British Travel Journal | Spring 2021


Ah, the sweet smell of spring is finally here. Flowers are beginning to bloom, the sun has started to shine and there is hope on the horizon for a great British summer!
I’m sure you’ll agree that spending so many months at home has only made our adventurous, curious hearts grow fonder with a passion for travel and exploration.
I will appreciate my upcoming travel trips so much more, and it has only made my job as travel Editor, and the content in our latest issue, seem even more special than usual!

Lockdown might have put a stop to many things, but it certainly hasn’t stopped the travel industry preparing to ensure a super fun and warm welcome once it is safe for visitors to return. From new hotels and luxury spas, exciting holiday resorts full of adventure and off-grid activities, luxury boutique stays in acres of unspoilt countryside and coastline, brand new attractions to immersive one-of-a-kind experiences – it seems there has perhaps never been a better time to explore the British Isles!

With so much ‘British staycation’ wanderlust flying about we couldn’t resist compiling our Ultimate British Bucket List. Deep in the West Dorset countryside we Meet the Makers behind the world’s only vodka made from cows’ milk. We uncover 10 of the most wonderful places to visit in Yorkshire and discover that there’s much more than just Cheddar Cheese and ancient apple orchards to Somerset’s epicurean offering in The Rise of Food and Drink. In search of beautiful destinations where social distancing is made easy, you won’t find better than a remote Sea Garden Cottage on the white sandy shores of Tresco island, a luxury family stay in the heart of Suffolk’s rolling countryside at The Ickworth or a whisky tour around the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, Islay - the Lord of the Isles.

Wherever, and whenever, you next plan to take a holiday in the British Isles, we hope British Travel Journal continues to deliver as your indispensable travel magazine, and wish you a safe and seamless journey full of wonderful memories.



explore the british isles

SPRING 2021 | ISSUE 08



















If these walls could talk...

For those looking for something more individual. A bit more playful. A touch more flamboyant.

Mayfair’s newest hotel creates a stylish, imaginative home for the modern, independent traveller.







FEATURES EDITOR Samantha Rutherford



Melanie Abrams, Chantal Borciani,

Helen Holmes, Emma Johnson,

Adrian Mourby, Karyn Noble, Emma O’Reilly,

Lydia Paleschi, Adrienne Wyper


Our Editor arrives on the sandy shores of

Bryher, one of the smaller of the inhabited

islands of the Isles of Scilly. See p72.

Published by


Mitchell House, Brook Avenue, Warsash,

Southampton, SO31 9HP

01489 660680

Contista Media Ltd cannot accept responsibility for

unsolicited submissions, manuscripts and photographs.

While every care is taken prices and details are subject to

change and Contista Media Ltd take no responsibility for

omissions or errors. We reserve the right to publish

and edit any letters. All rights reserved.







H, THE SWEET SMELL of spring is finally

here. Flowers are beginning to bloom, the sun

has started to shine and there is hope on the

horizon for a great British summer!

I’m sure you’ll agree that spending so many months at

home has only made our adventurous, curious hearts grow

fonder with a passion for travel and exploration.

I will appreciate my upcoming travel trips so much more,

and it has only made my job as travel Editor, and the content in

our latest issue, seem even more special than usual!

Lockdown might have put a stop to many things, but

it certainly hasn’t stopped the travel industry preparing to

ensure a super fun and warm welcome once it is safe for

visitors to return.

From new hotels and luxury spas (p10), exciting holiday

resorts full of adventure and off-grid activities (p16), luxury

boutique stays in acres of unspoilt countryside and coastline

(p90), brand new attractions (p18) to immersive one-of-a-kind

experiences (p22) – it seems there has perhaps never been a

better time to explore the British Isles!

With so much ‘British staycation’ wanderlust flying about

we couldn’t resist compiling our Ultimate British Bucket List

(p28). Deep in the West Dorset countryside we Meet the Makers

behind the world’s only vodka made from cows’ milk (p44).

We uncover 10 of the most wonderful places to visit in Yorkshire

(p62) and discover that there’s much more than just Cheddar

Cheese and ancient apple orchards to Somerset’s epicurean

offering in The Rise of Food and Drink (p84). In search of

beautiful destinations where social distancing is made easy,

you won’t find better than a remote Sea Garden Cottage on

the white sandy shores of Tresco island (p72), a luxury family

stay in the heart of Suffolk’s rolling countryside at The Ickworth

(p50) or a whisky tour around the southernmost island of the

Inner Hebrides of Scotland, Islay - the Lord of the Isles (p56).

