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DREAM ESCAPE MAGAZINE

Summer 2021 | Issue 02

dreamescape.co.uk

Make

LIFELONG MEMORIES with our Experiences

Exclusive Travel Experiences to England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales


WELCOME FIRST WORDS

COVER PHOTO —

Netflix's TV series Bridgerton had us swooning over the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, ravishing city of Bath, and other fabulous UK locations used in the filming. Our front cover scene is of Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton with Wilton’s Palladian Bridge, Wiltshire in the background. These glamorous locations offer a new way to see Britain, from strolling around a pleasure garden, staying in a castle to taking a carriage ride. We hope you enjoy some of the new Bridgerton experiences available as part of your Dream Escape in our special feature, p44. NICK BRIGGS/NETFLIX © 2020

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@DreamescapeUK

@DreamEscapeLtd

W

ELCOME BACK to our summer edition of the Dream Escape Magazine. The last few months have been filled full of anticipation. Travel advisors and clients are planning and booking new trips for 2021 and 2022 and everyone cannot wait to get back to a new version of normal! As is so often the case, adversity drives innovation and new ways of thinking and working. We are looking forward to offering a range of new experiences from our exceptional partners on the ground across the UK & Ireland. It is equally exciting to learn about plans for new hotels, private properties and ways to explore and discover our favourite destinations. We continue to put people and our trusted relationships at the heart of what we do. While technology will continue to virtually bring us closer together we still believe that the benefits of frequent in person contact cannot be replaced. I hope that you enjoy the Summer Edition which covers a broad range of interests and is made possible with the valued support of some of our closest partners. We look forward to welcoming you back!

David Tobin at the Braemar Gathering

FEATURED ON THE COVER...

From photography masterclasses to outdoor art, remote idyllic islands to coastal driving routes, Dream Escape can arrange an experience you will never forget!

David

DAVID TOBIN OWNER AND DIRECTOR –

Have some feedback you would like to share? We would love to hear from you, please email editor@dreamescapemagazine.com

10 of the UK & Ireland's Finest Experiences, page 36

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MAGAZINE

Meet the team...

SUMMER 2021 | ISSUE 02 EDITOR IN CHIEF

Owner & Director

Jessica Way jessica.way@contistamedia.co.uk

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Melanie Abrams, Chantal Borciani Jo Gardner, Robin Glover, Emma Johnson, Melanie May, Emma O'Reilly, Samantha Rutherford, Adrienne Wyper

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION MANAGER

Adrian Wilkinson adrian.wilkinson@contistamedia.co.uk

DREAM ESCAPE LUXURY TRAVEL SPECIALISTS SCOTLAND & IRELAND Lesley Scott lesley@dreamescape.co.uk

LONDON & ENGLAND Louise Murray louise@dreamescape.co.uk

david@dreamescape.co.uk

Who are you following on Instagram ? “Summer is here so I am loving any inspirational garden sites @houseandgardenuk @ theplanthunter... and my guilty pleasure is still @samheughan!”

Owner & Director

Emer Mortell emer@dreamescape.co.uk

PUBLISHED BY

Contista Media Contract publishers for the UK travel and tourism industry contistamedia.co.uk holly@dreamescape.co.uk

Holly started her career at Carlson Marketing in Singapore after completing her Business & Psychology MA in Edinburgh. After a few years in London working at various advertising agencies including TBWA she moved to Edinburgh. Holly is passionate about travel and has a wealth of knowledge having travelled extensively including overlanding from India and Nepal back to England. As well as enjoying as much time as she can with her family, Holly would love to complete more charity challenges and get to some of the far-flung places on the map which have always been on her list to visit. ⬥ What experience has inspired you recently? “Flying on a small plane to Islay, inhaling the salty air and malty smell of the distilleries. Getting windswept on the wee course at Machrie. Enriching and a reminder of how beautiful the Scottish islands are.”

Find out more

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sue@dreamescape.co.uk

HOLLY MACKIE –

HEAD OF SALES

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Who inspires you? “ I have found inspiration from a variety of people ranging from Ernest Shackleton, David Attenborough & the composer John Williams”

Sue brings over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing & event management in the UK & Ireland travel industry. Sue started her career working for a leading luxury tour operator in London before enjoying 15 years at Tourism Ireland (the National Tourist Board) where she was responsible for various marketing and communications campaigns for the consumer, travel trade, golf & business tourism sectors. Having moved to the British Virgin Islands in 2011 with her family, she is no stranger to high end travel experiences, the great outdoors and an odd hurricane or two! ⬥

WALES

Dream Escape Leading luxury travel design company and destination specialist dreamescape.co.uk

David founded Dream Escape with Holly in 2005. Based in Edinburgh, the vision was to create once in a lifetime trips and events for a select group of well-travelled and discerning clients. David's previous marketing career included roles at ITV, Saatchi & Saatchi and Carat where he worked across a wide range of clients. Prior to starting Dream Escape he was a Board Director at MediaCom London & Scotland responsible for Audi UK & The Scottish Executive. David is a keen cyclist and across the last few years has cycled around the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland and the North Coast 500 in Scotland raising money for various charities supporting people living with cancer. ⬥

SUE MORRIS –

Michael Davies michael@dreamescape.co.uk

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

DAVID TOBIN –

Head of Marketing

DREAM ESCAPE

DREAM ESCAPE


KINROSS PERTH & KINROSS-SHIRE SCOTLAND KY13 8ET

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HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE PHILIP DUKE OF EDINBURGH

1921-2021

IMAGE © PA IMAGES / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

FAREWELL


CONTENTS SUMMER 2021 | ISSUE 02 —

SOCIAL CALENDAR SUMMER 2021

13 - Britain’s May-August cultural

calendar is once again packed with world-class visitor attractions hosting special exhibitions, events and shows, from iconic sporting events, to seasonal art, gardens, live music and more.

18

INTERVIEW WITH SIR ROCCO GIOVANNI FORTE

18 - Holly chats to Sir Rocco Forte,

Chairman of the prestigious Rocco Forte Hotels, about the iconic Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh and Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, London.

WHAT’S NEW HOTELS BULLETIN

26 - From brand new country retreats and exclusive-use private lodges, to alfresco terraces for covid-safe summer dining, there's yet more to discover from our brilliantly resilient hotels across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

44 10 OF THE UK & IRELAND'S FINEST EXPERIENCES:

MEET THE MAKER: LOUISE KENNEDY

36 - Whether you’re a motor enthusiast,

30 -

royalist, or epicurean, Dream Escape can arrange you an adventure like no other.

Renowned Irish fashion designer Louise Kennedy has dressed the likes of Meryl Streep and Anjelica Houston, but, as she tells Dream Escape, she has always remained connected to her Irish roots.

BRIDGERTON

44 - Find out more about the

36

glamorous locations in Netflix’s Bridgerton you've seen on screen, and the ones to visit, with Dream Escape's new Bridgerton themed itineraries and tours. →

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IRELAND'S SUNNY SOUTH EAST

54 - Discover historic houses and medieval

marvels, gorgeous gardens and fabulous food, on Dream Escape's experience to Ireland's sunny south east - a destination for the culturally and culinary curious.

ENGLAND'S UNDISCOVERED NORFOLK

64 - Once neglected in favour of other beachy

gems, Norfolk’s big skies, pristine coastline, majestic waterways, native wildlife, fresh bounty and quaint villages are beginning to attract attention.

WALES' PEMBROKESHIRE COAST NATIONAL PARK

54

72 - Plan a visit to the UK's only National Park

primarily designated for its coastal landscape - 240 spectacular square miles just waiting to be discovered.

82 98

99 72

SCOTLAND'S VIBRANT EDINBURGH

82 - Head to Scotland’s historic and spirited capital

for festival season, and let Dream Escape arrange for you to experience the unmissable Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, other cultural highlights, with behind-the-scenes access, lavish accommodation and exclusive visits for a truly unforgettable trip.

MY CORNISH ODYSSEY: INTERVIEW WITH RICK STEIN

90 - While many chefs may make a mark on a

particular corner of these British Isles, none are so intrinsically linked with an area than Rick Stein and his beloved Cornwall.

GARDEN SPECIAL: INSIDE IFORD MANOR

98 - Thought lost after the Second World War, these

exquisite Grade I listed gardens have been restored by two generations of the Cartwright-Hignett family – with some expert help from Head Gardener, Troy Scott Smith.

THE LAST WORD: ROSEMARY & SAGE

106 - Dream Escape’s Head of Guiding, Rosie Peattie and resident fountain of knowledge Sally Strange, both Blue Badge Guides, recommend some fantastic royal outdoor experiences this summer. ⬥

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When was the last time you knew your banker by name?

At Hampden & Co, we provide private banking as it should be and each of our clients has a nominated banker who gets to know them and their banking requirements. If this sounds like the type of tailored service that you, your family and business would benefit from, please contact Managing Director – Banking, Jeremy Vaughan. Tel : 020 3841 7480 jeremy.vaughan@hampdenandco.com

hampdenandco.com Hampden & Co plc Registered branch 9 Charlotte Squate, Edinburgh, EH2 4DR. Registered in Scotland no SC386922. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.


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CONTRIBUTORS

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Summer 2021

LOUISE KENNEDY — About Louise Kennedy: Louise Kennedy, known as the �uncrowned queen of Irish fashion” has flagship stores in London and Dublin. She is a member of the British Fashion Council, and has won a Fashion Oscar as well as being named Irish Designer of the Year twice! What do you enjoy most about being a fashion designer of your own clothing brand? �I love the satisfaction I get by being able to control every part of the design process. Because it is my business, I can focus relentlessly on even the smallest of details without ever having to compromise. For me, this is the only way to ensure the brand can deliver garments finished to the exceptional high standard we insist on. That is how we can ensure quality at the end of the day. I also love the relationships we have built over many decades with our studios around the world, who we are fortunate to work with and who craft our collection each season.� ⬥

TROY SCOTT SMITH — About Troy Scott Smith: One of Britain’s best-known Head Gardeners, Troy Scott Smith is the Head Gardener at the awardwinning and internationally renowned, Grade 1 registered Iford Manor Gardens near Bath. Iford Manor Gardens is in full bloom, tell us about your favourite flowers and why? �Iford is all about moments for me, it could be the design moments that Harold Peto so brilliantly created as you stroll the garden, or it could be the brief but glorious moments of flowering plants that come and go through the seasons: the sheets of snowdrops in spring, the wild daffodils in the ancient coppice, the blossom in the Orchard, the flowering cherries, the ranks of statuesque Iris, the billowing roses and or course the fragrant and exuberant Wisteria.� ⬥

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RICK STEIN — About Rick Stein: Rick Stein owns and runs four restaurants in the small Cornish fishing village of Padstow with his ex-wife, Jill, as well as a restaurant in Falmouth, Winchester, Porthleven, Fistral, Sandbanks, Marlborough and Barnes, a cookery school, four retail shops and 40 rooms in and around Padstow. He has written 24 cookery books, recorded several cookery series and five one off documentaries. What does your favourite day out in Cornwall look like? “I love enjoying the Cornish scenery and seascapes. The walk from Padstow to Stepper Point and on to Trevone along the South West Coast Path is one of my favourites.”

SIR ROCCO FORTE — About Sir Rocco Forte: Sir Rocco Forte is Chairman of Rocco Forte Hotels, exquisite hotels in exceptional locations - and son of the late Lord Charles Forte. Tell us about your three favourite hotels in the world and what it is that makes them so special? �One's favourite hotel is normally where one feels most comfortable, serene and at home. The place where I relax completely is our Verdura Resort in Sicily. It takes me a couple of days to unwind and then I simply start enjoying the glorious weather and delicious food. I play golf, swim and ride my bike along the stunning Sicilian coast and let the staff spoil me. It is a true holiday, one the whole family enjoys.� ⬥

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ICMI __The Collection


SOCIAL

CALENDAR SUMMER 2021

JUNE

IMAGE © GETTY IMAGES FOR ASCOT RACECOURSE

HIGHLIGHT

Royal Ascot

ASCOT, BERKSHIRE — 15-19 June | With five days of top quality racing, Royal Ascot is the pinnacle of the British horse racing calendar. As Britain’s most valuable horse racing meeting, with millions of pounds of prize money for owners, it welcomes racehorses, jockeys and trainers from every corner of the globe. The annual meeting situated in spectacular wooded countryside adjoining Windsor Great Park mixes sartorial elegance, with incredible heritage, gallantry and tradition. ⬥

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RACING

Scottish Festival of Motoring

Scotland's newest car show and motorcycle event promises to be exciting and entertaining with a variety of displays including club cars, modified cars, classic cars, motorcycles, motorhomes and much more. Taking place from 28 June.

MOTORING

OPERA

LONDON CONCOURS

GRANGE PARK OPERA

HONOURABLE ARTILLERY COMPANY HQ

JUNE 14

— 8-10 June | This summer automotive garden party is hosted in the heart of the City of London displaying nearly 100 of the finest classic and performance cars ever produced. Now in its fifth year, the London Concours also hosts pop-up boutiques from some of the world’s most sought-after luxury brands. This year, Breguet will be displaying some of its finest timepieces, James Bond’s tailor, Anthony Sinclair, showcasing some of its latest styles and there’s a beautiful Champagne Bar courtesy of Veuve Clicquot. ⬥

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WEST HORSLEY, SURREY — From 10 June | Dress to impress and let Dream Escape arrange for you to arrive in style, in a chauffeur driven vintage car. Arrive early to wander in the historic walled gardens. Enjoy pre-show champagne, canapes, nuts and olives on the lawn by the house, and interval picnics in a private pavilion. 2021 opera highlights include Falstaff, La Bohème, Ivan the Terrible and Litvinenko. ⬥

SPORT WIMBLEDON TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS

WIMBLEDON, LONDON — From 28 June | As the world's oldest tennis tournament and the only Grand Slam still played on grass, the prestigious Wimbledon Championships continue to be a huge draw for fans across the world and one of the most prestigious events in the sporting calendar, with broadcasts attracting more than a billion viewers across 200 nations – but nothing comes close to experiencing its unique, unparalleled atmosphere in person. Let Dream Escape arrange a VIP experience to include seats on either Wimbledon's Centre Court or No.1 Court, and private award-winning dining in the Rosewater Pavilion. ⬥


COMMEMORATING

PRINCE PHILIP: A CELEBRATION

250TH ANNIVERSARY EVENTS

In every part of Scotland you can find attractions connected with Sir Walter Scott. From big country houses, castles to city monuments, this famous Scottish writer left a fantastic legacy. Born in Edinburgh in 1771, Sir Walter Scott went to school and university in the city and became a lawyer before embarking on a celebrated writing career. A man of humour, warmth and intelligence – but not without his tragic qualities – much of Scott’s fiction was inspired by the life and history of Scotland. It will come as no surprise that there are many amazing Scottish locations connected with this great writer, and in his 250th birthday year special events and exhibitions happening throughout the year. Here are just a few of Dream Escape's favourites. ⬥

IMAGES © ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST/ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sir Walter Scott

Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse Opening at Windsor Castle on 24 June and at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on 23 July, special displays will commemorate the remarkable life and legacy of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Britain’s longest-serving consort. ⬥

THE HOME OF SIR WALTER SCOTT

Abbotsford, Melrose, Roxburghshire Located on the banks of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders, Sir Walter Scott's Abbotsford is one of the most famous country houses in the world. Set on a 1400-acre estate, Abbotsford is full of art, curiosities and books which reflect the mind, enthusiasms and preoccupations of the man who built it. As Allan Massie says in The Ragged Lion, ‘no one, I believe, can come to understand Scott who does not also know Abbotsford.’. ⬥

Vibrant Edinburgh Discover more about Scotland’s historic and spirited capital with our Edinburgh special. Page 82. dreamescapemagazine.com

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MUSIC CHELTENHAM MUSIC FESTIVAL

VARIOUS VENUES IN CHELTENHAM — 2-9 July | Make the most of the beautiful Cotswold setting with a programme of show-stopping concerts in Cheltenham Town Hall, intimate musical adventures in the Pittville Pump Room, and a feast for the senses in cathedrals, abbeys and churches across the region. Established in 1945, Cheltenham Music Festival is one of the most prestigious music festivals in the world. With over 60 events and 650 performers each year, Cheltenham Music Festival promises twelve days of sublime and surprising musical adventures for all. Enjoy talks from industry leaders and an Opening Weekend of music outdoors, with a wealth of artists covering Western classical music and beyond. ⬥

JULY

QATAR GOODWOOD FESTIVAL ‘GLORIOUS GOODWOOD’ — 27-31 July | The Qatar Goodwood Festival is one of the undisputed highlights of the British Flat racing season. Synonymous with the sport: the first public race meeting took place at the racecourse in 1802, and over the decades, the meeting has attracted the very best equine athletes including Double Trigger, Ouija Board, Frankel, Midday and Stradivarius to name a few. Affectionately known as ‘Glorious Goodwood’, the world famous five-day festival is a sporting and social occasion like no other, unrivalled style, superb racing and hospitality to savour. ⬥

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IMAGES © DOMINIC JAMES

HIGH SOCIETY


POP-UP EVENT

Henley Festival's Summer Fling

This three night summer party July 8-10 is a special pop-up event for 2021, with bands and celebrity DJ sets, a vintage fun fair, street food, bars, and Moët Champagne garden. A taster to the 5-day annual Henley Festival taking place September 15-19.

