACROSS: 8 Pacino 9 Ullapool 10 Land a job 11 Noises 12 Lauder 13 Rewrites 14 Listed companies 18 Quit-rent 21 Calico 23 Armlet 24 Aysgarth 25 Wargrave 26 Unions. DOWN: 1 Kalahari, 2 Winded, 3 Conjured, 4 Sunbury-onThames 5 All-new 6 Optician 7 Cohere 15 Tutelage 16 Picks out 17 Exciting 19 Unreal 20 Extras 22 Lead-in

F O R YO U R J O U R N E Y Books, apps, travel gadgets and crossword

VISITORS’ GUIDE TO SCOTLAND 796 pages filled with activities, architecture, castles, tours, events, gardens, geology, history, islands, lochs, nature, food, steam trains, whisky distilleries and so much more! £50 visitorsguidetoscotland.com

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N ECKL AC E EA R P HO N ES Connected via Bluetooth this gorgeous Swarovski Elements pendant allows you to listen to music, answer phone calls, connect to Siri and accessorise your outfit handsfree. ÂŁ189 fifthandblue.com

P O C KET T R A N S L ATO R Converse quickly and easily with people in a multitude of languages with this two-way voice translator that instantly translates 74 languages making overseas travel easy! ÂŁ219 amazon.co.uk


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British Travel Journal | Winter 2019