Wherever, and whenever, you next plan to take a holiday

in the British Isles, we hope British Travel Journal continues to

deliver as your indispensable travel magazine, and wish you a

safe and seamless journey full of wonderful memories.

Jessica x



Time for the

little things


SPRING 2021 | ISSUE 08








From a former jail turned sumptuous

hotel, luxury spa resort openings, to new

attractions including the launch of RHS

Bridgewater and re-imagined Nottingham Castle.


24 Feel inspired and escape the everyday

with these stunning travel photos of beautiful

landscapes from around the British Isles.


39 Unmissable events, shows and

exhibitions for your social calendar this spring


98 Latest travel essentials and crossword.




From taking a classic Morgan car for

a spin around part of the North Coast 500, to

taking to the air and flying an iconic 1943 plane,

and cruising around the UK in the world’s largest

square-rigged luxury sailing vessel.


44 We discover the world’s only vodka

made from cows’ milk deep in the West Dorset




Fancy hunkering down for the night in front

of a burning log fire in a cute, cosy cottage or

luxurious accommodation nestled in the middle

of acres of beautiful countryside, a quaint village

or coastal clifftop?

à 5



These stylish limited edition

weatherproof backpacks,

handmade to order from The Level

Collective as part of an ethical

British-made craftsmanship

collaboration. Together with Blok

Knives founder Ben Edmonds,

(the Aston Martin of the cutting

world), who is crafting 100

outdoor knives handmade in

Derbyshire, Cornish based

creative Mark Musgrave has

designed 100 British-made stylish

organic backpacks. Limited edition

backpacks £375.

Limited edition Blok Knives £155.


50 Spending quality family time

together in acres of glorious British

countryside just doesn’t get better than at

this sumptuous Suffolk retreat.



From walks through National Parks, beautiful

historic cities, luxury hotels to charming

seaside resorts, there’s plenty to discover on

a tour of Britain’s largest county.



Spend your days exploring ruined castles,

discovering tales of shipwrecks, and enjoying

the sounds of the ocean on Britain's very own

Island treasure.






Join us on a whisky tasting tour

around Scotland's isle of Islay, one of the

premiere whisky-producing areas in the




This English county is not merely the

home of Cheddar Cheese or ancient apple

orchards, Somerset’s epicurean delights are

in abundance.





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Find your special place

From luxury contemporary barn conversions to charming thatched cottages,

we’ve hand-picked the very best to bring you holiday memories to treasure.

A portfolio of over

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Time to be...

Soul-reviving spa soaks and subtropical garden strolls.

Great times in the great outdoors and long, lazy lunches.

Deserted sandy bays and towering heather-clad cliffs.

Island-hopping adventures and spellbinding sunset suppers.

Whatever the season, rediscover time to be on Tresco, the family

owned island at the heart of the Isles of Scilly archipelago.

Just 28 miles from Cornwall. Somewhere else altogether.





Once lockdown lifts and it is safe to visit, reignite your passion for

travel with our selection of what's new across the British Isles




from page 10 from page 16

from page 18 9

New hotels


The Townhouse

For the ultimate city break you would

be hard pushed to find a better place

to stay than the new Townhouse at the

Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel. The TV

series Bridgerton had us swooning over the

ravishing city of Bath, used as a location,

and now there’s this. Offering the best of

both worlds – ultra luxurious self-catering

for up to five people, plus the hotel next

door for dining out or using the spa. The

real wow factor facility here, however, is

private access to the Cross Bath. This sacred

open-air bath taps in to the city’s thermal

waters and beats a hot tub any day!

Prices start from £183 per night. ◆



Buxton Crescent

In need of some pampering in the elegant surroundings of one

of England’s finest Georgian buildings? It feels as though we’ve

been anticipating the opening of this 80-bedroom five-star

hotel and visitor attraction for years now – and that’s probably

because we have! Originally the launch was scheduled for 2019,

and with the pandemic forcing closures throughout last year

it has all just taken longer than planned. However, by no small

feat, the impressive £50m redevelopment and restoration of the

magnificent building completed last summer and opened, under

Covid-19 restrictions, on 1st October 2020. The luxury hotel

offers accommodation with all the trimmings - as well as the

thermal natural mineral water spa in the Natural Baths there’s

the splendid 18th Century ballroom – known as the Assembly

Room – which has also been fully refurbished, café, restaurant,

two bars and six prestigious retail premises along the front

ground floor façade. Choose from a selection of all day spa packages

and soak in the thermal pool, to include use of all facilities, robe

and slippers, lunch, therapy treatments, Jet Bath, Salt Cave and

much more. Have something to celebrate? You might prefer

the Twilight spa evening with a glass of fizz on arrival, Ensana

wellness treatment and evening meal. Prices from £125 per night. ◆



Fairmont Windsor Park

Destined to be the UK’s leading wellness retreat comprising a

sprawling world-class spa spanning 2,500 square metres with

indoor and outdoor pools, 18 treatments rooms, a salt room,

Hamman and Japanese foot spa.