SAILING PARADE OF SAIL: FALMOUTH TALL SHIPS REGATTA

FALMOUTH, CORNWALL

AUGUST

— 19 August | The pinnacle of Tall Ship sailing, this year’s annual Tall Ships Race starts in Falmouth where over 30 Tall Ships from around the world will be anchored in Falmouth for three days of festivities before racing to A Coruna in Spain. The main attraction is the Parade of Sail before the race starts, which involves the Tall Ships, along with hundreds of supporting local boats and marine craft sailing in company out of the harbour. Dream Escape can arrange for you to take a tripper boat into the Carrick Roads to view the ships up close whilst they are anchored. Plus, there will be a range of shoreside activities including markets and music to enjoy throughout the festival. ⬥

CULTURE

In the city... DODGE: DRINK, DINE AND DODGEMS, SOMERSET HOUSE

STRAND, LONDON — 15 July – 22 August 2021 | Expect food, drinks and dodgems…with a difference, every time you bump your car it flicks your car’s soundtrack to a different piece of music, thanks to Mercury Award-shortlisted musician Anna Meredith and Bafta-winning sound artist Nick Ryan. ⬥ — VAN GOGH ALIVE

THE EAST ALBERT LAWN, KENSINGTON GARDENS, LONDON — June 4 – Sept 26 2021 | Having dazzled over 7 million visitors in 65 cities worldwide, the world’s most visited immersive, multisensory experience is coming to the stunning Kensington Gardens this summer for an exclusive four-month run. ⬥

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Sir Rocco Giovanni Forte From the Dream Escape Podcast Series:

Holly chats to Sir Rocco Forte, Chairman of the prestigious Rocco Forte Collection of luxury hotels, to include the iconic Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh and Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, London.

T

HE ROCCO FORTE COLLECTION of hotels was founded in 1996 and is made up of iconic landmark properties that are all situated in exceptional locations. A lot of thought goes into the essence of each of the hotels, which are interestingly designed by Sir Rocco’s sister, Olga. Each property will work with local artists and designers to incorporate key events or special residents, and it is this sense of place that is so important to the brand and the most important pillar of their ethos. The Forte team are masters of creating wonderful experiences and making their properties stand out from the crowd, and ultimately deliver the most authentic stays for every guest. A veteran of the hospitality industry, Sir Rocco’s philosophy is certainly customer orientated and his team are given a sense of belonging and being part of something very special.

Holly: Sir Rocco, you have an incredible and evolving collection of luxurious five-star hotels and resorts, ranging throughout Europe and beyond. They're all landmarks in exceptional locations and are truly exquisite, but I'd love to talk to you more about your magnificent and iconic Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh and Brown's Hotel, London. I know the Balmoral Hotel was where it all began. Could you tell us a little bit more as to how this all came about? →

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I am most proud of is the culture “thatThewething have created at our hotel collection.” Sir Rocco Forte: It all came about because I was suddenly left with nothing to do at the age of 51. Plenty of energy and ambition, I decided to start building a portfolio of distinctive luxury properties. The initial period was quite difficult because I discussed a number of deals, possible acquisitions and so on, but they all fell through. Balmoral came along, and I managed to do a deal with the Bank of Scotland and Trusthouse Forte, my previous company. We were delighted when a deal was made as it enabled us to turn it around, because otherwise, it would have been taken over in bankruptcy by the bank. The Balmoral Hotel was indeed the first hotel within the new Rocco Forte Collection – purchased on the 1st March 1997. Holly: It has been an incredible journey that you embarked on with your sister Olga, and really special. It's over four generations that your family have been in hospitality. Did you always envisage the family being so involved? Sir Rocco Forte: I suppose in the back of my mind, yes. But I wasn't sure. I didn't want to force them into something they didn’t want to do. But they all had school holiday jobs in the business, so they were exposed to the industry from a young age. As a result, they got a flavour of it, and a liking for it, which made them keen to join after they had finished university and having experienced other jobs outside the industry. Holly: With all of your properties, from the location to the interiors, each hotel is authentic and individual with its own characteristics, combining the history and culture of the places, along with working with local artists and designers. A Dream Escape favourite with guests is your J.K. Rowling Suite in The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh and the (Rudyard) Kipling Suite in Brown’s Hotel, London. Creating these different experiences has really made your properties stand out. Has this sense of place always been important to you? Sir Rocco Forte: Yes, very much so. Each of our properties is individual – each has its own personality, and each is authentic to its city. When we set off, we felt that the sense of place for our hotels was one of the most important pillars, everybody talks about it now, but I think we were one of the first to do it. Most of the trade was a sort of rubber stamp of hotel chains at that time. It’s really thanks to my sister that a lot of that has come together so well, in terms of the decoration of the hotel. Olga spends a lot of time before we start remodelling the hotel, thinking about the main theme and feeling for the hotel. Holly: Have your personal experiences influenced your approach to creating these authentic stays? Sir Rocco Forte: Yes, very much. I think one's character is to some degree made up of one's personal experiences, and so the fact that I’ve been staying in good hotels for most of my life, ever since I was a small child with my parents, must →

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Once you've built a hotel, redecorated, or restructured it, that's just the “ beginning. It's not the end. Then it's about what you put into it and the feeling that you create which is where the atmosphere comes from. The general manager, the concierge, and all the staff in the hotel, they're the ones who ultimately create the experience and the warmth.

have had a positive influence on me. There’s also the fact that I was involved in both the running and development of Trusthouse Forte, and being in the hotel industry all of my life has certainly been another contributor. Holly: The atmosphere and warmth when you arrive at one of your hotels is such a wonderful experience. I would love to know more about how you have achieved such a loyal and supportive team? Sir Rocco Forte: I think that's what it's all about. Olga spends much time with the staff, it is important to give them the same sense of belonging to something special, the organisation, the family, the history of both the family and the individual hotel, including where it sits within the city that it's in. Everybody goes through an induction process covering this, and I think that really helps to create the sense of feeling you describe in our hotels. Holly: Would you say then your success is a combination of good business practices, and clearly your team are very important to you? Sir Rocco Forte: Yes, of course. Once you've built a hotel, redecorated, or restructured it, that's just the beginning. It's not the end. Then it's about what you put into it and the feeling that you create, which is where the atmosphere comes from. The general manager, the concierge, and all the staff in the hotel, they're the ones who ultimately create the experience and the warmth. Obviously, our philosophy is very customer orientated, and so we have worked very hard on ensuring this is understood in the staff training. From the beginning we have strived to create a greater warmth between the staff and the customer, because 20 years ago, a lot of luxury hotels had a rather pompous feel to them, and I wanted to try and avoid that – and I think we've been

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relatively successful at it. Overall, I am most proud of the company culture that we've managed to create. In terms of our development, I've made a few mistakes, but generally I try to choose hotels which are special, and which fit in to the ethos of what we're all about. Holly: You've been exceptional at contributing to the industry too. You hold various accolades, and you've given so much back with your time and your support to the industry. What do you envisage the next decade holding with regards to people's expectations of experiences at luxurious properties? Sir Rocco Forte: I think it's very difficult to look a long way ahead because effectively you don't change from black to white overnight. The services you give in a hotel evolve over time and adapt to keep up with fashions and customers’ needs. For example, the technological needs guests expect today are very different to what they were 20 years ago. Some of the changes I have seen over recent years are that the luxury clientele has become more discerning, looking for something different and special every time. There's also a huge movement in family travel, and multigenerational travel, which has created more demand for adjoining suites. Plus there's a much younger crowd now, and their attitudes are very different to that of the traditional customer. Once upon a time, you wouldn't have been allowed into Claridges with your jeans on for example, or to sit at lunch with a cap on. But it happens all the time now. And that's the younger generation feeling comfortable doing that, so you can’t really argue with it. Holly: You've also been very clever at creating


Pictured previous page: The Drawing Room at Brown's Hotel. For a slice of traditional London life, enjoy the fabled Brown's Afternoon Tea in their award-winning English Tea Room. Take your pick from over 17 teas, including Brown's own blend — and a selection of sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries. Above: Sir Rocco Forte, his sister Olga Polizzi, Co-founder and Design Director, and the rest of the Rocco Forte Family.

spaces where people do feel very comfortable in their surroundings, accommodating such a variety of different clientele. Is it likely you might launch more properties in the UK in the near future? Sir Rocco Forte: Yes, the UK is a market which interests me greatly, and in which I am looking to open more hotels. I have started to consider smaller properties in the main tourist destinations outside of London, the Cotswolds, Bath and so on, so that we can offer more than just London. In Puglia we took on a hotel which we completely re-developed. It is only 40 bedrooms (Hotel Del Levante), and as a small seasonal hotel, I was initially worried that we wouldn’t make it work at that size, however it has been very successful. I think I could use the same sort of model in the UK in certain important destinations outside London. Holly: That sounds great, very exciting! Thank you Sir Rocco, it has been so inspiring to speak to you. It is always a pleasure working with you and your teams. We wish you all the best in your search for more UK properties, and look forward to welcoming our guests through your doors once more. → dreamescapemagazine.com

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Explore London and Edinburgh with a Rocco Forte Hotels stay with Dream Escape. Brown’s Hotel, London: Few cities in the world have more stories to tell than London. With a history stretching back to Roman times, London boasts countless world-famous landmarks, and even more less well-known treasures. : take the time to seek out the remains of a Roman amphitheatre rediscovered in 1988, for example, or the Palace of Placentia, where Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have laid his cloak over a puddle so that Queen Elizabeth wouldn’t get her feet wet. As London’s first hotel, opened in Mayfair in 1837, Brown’s Hotel has many stories of its own. Over the years it has hosted a roll call of famous names, including Theodore Roosevelt, Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie, and Joseph Conrad. Dream Escape will arrange a private tour of the hotel for you to fully appreciate its rich history, or take a walking Royal Warrant Tour and find out where the royal family shops. Or why not stay in the Kipling Suite, Brown’s most distinguished residence? Rudyard Kipling penned

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Pictured above: The Forte Family at Brown's Hotel, London. Right: Guests arriving at Brown's Hotel, London; and the The Balmoral's signature J.K. Rowling Suite, Edinburgh. The decor throughout evocatively conjures the Scottish countryside through stylish sylvan accents and decorative touches that call to mind the natural world.


The Jungle Book here, and the suite includes a framed handwritten letter from the author himself. The Balmoral, Edinburgh: With a medieval Old Town and an elegant Georgian New Town, Edinburgh also has more than its fair share of historic landmarks. Dominating the skyline of the Scottish capital is Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s Crown Jewels. The famous Royal Mile links the castle with Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. But perhaps Edinburgh’s most famous thoroughfare is Princes Street, famous since Victorian times for its shops and hotels. And located at 1 Princes Street is The Balmoral, a legendary hotel with a landmark clock tower. A galaxy of stars from every field have visited over the decades, including Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, and Paul and Linda McCartney. Allow Dream Escape to arrange a private history walking tour of the Old Town or find out if your ancestors played a part in Scottish history with a private genealogy session. You might enjoy a stay in the elegant J.K. Rowling Suite with unique features including an owl door knocker, the marble bust of Hermes that J.K. Rowling signed when she finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows here, to the antique furnishings, charming turreted alcoves and star-filled entranceway into the lounge. Read more in our Edinburgh special, p82.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Holly Mackie, Owner & Director "Sir Rocco and his exceptional team make any stay at the iconic Brown's and Balmoral Hotels truly memorable. From the fabulous designer suites, the wonderful range of dining options and the personal touches to make every guest feel at home, it's always a pleasure working with the entire team." ⬥

holly@dreamescape.co.uk

Listen to this and more from our podcast series: ‘Chatting with Holly’ Holly and the team pride themselves on the personal relationships and connections that they have with a variety of exceptional private properties and experiences in the UK & Ireland. These podcasts will give you an inside glimpse to some of these wonderful connections, many of whom are personal friends, as they talk candidly to Holly about their special properties and experiences. ⬩

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ENGLAND

WHAT’S

NEW HOTELS BULLETIN SCOTLAND GLENEAGLES IS COMING TO EDINBURGH! — Iconic sporting and country estate Gleneagles is launching its first ever city outpost at 37-39 St Andrew Square - originally home to the British Linen Company which later became the Bank of Scotland. With outstanding architectural features this iconic building is being reimagined to become the ‘Gleneagles Townhouse’, presenting the perfect urban gateway. Gleneagles Townhouse will have 33 bedrooms, each uniquely designed to imbue a sense of understated luxury with an appreciative nod to the heritage of the building, a vibrant all-day restaurant perfect for breakfasts, long lazy lunches and spirited dinners, and two striking bars, including a rooftop terrace where guests will enjoy extraordinary views over the city, previously only held by the rooftop statues! ⬥

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NORTH LODGE AT COWORTH PARK — For a luxury countryside escape let Dream Escape arrange a stay at North Lodge, a new private gatehouse cottage located on the outskirts of Coworth Park, Ascot, Berkshire. This beautifully restored cosy cottage has its own idyllic country garden, three en-suite bedrooms, a roll-top bath, gated entrance, state-of-the-art kitchen and private chef. To elevate the experience, spa therapists can even perform treatments in the comfort of your suite. Pure bliss! ⬥


ENGLAND THE STAR, ALFRISTON — Olga and Alex Polizzi bought The Star, Alfriston in December 2019 - this is the first official joint venture for the mother and daughter duo. The Star, Alfriston, a 30 bedroom hotel, is scheduled to open in May 2021, after significant delays caused by Covid 19. This striking grade II Listed 15th century building, in the medieval village of Alfriston, is near the Seven Sisters and in the South Downs National Park, close to the historic town of Lewes and to both Glyndebourne Opera House and Charleston. The Star is currently undergoing an extensive renovation with Olga Polizzi at the helm, adding her own inimitable style, whilst preserving the magnificent historical features. The front of the hotel opens onto the High Street, and will offer relaxed all day dining with local beers, open fires and oak beams. At the heart of the hotel is a large restaurant with its own inner courtyard, created as a lovely spot for warm weather dining. ⬥

ENGLAND

THE STAFFORD — You can now dine alfresco at The American Bar - one of the longest surviving American bars in London, located inside The Stafford Hotel. Sit back and relax in the courtyard enjoying exquisite food and drinks in the London sunshine. Enjoy cocktails, barbecues, guest chefs and much more. Visit their 400 year old Wine Cellar and enjoy a private tasting with their Master Sommelier. Meet the Concierge, Frank Laino who will personally organise everything from table reservations to private chauffeurs, as well as sharing his knowledge of the local area - historic St James's home to some of the oldest shops in London, each with a fascinating history. ⬥

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ENGLAND

The Tawny Hotel, Peak District

Located in the heart of rural Staffordshire, The Tawny Hotel launches this summer - comprising of 55 immaculately designed Shepherds Huts, Treehouses, Boathouses, Retreats and the Lookout, set within the 70-acre grounds of the wonderfully restored wild garden of Consall Hall Estate.