Artist Residence

Arty micro chain Artist Residence is set to

open its fifth hotel in a former boot factory

in Bristol’s Portland Square. An eclectic

mix of art and vintage, the new venue

includes 28 quirky bedrooms alongside

a café, bar and events space. Your home

from home in the heart of creative Bristol,

with comfy beds, powerful rainfall showers

and an eclectic mix of industrial, vintage

and bohemian style. Book the bohemian

Artist Suite – it features original Georgian

cornicing, super king size bed, open

bathroom with free-standing roll-top

bathtub and powerful rainfall shower. ◆

Editor loves


The Harrison

Looking to add a little more sass to your staycation?

Having hosted scoundrels and scholars since

1879, this bohemian bolthole has been designed

for the culturally curious traveller located right

in the heart of Belfast’s theatre and museum

quarter. Book the Ruby Murray Room – it’s divine!

Antique furniture, stunning four poster bed and

stylish bathtub. Priced from £150 per night. ◆ 11

In the capital


The Gantry

Launching a year later than originally planned, The Gantry

will bring together, under one roof, a hotel, artisan food market,

restaurants and cocktail bars, in what is London’s fastest

developing creative and cultural community. Collaborating

with local producers, artists, brands and independent

London restaurateurs, The Gantry is a single urban resort

offering a fully integrated eating, drinking, travel and social

destination for East Londoners and international visitors

alike. With a silhouette inspired by New York’s famous Flat

Iron building, The Gantry’s design is influenced by industrial

Victorian East London and Stratford’s historical role in the

city’s train building industry. Situated on the 18th floor with

floor to ceiling windows, The Gantry will also boast the

highest rooftop bar in East London, offering a truly iconic

sunset across the capital when the bar and outdoor terraces

come alive with live music and DJs.

Prices start from £173 per night. ◆


The Mayfair Townhouse

Bridging the gap between West End’s ritzy and corporate hotels,

the Townhouse redefines what it means to be a London

hotel. Curious, engaging, witty – and dandy. Think: Oscar

Wilde meets Alice in Wonderland. Launched by the people

who brought you Cliveden House and Chewton Glen, The

Mayfair Townhouse occupies the Grade-II listed Georgian

buildings that line Half Moon Street – once the setting for

Oscar Wilde’s most famous play, The Importance of Being

Earnest. The aptly named Dandy Bar is the heart and soul of

the Townhouse; a theatrical, dimly lit atmosphere that

creates a place to see and be seen. Say hello to Head Concierge

Dianna Beran, formerly from Belmond Cadogan Hotel, and

one of the very few female concierges in the world to hold

the title of Les Clefs d’Or! Book a mixology experience with

Pierpaolo Monaco and enjoy a Mayfair Dandy – an avant-garde

take on the classic Dandy cocktail once enjoyed by hedonists

of the area. Room rates priced from £252 per night. ◆


The Londoner

More ‘urban resort’ than ‘city hotel’ spanning across

16 storeys, The Londoner features a whopping

350 guest rooms, suites and tower penthouse with

panoramic views! Yet there’s more to this sophisticated

Leicester Square playground - an expansive ballroom,

wellness centre, hair and nail salon, barber shop, a

mix of eateries and roof top bar with firepits. Prices

from £469 per person, per night. ◆





Mother’s Day is on Sunday 14th March

Have you been missing your mum during lockdown?

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, and the opportunity

to take your mum out looking unlikely, why not

give her something special to look forward to? Give her the

gift of roomcard and she can start planning a weekend for

when lockdown lifts – and if you’re lucky, she’ll take you too!

roomcard is the digital gift card and wallet for the

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of Britain and beyond. roomcard allows you to add your

own customised wrapping and personal greeting – whether

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Schedule the delivery of roomcard at precisely your chosen

time… and then, right on cue, it will be delivered straight

to your mum’s phone.




Putting the British into British tea

for the first time in history.

Tregothnan has pioneered botanical firsts since 1334,

experimenting with new plants like the tea genus for over two

centuries. We finally perfected the first ever tea production in the

UK in 2005. Today we continue to innovate inspired by our precious

plants and gardens. /tregothnan @tregothnan @tregothnan

Boutique hotels


The Star Inn

The third in Olga’s Polizzi Collection, spreading her wings

from the south west to the south east, and her first official

joint venture with her daughter, Alex Polizzi, presenter of

Channel 5’s, The Hotel Inspector.


The Harper

The Harper is a brand new 32-bedroom

boutique hotel taking residence within

Langham’s famed old glass blowing factory,

the rugged, chic interiors are light, airy

and dotted with locally-crafted artisanal

glass features playing quiet homage to

its heritage. Only a short drive from the

picturesque coastal haven of Blakeney,

The Harper nestles in the quaint and

typically British village of Langham, North

Norfolk and even boasts its own Harper

Hikes walking routes. Rooms (inc Harper

Breakfast) start at £175 per night. ◆


THE PIG in the South Downs

With the latest launch of THE PIG in the South

Downs becoming the eighth addition, you will now

be able to stay in a PIG in every south coast county!

Plus, the team is creating the group’s first vineyard

here too - on the two-acre field directly in front of

the main restaurant of the hotel previously used for

grazing alpacas. Rooms from £155 per night. ◆ 15

New resorts


Una St Ives

One of the most exciting new launches in

the active holiday resorts has to be this £25

million development of a former caravan

park above Carbis Bay. There are 30

self-catering eco-houses and Una Kitchen

already open, with a further 55-bedroom

apartment hotel and around 100 villas

and luxurious lodges opening soon. From

clifftop ambles and wild sea swimming, to

night-sky sessions around the fire pit. Join a

morning yoga class, paddle out to surf on

Porthminster Beach and head to St Ives Bay

for sea-to-fork fresh fish. ◆


Adventure Parc,

Hilton Garden Inn

Launching in tandem with the brand new Wave Garden

Spa, the Hilton Garden Inn Snowdonia, surrounded by

mountains, forests, and beautiful natural landscape,

makes a family holiday to Adventure Parc even more

enticing than ever before. The 106-bedroom hotel is the

perfect place to check in and enjoy the surf lagoon and

parc activities, including an outdoor adventure climbing

centre, zip lines and freefalls, gorge walking, mountain

biking, water sports and more. The floor-to-ceiling

windows in the stylish bedrooms and Zephyr’s bar and

grill make the most of the unique backdrop, and offer big

views across the lagoon, where you can enjoy watching

surfers catch rolling waves. Home to some of the biggest

peaks in Wales, as well as a population of wild ponies

there will never be a dull moment to be had here – and

when you need some space to relax, indulge in solitude

at the adjoining Wave Garden Spa. Think warm vitality

waterfall pool, an iconic oversized Himalayan salt sauna,

outdoor hot whirlpool, relaxation pods and fire pits. ◆



Harbour Beach Club, Salcombe

50 spacious bedrooms and suites on the stunning South Sands

beach. Think laid back vibes, hammocks between the trees,

beanbags to chill out on with a mojito in hand to watch the

sunset. Adventures from watersports to wild swimming.


Three Mile Beach

Fifteen new luxury self-catering beach houses

opening this Easter, tucked away on Gwithian

Towans, an unspoilt part of the stunning

Cornish coastline, with never-ending Atlantic

Ocean views – this is a surfer’s paradise. From

bodyboarding, stand-up-paddle, kitesurfing

to surfing, you will not only master your skills

on the water, you will also enjoy going off-grid,

hunkering down and switching off from the

everyday world. This is tranquillity at its very

best, with three miles of stunning beach and

views over Godrevy lighthouse and the lights

of St Ives. Each beach house has its own private

deck, sunken hot tub, and barrel sauna. ◆

You might also enjoy


Leopard Creek

Following the successful launch of the soughtafter

Lion and Tiger Lodges, Port Lympne

Hotel & Reserve are opening their next big cat

accommodation, Leopard Creek this April. Choose

from a cosy cub hut, stylish family cabin, to luxurious

four-person wigwam. Prices to stay in Leopard

Creek’s wigwams from £699 a night. ◆ 17

New attractions


Mary Shelley's House

of Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein is a

new visitor attraction in Bath, and a world

first as the only horror experience dedicated

to author Mary Shelley and her most

infamous creation, Frankenstein! Mary

Shelley wrote the majority of this timeless

classic whilst living in lodgings situated

in Abbey Churchyard in 1816, where you

will now find the iconic Pump Room (next

to The Roman Baths). The experience

promises to be scarily atmospheric, multisensory

and fully immersive. ◆



RHS Bridgewater

Europe’s largest gardening project springs into life

this May with RHS’s latest green oasis attraction.