IRELAND

CASHEL PALACE — In a village clustered in the shadow of the Rock of Cashel, this property, a former Archbishop’s grand country house, offers 34 rooms and eight suites in a blend of classicism and sophistication. Recent renovations have revealed marvelous ornamental delights and, in Ireland, the unveiling of the updated establishment is already generating tremendous enthusiasm, proving to be one of the year’s most eagerly awaited openings. Guests will experience many magical moments in the property’s English gardens and exquisite spa. This enchanting place will be ideal for relaxing and refreshing body and spirit amidst the pastoral scenery of the verdant moor, dotted with frolicking thoroughbreds. Opening Winter 2021. ⬥

Stay Connected

Be in the know Sign-up to our e-newsletter for updates and never miss an issue of Dream Escape Magazine: dreamescapemagazine.com 28

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SCOTLAND

LINKS HOUSE AT ROYAL DORNOCH — Scotland’s most northerly luxury destination, has announced the opening of Mara, a new dining concept, designed to celebrate the best of Scotland’s larder. Inspired by the dramatic Highland landscapes which surround Links House at Royal Dornoch, the restaurant will serve the finest produce from Scotland’s waters, fields, and forests with dishes designed to delight and inspire. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea, Mara is sure to become a true Highland landmark. ⬥


Your PERFECT HIGHLAND RETREAT 5 star, award winning luxury accommodation adjacent to the 1st tee at Royal Dornoch Golf Club. Links House is the perfect destination for a holiday with our large spacious rooms and our position on the North Coast 500. We are the perfect luxury base for discovering the wide open spaces of the Highlands and enjoying our award winning hospitality.

For bookings call 01862 810 279 or visit linkshousedornoch.com


Meet the Maker:

The Cut of her Cloth


Renowned Irish designer Louise Kennedy has dressed the likes of Meryl Streep and Anjelica Houston, but, as she tells Dream Escape, she has always remained connected to her Irish roots…

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WORDS | EMMA JOHNSON

ITH PARENTS as retailers, the business of fashion has always been a part of Irish designer Louise Kennedy’s world. But it wasn’t until she visited New York, while studying a Foundation Arts course in Dublin, aged 18, that she realised how fashion was truly in her future. “I remember the moment as if it were only yesterday” she tells Dream Escape, describing how she faced the difficult decision of choosing between interior or fashion design. “It was really playing on my mind. But when I paid my first visit to Bergdorf Goodman - the incredible store best known as the greatest temple of style - I knew there and then that this was the arena I wanted to work in.” From that moment on, Kennedy knew that fashion and retail was where she wanted to be. And her career to date shows an incredible desire for making this a reality. Often described as the "uncrowned queen of Irish fashion", Louise Kennedy’s designs are elegant, colourful and timeless, and popular

with everyone from Irish presidents to members of the British, European and Middle Eastern royal families, and plenty of the Hollywood glitterati. She has flagship stores in London and Dublin, is a member of the British Fashion Council, and has been named Irish Designer of the Year twice. “I am incredibly proud to be Irish, and living and working from Dublin, the capital city where my head office is based,” she says, referencing her beautiful Merrion Square flagship store, which opened in 1998. Traditionally, she explains, it has been difficult for some cities in Europe to compete with Paris, Milan and London, so flying the Irish flag overseas has always been really important to her. Opening her London flagship in 2000, Kennedy was struck by how few Irish designers had eponymous stores in the city. “London is an incredibly important market to showcase Irish design to international audiences and our sense of Irish heritage is a point of difference,” she adds. Kennedy’s passion for her heritage has led to her twice being commissioned by → dreamescapemagazine.com

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Super chic, “lightweight and

always admired, this is a classic. I have a Camilla in every colour in my own wardrobe!

Aer Lingus to design their women’s and men’s uniforms, while she has continued a global expansion into the US, with New York shows every year. Closer to home, in 2020 Kennedy was appointed by Ballyfin Demesne – a Dream Escape hotel partner, to develop the Ballyfin Scarf. Kennedy designed this exquisite silk scarf, inspired by her favourite suite at the hotel, the Lady Caroline Coote. Built in the 1820’s, Ballyfin is the most lavish Regency mansion in Ireland and one of the most spectacular country house hotels in Europe. Notable for their striking designs and luxurious materials, Kennedy’s designs epitomise classical elegance with a flair for colour and detail. The Camilla silk top is a long-standing signature piece, with a layered ruffle sleeve detail that has been made in over 20 colours. “Super chic, lightweight and always admired, this is a classic. I have a Camilla in every colour in my own wardrobe!” says Kennedy. Elaborate bead work and feathers are a key feature in

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Pictured previous spread: Louise in the Dublin flagship store, 56 Merrion Square. This page left-right: The ‘Alena Sweater’ and ‘Fleur Trousers’; The ‘Loren Dress’ in Ivory paired with ‘Danielle Necklaces’ and ‘Alaia Brooch, all from the SS20 collection; Louise with Paddy in the Dublin Flagship Store

eveningwear, best reflected in the long black Maia cape which showcases the skill of the many artisans Kennedy and her team work with. “Pieces like this are forever,” she says. “And should be viewed as investments that will always bring joy.” An emotional connection to items is important to Kennedy, who explains that, while luxury might often imply high-priced items, for her, “it is more about owning or experiencing something that is rare, authentic, and truly beautiful”. From carefully hand-woven embroidered shawls to the silk lining of an evening jacket or dress, Louise Kennedy luxury is about joy and beauty as much as it is about quality. Investment pieces form a large part of her collection, which is in part due to her commitment to sustainability – and wanting to create pieces that become heirlooms, passed to friends or family through the years. “Quality endures and is never wasted,” she says. “Choosing a more sustainably-led lifestyle means you reduce your waste as →


Pictured left to right: Louise with Paddy on the steps of the Dublin flagship store; The ‘Rowen Top’ with pearl embellishment, paired with the ‘Pippa Trousers’ and The Kennedy 26 Bag, in red; The ‘Nova Dress’, ‘Lily Sweater’ in yellow and the Kennedy 26 Bag in red, all from the SS20 collection.

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The pandemic helped us realise just how sustainable our brand and business are in terms of being able to ride this global storm.

well as the amount of clothing you invest in.” Like every business, the last year has seen changes, and while the pandemic hasn’t impacted the scope of her designs, Kennedy says her more relaxed pieces have naturally seen a boom in the past 12 months. But it has also reinforced her desire to cherish some of her most special pieces. “Before Covid, we had already made the decision to create a Permanent Collection to house the beautiful hand-beaded and handcrafted garments that deserve special treatment - never to be placed in an end-of-season sale,” she explains. “The pandemic made us even more determined to really cherish these works. It also helped us realise just how sustainable our brand and business are in terms of being able to ride this global storm.” As the summer stretches out, Kennedy and her team are busy in their London and Dublin stores. Kennedy splits her time between both locations, and says each store has a special place in her heart.

“When I am in Dublin my mornings start with an extra hot latte and a walk in Merrion Square. The design studio is based in Dublin – and a lot of our day is spent selecting new fabric, planning new shapes and new silhouettes.” Later Kennedy meets clients for lunch or a consultation or fitting, while also finding time for the ‘office pet’, Paddy. “He’s a miniature schnauzer who keeps us all entertained with his demands for treats, cuddles and lots of daily walkies,” she laughs. “He frequently stars in our fashion campaigns and is beloved by the team.” Over in London, Kennedy sees lots of clients for private consultations – an exclusive appointment which can be arranged by the Dream Escape team in both her Dublin and London showrooms. “This is the part of the job I love most,” says Kennedy. “Getting direct client feedback is key to ensuring a successful result. Depending on the style, it will require a few fittings and maybe a toile before we commence making the garment. It’s a privilege to be part of any client’s special event.”

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Louise Murray, Head of Planning, London & England “Dream Escape’s fashion focused programmes take you on a spree through the quintessential British & Irish brands and fashion houses with your own private guide, providing exclusive access and private experiences including @LouiseKennedy, for added touches of luxury that are off limits to the general public” ⬥

louise@dreamescape.co.uk

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10 of the UK & Ireland's:

Finest   Experiences

Whether you’re a motor enthusiast, avid royalist, or epicurean, Dream Escape can arrange an experience you will never forget. We hope you enjoy our selection, from outdoor art to driving a classic car on one of Britain’s most scenic touring routes

BEST FOR BUDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS

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Photography in Dartmoor

As one of a brand-new collection of curated experiences launching this summer across England’s iconic National Parks Gems of Dartmoor is not to be missed! Vivid colours and atmospheric sunlight go hand-in-hand so that the moor is ablaze with an astonishing vibrancy, perfect for creating dramatic

NEW!

photographs. The experience will take you to off-grid destinations where you will learn how to frame and capture stunning images under the expert guidance of a local photographer. Learn how to use your camera (or phone) to make the most of a location and the light to create stunning photography. Explore the history and mysteries of the subjects of your photography while learning more about the conservation of the area too. ⬥ dreamescapemagazine.com

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2

BEST FOR QUINTESSENTIALLY ENGLISH

Afternoon Tea in Palm Court Afternoon tea at The Ritz is the ultimate symbol of English elegance. The beautiful gilded Palm Court has become the ultimate venue for this dining experience. Work your way up the three-tiered silver stand starting with an assortment of freshly prepared sandwiches, then moving on to freshly baked scones then finishing with delicate pastries. Then take a stroll on a private guided tour to explore the foodie highlights of London’s fashionable Marylebone Village. In celebration of the tradition, Afternoon Tea Week, takes place from 9-15 August across England. However, this delightful epicurean experience is enjoyed as one of the nation's favourites at any time of the year. Just remember to enjoy your traditionally Cornish jam and clotted cream scone just as Her Majesty the Queen does - always spreading the jam first! ⬥

BEST FOR GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL dolphins and even a basking shark or two can be viewed on or from the island if Only 12 miles off the north you’re lucky. The bird life is coast of Devon, Lundy particularly prolific in the Island is a small windearly summer, when you swept destination owned may even get the chance to by the National Trust. A see puffins and their chicks. peaceful retreat, Lundy is Accommodation is in a free from traffic – making it large house overlooking the perfect destination for a wooded valley, with someone who’s looking to views out to sea. Snorkel at get away from the stress of Gannet’s Bay and you may the dreaded rush hour. be lucky enough to swim There’s a single shop, a with seals. ⬥ single pub, and a plethora of wildlife to spot – a variety of seabirds, grey seals,

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3 IMAGE © SHUTTERSTOCK

Lundy Island


BEST FOR ALTERNATIVE OUTDOOR PURSUITS

IMAGE © GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

4

Catching a wave in Ireland Achill Island in County Mayo, one of the most spectacular spots in Ireland, and 'the' place to be for the ultimate surfing, bodyboarding and diving adventures. Known by its Gaelic name Oilean Acaill, Achill Island is the largest of Ireland's offshore islands, and has attracted people to its shores for generations. Home to five picture-postcard Blue Flag beaches, some of Europe's highest cliffs and large tracts of blanket bog sweeping

over the island's two peaks and down to the shore, there are plenty of opportunities to fish, surf, dive and kayak here. There are also a number of well renowned craft shops and art galleries to explore as well as numerous festivals to attend. There is also a 15th century fortified tower house, Kildamhnait Castle, the 19th century Acaill Mission and the poignant deserted villages at Slievemore and Ailt. ⬥


BEST FOR SOCIALLY DISTANCING

5

Outdoor Art

A stellar art exhibition can make for a fabulous day out, but in these times of socially distancing ourselves, it can be just as thrilling to see in the great outdoors. Thanks to the fantastic selection of world-class art in sculpture parks, beaches and gardens, art in the open air can make for a scintillating day out. One of Dream Escape's favourite outdoor art venues is Jupiter Artland near Edinburgh. Set

within the picturesque 80-acre estate of Bonnington House you can admire commissioned artworks from some of the world's most renowned artists, including Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Cornelia Parker and Marc Quin. In England there's almost too many venues to mention, the largest of them being Liverpool Biennial, this year themes as The Stomach and the Port, running until 6 June. Elsewhere, you could visit Borde Hill Garden in West Sussex, Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset, Burghley House

in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, or Grizedale Forest, Cumbria. Planning a trip to Ireland? Visit or stay at the Culloden Estate, Belfast between the 25 June14 July and enjoy the Art in the Garden exhibition showcasing the very best of Irish and international sculpture taking place throughout the full 12-acre estate. ⬥


BEST FOR FAMILIES

6

An Irish Journey

Experience the myths, charm and culture of the Emerald Isle on a specially designed Dream Escape family adventure. The country is brimming with stories and folklore to enchant both young and old alike, and the locals will no doubt delight in telling them! For the adventurous, it is the perfect setting: go surfing, try your hand at falconry and enjoy long hikes. The Irish coastline is teeming with movie connections, Star Wars stories and exciting experiences to bring a family programme alive. Embrace the elements and encounter the friendliest people with a trip to the newest ‘cool’ destination of Donegal. Explore filming locations for Star Wars: The Last Jedi with our highly connected expert guide, hear behind the scenes anecdotes and gain an insight into the local area and it will become clear just why this dramatic area was chosen for filming. Visit the Inishowen Peninsula, enjoy a unique lighthouse stay and explore the beautiful expanses of beach with pony rides and nature walks. ⬥

BEST FOR THE ROYALIST

IMAGES © VISITLONDON.COM/JON REID

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A Royal Tour

Highlights include a private boat ride down the River Thames; watching the spectacular tradition of the Changing of Embark on a trip the Guard; stepping through fit for a king or queen as you the nineteen State Rooms explore the most opulent and at the heart of Buckingham impressive pieces of Royal Palace; seeing Windsor Castle Britain. From one of the oldest and St George’s Chapel, which working palaces in the world, played host to not one, but two to the homes of monarchs from royal weddings in recent years. centuries gone by, discover Plus, discover the history of the history of the British royal Hampton Court, gaze upon family as well as how they the glittering British Crown live now. On this tailor-made Jewels at the Tower of London, Dream Escape programme enjoy visit Westminster Abbey and so royal retail therapy by entering much more, staying overnight those few, exclusive shops lucky in quintessentially English enough to be granted a Royal accommodation much loved by Warrant of Appointment. royalty. ⬥ dreamescapemagazine.com

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IMAGE © VISITBRITAIN/ MICHAEL CUMMINS

BEST FOR MOTOR ENTHUSIASTS

film buffs will recognise the area from the James Bond film, Skyfall. For an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the B3135 twists its way through cliffs and a gorge in Escape Britain's motorways and central Somerset, passing through the Mendip Hills. Adventurous discover mountain passes and scenic coastal drives. Britain has drivers might enjoy navigating the plenty of stunning driving routes, tight, winding bends through the spectacular Cheddar Gorge, before best experienced in a classic car sweeping turns lead to the quiet arranged by Dream Escape. village of Ashwick. For the ultimate road trip in In North Wales, named after Scotland the North Coast 500 is a Evo magazine which often uses new scenic route showcasing this route to test or review new fairy-tale castles, white sand cars, the Evo Triangle combines beaches and historical ruins. Also in Scotland, the A82 from three roads with sweeping vistas and panoramic views. Or head Loch Lomond to Loch Ness is widely regarded as one of the most to the Peak District, Snake Pass across the Pennines. ⬥ iconic touring routes in Britain -

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IMAGE © VISITBRITAIN/TOMO BREJC

8

Driving routes in a classic car


BEST FOR THE EPICUREAN

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Jack & Scott’s Private Dining service

For the ultimate epicurean experience, stay at Bray Cottages Lavender House, and enjoy Heston Blumenthal’s son, Jack Blumenthal and Scott Perkins as your own private chefs. You might even wish to stay for a few extra nights, as there are seven Michelin starred restaurants within walking distance of the cottage, to include, Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and The Waterside Inn, Alain Roux’s The Waterside Inn and Roux at Skindles, plus The Crown at Bray and Caldesi in Campagna. ⬥ .

BEST FOR THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE

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Cycle the Wild Atlantic Way

As readers of our last issue of Dream Escape Magazine (Spring 2021) will know, Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way stretches along the west coast of Ireland. It begins on the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal and goes through the counties Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick and Kerry, finishing in Kinsale, County Cork. For a challenge and Irish sightseeing experience like no other, Dream Escape can arrange for you to cycle your way along the beautiful 2195 km route. As Dream Escape Owner, David Tobin knows only too well from his own experience, following the Wild Atlantic Way on two wheels is not for the faint hearted, it takes you along steep coastal roads, twisting mountain climbs and welcoming towns and villages - not forgetting extreme gales and storms. So if you would prefer not to cycle, then why not let Dream Escape arrange for you to see The Wild Atlantic Way by chauffeur instead? ⬥

NEW!