RHS Garden Bridgewater is a new spectacular 154-acre

garden, offering a tranquil escape in the transformed

historic grounds of Worsley New Hall, Salford. This

beautiful green space is set to join the prestigious

RHS’s portfolio as its fifth garden and the first new

addition in 17 years. This will be the largest gardening

project in Europe and will include a kitchen garden,

heritage orchard, therapeutic garden and a historic

11-acre walled garden – one of the largest in the UK

for visitors to enjoy all year-round. Though the Worsley

New Hall mansion no longer remains, echoes of the

original gardens, ice-house, lake and formal terraces,

can still be seen. Other highlights include The Paradise

Garden - a spectacular blend of Mediterranean and

Asiatic planting inspired by the earliest gardens, Middle

Wood, 30-acres of forest glades, pools and ponds and

The Chinese Streamside Garden, a unique, Chineseinspired

garden representing an exciting and unique

fusion of Chinese and British horticulture. ◆



Nottingham Castle

Following a multi-million-pound investment, Nottingham Castle

and its sprawling caves below are anticipating an exciting

relaunch. Once lockdown lifts you will be able to step into the

story of the epic retelling of Robin Hood, rebellion and creativity.


Museum of Making

On the site of the world’s first factory (The

Derby Silk Mill) the Museum of Making is an

impressive 5-year, £18million project funded

by The National Lottery Heritage Fund – now

ready to open. Located in the Derwent Valley

Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site, one

of the key sites of the industrial revolution,

this brand-new museum will showcase the

region’s 300-year history of making and

celebrate its rich history of innovation. From

the world’s smallest engine, run using a human

hair, to a seven tonne Rolls-Royce Trent 1000

engine suspended in a new atrium above visitors’

heads, there will be 30,000 objects to enjoy. ◆


Wordsworth Grasmere

Poetry fans will be delighted to hear the news of this

re-imagined museum celebrating William Wordsworth

in the Lake District. The former Wordsworth Museum

has been completely transformed to include a

reinterpretation of Dove Cottage, where William lived

when he produced most of his greatest and bestloved

poems, a Sensory Garden and Woodland. ◆ 19

Pre-book tickets now

Part of

Royal Museums


Explore Greenwich and

step on board an icon

Visit Cutty Sark and experience the dramatic

history of the fastest ship of its time.

Greenwich Pier

Cutty Sark

Greenwich (only 8 mins from London Bridge)


Bodmin Jail

After almost 100 years of ruin new life has been injected into this

neglected relic to create a brand new £8.5million immersive visitor

experience and hotel. Stay in a luxury bedroom converted from three

jail cells or head to the cocktail bar, the former Governor’s Office. and


The Box

The south-west coast’s brand new cultural

hub, The Box is showing a commemorative

exhibition this spring marking 400 years

since the Pilgrims made their maiden voyage

to America, titled Mayflower 400: Legend and

Legacy. The 12 new exhibitions will showcase

300 illuminating objects until 18 September

2021. There is also an outdoor Mayflower

Trail for visitors wanting to see key locations

in the city first-hand. The Box is an impressive

£40 million glass panelled museum space

redeveloped from the Plymouth Museum and

Art Gallery and Central Library, which opened

for the first time to visitors last summer. ◆

Adventurers will love


Llys-y-Frân Lake

This brand-new 350 acre Outdoor Activity Centre is

to launch as a Welsh Water adventure attracting over 100,000

visitors a year, following a £4 million investment. There are

over 14km of trails to explore, while on the water visitors can

enjoy sailing, kayaking, fishing, canoeing and stand-uppaddleboarding.

There will be a café, cycle hire as well as

lessons in axe and knife throwing, crossbow and archery. ◆ 21

New experiences


The Nare

New to The Nare Hotel, Cornwall is a

themed walking and art break overlooking

Carne beach. Four days to draw inspiration

from the stunning sea views and coastal

scenery of the Roseland Peninsula, an Area

of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With plenty

of sea air and hands-on creative tuition

unlock your newfound artistic flair and take

a personally hand-painted canvas home

forever to remind you of your holiday.

The hotel is also about to unveil four of the

largest sea-view hotel suites in Britain,

The Whittington Suites. ◆


Nomadic Dining

Escape to the Chiltern Hills and join Nomadic Dining for a

woodland foraging feast inspired by the wild ingredients.