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Lesley Scott, Head of Planning - Scotland & Ireland Get in touch with Lesley for expert advice on your adventure. ⬩ lesley@dreamescape.co.uk

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Bridgerton Filming locations and iconic destinations from:

The glamorous locations of Netflix’s Bridgerton offers a new way to see Britain. Stroll around a pleasure garden, call on a castle or take a carriage ride, as we uncover some of the new Bridgerton experiences available as part of your Dream Escape WORDS | MELANIE ABRAMS

N

ETFLIX’S BRIDGERTON has stolen our hearts, ever since its Christmas release. The Regency romp mixes Pride & Prejudice with Gossip Girl as Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) looks for love - and finds it with the smouldering Duke of Hastings (played by Regé-Jean Page). As the steamy storylines unfold among stately homes, landscaped parks, gentlemen’s clubs, shops and more, these backdrops have become as loved as the characters. Some are iconic landmarks, such as Hampton Court Palace, whilst others are lesser known. Dream Escape will certainly bring the Bridgerton magic alive with specially created experiences to explore, our connected planners and private guides are in the know and will immerse you behind the scenes on private visits to a handpicked selection of properties featured in the show. Here are some of our favourites. →

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Pictured previous page: Regé-Jean Page as Simon Basset and Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton. Pictured left-bottom: Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton; Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Polly Walker as Portia Featherington, Harriet Cains as Phillipa Featherington, Ben Miller as Lord Featherington and Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington IMAGES LIAM DANIEL/ NETFLIX © 2020


STATELY WILTSHIRE

For Bridgerton Regency-era romance, head to Wilton House, near Salisbury. This home of the Earls of Pembroke acts as multiple sets for Hastings, his honorary godmother, Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) as well as Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel). Most recognisable will be the exterior – which was used for Hastings’ London home and the Double Cube Room for the Queen’s presentation chamber. Whilst the garden hosted Lady Danbury’s party in the last episode. Head to Bath though for the Danbury house exterior seen as she steps from her carriage reading Lady Whistledown’s gossip sheet: this elegant façade belongs to the Holburne Museum of art in Sydney Pleasure Gardens. Make an entrance at a Bridgerton ball at Leigh Court in Bristol. Built during Regency times, the suspended double staircase in the Great Hall is where Daphne appeared before dancing with the eligible Prussian Prince Friedrich (Freddie Stroma).

STYLISH BATH

As one of the most stylish cities in Georgian Britain, many Bridgerton streets and places are filmed in Bath rather than London, where the story is set. “People came from all over for the theatre, gambling, dancing and general society,” explains local historian, Diana White. The Assembly Rooms was at the city’s fashionable centre, and is similarly so in Bridgerton where lavish balls were filmed in its Tea Room as well as Ball Room. Visit these rooms through the Fashion Museum, whose collection, including muslin Regency dresses and waistcoats, inspired one of the series’ costume dressers, Emma Horn. Pop into The Abbey Deli at 2 Abbey Street - for this was used for the sought-after Modiste shop run by Madame Delacroix (Kathryn Dysdale). The shop’s interior saw lots of Bridgerton action – romance, blackmail, gossip and, of course, dress fittings. Learn the art of writing à la Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews) with a private calligraphy lesson.

BATH ON FOOT

Tour Bath the Regency way as “you didn’t need a coach and horses – you could have a sedan chair or walk,” says historian, White. First stop: No 1 Royal Crescent, a museum of a Georgian home including a Withdrawing Room and Gentleman’s Retreat. It was used as the exterior of the Featherington’s family pad, as “with the Featheringtons, it is all about show,” says Bridgerton production designer, Will Hughes-Jones. Whilst there, sample The Royal Crescent Hotel’s champagne afternoon tea or hop on a carriage like Regency ton (high society). Stop at the city’s impressive Guildhall as its banqueting room with unmissable chandeliers stood in for the Rambury ballroom. Follow the footsteps of your favourite characters, walking along streets where filming took place. There’s Abbey Green, Bath Street, Beauford Square, as well as Trim Street, where inside number 12 Gunter’s Tea Shop was filmed. →

Wilton House

The Assembly Rooms

The Royal Crescent Hotel

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LONDON LIFE

IMAGE © NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM

The Ranger’s House

The Queen’s House

See London through its Bridgerton homes. Start in the west with Syon House, the London home of the Dukes of Northumberland with its 200 acre park. Used as Bridgerton’s Buckingham House, the smaller forerunner to Buckingham Palace, it’s where Queen Charlotte dined with her husband, George III. Whilst its Print Room doubled for Hastings’ study. Travelling across London to other stately locations, treat yourself to a Michelin-starred lunch at Seven Park Place by William Drabble. It’s near Pall Mall’s Reform Club where one of the more steamy love scenes between Hastings and Daphne Bridgerton occurred in the library. South East of the capital by Greenwich Park lies the red brick Ranger’s House aka the Bridgerton family home –without the on screen purple wisteria. Open daily, it houses one of Europe’s largest private art collections. Nearby is the 17th century Queen’s House built by architect, Inigo Jones with Elizabeth I’s Armada Portrait among other iconic works. On screen, the royal abode doubles for Somerset House, where Daphne is dubbed “this season’s diamond” by Queen Charlotte over the Featherington and Cowper girls and Berbrooke and Hastings fight. Add an extra day to explore the Historic Dockyard Chatham in Kent where more of London streets were filmed including the slums where Lady Featherington (Polly Walker) takes her pregnant cousin, Marina Thompson (Ruby Barker) so she marries quickly as well as the boxing ring at Tarred Yarn Store where Hastings spars with his friend, Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe).

REGENCY LONDON

London still retains its Regency heritage. Take Regent’s Park and Regent Street. Whilst Grosvenor Square, the literary location of Bridgerton House, is dominated by Sir David Chipperfield's forthcoming Rosewood Hotel with its proposed thousand person ballroom. Stroll to St James’s where the Duke of Hastings and Anthony meet for a drink at exclusive White’s gentleman’s club and Anthony thinks he sees Siena. Shop like Regency ton with private appointments. Start along Jermyn Street, say, for Floris to Fortnum & Mason. Cut through 1819’s Burlington Arcade into Savile Row where tailors’ Gieves & Hawkes, founded in 1771, still 48

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measure. Grab lunch at the Beau Brummell pub, named after the Regent’s stylish bff or head to Hyde Park for a carriage ride. Next day, enjoy Hatfield House. Its North Front starred in the series’ trailer, say, and the library became the gentleman’s club where wannabe artist, Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) flirted with painter, Henry Granville (Julian Ovenden). “I did sneak upstairs because I wanted to see Olivia Colman’s room [in The Favourite film], says Nicola Coughlan, who played Penelope Featherington. “I was trying to rub the walls so that her acting talent would rub onto me!” she says. Top tip: take the afternoon tea – with an etiquette lesson. →

Hatfield House


Pictured top-bottom: Regé-Jean Page as Simon Basset and Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton; Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton in costume department of Bridgerton IMAGES LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX © 2020


PIVOTAL MOMENTS

Hampton Court Palace may be best known for its Tudor and Stuart heritage – but in Bridgerton, it stood in for St James’s Palace. Carriages swept into the famous red brick courtyard for Queen Charlotte’s Ball, say. “We were there for an afternoon,” says Bailey, who plays Anthony. Venture across Bushy Park into Teddington for Normansfield Theatre in the Langdon Down Centre, where Hastings and Anthony had their boxing match. Whilst Twickenham has medieval St Mary’s Church where early 18th century English poet, Alexander Pope is buried, which was used for St George’s Church where Daphne and Hastings married. Stroll like the Featheringtons in Surrey’s 18th century Painshill Park. Look out for oft used scenes like the Chinese bridge, rowing lake and winding paths.

YORKSHIRE HIGHLIGHTS

Daphne and Hastings’ marriage takes us to North Yorkshire and glam country estate, Castle Howard. The 300 year old home of the Howard family doubled for the Hastings’ marital residence, Clyvedon Castle. The Great Hall, Dairy Pond and Temple of Four Winds in the garden were among the sets. “When you go into a country house, there is far less flexibility than you can ever imagine — you can’t move the bed, you can’t move the painting, you can’t move the wardrobe, and you have to be quite delicate with the furniture,” says director, Julie Anne Robinson. So the room monitors refused to leave, even during the sex scenes in the duke’s bedroom, saying “can you go easy on the bed, go easy on the bedpost,” she adds. Fictional Clyvedon Village, where Daphne handed out bread and honey baskets to locals is nearby – at picturesque Coneysthorpe village. Whereas other iconic neighbouring sites include York Minster. Top tips: fine dine like Regency ton at Melton’s and relax in five star lux at The Grand York, the only 5 star hotel in Yorkshire. →

Hampton Court Palace

Painshill Park

Castle Howard

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Discover the British countryside by exploring key locations in Buckinghamshire and Gloucestershire. There’s 18th century Stowe Park at Stowe School, say, in Buckinghamshire where the spectacular outdoor Vauxhall Ball was filmed, using over 400 fireworks. Here Daphne and Hastings danced together for the first time and agreed to partner so that he could avoid matchmakers and she could attract more suitors. Furthermore, the coaching inn where the Hastings spent their wedding night is in the same county: in real life, it’s Dorney Court, an early Tudor manor house, in Dorney village, near Windsor. Take extra time to embrace the period in the Regency spa town of Cheltenham. Live ton life at the boutique Queens Hotel Cheltenham, before a private tour of Badminton House in Gloucestershire, as the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort still live there. Spot familiar Bridgerton scenes – from the Foundling Hospital’s interior to Lady Danbury’s home.

The ton are abuzz with the latest gossip, “and so it is my honour to impart to you:

Bridgerton shall officially return for further seasons. I do hope you have stored a bottle of ratafia for this most delightful occasion. Yours Truly, Lady Whistledown.

Stowe Park

Queens Hotel Cheltenham

Season 2 of Bridgerton is currently in production. Announcements made in Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers have confirmed there will be a season three and even four to grace our screens soon!

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Sally Strange, Blue Badge Guide "Bridgerton was the perfect distraction when faced with long dark Winter nights and another Lockdown! Not only was it a romping tale of Regency life, but it was joyous to be transported back to some of my favourite English country homes. The sumptuous sets and glorious costumes reminded me of why it is such a privilege to share such places with clients.

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I have since returned to several of the featured gardens during the Spring months and will be hot on the heels of Simon Bassett Duke of Hastings as soon as these beautiful homes re-open. I even got a sneak peak of the filming of Season 2 when I was at Hampton Court Palace! ⬥

sally@dreamescape.co.uk

© NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/HUGH MOTHERSOLE

THE COUNTRY SET


Pictured previous spread: Freddie Stroma as Prince Friederich and Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte Pictured left: Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte. Video below: Bridgerton Season 2 Announcement (Netflix). IMAGES LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX © 2020


Pictured: Dunmore East, Waterford


The Sunny South East Ireland:

With its historic houses and medieval marvels, gorgeous gardens and fabulous food, the sunny south east is a destination for the culturally and culinary curious WORDS | MELANIE MAY

W

IMAGES © CHRIS HILL

ITH 300 MORE hours of sunshine than anywhere else in the country, the sunny south east of Ireland is a popular holiday destination for overseas visitors and locals alike. One of the great benefits of this sunny weather is the wonderful range of activities on offer all year round, even when the sun goes down. However, the weather isn't the only thing that's hot in this picturesque part of the country. The region is part of Ireland's Ancient East and is a hotbed of history and heritage brimming with culture and cuisine hotspots. It's a destination for those who like a little bit of everything and a whole lot of fun. So, let's take a journey through the sunny south east with some of Dream Escape's favourite experiences and places to include on a uniquely curated Ireland journey. →

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WATERFORD

Start your sojourn in Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford, which will win you over with its enthralling experiences, cultural riches and weatherworn coast. Dunmore East is a characterful and colourful village with postcard-pretty thatched cottages and all the pleasures of a traditional seaside resort, including its swathe of golden sandy beach. Enjoy more of the region's spoils with a cycle or stroll along the Waterford Greenway. Stretching 46km from Waterford City to Dungarvan, this old railway line is a journey through history and heart-stirring scenery. You'll pass impressive viaducts, Norman ruins and

For those who enjoy outdoor “pursuits, Dream Escape will

organise a private fishing experience with ghillie on Lismore Castle estate's River Blackwater, Ireland's finest salmon river.

famine workhouses whilst picturesque landscapes keep you company. In Dungarvan, Dream Escape can arrange a cookery class with chef, Paul Flynn at his award-winning Tannery cookery school. During this hands-on experience, you'll learn how to bring a taste of Ireland back home with you. For a cultural highlight, we'll arrange for an expert guide to take you on a private tour of Waterford's historic houses. Immerse yourself in the region's rich literature, art and music traditions as you roam the rooms with exclusive access to the private quarters. At Lismore Castle, built by King John in 1185, you can discover its treasure trove of art including Old Masters and contemporary pieces. Should you wish to sleep in an Irish castle you can enjoy an exclusive overnight stay. "We have crafted many special experiences for clients staying here, one of our favourites being when we created a medieval village on the front lawn of the castle. It was quite a spectacle!" David Tobin. For those who enjoy outdoor pursuits, a private fishing experience with ghillie on Lismore Castle estate's River Blackwater, Ireland's finest salmon river, is not to be missed. Another rambling mansion is Tourin House, home of the Jameson sisters, Kristin, Andrea and Tara. They are direct descendants of John Jameson, whose name is synonymous with Irish whiskey. With our personal Pictured left: Cliff House Hotel, the finest small luxury 5-star hotel in Ireland; and Lismore Castle, both in Waterford. Pictured far right: Wells House and Gardens, Hook Lighthouse, both in Wexford

IMAGE © TOURISM IRELAND

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connection with the sisters, a private lunch with the ladies can be arranged. Overnight, the Cliff House Hotel is a firm favourite of the Dream Escape team. Clinging to a cliff above rolling Atlantic waters, this exquisite hotel has an intimate spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant. For private house rental, the brand-new contemporary Cliff Beach House is a striking 6 bedroomed villa with impressive floor-to-ceiling windows for uninterrupted views of the staggering scenery.

WEXFORD

In County Wexford, you'll encounter scenic views, historic sites, sandy coastlines and succulent strawberries - Wexford and strawberries are synonymous. Dream Escape can arrange a private tour of Wells House and Gardens, a magnificent 17th-century country house and museum. Explore the elegant rooms and learn about its remarkable history that dates back to the days of Cromwell. A stroll around the enchanting grounds is a relaxing way to work up an appetite. Speaking of which, whip up a feast during a private cookery class with Irish celebrity chef, Kevin Dundon at his luxury boutique hotel, Dunbrody Country House. It would be remiss to visit Wexford and not see Hook Lighthouse, the oldest operational lighthouse in the world. Explore the chambers of this unique and iconic landmark on a private tour. Ascend the 115 steps to the balcony for breathtaking panoramic views and perhaps a glimpse of majestic whales frolicking in the water below. Nearby, a private tour of the restored ruins of Tintern Abbey will thrill history lovers. Marvel at the 13th-century nave, tower, chancel, chapel and cloister whilst listening to the myths and legends that surround this atmospheric site of Irish monastic history. A bounty of beautiful beaches bless this peninsula and are safe for swimming, snorkelling or simply

IMAGE © GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

strolling. The more unsheltered spots provide perfect conditions for kitesurfing and windsurfing. In October this year, the Wexford Opera Festival celebrates its 70th Anniversary. To experience the magic of one of the world’s leading opera festivals, Dream Escape can design a bespoke special interest trip. With fully staged operas, lunchtime concerts and pop-up performances, you are sure to be captivated by the drama and passion during a night, or fortnight, at the Opera. Settle down for the night at Marlfield House, a prestigious Relais & Chateaux and Blue Book member in one of their new Pond Suites. Surrounded by woodland, it's a haven of tranquility. End your day here by sinking into an armchair in front of a roaring fire whilst enjoying a nightcap in lavish style. →

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KILKENNY

Journey to captivating Kilkenny, famous for its castle and crafts. Whether you enjoy the liveliness of a vibrant city or the tranquility of the mellow countryside, Kilkenny offers both. Paddling down the River Barrow, drifting past historic riverside settlements is a pleasant sightseeing experience. Rather ride the rapids than drift away? Kayaking on the River Nore is very popular and rip-roaring too. Dream Escape can organise both activities for clients. Back on dry land, Kilkenny’s alluring cobbled stone streets are littered with medieval landmarks and monuments. A delightful way to discover them is following the 'Medieval Mile' walking route. Be sure to leave time for an engrossing tour of Kilkenny Castle. Constructed in 1195, it's one of the earliest Norman stone castles to be built in Ireland and one of the country's most visited heritage sites. Another engaging way to explore the city is through its thriving crafts scene.

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Video above: Luxury Ireland by Dream Escape Pictured far right: Mount Usher Gardens, Wicklow

Following the ‘MADE in Kilkenny’ Craft Trail, you'll meet designers and makers working in all manner of materials including Nicholas Mosse Pottery, Jerpoint Glass Studio and Inga Reed Jewellery. You'll also end up in the superb Kilkenny Design Centre where you can shop some of Ireland's most celebrated craftspeople. Overnight, the five-star Mount Juliet will be certain not to disappoint. Set in idyllic grounds of rolling rivers and verdant pastures, the estate has a golf course, spa and Michelinstarred restaurant. There is no better setting to experience the warm, welcoming Irish hospitality which leaves a lasting impression long after you depart. With its long association with horses, no visit to Mount Juliet is complete without an equine experience. Dream Escape clients can enjoy a private visit to the estate's impressive Ballylinch Stud, one of Europe’s leading thoroughbred racehorse breeding operations.


WICKLOW - THE GARDEN OF IRELAND

If the woodland walks of the south east fuel your desire for more blossoming beauty, why not make Wicklow – The Garden of Ireland - the next stop on your trip. Dream Escape can arrange private tours and guided walks around the magnificent mansions and glorious gardens of County Wicklow. Marvel at the impressive architecture and private art collections of Russborough House and Parklands and Killruddery House and Gardens and enjoy a stroll around the sprawling estates. At Mount Usher Gardens wander in wonder through groves and glades, cross rivers and streams, and bask in the joy of nature. Be captivated by the powerful cascade of Ireland's highest waterfall at Powerscourt and then enjoy the tranquillity of the Wicklow National Park with its enduring and ever-changing landscape. Spend some time at Glendalough, one of the most important and scenic monastic sites in the country. Follow in the footsteps of St Kevin, who lived here in the 7th century, with a walk to the panoramic lookout

over the glistening glacial lakes. Cap off your stay with an overnight at Cliff at Lyons. This privately owned luxury hotel is resplendent with its historic rose-clad buildings, water features and landscaping. It is also home to Aimsir, an elegant two Michelin star restaurant.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Emer Mortell, Head of Sales “The Sunny South East has always been close to my heart and has to be one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets. It conjures up fond memories of childhood summers in Kilmacthomas in Waterford with cousins, a fun summer job at The Ship Restaurant in Dunmore East and my first hotel management college placement at Marlfield House in Wexford, where I honed my hospitality skills with the iconic and fabulous Irish hotelier Mary Bowe”. ⬥

emer@dreamescape.co.uk

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In Focus:

The Shelbourne

For almost 200 years, Dublin’s most prestigious and historic five star property has offered its guests an unforgettable experience of luxury, comfort, and authentic Irish hospitality

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ADVERTORIAL FEATURE

T

HE SHELBOURNE'S position at the geographic and social heart of Ireland’s capital has always made it a favourite destination for distinguished visitors from around the world. Looking out over the beautiful St. Stephen’s Green, it is surrounded by the city’s bestknown landmarks, most significant historical and cultural sites, and most popular shopping areas.. Magnificently restored and majestically conducted, the hotel offers 265 exquisitely appointed guest rooms, including 19 lavish suites, many named after the hotel’s most notable guests and figures, including Grace Kelly, John F. Kennedy, Michael Collins and Éamon de Valera. For private dining, weddings, special celebrations and distinguished business events, The Shelbourne offers 10 historic meeting rooms; the most famous of these is The Constitution Suite, where Ireland’s first constitution was drafted and signed in 1922. The Shelbourne has a compelling range of options for dining and socialising. In The Saddle Room, the hotel’s grand culinary heritage is celebrated with a traditional fine dining menu built around Ireland’s most spectacular produce, served with a sense of theatre and style. The Lord Mayor’s Lounge, sometimes called Dublin’s most iconic drawing room, hosts the elegant ritual of Afternoon Tea. No. 27 The Shelbourne offers a lively atmosphere and a menu of casual but elevated bar classics, while the intimate and unusual 1824 Bar specialises in spectacular cocktails and top shelf whiskeys. →

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The legendary Horseshoe Bar has been a favourite haunt of Dublin’s literary and artistic icons for generations. The Terrace is the newest dining experience at The Shelbourne: an indoor/ outdoor space within the hotel, it is full of character and comfort, serving fine wine and sharing platters. In partnership with Laurent Perrier, The Shelbourne has created a Champagne Experience for you to enjoy this summer. Savour a glass, a flight of the finest French champagne or choose a Pinktail, a specially created cocktail. Offering a curated menu that perfectly complements the Laurent-Perrier Champagnes and cocktails. An exceptional base from which to explore everything Dublin has to offer, The Shelbourne is also a destination in itself: the luxurious spa provides three floors of tranquility, offering a full menu of indulgent face and body treatments from highly trained therapists, and an opulent relaxation room with breathtaking views of the Green. Other amenities include a full service salon where guests can enjoy even more pampering including hairdressing, makeup application and manicures. Jonathan’s Barbershop, Est. 1900, carries on the time-honoured rituals of traditional gentlemen’s grooming such as hot-towel shaves and classic haircuts. The Health Club at The Shelbourne features a swimming pool, leadingedge fitness equipment, and a schedule of engaging and challenging classes led by expert instructors. Bespoke services are also available from the hotel’s dedicated in-house floristry team, who can create bouquets and arrangements for events, as special gifts to mark an occasion, or simply to adorn guest rooms with colour and scent. The Genealogy Butler is available for consultations and tours to help guests trace their Irish family roots.

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BACK TO NORMAL

GOODWOOD H A V E T H E B R E A K YO U P R O M I S E D YO U R S E L F

#B AC K TO G O O DWO O D


Pictured: Historic town houses overlooking the river Wensum, Norfolk.


Undiscovered Norfolk England:

Once neglected in favour of other beachy gems, Norfolk’s big skies, pristine coastline, majestic waterways, native wildlife, fresh bounty and quaint villages are beginning to attract attention from holidaymakers looking for something different

IMAGE © HELEN HOTSON / PICFAIR

I

WORDS | JO GARDNER

F ALL THE COUNTIES in the UK had distinctive personalities, Norfolk would be the humble, unassuming beauty with creativity in spades - and friendliness in bucket-loads. Stuck out of the British map like a bulbous afterthought, Norfolk’s hard-to-reach location is its blessing, welcoming just a smidgen of the visitors that flock to Devon, Cornwall and the Lake District each year. The beaches stay pristine, the seafood shacks are without queues, and the luxury hotels and boutique boltholes keen to welcome guests. From thriving Norwich – with its vegan cafes, pop-up bars, cobbled streets, historic buildings and sparkling river (pictured) – to the golden, sandy coastline spanning an impressive 90 miles, and the network of majestic waterways flanked by windmills and lighthouses, visitors to Norfolk will be handsomely rewarded. Every day that passes during the summer months is like turning another page of a pretty pop-up book – the county’s big skies on a constant rotation of feathery sunrises, coral sunsets and star-studded nights; flowers carpet meadows and wildlife → dreamescapemagazine.com

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IMAGE © VISITBRITAIN/ROD EDWARDS

– from birds to seals – pops up just about everywhere. Dream Escape can help you experience the best the county has to offer, including visits to grand stately homes and luxury overnight stays. The Coastline A beguiling blend of wilderness, tidal salt-marshes, shingle, dunes, ridges and golden sand as far as the eye can see, Norfolk’s coastline is as scenic as it is diverse. The beach on the Holkham Estate is widely considered to be one of the country’s most unspoilt, beautiful stretches of sand - the huge dunes sculpted into shape by the wind; the vast heart as breathtaking as it is other-worldly. From here it’s an easy head to curiously-named Wells-next-the-Sea, with its pastel-hued beach huts propped up by wooden stilts and sandbanks dotted with basking seals. A popular spot for surfing and kite flying, Hunstanton Beach, affectionately named Sunny Hunny for its glorious sunrises and sunsets, is surrounded by striking pink and white cliffs formed by a combination of Norfolk carstone and white chalk. Other must-see beaches include Happisburgh (pronounced hays-borough), known for its striking Pictured left-right: Sheringham Beach Boats; Early morning light on the red and white striped lighthouse at Happisburgh. Rape seed flowering crop in the fields ; Houghton Hall; and looking out over Sheringham

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red and white lighthouse and soft golden sand, and Cromer, a pebble beach with a traditional promenade filled with ice-cream huts, arcades and novelty shops. To socially distance in style, head to the smaller, but equally glorious beaches, at Overstrand, West Runton, Horsey, Scratby, Caister-on-Sea and Eccles. Villages of note Sitting pretty on the North Norfolk Coast, Brancaster Village is set within an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with a sandy beach, a bustling harbour and a spattering of independent shops, hotels and restaurants. Being one of the driest villages in the country makes the area ripe for outdoor adventure, with cycling, sailing, kite surfing and golf on the menu. Or simply find an empty bench on the water front and watch colourful fishing boats head out for their daily catch, returning with plump oysters and succulent mussels to be used in delectable dishes. Samphire, Norfolk’s beloved sea vegetable, has risen to culinary heights in recent years with every restaurant worth its salt delicately draping several pieces over a perfectly-cooked piece of fish when in season. But foraging for your own – and cooking it for dinner with plenty of butter and a sprinkle of rock salt – is an experience only Norfolk and Dream Escape can deliver. For something super quaint – and picture-postcard pretty – Burnham Market, with its village green, chichi shops, Guerney’s fishmongers and pub with rooms, The Hoste, delivers. A popular summer pastime is to order drinks to go and sip them on the green whist watching the world go by. Lovers of antiques – and ridiculously cute tea shops will feel very at home in the nearby Holt.


Happisburgh (pronounced “ hays-borough), is a must-see beach, known for its striking red and white lighthouse and soft golden sand, and Cromer, a pebble beach with a traditional promenade filled with ice-cream huts, arcades and novelty shops...

Broads National Park No visit to Norfolk would be complete without spending some time on the Broads, a mammoth network of 60 waterways and seven rivers each with its own diverse wildlife and cultural heritage. Originally dug out to provide peat for fuel, flooding during the 14th century created the beautiful broads we know today. The best way to experience the area is on the water, sailing on a boat with a skipper or taking out a self-drive cruiser, canoes or kayaks. Binoculars at the ready for otters, water voles, cuckoos and eels; look up for hawks, harriers and butterflies, and either side for windmills aplenty, including Thurne which was built in 1820 and saved from ruin several times. There are plenty of mooring points - and pubs - along the way to stop for lunch or dinner. The broads can also be enjoyed by bike, on a horse or beside a lake while fishing. If you are staying overnight on a cruiser, be sure to sit on the deck at nightfall and wait for the vast, unpolluted skies to light up with stars.

of English Country Houses in the UK; pinnacles of Georgian architecture that quickly became part of the "English Grand Tour" along with Wilton, Blenheim Palace and Stowe. Visitors will also be able to admire some of world’s finest collections of art. Built in the 1720s for Britain’s first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton is the older of the two, and remains one of England’s finest Palladian houses. Major bronze and steel works by celebrated sculptor Tony Cragg will be installed in the state rooms, gallery, vast gardens →

Historic properties Lordly family dynasties, politicians, royalty and history-makers have created - and left - some incredible architectural treasures in Norfolk over the years, many are now open to the public. Holkham and Houghton Halls are two of the finest examples

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a rare glimpse into the life “ofFor the Royal family, Dream Escape

will arrange a private tour of the 800-hectacre Sandringham Estate, home to four generations of British Monarchy

and grounds of the property this summer, with visits running until 26 September. Holkham Hall - built between 1734 and 1764 by Thomas Coke, the first Earl of Leicester – is one of the ten “treasure houses” of England, and still contains the original 18th century collection of art and furniture. For a rare glimpse into the life of the Royal family, Dream Escape will arrange a private tour of the 800-hectacre Sandringham Estate, home to four generations of British Monarchy since 1862, including Sandringham House

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Pictured left-right: Holkham Hall; Pensthorpe Natural Park; The Marble Hall in Holkham Hall Pictured far-right: / National Trust's Blickling Estate, Norwich

IMAGE © VISITENGLAND/IAIN LEWIS / STEVE ADAMS

(the Norfolk residence of the Queen), Anmer Hall (occasional home of Prince William and Kate Middleton, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) and the surrounding 142-hectacre Country Park. Purchased by Queen Victoria for The Prince of Wales for him to follow his love of country sports and entertaining,

Sandringham is where the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, chose to spend much of his retirement, and where The Royal Family spend most of their Christmases. Visitors can take a look around the church where Her Majesty the Queen - accompanied by various generations of her family – is photographed each year after attending morning service.


IMAGE © NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/CHRIS TAYLOR

Grime's Graves Despite its rather gruesome title, Grime’s Graves is the only Neolithic flint mine in the country open to visitors. First dug in around 4000BC, Neolithic caves are the earliest industrial monuments in Britain with pre-historic miners cutting into the chalky walls using tools made out of just bone and stone. The grassy lunar landscape of Grime’s Graves opens again this summer after a period of enforced closure, with visitors invited to watch a small exhibition illustrating the history of the site before descending a 30ft ladder into one of the excavated shafts to see the jet-black flint in its natural habitat, before it’s mined, cut, polished and used to make gems, jewellery and beads. Grime’s Graves forms part of the Breckland Heath landscape with rare flora and fauna filling the perimeter. Norwich Voted one of the best places to live by The Sunday Times this year, Norwich’s enduring charms are finally getting the column inches they deserve. A small city with a mighty personality (and that’s

before mentioning local residents Stephen Fry and Delia Smith), flint-fronted houses tell the story of a medieval past, with as many churches as there are pubs (locals love the fact that there used to be a pub for every day of the week and a church for every Sunday) and not one, but two cathedrals. Cobbled Elm Hill – the setting for Netflix festive movie Jingle Jangle – is almost too quaint to be true, while life along the river is good. Culture comes in the form of an independent cinema, several theatres – including a dedicated puppet theatre – museums, art galleries and a packed rota of festivals and events. Football fans should watch the Norwich Canaries play at Carrow Road; music lovers are spoilt for choice with gigs, concerts and festivals. It’s leafy here too, with three parks – Eaton, Waterloo and Chapelfield – providing all the walks, playgrounds, tennis courts and golf courses you could wish for. Norwich’s best-kept green secret, however, is The Plantation Gardens, a historic oasis tucked so cleverly behind a busy main street that many residents have yet to discover. The summer outdoor cinema sessions here are splendid. →

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Where to stay The Gunton Arms Owned by serious art collector Ivor Bracka, The Gunton Arms is no ordinary place to stay. Each of the 16 bedrooms has been individually designed by Robert Klime, who counts HRH The Prince the Wales as his client; artwork by Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin, Gilbert and George, Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud graces the walls of the bar and restaurant, with its open fire and meaty menu - even the vast grounds are dotted with deer and Anthony Gormley sculptures. A full English breakfast the next morning in view of roaming deer is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

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Pictured above-right: Gunton Arms (author's own); Cley Windmill

The White Horse Loved for its stunning salt marsh views and incredible seafood restaurant. Seaside themes and soft furnishings give rooms a fresh feel; splurge on the Room at the Top and you can enjoy your own two-storey pad complete with viewing telescope. As well as fifteen en-suite bedrooms, there are eight garden rooms, architecturally designed with grass and sedum roofing to blend in with the marshland beyond. Each has its own terrace and path down to the marsh, ideal for walkers and visitors with well-behaved dogs. A sun-downer on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace is an absolute must, if only to discover just how friendly the locals really are.


Holkham Estate Holkham has teamed up with property gurus SALT to create four cottages in the grounds of the estate, each brimming with style and boasting spectacular views. Of the four, Grade I-listed Triumphal Arch has been named one of the most stylish places to stay by Telegraph Luxury. Other cottages include Grade II-listed Palmers Lodge, woodland hideaway Palmers Folly and Samuel Sanders Teulon designed South Cottage. Fully-equipped kitchens, wood burning stoves and private gardens are just some of the features awaiting guests. As part of your stay here, Dream Escape will arrange a special tour of Holkham Hall on this wonderful estate, home to The Victoria, a handsome pub with rooms.