Immerse yourself into the magical experience of living off the

land, cooking on an open flame with menus curated by the

fruits and finds of your forest forage. Enjoy lunch or dinner

experiences, woodland cocktails, hand-picked herbal teas

and toasted marshmallows. Priced from £99 per person. ◆


Tudor Farmhouse

In the Forest of Dean, take a foraging break with a fungi

expert forager at Tudor Farmhouse and spend hours off the

beaten track discovering delicious ingredients, whilst enjoying

fresh air and beautiful countryside. Having returned to the

Farmhouse with your basket full of edible delights you’ll be

greeted by a comforting lunch using the best of seasonal and

foraged produce. Prices from £195 per night. ◆



Hangloose Bluewater

If you are looking for a way to let off some adrenaline-fuelled

steam then this brand new zipline could be just the ticket! England’s

longest and fastest zipline, the biggest adventure centre in Europe,

is landing at the much-loved Bluewater Shopping Centre.



Visitors will for the first time have the chance

to enjoy some of the South Downs’ finest

tipples at the Hambledon Vineyard’s new

facilities. Located in 200 acres of lush

countryside, the vineyard will welcome a

brand-new tasting room and visitor centre,

giving guests the chance to savour a range

of delicious wines and discover behind-thescenes

stories and techniques of one England’s

finest wines. Hambledon comprises over 200

acres of vineyards planted with Chardonnay,

Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – the three

grape varieties most commonly used in the

production of Champagne. ◆

Editor loves


England’s Creative Coast

Stretching from the East Sussex Downs through

to the Thames Estuary 1400km of stunning

coastline is becoming a cultural treasure hunt

brimming with seaside tales inspiring creativity

through adventure. This is the world’s first art

Geotour alongside ‘Waterfronts’. Launching at

Turner Contemporary this May until November. ◆ 23

Pretend like you’re on the Kingsroad in this

avenue of ancient trees in County Antrim,

Northern Ireland, which has featured in the TV

show, Game of Thrones. Photo by Steve Allen




Feel inspired and escape the everyday

with these stunning travel photos

Thinking about your first post-lockdown

getaway? From stunning countryside views

to city architecture, there are plenty of

beauty spots across the UK just waiting to be


To help inspire your next trip, this collection of British travel

images have been taken by photographers in picture-perfect

spots across the UK. The photos have been shortlisted as part

of the 2021 edition of the CEWE Photo Award, the world’s

largest photo competition, which aims to celebrate the best in

photography across the globe.

All the photos will be judged by a panel of five world

famous photographers from across Europe, including Christie

Goodwin, the official photographer for the Royal Albert Hall.

Clare Moreton, photo expert at CEWE UK, commented:

Travel abroad may be restricted for the foreseeable future,

but once the current lockdown is lifted, many of us will be

choosing to embrace the beauty that the UK has to offer.

There are so many stunning locations across Britain that are

waiting to be discovered and the beautiful photos submitted

to the CEWE Photo Award are a perfect example of the

hidden gems on our doorstep.” ◆

à 25

ç Why not escape your worries

by taking a trip on the Hogwarts

Express with a visit to the Glenfinnan

Viaduct, Scotland, which featured in

the Harry Potter film franchise. Photo

by David Philip.

ê Rydall Caves, located on the slopes

of Loughrigg Fell, is a fantastic location

for an afternoon of exploring. Photo

taken by Jose Almada.

The Yorkshire Dales is

famed for its limestone

landscapes, with crags

and caves set amidst

expansive heather

moorland, rolling hills

and dramatic waterfalls.

This photo, taken from

the top of Malham Cove

is a perfect example of

the stunning views on

offer. Photo by Peter



Richmond Park, in Surrey, is home

to 630 Red and Fallow deer – a

perfect place for nature lovers to

do some wildlife spotting. Photo by

Matteo Schirmer.

ç Scotland has some of the most beautiful

beaches in the UK and you might even be

lucky enough to have one to yourself!

Photo taken in Sandwood Bay beach by

Jason Eddings.

êSituated on an island where three sea

lochs meet and surrounded by majestic

scenery, Eilean Donan Castle is the

perfect place to get away from it all.

Photo by Richard Paksi.

The narrow streets of Plymouth’s

old town are a great place to spend an

afternoon exploring. Photo by

Farkasné Molnár Mária. 27





We have all been deprived of holidays, so the


next one needs to be good! Get booking now

with our ultimate wanderlust — destinations!


Words | Emma O'Reilly


The Torridon: Location, location… This Victorian former

hunting lodge in the Scottish Highlands certainly has it,

sitting in 58 acres of parkland on the edge of a glittering sea

loch, encircled by moutains. What’s inside isn’t bad either,

with cosy lounges and bars and exquisite food to suit your

mood – fine dining or casual. You won’t be short of things

to do. The hotel can arrange adventures, such as taking a

classic Morgan car for a spin around part of the North Coast

500. It’s one of the most spectacular driving routes in the

world, with sightseeing enroute, like Dunrobin Castle with its

gardens inspired by Versailles, and the woodland waterfalls

the Fairy Glen at Rosemarkie. Other options include munro

baggings walks and stargazing with a qualified astronomer.

The night skies here are truly magical.

British Travel Journal top tip End your day with a dram

1of whisky or the hotel’s own-brand gin by the fire.




Goodwood: Goodwood is celebrated for its

motor racing but this 12,000 acre sporting estate

has much more to offer – including exciting flying

experiences. These operate from Goodwood

Aerodrome, used as a Battle of Britain station

during World War II. During the Harvard Warbird

Fly & Dining package, for example, you can take

to the air in – and even have a go at flying - this

iconic 1943 plane, once used for training Spitfire

pilots. Afterwards, there’s a Champange lunch

at The Kennels – former home to the Duke of

Richmond’s hounds, now a rather smart estate

members’ club. Or, for the really keen there’s

Flying Through the Ages - a full day experiencing

three different planes plus a behind-the-scenes

tour of the aerodrome and meeting with the

aviation teams. At the end of the day, retire to

the Goodwood Hotel, with its restaurants, health

club and two golf courses.

British Travel Journal top tip For an extra

special stay, book the exclusive use ten bedroom

Hound Lodge, which has a private chef and butler.





Luxury Irish Tours: The Northern Irish coast

encompasses some of Britain’s most interesting and

wildly beautiful scenery. Let specialists organise

a bespoke tour around the top sights, including

a private driver in a luxury vehicle (or self drive if

you prefer) plus accommodation in five star hotels

or castles, private, behind-the-scenes tours, fine

dining and, of course, visits to all the ‘blockbuster’

sights – the Glens of Antrim, Giant’s Causeway

and Dunluce Castle to name but a few.

British Travel Journal top tip Special interests can

also be catered for – if you want to see every single

Game of Thrones location, here, your wish is their

command. Or play golf at the top courses, including

the world famous Portrush…all is possible.


Abercrombie & Kent: Not being allowed to visit

even the next county has got us all gagging to

get out and explore the UK. The Tradewind

Voyage gives the chance to do that, on the

Golden Horizon – the world’s largest squarerigged

sailing vessel. The design is based on

a traditional clipper ship, with wood panelled

interiors alongside modern facilities - think

three swimming pools and a spa! During the

13 night trip, the many destinations to explore

include Glenveagh National Park in Donegal,

with its mountains and lakes, the exciting city of

Liverpool, some of the tiny uninhabited islands

in the Isles of Scilly, the lovely little Cornish town

of St Ives and the Channel Islands of Jersey and


British Travel Journal top tip Many of the

optional excursions include cycling or walking.

Take advantage to counteract the effects of

the copious onboard food and wine.

à 31




WILDNIS: For a five-star wilderness

experience with ex-British Army Majors

in restored Land Rover Defenders, this

new luxury adventure will take you on an

unforgettable pioneering journey through

the Scottish Highlands! Think packrafting,

abseiling, climbing and open-fire feasts.

From reaching the summit of Ben A’an,

scrambling along Aonach Eagach

ridgeline, two Munro summits, to a sea

kayaking trip in Arisaig with sheltered

sea lochs, countless isles and skerries and

hidden beaches. Feeling brave? Then

head to a remote quarry, and in the style

of SAS: Who Dares Wins try a front abseil,

descending cliff faces – you daredevil you!

Every evening at basecamp you’ll be fed

like Robert the Bruce, as Wildnis’ private

chef, Tom Byrom rustles together whole

grouse ‘porcetta’, venison shoulder with

a foraged nettle sauce and a Scottish

seafood platter while you share stories by

the campfire with a dram of single malt.

A 4-night expedition, including guiding,

all activities, all meals, Land Rover vehicle

hire and transfers costs from £3,500pp

sharing. Departure spring 2021.

British Travel Journal top tip Get

involved in the cooking too, Tom offers

masterclasses on foraging, butchery and

open-fire cooking.



Dream Escape: As with a Savile Row suit, the

team at Dream Escape can tailor-make the most

majestic royal tours. A sample itinerary is their

England Royal Residences & Retreats – a 10-day

private jaunt around significant royal landmarks.