IMAGE © THE ORIGINAL COTTAGE COMPANY

Morston Hall History and comfort combine at Morston Hall, a 17th century country house hotel and restaurant just two miles from Blakeney. Bed down in one of 13 boutique rooms set in the main house or the garden Pavilion, each with period features and modern comforts. Dinner is served in a single sitting, starting with a pre-dinner tipple and canapés in the lounge and continuing with a seven-course tasting menu, designed to showcase local produce – think King's Lynn brown shrimp and wild Stiffkey sea bass. Don’t worry if you are planning on staying a few days – the menu changes daily. Cley Windmill There aren’t many windmills in the country that you can stay the night in, but Cley is one. A five-storey, 23ft diameter windmill built in the 19th century, Cley Windmill has been converted into a place to stay with eight individually-designed bedrooms with exposed brickwork, vaulted wooden ceilings and round windows. River Room on the ground floor has its own huge garden rolling down to the marshes. Walk off dinner with a climb to – and walk around – the top of the windmill or wander through the village (checking out the deli and art gallery) to Cley Beach. Breakfast is a cooked-to-order affair; the kippers come from Cley Smokehouse and are highly recommended.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Sally Strange, Blue Badge Guide "After months of lockdown during the Spring and Summer of 2020, an escape to Norfolk and a stay at The Gunton Arms was like manna from heaven! A stop at the University city of Cambridge and a punt on the River Cam broke the journey on the way up. After an excellent stay at The Gunton Arms, with fabulous food cooked on an open fire

and artworks by leading C20th British artists literally littering the walls, at every turn you are faced was another treasure! Some are not for the faint-hearted. We then headed over to Houghton Hall for the annual sculpture exhibition which in 2020 was Anish Kapor. We just loved it and all comes highly recommended!". ⬥

sally@dreamescape.co.uk

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Pictured: Dinas Island (known locally as Dinas Head or Pen Dinas), Pembrokeshire


Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Wales:

Miles of golden sands, majestic cliffs, pretty harbours and rugged islands, the Pembrokeshire Coast might be one of the smallest of the UK’s National Parks but it offers endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors

IMAGE © NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/JOE CORNISH

WORDS | SAMANTHA RUTHERFORD

O

N THE WEST COAST OF WALES, The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a spectacular 186 mile (299 km) long National Trail covering some of the most varied coastal scenery in Britain, stretching from St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south. As Britain’s only fully coastal National Park, there are many beautiful award-winning beaches that stretch for miles, cliffs, islands and wildlife. It is no wonder that National Geographic Traveler magazine in the US recently rated the Pembrokeshire Coast one of the top two coastal destinations in the world. If you would like to discover the beauty of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park as part of your tailor made Dream Escape holiday then we hope you enjoy our picks of the best experiences, places to visit and stay in this spectacular National Park.

It’s split into four parts of the south Pembrokeshire coast, including Caldey Island; the Daugleddau estuary; the St Bride's Bay coast, including the coastal islands; and the Preseli Hills - each section with its own quirks and qualities. Both the Wales Coast Path and the International Appalachian Trail follow the route of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path through Pembrokeshire. The Pembrokeshire coastline is an intricate ribbon of weather-worn cliffs, dazzling beaches and secret coves, jewelled with rock pools – a place where land, sea and sky combine, walkers, surfers, kayakers and sailors are in their element. In 1952 it became a national park – and the first park in the UK to consist entirely of wild, maritime landscapes - and in 1970 the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail opened. It has been a tremendous success, proving that conservationists, walkers and landowners can get → dreamescapemagazine.com

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along peacefully and paving the way for even bigger and better things. Next came the completion of the Wales Coast Path (in 2012) which prompted a wave of praise and appreciation. Rightly so, of course. No other country has created a public footpath tracing its entire coastline. From that point of view, it was quite an innovation. But in Wales, celebrating all things coastal is nothing new – especially in Pembrokeshire. So, the coast path has always been special, but now that it’s part of the 870-mile Wales Coast Path, it’s better than ever. Walks can be long or short, linear or circular, steep or flat, and may lead you across gleaming sands or over clifftops with views to make the heart skip. Walking the entire route is no mean feat – in fact the total rise and fall of the Coast Path is over 35,000 feet – greater than the height of Mount Everest. But there’s no rule to say you have got to walk it all. Dream Escape have created some breathtaking itineraries to showcase this stunning part of the country, with or without a private walking guide It is beautiful throughout the year; in the spring, you can explore woodlands carpeted with bluebells or meadows bursting with native species including cowslips, harebells and campions; in summer, butterflies dance through arches of honeysuckle and over clouds of thrift and gorse, and if, come autumn or winter, you feel like an outdoorsy break, the coast is the perfect place to blow the cobwebs away. →

IMAGE © VISIT WALES IMAGE CENTRE

Pictured leftright: Walker on Pembrokeshire Coast Path; Marloes Sands, a remote sandy beach, Pembrokeshire

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Tranquillity can be found at Marloes “Sands, with its rock pools, crystal-clear

waters and an inviting sandy coast, surrounded by charming craggy cliffs.

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Pictured: St. Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire

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Davids Cathedral is a captivating sight, both its “ Stmajestic exterior and painted ceilings within” The national park is fantastic for wildlife-watching, too. From the first little bursts of warm weather in spring, the clifftops are alive with crickets and ladybirds. Overhead, seabirds wheel, screech and soar. Every year, puffins and Manx shearwaters return to the islands of Caldey, Grassholm, Skokholm, Skomer and Ramsey to nest, while rabbits graze companionably and seals snooze in the sun. And occasionally, halfhidden by the waves, a pod of dolphins will come frolicking by. You might like Dream Escape to arrange for you to explore the National Coastal Park to its fullest with some watersports activities? Try your hand at coasteering perhaps – jumping from rocks, then swimming and scrambling back up them – or a spot of sea kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, powerboating or fishing. Tranquillity can be found at Marloes Sands, with its rock pools, crystal-clear waters and an inviting sandy coast, surrounded by charming craggy cliffs. The curved coastline is almost a mile long, ideal for those dreaming of feeling the sand between their toes on a quiet coastal stroll. This secluded Welsh secret is only accessible on foot but is a worthwhile trip, if not for the serenity, then for the small neighbouring bay of Albion Sands where a historic shipwreck comes to light at low tide! The relics of past peoples can be found everywhere and Dream Escape favourites include the Iron Age hill forts and burial mounds from the earliest of times, majestic castles and churches. Great examples of these historical gems are Castell Henllys Iron Age Village, Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, St Davids Cathedral, Victorian mining remains at Stepaside, the brickworks at Porthgain, and the many airfields that remind us of the more recent conflicts of two world wars.

ST DAVIDS

Small, yet perfectly formed, St Davids has the honour of being Britain’s smallest city. It’s also a conservation area in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park that can trace its roots back to the fourth century when St David – the patron saint of Wales – lived here. Despite its size there’s plenty to explore; St Davids Cathedral is a captivating sight, both its majestic exterior and painted ceilings within. Its neighbour is the medieval Bishop’s Palace; although roofless much of the structure remains intact. Or, if you’d rather be in the great outdoors, the city is fortunately located on the St Davids Peninsula so you’re just steps away from joining the Pembrokeshire Coast Path to enjoy walks with those gorgeous views in every direction. See whales and dolphins, seals and porpoises, puffins and razorbills on a private charter out to Ramsey Island and other islands further afield. Dream Escape can arrange to take you out on the water from St Davids and around the islands, sailing through narrow rock gorges and past extraordinary caves. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore the lesser-known bays and coves of the stunning offshore → islands, including Skomer Island, a National Nature Reserve, and Grassholm, IMAGE © VISIT WALES IMAGE CENTRE

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Skomer Island, a National “Nature Reserve, and Grassholm,

are home to the most spectacular gannetry in southern Britain

ACTIVITIES

home to the most spectacular gannetry in southern Britain. Pembrokeshire's offshore islands are a highlight of any visit to the National Park. Each one has its own special character and unique landscape, where wildlife flourishes and time stands still. Back on the mainland, delicious local produce is always on the menu at St Davids Kitchen, a restaurant which follows the farm-to-fork initiative. Feast upon Welsh Black Beef, reared just outside the city, Ramsey Island lamb and venison as well as St Davids lobster. Make sure you leave room at the end of the meal for the locally sourced Welsh cheeses. There’s a lovely word in Welsh that describes a cuddle or a warm safe place; this St Davids restaurant has taken it as its name and has ensured its meaning is prevalent throughout. Cwtch is a cosy, comfortable eaterie where you’ll find divine local food on its menu; Solva crab, Welsh ribeye steak, Caerfai cheeses and Welsh lamb are all there to tempt you.

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Carew Castle and Tidal Mill Carew Castle’s rich history spans over 2,000 years and tells of knights of the realm, kingmakers, Elizabethan intrigue and Civil War devastation. Set in a stunning location overlooking a 23-acre Millpond, the Castle is one of the most architecturally diverse in Wales; from the west a Norman fortress, yet from the north a splendid Elizabethan mansion, and today the fascinating ruins remain. The site also includes the only restored Tidal Mill in Wales, an 11th century Celtic cross, a Medieval bridge and picnic area all linked by a milelong circular walk, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, with magnificent views over the Millpond. Castell Henllys Castell Henllys Iron Age Village is set within thirty acres of beautiful woodland and river meadows in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This is the only place you can walk among Iron Age roundhouses that have been reconstructed on the very spot they would have stood 2,000 years ago. Archaeologists and other experts have helped rebuild these structures with the help of volunteers, using the same kind of materials to create an authentic Iron Age experience. The history of the hill fort is brought to life by costumed guides who represent members of the Demetae tribe, which lived in this corner of Wales before, during and after the Roman invasion. Llys y Frân Lake If you are visiting with the family, the children will love Llys y Frân Lake, located in a rolling pastoral landscape in the central-northern part of Pembrokeshire near the foot of the Preseli Hills. This brand-new 350-acre outdoor activity centre is set to become the jewel attraction in Pembrokeshire’s crown. There are over 14km of trails to explore, while on the water you can enjoy sailing, kayaking, fishing, canoeing and stand-up-paddleboarding. There is a café, cycle hire and even a brand-new Pump Skills Track, learn the art of axe and knife throwing, how to fire a crossbow or have a go at archery.


Pictured far-left: Skomer Island; and sea-kayaking adventures Pictured left-below: The Grove, Narberth and Twr y Felin, St Davids

WHERE TO STAY

The Grove, Narberth Nestling in the heart of the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside, The Grove is one of Wales’ finest restaurants and a leading small luxury hotel surrounded by manicured lawns, flower borders, meadows and mature trees. Renowned as one of the country’s most unique privately owned luxury venues with 20 intimate guest rooms and suites, together with four traditional cottages full of character. Gaze out of the windows for scenic views of the Preseli Hills, or make the short trip to Pembrokeshire National Park for stunning country walks. The hotel’s cuisine has won national awards and critical acclaim, including AA Rosettes, Wales Tourism Awards and listing in the Michelin and Good Food Guides. All dishes are served with creativity and flair, and many of the ingredients come from their very own kitchen garden – providing ultra-fresh flavours to delight every palate.

Twr y Felin, St Davids Originally a windmill built in 1806, Twr y Felin is, along with the cathedral, the only high-rise structure in St Davids. Purposely positioned on the peninsula to harvest the ever-blowing winds, it lasted as a working windmill for 100 years, before the sails fell off just one too many times. Reinvention saved it then, as it has time and again. Becoming a hotel gave the building a new life, and it has remained mostly so ever since. Then it was a temperance hotel, today it is Wales' first contemporary art hotel, filled with over 150 specially commissioned artworks and sculptures by 20 Welsh, British and international artists. Designed to challenge the traditional, inside you'll discover a contemporary space, accented with bespoke handcrafted furniture, linen wallpaper, and velveteen sofas. The original windmill tower is the obvious space for the best room in house! The three-floor suite includes

its' very own observatory, which boasts spectacular 360 degree views of the St Davids peninsula and beyond. On a clear day, the islands of Skomer, Grassholm and Ramsey, pierce the horizon of St Brides Bay, whilst the Preseli Hills offer a mountainous backdrop to the mostly marine landscape. The night sky is incredible, Dream Escape can arrange for you to enjoy a Star Gazing Hamper which includes binoculars, torches, constellations guidebook, camping chairs and thermos of ‘tiddly’ hot chocolate. →

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Penrhiw Priory, St Davids The definition of tranquillity, Penrhiw Priory is a retreat for the mind, body and soul. Built in 1884 by the Church in Wales as a Vicarage, it thereafter became a home and a guesthouse, before returning to its religious roots as a priory for nuns in the 1960s. Following their departure in 1985, it once again became a host for leisure guests drawn to St Davids, and has been so ever since. Restored with the utmost care, original features subtly contrast the modern interiors. Suede wallpaper, generous sofas, and art inspired by the beauty of nature, evoke a warmth throughout which extends out to the exterior. Lush, landscaped gardens contrast the wild flower meadow carpeted with yellow pea-like flowers of bird's-foot trefoil, purple thistle-like heads of black knapweed, and cheerful white heads of the oxeye daisy, whilst in spring, the woodland becomes a sea of daffodils and bluebells. The priory's spiritual past breathes a calming energy, protected by the elegant, purple-hued stone of Caerbwdi Bay, the same stone that shelters the historic 6th century church that lies in the valley below, just a few hundred metres further along the channel of the River Alun. A stone's throw from the city and beach, the location is unrivalled. At Whitesands Bay, the striking hills of Carn Llidi can be summited for breathtaking views of Ramsey Island and St Davids Head, whilst inland, the tips of the cathedral extend above the treetops to remind you of its grandeur. 80

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Pictured below and right: Pink skies over Roch Castle, St Davids, Pembrokeshire; Tenby Harbour with houses reflected in still water Tenby, Pembrokeshire

IMAGE © VISIT WALES IMAGE CENTRE

Roch Castle, St Davids Roch Castle rests high above the landscape on its volcanic, rocky outcrop, providing 360-degree views of Pembrokeshire. Built in the 12th century on the Landsker line, (the divide between the Welsh speaking north and the English speaking south), it has over 800 years of history. Since its total restoration in 2009, it has been leased a new life. Its historic footprint remains intact, from the circular entrance hall with exposed rock, to the D-shaped room at the very top where the myth of Adam de Rupe lives on. But, it is more than just a fortress. It is unforgettable. The five-foot thick walls enclose an aristocratic dining room and intimate chapel to remind us of its past, whilst the enormous bath tubs, high end luxury beds and glorious Sun Room, with floor to ceiling glass walls, have preserved the castle for centuries to come. Inside and outside is equal in stature. Step out onto the fourth floor viewing platform for views to revere. Look south, past the prominent turrets to snapshot Skomer Island emerging from St Brides Bay, west, to the St Davids peninsula jutting out into the Celtic Sea, and north, to the rolling Preseli Hills heading into the heart of Wales.


Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Michael Davies, Creative Planner "I could be forgiven for growing up with a romanticised vision of Pembrokeshire; it is after all the source of the bluestones of Stonehenge, the location of the cathedral founded by St. David, and the setting for the earliest tale in Welsh literature. I was naturally a little sad to find the county is no longer lost in the Middle Ages; but I discovered the vestiges of the past

are complimented by the spectacular coastline, and the small towns and villages that sit near the cliffs and beaches. In the rich pastureland of the county's centre, I paid my first ever visit to an artisanal cheese-making farm; although no longer active, many other suppliers are now providing top-quality local produce to the pubs and restaurants of this fascinating area.". ⬥

michael@dreamescape.co.uk

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Vibrant Edinburgh Scotland:

Scotland’s historic and spirited capital is popular with visitors day and night, some lured by the many cultural events, some seeking to re-connect with their ancestral past and others simply content to stroll the streets admiring the unspoilt architecture WORDS | ROBIN GLOVER

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DINBURGH, SOMETIMES referred to as the “Athens of the North”, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It has two distinct areas: the Old Town, dominated by a medieval fortress; and the neo- classical New Town, dating from the 18th century. The harmonious connection of these two contrasting historic areas, each with many important buildings, is what gives the city its unique character and saw it awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 1995. Both beautiful and fun, Edinburgh is a city known not only for its impressive history and heritage, but for its festivals and culture. From Fire Festivals to the Fringe,

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The Edinburgh International Festival to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh truly comes alive as a destination during the summer months. Throughout the entire month of August The Edinburgh International Festival takes over the city and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, (which due to the pandamic has been cancelled in 2021, back from 5 – 27 August 2022) takes place on the Castle Esplanade. The Edinburgh International Festival started in 1950 to raise spirits in the midst of post-war austerity. It has grown over the decades to become one of the world’s leading multi-genre arts festivals showcasing the greatest contemporary artists performing a diverse range of art forms. →


The Royal Mile, which lies at the “heart of the Old Town is arguably one of the most famous streets in the world

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo includes nearly 1000 performers from all over the world. If you do plan your visit to experience this magnificent event, Dream Escape can arrange visits to Edinburgh Castle for an exclusive preopening breakfast, and dining experiences in splendour at the Castle enjoying amazing views of the city, and even a private recital by cast members. The experience continues with a stroll to a restored fifteenth century tenement building, now a renowned restaurant adjacent to the castle where guests can enjoy the finest Scottish cuisine complimented with castle views while soaking up Edinburgh’s history. You might then enjoy whisky tasting in the extensive whisky bar while taking note of the cannonball embedded in the castle-facing wall! Take your VIP seats, where you are able to mingle with guests and performers in the Royal Gallery then sit back and

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enjoy the show. This spectacular event attracts members of Scottish Clans across the globe which can tie in with those on a personal ancestral discovery. Take part in your own ‘Clan Gathering’ – meet a Clan Chieftain and enjoy a mini Highland Games, complete with haggis hurling and caber tossing. Prepare for the event with a private workshop to create a unique and personalised tartan. A bespoke kilt making session will ensure you can wear your tartan with pride. Follow with a visit to one of the many Summer Highland Games including The Braemar Gathering attended by The Royal Family. Between the fun of the festivals, allow yourself plenty of time to explore the city attractions. Edinburgh Castle is Scotland's most-visited tourist attraction. Poised on the peak of an extinct volcano, every day at 1pm, a gun is fired over the castle ramparts - a timekeeping tradition dating from 1861 that echoes across Edinburgh. The Castle has stood guard over the city for 900 years and is brimming with tales, from its near destruction on the order of King of Scots, Robert the Bruce to its role as a garrisoned fortress through the Glorious Revolution and the Jacobite Risings. The surrounding Old Town, Edinburgh's oldest quarter, retains much of its medieval street plan. The Royal Mile, which lies at the heart of the Old Town is arguably one of the most famous streets in the world. Today, it is peppered with stores selling gifts with a Scottish flavour such as cashmere, tartan, whisky, shortbread and hand-crafted silver jewellery. However, in centuries gone by it was a different story, delving into the Old Town is like leafing through the pages of a dusty historical novel, as each era unfolds with its own legends and characters. Dream Escape programmes can take guests on a private tour to visit the famous Princes Street Gardens, with the gothic excesses of the The Scott Monument, up to the symmetrical beauty of the grand squares and shopping avenues of the Georgian sector, centred on sensational George Street.

IMAGES © VISITSCOTLAND / KENNY LAM


IMAGES © VISITSCOTLAND / KENNY LAM

The Scott Monument is a tribute to author Sir Walter Scott (see our 250th Anniversary special on page 15), it is the largest monument to a writer in the world, and it has dominated Princes Street since 1846. For views over Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside, visitors can climb the 287 steps to the monument's top. There are many museums well worth a visit, the National Galleries of Scotland

has an astounding collection of art, and a short stroll away there’s the National Portrait Gallery, one of Edinburgh’s most remarkable buildings – a great red sandstone neo-Gothic palace and home to the national collections of portraits and photography collections. Or, you might decide to head west to visit the National Gallery of Modern Art, which is set across two buildings in a magnificent sculpture park.

Pictured previous spread: Cannongate and Poet Robert Fergusson by @lisajparis on Instagram. Pictured left-right: Edinburgh Castle and the Ross Fountain in Princes Street Gardens; Street performers during the Edinburgh International Festival; Burns Monument; Greyfriars Bobby Statue. Video below: Luxury Scotland by Dream Escape.

Further south in the picturesque Old Town, there are seven levels of spectacular exhibitions awaiting you at the fascinating National Museum of Scotland. Packed with intriguing displays and insights into science and technology, fashion, the natural world and art and design this museum is large enough to fill an entire day. Outside you will find another of the city's most iconic monuments - a small bronze statue - Greyfriars Bobby commemorates a famous local resident - a little Skye Terrier who faithfully guarded over his owners grave in nearby Greyfriars Churchyard for 14 years, unveiled in 1873. You might wish to stop to see things from a new perspective via Victorian technology at Edinburgh's oldest purpose-built visitor attraction the Camera Obscura. With the aid of a mirror, daylight and a giant periscope, live moving 360° images of Edinburgh are projected onto a viewing table inside this Victorian rooftop chamber - it's truly amazing. On your way to the neo-classical ‘New Town’, built to accommodate the city’s affluent residents in the early-19th century, enjoy a stroll along Queen Street passing the private Queen Street Gardens. → dreamescapemagazine.com

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Here you can enjoy some time exploring the timeless elegance of quiet terraces, sumptuous townhouses and cobbled roads. Horticulturists should make time to visit the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which are split into three themed landscaped gardens and stretch across an impressive 70 acres. Discover seasonal flora and fauna as well as modern sculptures and installations dotted throughout, and coming soon, the eagerly anticipated Edinburgh Biomes project is another must see. You will be pleased you packed your camera when you reach the summit of Calton Hill, offering some of the best views of Edinburgh. Aside from the remarkable vistas over the city, this is also where you’ll find some of Scotland’s legendary monuments, including Nelson’s Monument and the National Monument. It’s also home to the Royal Observatory which hosts astronomy evenings. The opposite end of the Royal Mile from the castle sits the impressive Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence in Scotland of HM, The Queen and The Royal Family. It is also home to the changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection, featuring old master paintings, rare furniture, decorative arts and images from the vast photograph collection. Discover Edinburgh by foot, bike, or even a custom Mini Cooper experience, uncovering ‘off the beaten track’ destinations, foodie tours or why not delve

Edinburgh by foot, bike, “orDiscover even a Mini Cooper tour, uncovering ‘off the beaten track’ experiences, or why not delve underground for an Edinburgh ghost walk?

underground for an Edinburgh ghost walk? Explore Edinburgh at festival time and Dream Escape can design the perfect programme with exclusive experiences and private guided activities and tours to make the most of this vibrant city. Whether you are travelling with family or friends or a multi-generational group, Dream Escape will pair you with the perfect guide to make the most of your Scottish experience. DREAM ESCAPE'S FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY Cheval The Edinburgh Grand If you like the idea of a luxury all-apartment Residence located in the beating heart of Edinburgh, then you need look no further than Cheval The Edinburgh Grand. Situated on St Andrew Square in the city’s New Town area, the Residence pays homage to its former life as an historic banking landmark, The National Bank of Scotland. The wellknown building has been beautifully renovated to house 50 fully equipped serviced apartments, with options to accommodate from one to six guests. Each apartment seamlessly incorporates the building’s historic roots with slick contemporary design, and the interior décor has been intricately chosen to enhance authentic features including original dark wood panelling, fireplaces, brass door handles and decorative cornicing. Pictured left-right: Cheval The Edinburgh Grand; The Balmoral Clock Tower - a prominent landmark in Edinburgh's city centre; and Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh

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The Balmoral The Rocco Forté Collection’s Balmoral hotel is a luxury hotel in the true sense of the word. and a firm Dream Escape favourite. Complete with a Michelin-starred restaurant, tranquil spa and kilted doormen, the hotel is one of the city’s premier properties. Situated in what was once the North British Station Hotel, the hotel lies in the heart of Edinburgh where Old Town meets New, a True Edinburgh icon at an unparalleled address. While many Edinburgh hotels claim to have Edinburgh’s landmarks on their doorstep, few can say their own doorstep is a landmark! Read more in our Sir Rocco interview, p18.

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, is one of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks and home to many Dream Escape legendary gatherings. Standing proudly at the West End of Princes Street, this former Victorian railway building nestles in the shadow of the imposing Edinburgh Castle. Its reputation for style and excellence has attracted international visitors and notable personalities for over one hundred years. ‘The Caley’ – as it is affectionately known among Edinburgh locals – has embodied the very best in Scottish hospitality at its finest.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Lesley Scott, Head of Planning There isn’t much that Lesley does not know about Edinburgh and as Dream Escape’s head office is also here, our team is certainly the best in the business for creating the ultimate in inspirational experiences around the city. “I love to

walk through the streets as there is always something going on, it is so rich in art & culture and offers something for everyone, young and old. Edinburgh is also a very green city and I particularly love Holyrood Park and the spectacular views across the city are just beautiful”. ⬥

lesley@dreamescape.co.uk

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The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh:

Perfectly located for exploring the picturesque city, and one of Edinburgh’s most significant landmarks

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he iconic city of Edinburgh is world-renowned for narrow and sweeping streets of the Old Town and the grandeur of the Georgian New Town, impeccably preserved and with breath-taking scenery that pulls you in and remains close to your heart. Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, known locally as the “Caley”, is situated within walking distance of historical attractions including Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens and Dean Village. Since opening in 1903, the red sandstone Grand Dame hotel has had the pleasure of welcoming royalty, rockstars, world leaders and Hollywood stars.Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh has the most castle view rooms of any hotel in the city, creating private views for unforgettable memories and the most romantic moments. Spacious rooms featuring two double beds are perfect for travelling with family or friends, while the exclusive, named suites make any occasion extra-special. Choose from the Alexander Graham Bell Suite, the Sir Walter Scott Suite, the Robert Louis Stevenson Suite or the signature Caledonian Suite which features panoramic views of Edinburgh, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room and private entrance. The UK’s only Waldorf Astoria is home to the flagship restaurants of two of Scotland’s top chefs, the brand new Scottish fine dining restaurant Dean Banks at 88

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ADVERTORIAL FEATURE

The Pompadour and award-winning Scottish brasserie Grazing by Mark Greenaway, as well as Peacock Alley Lounge, The Caley Bar, Guerlain Spa Edinburgh and The Courtyard at The Caledonian outdoor pop-up bar. Masterchef The Professionals finalist and Chef Director of Haar, Dean Banks opens Dean Banks at The Pompadour in June 2021. A sensory experience like no other, all 5 senses will be engaged to change the way you experience food. Putting the environment in the forefront, Dean Banks at The Pompadour focuses on sourcing sustainable produce, with a strong passion for Scottish seafood. The listed, hand-painted restaurant, which was designed in 1925, has long enjoyed the reputation of having the best tables in Edinburgh, with impressive views of Edinburgh Castle through the panoramic arched windows. Grazing by Mark Greenaway showcases the best of Scotland’s larder in the relaxed and welcoming environment created by a celebrated Edinburgh chef. Mark Greenaway is an ambassador for Scotland Food and Drink, and the menu incorporates locally sourced ingredients with unique concept dishes and sharing plates created by Greenaway. Formerly Princes station concourse and ticket office, Peacock Alley lounge represents the historic heart of the hotel and is known for Edinburgh’s most creative afternoon teas as well as signature cocktails and Sabrage demonstrations, the art of opening a bottle

of Champagne with a sword. The current afternoon tea which is available until 30th June is in homage to Edinburgh Zoo, features penguins, giraffes and even flamingos and £5 from each afternoon tea will be donated to the great work of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. The UK’s first and only Guerlain Spa follows the philosophy of luxury, innovation and sheer sensorial indulgence made famous by its Parisian namesake, Guerlain’s original ‘L’Institut de Beauté’. A sanctuary of luxury and relaxation, this exclusive spa will leave you refreshed and invigorated featuring an indoor pool with views of Edinburgh Castle, a calming whirlpool and two gyms. Indulge in pampering treatments for reviving and healing or just for pure indulgence.The talented team members of Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh are said to be the most warm and welcoming in the city and take pride in providing True Waldorf Service each and every day. From assisting with creating a fun-filled itinerary for families looking for adventure, to understanding the dream proposal setting for a nervous partner and coordinating every detail to let the guest focus on how to phrase the big question. Experience an unforgettable stay at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian and become part of the story.

→ To find out more about your luxury escape to

Edinburgh, visit www.thecaledonian.waldorfastoria.com

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My Cornish Odyssey:

Rick Stein Dream Escape interview top chef, Rick Stein and discuss sun-blessed Cornish walking trails, cookery staycations and Padstow’s new opening WORDS | CHANTAL BORCIANI

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FIRM FAVOURITE WITH Dream Escape guests, our fabulous foodie experiences and epicurean programmes, we are so often told, exceed expectations time after time. Head chefs from hotels and restaurants across the UK and Ireland, renowned for their signature dishes and world-class platters, have been in such high demand, they have invested in new exciting ways to share their knowledge and talent with eager and hungry-to-learn foodies. Cookery schools, kitchen garden tours, creative afternoon teas, in-house private dining and more has gained in popularity over the last few years, adding an additional layer of glamour to the restaurant industry. While the pandemic has given rise to innovative ways for Michelin star chefs to continue reaching out to people with their unrivalled creations. Plus, with the

importance of ingredients, food-to-fork, local suppliers and using organic wherever possible, dishes have never tasted better. The provenance and location of a chef ’s ingredients is fundamental to the overall texture and taste, and can help to build a chef ’s brand and reputation, something Rick Stein himself knows only too well. While many chefs may make a mark on a particular corner of these British Isles, none are so intrinsically linked with an area than Rick Stein and his beloved Cornwall. His passion for the the rolling surf and boat-fresh fish of the West Country has spanned his lifetime and it was his first restaurant, The Seafood Restaurant, on the harbourfront in Cornwall’s Padstow that won him the first of much international acclaim. His hugely successful cookery book and TV career has seen him crisscross the globe, unearthing boundless flavours – aromatic curries, → dreamescapemagazine.com

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sweet-charred BBQ, Greek odysseys and age-old French traditions – that slowly infuse his menus. His small chain of fish restaurants now dot the South of England, yet it is his childhood haunt of Cornwall that lures him back time and time again. “I think the net result of lots of travel is actually to accentuate the unique qualities of somewhere like Cornwall rather than to diminish them, simply because when you’ve seen it all you start looking at our own sandy beaches, seafood – even the smell of seaweed on the rocks at Harlyn – with greater love,” explains Rick. “My parents had a house at Trevose Head from the late 1930s so my memories go back to when I was extremely tiny in the early 50s; swimming at the beach below our house which is now where the

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lifeboat house is, buckets and spades, blue and very uncomfortable woollen swimming costumes,” In 1975, the chef set up a small fish restaurant on the harbourside in Padstow with his then wife Jill and over the ensuing decades The Seafood Restaurant became the pinnacle of British dining – chefs including Nathan Outlaw clamoured to train under him and patrons waited weeks for a table. “I originally got the idea for a fish restaurant in Padstow from a long-departed hole in the wall restaurant near the quay in Falmouth called Mark’s Seafood Bar, it was somewhere where you could go in for mussels and fish pie but also grilled lobster and Dover sole and they didn’t worry if you wore your yachting wellies and Cornish smock,” he adds. The Seafood Restaurant certainly feels classier than


I love Padstow for its strong “sense of identity... there are

Cornish coastal towns that seem to exist almost solely for the summer season, and all but die at the end of October, but Padstow is very different

a yachting wellies establishment, but the sea breeze wafts through the open panels of glass that wrap around the frontage and the dining room is cool, coastal and drenched in natural light. “I love Padstow for its strong sense of identity,” Rick says. “There are Cornish coastal towns that seem to exist almost solely for the summer season, and all

but die at the end of October, but Padstow is very different. There’s a year-round community here, which makes the town feel very much alive, even in the depths of winter.” There are families that have been fishing out of Padstow for more generations than they can remember, and it’s a joy to watch the boats come in – it’s such an important part of our heritage.” Today, Padstow continues to be at the heart of the chef ’s empire – and as a new offering for Dream Escape guests, Rick has just opened the Rick Stein →

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The Camel Trail “is very scenic, easy

walking... catch the ferry over to Rock and walk along Daymer Bay to Bray Hill and around the back to get to St Enedoc Church, where Sir John Betjeman is buried.

Coffee Shop working with Cornish-born coffee roasters Origin Coffee. The new coffee emporium is in fine Stein company with the small harbour town of Padstow, where Dream Escape guests can also enjoy the 10-room St Petroc’s bistro restaurant, café, deli, patisserie, Stein’s Fish & Chips on the quayside, a fisheries and seafood bar, and a fishmonger, along with beautiful staycation spots at Stein’s four-room Prospect House and Bryn Cottage, in addition to 16 stunning rooms at The Seafood Restaurant. After an incredibly tough year for the hospitality trade as a whole, this summer the Rick Stein Cookery School – in Padstow, of course – has reopened its doors for Dream Escape guests to experience in-person lessons once again. Celebrating its 21st year, the team is thrilled to be welcoming avid foodies and budding chefs back to the harbour. Rick adds: “I started the school to give the chefs at The Seafood Restaurant a bit more intensive training preparing and cooking fish and shellfish. To keep the lecturers, all chefs from the restaurant, gainfully employed I ran a few courses for aspiring cooks, it was an instant success with the public and now it’s hard to find slots for the chefs, but the principle remains the same,

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teaching by chefs who really know what they’re doing.” Championed as one of the finest places to learn how to cook fish – students can watch the fish being landed on the estuary from the school window, before being taught how to prepare, cook and serve it to perfection.


Dream Escape love the new season of cookery courses led by the school’s Head Chef Lecturer, Nick Evans and Chef Director of Rick Stein restaurants, Jack Stein (Rick’s middle son), with popular sessions including the all-encompassing ‘Fish & Shellfish’, which includes fishing trips around Padstow and visits to local Cornish farms, the new ‘Indian Seafood’ course and the 2021 Celebration Course, which centres around dishes honouring Rick’s new book ‘Secret France’, and perfecting six of Rick Stein’s most famed dishes. “I love the cookery school because everyone seems to leave very happy indeed,” Rick continues. “I think they have a far greater understanding of what truly

fresh seafood is like plus, because we run it in a very relaxed and informal way, they are not intimidated and soon realise they can cook the dishes as well as us. We also make sure that there’s plenty of nice cold white wine when they are sitting down to eat what they’ve cooked, which seems to be rather popular.” As with many top chefs, dining out is a savoured but rare treat. “I’m slightly ashamed to say I don’t get out much but I love going to Nathan Outlaw’s and Paul Ainsworth’s and I know our staff enjoy eating at places including the Gurnard's Head and St Kew Inn.” A keen walker, Rick will also be found enjoying the staggering scenery near his Cornish home. →

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His favourite beaches along the north Cornish Coast include Harlyn, Trevone, and St George’s Well in the estuary, while his favourite walking trails begin just footsteps from his beloved Padstow. “The Camel Trail is very scenic, easy walking, both from Padstow to Wadebridge and then onto Bodmin with a sneaky stop off at Camel Valley winery. Or catch the ferry over to Rock and walk along Daymer Bay to Bray Hill and around the back to get to St Enedoc Church, where Sir John Betjeman is buried.” From childhood memories on sandy beaches to new ventures, this sunniest corner of England remains Rick’s heart and soul for good reason. With new doors opening and the buzz returning to the restaurant trade, Rick will no doubt have more plans afoot and his love affair with Cornwall is set to continue for decades on.

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Pictured far-left: Family photo at Rick Stein, Sandbanks, from left-right, Rick Stein, Charlie Stein, Jack Stein, Gill Stein and Ed Stein.

Find out more about a full foodie Cornish experience when planning your next Dream Escape, to include staying at one of Rick Stein’s rooms around Padstow, which blend coastal design with luxury living. From the elegance of St Edmunds House, where six rooms enjoy a private garden with views across the Camel Estuary, to the contemporary boutique hotel rooms above The Seafood Restaurant itself or the self-catering sanctuary of romantic Bryn Cottage. The accommodation is some of the finest to be found in and around Padstow. Dream Escape guests might also enjoy an exclusive dining experience at Rick’s charming bistro in Padstow, St Petroc’s, featuring low wooden beams and cosy fireplaces and its ten rooms offer more stunning coastal accommodation with some rooms enjoying picturesque sea views. Planning on exploring more of the UK and Ireland? Please ask about Dream Escape’s other gastronomic journeys such as the Scotland Foodie Adventure, the Northern Ireland and Burren Food Trails or the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival to name but a few.

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk David Tobin, Owner & Director "I have spent so many wonderful summers around Devon and Cornwall. Exploring the spectacular coastline with its charming fishing villages was always a treat and a great escape from the big city. It literally became my second home, back in the day, when I bought my very own bolthole in the picturepostcard village Port Isaac in North Cornwall. A definite one for the list for getting away from it all." ⬥

david@dreamescape.co.uk

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Garden Special:

Inside Iford Manor

Thought lost after the Second World War, these exquisite Grade I listed gardens have been restored by two generations of the Cartwright-Hignett family – with some expert help... WORDS | ADRIENNE WYPER

A

CCLAIMED AS ONE of England’s most beautiful gardens, Iford covers two-and-a-half acres in the tranquil Frome river valley in Wiltshire, on the edge of the Cotswolds. Home to the Cartwright-Hignett family since 1965, the garden was taken over by current owners William and Marianne in 2018. Head gardener Troy Scott Smith joined the team in 2019, from Sissinghurst in Kent, the garden of writer Vita Sackville-West. The garden came into being in 1899, when landscape architect and designer, Harold Peto, purchased the Manor (where he lived until his death in 1933) and created a garden that showed his love of Italianate design and incorporated the artefacts and architectural elements he had admired and collected on his travels.

One of the UK’s oldest wisterias, and historic roses, scramble through breathtaking views of ‘borrowed scenery’ and the changes of level that are key to the design, making the garden feel much larger than its actual size, and the wealth of ancient statues, colonnades, cloisters and classical buildings mean that it’s sometimes hard to know which country, or indeed century, you are in. Another of Peto’s gardens, the Arts & Crafts Ilnacullin on an island in Bantry Bay, Co Kerry, is another favourite destination for Dream Escape. Located on England's new Great West Way touring route, a beautifully authentic region of the south coast, Iford Manor Gardens is one of the highlight attractions. Dream Escape tours offer fascinating owner- and expert-led visits as well as unique private access, allowing you to dig deeper into Iford’s history, and learn about future plans. →

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Meet the owners on a private evening visit outside normal opening hours, hosted in English, French or Spanish, with a glass or two of fizz along the way. You can also explore the private walled garden, not usually open to the public, with an introduction by the family. Head gardener Troy also heads a monthly behind-thescenes tour. Want to stay a little longer? The newly restored Rowley Cottage, which dates from the 1400s has three bedrooms housed within honey-coloured stone looking out over the valley, the river Frome, set in its own garden. Dream Escape asked William CartwrightHignett and Troy Scott Smith about the Estate’s heritage, exciting plans ahead, and their tips for making the most of your time here. 100

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Pictured previous spread: View from the loggia window. Inspired by this glorious 15th century Venetian window ,the loggia was one of the first things that Peto built when he moved to Iford. Above left-right: Troy Scott Smith expertly prunes and ties in historic roses; the newly restored cloister originally built by Harold Peto.

What are you most excited about for the year ahead? Troy: Sharing the garden with visitors again and starting to see the results of all our hard work. William: Just being able to welcome visitors has been amazing! It’s what makes me get up in the morning. Our new restaurant and holiday cottage are very exciting as they will allow people new ways to engage with the spaces, and stay in Iford itself. We are also excited to see the new succession and restorative replanting in areas where a lot of work has been undertaken in the past year, led by Troy. What has been the most challenging aspect of the pandemic? William: Gardens cannot be furloughed, the weeds keep growing. At the start of the


One of the joys of historic gardens and beautiful “ landscapes is that there is always either a restoration project, a renewal or expansion to be undertaken.”

Pictured below: Owners Marianne and William Cartwright-Hignett

pandemic Government support was scarce for places like Iford so careful planning was needed to ensure that the garden was managed sustainably. Thankfully later the Government saw fit to provide the Culture Recovery Fund, with Iford a most grateful recipient of the grants, enabling us to keep people employed, and the garden in improved condition as we took the opportunity to undertake significant replanting and restoration projects whilst closed. One such restoration was the work on Harold Peto’s Grade II listed cloisters, which won the 2020 Historic Houses Association Restoration Award – can you tell me more? William: Yes, it has reopened this season and people are overwhelmed by its beauty. We were over the moon to win the award, particularly in respect of those expert, skilled craftsmen and engineers who poured their time, effort and skill into what was a particularly challenging and detailed restoration. How far in advance do you plan in the garden? Troy: We have a long-term vision with annual goals and monthly and weekly tasks. We will start to flesh out our autumn/winter work shortly. William: Quite a few decades… but seriously, planning has to be on a number of levels in a historic garden. Tree belts are planted for centuries ahead, and stonework should remain in perpetuity. Evergreen shrubs take time to develop, whereas soft borders can have a much shorter lifespan to remain fresh and relevant. Do you have any tips to help everyone planning a visit to get the most from it? Troy: Take your time, don’t rush. Iford is a garden to linger in and absorb the atmosphere. William: Make sure to do the audioguide or guidebook. Unusually for a garden, the history and architecture at Iford is significant, so as well as enjoying the planting, birdsong and surroundings a deeper understanding → dreamescapemagazine.com

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of the design, history and architecture can be gleaned – and it’s not unlike going on a mini Grand Tour. Also, if you are planning a visit with children under 10, this will need to be arranged by prior arrangement or they will not be admitted to the garden. What can visitors expect from an exclusive Dream Escape tour? William: Visitors have the option of exclusive garden use, and tours tailored to their specific interests. If they are interested in horticulture, a tour with 102

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Troy is often best, but Dream Escape visitors also enjoy a tour with myself and Marianne. We offer an understanding not only of the horticulture but also the garden design, history, architecture and plans for the future. As well as tours, you’ve previously held many events. What can we look forward to? William: Last year we hosted the BounceBack Festival – four nights of world-class jazz and classical music with the Manor as a beautiful backdrop to the

stage. We made a last-minute decision to do it when it was announced such events could take place again and it was a resounding success. This year our BounceBack Festival is from July 1st to 4th with tickets on sale in May. In May 2021 our new restaurant with incredible Head Chef Jaq Brewer will open, as well as later in the season our newly restored Great Barn, which will host art and sculpture exhibitions. In 2022, if not before, we will curate a series of dinner talks with top speakers


Our aim is to “preserve and maintain

wherever possible the hard landscaping and structural planting so that if Harold Peto were to wander the garden today he would recognise it.

Pictured above: A view across the valley from the wisteria-clad colonnade on the Great Terrace, with Aslan, one of the Manor’s three cats, and a 19th-century copy of Rome’s she-wolf statue.

from the worlds of design, fashion, architecture, gardening, art and more. On the far side of the estate is the oldest, natural, continually running motocross circuit in Europe, which started in 1936. The Motocross World Championships have been held here in the past and we host the UK leg of the Veteran World Championship each year (Covid permitting). Would you advise visitors to spend longer in the local area? What other attractions are there nearby?

William: Absolutely! Bath is just 15 minutes away, and lesser-known Bradford on Avon is a delight, with Lacock and Castle Combe a short drive away. For garden enthusiasts there is Derry Watkins’ Special Plants, Great Chalfield and Bowood. Iford is also located on the southernmost point of the Cotswolds. Troy: Most certainly, you don’t have to go far or even need your car. Walks radiate out from Iford, to nearby villages of Freshford and Tellisford and stunning little towns like Bradford on Avon. The garden, of course, is the main attraction, and its design combines formality with natural elements. How important is nature here? William: Our ethos as a family is to ensure that the Iford valley is conserved for future generations – its wildlife, nature and heritage, as well as putting it onto an economically sustainable footing. The Iford Valley is a Site of Special Scientific Interest as it is home to one of the UK’s largest maternity roosts for extremely rare Greater Horseshoe and Lesser Horseshoe bats. We have another 10 bat species across the estate. → dreamescapemagazine.com

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Iford is recorded as pasture land in the Domesday Book, and the land is still used for grazing, under a Higher Level Stewardship scheme with Natural England. Many rare birds and animals live at Iford and can be enjoyed on walks, from otters and kingfishers to rare birds, orchids and many other creatures in the woodland, meadows and fields. Nature has always been at the heart of the design and our ethos. Even Harold Peto regularly spoke about letting nature into the garden as his time as a designer was a move away from the more formal gardens that predated it. Instead, areas of unmown grass to encourage wildflowers,

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Pictured aboveright: Quintessentially English and in many ways unchanged for centuries, Iford in its unspoilt rural valley; historic roses from the garden displayed in bottles in the loggia

perfect habitats for slow worms, grass snakes (harmless), frogs, newts and toads which are all regularly spotted in the garden, especially by the Japanese Garden created by my father. How do you collaborate with the gardeners? William: We work very closely because we all share a passion for the long-term future of Iford. It’s an absolute delight working with such extraordinarily experienced and knowledgeable people, and necessarily so because Iford is by no means a straightforward garden to manage. The complexity of the spaces, the way they interact and the need for


Our ethos as a family is to ensure “that the Iford valley is conserved

for future generations to enjoy – wildlife, nature and heritage – as well as putting it onto an economically sustainable footing.

all-year interest means that the skills involved in navigating the years and decades ahead range from pure horticulture to landscape design, conservation, and much more. How important is the work of the gardening volunteers? Troy: We simply could not have done all we have without help from our garden volunteers. They are such nice people, too. We have 20, each coming one or sometimes two days per week. We all do everything from pruning to planting. William: Volunteer gardeners are new to Iford and they are absolutely essential. It is important too for us that the volunteers learn a lot here, under the expert guidance of Troy, Senior Gardener Helen Braithwaite and Propagator Alison Clarke, as well as enjoying the surroundings of the garden and working as a team. Once Covid permits we look forward to our summer and Christmas parties with the volunteers which my wife Marianne arranges. And finally, could you share your favourite spot in the garden – and what makes it special? Troy: My favourite part has to be the view from the Japanese cherry bank out beyond the garden to Iford Estate. One looks over the blossoming trees in the orchard with a flower meadow below, out to the sublimely beautiful valley of the river Frome. William: It would have to be sitting on the exedra [semi-circular recess] at the end of the Great

Terrace, looking down its length and watching birds, bees and butterflies busy themselves in the plants under the colonnades. Not only is this a wonderful place to “soak up” the atmosphere at Iford, but it is also where I proposed to my wife Marianne, so it has particular personal import!

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Rosie Peattie, Head of Guiding There is very little that Rosie doesn't know about the gardens of the UK & Ireland. "I am fortunate to have visited many wonderful gardens over the years and one of my favourites has definitely got to be Iford Manor. Sharing my passion and love for our gardens, whether they are the higher profile or lesser known ones, definitely transmits to our clients!" ⬥

rosie@dreamescape.co.uk

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The last word

ROSEMARY & SAGE —

A quarterly round up of what’s trending: Dream Escape’s Head of Guiding, Rosie Peattie and resident fountain of knowledge, Sally Strange, both Blue Badge Guides, are recommending some fantastic royal outdoor experiences this summer...

t... By Royal Appointmen

SEEING THE SUMMER IN BLOOM — Gardens are ' blooming fun' at all times of the year, but especially so during the summer months. Festival season is almost upon us, commencing with the Hampton Court Tulip Festival, 19 May (where there are 100,000 tulip bulbs ready to greet returning visitors after lockdown!) followed by Blenheim Palace Flower Show, 25-27 June, RHS Hampton Court, 6-11 July, Tatton Park, 21-25 July, and Chelsea Flower Show, 21-26 September with many more inbetween! Did you know? Bi-colour tulips, which are so popular today, originally came about as a result of a virus – it is good to know some beauty can occur after a virus!⬩

Rosiex

x Sally

Find out more

dreamescape.co.uk Like the sound of these royal experiences? Get in touch with Rosie or Sally, for expert advice on your next adventure.⬩ rosie@dreamescape.co.uk sally@dreamescape.co.uk

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HIKING ON THE BALMORAL ESTATE — One of my passions in life is hiking the mountains, hills, glens, moorland and riverbanks of Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales. One of the best is The Balmoral Cairns Walk in the Cairngorm mountain range, high above the Balmoral Estate. It is a 6 mile hike through woodland tracks ascending to 1,220 ft - there are eleven stone cairns or monuments on the route commemorating members of the British Royal family and important events in their lives. Join us and enjoy learning more about the diverse and fascinating wildlife, nature and history through the eyes of an experienced Mountain Leader. Did you know? The Royal Deeside area of Scotland, is named as such because Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert loved the region so much that they eventually purchased and rebuilt Balmoral Castle on the banks of the River Dee and it remains a favourite private retreat of the royal family to this day!⬩


YOUR IRISH ESCAPE Cliff Beach House is a new luxury rental offering some of the most exclusive accommodation in coastal Ireland — A bolthole where the road runs out, allowing you to immerse yourself in Irish culture and heritage.

www.cliffbeachhouse.ie


Shop Lucan at – lucanfashion.com / Harrods / Enquiries – info@lucanfashion.com

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Dream Escape Magazine | Summer 2021  

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