Mooch around Buckingham Palace, Windsor

Castle and Sandringham House and take a

behind-the-scenes look at Clarence House, home

to Charles and Camilla. Ogle the Crown Jewels

at the Tower of London, watch the Changing of

the Guard and visit Westminster Abbey, where

William and Kate got hitched. There are trips

to shops which provide the royal households, a

chance to shop in Eton and Champagne boat

trips along the Thames, including one ending in a

meal at the three Michelin-starred Waterside Inn,

and stays in luxury accommodation - it’s a trip fit

for a King or Queen.

British Travel Journal top tip Plan your trip

for May or September and it’s possible to tour

Eton College (William and Harry’s Alma Mater).



Jules Verne: You don’t really need to be a train

geek to enjoy the Tracks of the Welsh Dragon.

This steam train journey will transport anyone

back to the romantic Golden Age of travel, with

its traditional Pullman carriages, hauled by

the 61306 Mayflower locomotive. The first two

days of the four-day trip are spent chugging

through the English, then the Welsh countryside,

departing from London. You can wistfully watch

the country’s most dramatic scenery drift past -

including the Camarthenshire Hills, the Brecon

Beacons, The Black Mountains and the Lleyn

Peninsula. Come the evening guests disembark to

stay in a hotel – the first night in Shrewsbury, the

remaining three in the ‘fantasy’ Italianate village

of Portmeirion, from where excursions take you to

explore the spectacular Snowdonia area before

the homeward train journey.

British Travel Journal top tip No need to

climb Wales’ highest peak – take the Snowdon

7Railway to the summit.



Hebridean Princess: The Western Isles of

Scotland are famed for their blinding white

8beaches, edge of the world feeling and

out of this world wildlife - golden eagles,

minke whales and otters are just some of

the species you might see, on or offshore,

from the Hebridean Princess. This boutique

cruise ship hosts a maximum 50 guests,

and her small size means she can access

more remote spots, unreachable by larger

vessels. On shore, experienced guides can

take you to see the wildlife plus sights like

the ancient Callanish standing stones and

Colonsay House Gardens. If you prefer to

do your own thing, grab one of the ship’s

bikes and set off on your own explorations.

The Western Isles Wildlife cruise runs from

18-26 May 2021.

British Travel Journal top tip If you

miss the boat (pardon the pun) this year,

there’s a very similar cruise next year.

à 35




Lundy Island Sketchbook Safari: Whether keen

amateur or complete beginner, then an opportunity

to – ahem – brush up on your technique is on the

Lundy Island Sketchbook Safari with Trevor Waugh.

Lots of time in the great outdoors (or en plein air if

you want to sound like a real artist) is guaranteed,

sketching the landscape and wildlife of this tiny,

quiet island off the North Devon coast. The bird

life is particularly prolific in the early summer, when

you may even get the chance to paint puffins and

their chicks. Trevor will demonstrate water colour

techniques and tips for capturing animals and

there will be both group and individual tuition.

Accommodation is in a large house overlooking a

wooded valley, with views out to sea. The trip runs

for four nights from 14 June 2021.

British Travel Journal top tip Snorkel at

Gannet’s Bay and you may be lucky enough to

swim with seals.




Sisley Garden Tours: Green fingered readers may be

interested in the brand new ‘secret gardens’ tours

introduced by Sisley Garden Tours. These Exclusive

Escapes for Garden Lovers allow small groups

(maximum 12 people) to visit some of the best private

gardens in the UK, many never open to the public. The

stays are each based at just one comfortable hotel and

then gloriously unhurried days are spent delving into

these stunning gardens, chatting to their owners and

then getting back to your hotel for some wining and

dining… maybe the odd gardening anecdote! The tours

will run May to September, when the gardens are at

their spring and summer best. Destinations for 2021 are

Cornwall, Dorset, the Wye Valley, North York Moors and

the Cotswolds.

British Travel Journal top tip Do the North York

Moors tour in June and find out how to make the best

summer cocktails using herbs from your garden! 37


New for 2021 – Exclusive Escapes for Garden Lovers. Available for booking now.

+44 (0)1423 396506 I I




Escape to Bovey Castle

Set in 275 acres of beautiful countryside within Devon’s Dartmoor National Park.

The hotel offers 60 bedrooms and 22 self catering country lodges tucked away in the

grounds, fashioned from local granite and vaulted with English oak. Smith’s Brasserie,

luxury ‘Elan Spa’, award-winning 18 hole championship golf course and an array of

outdoor pursuits and activities.

@boveycastlehotel @BoveyCastle /BoveyCastleHotel

WWW.BOVEYCASTLE.COM | 01647 445000

BritishTravelJournal - 120mmx191mm - 17_09_2020.indd 1 17/09/2020 13:37



Visitors are encouraged to always check individual attraction

websites for the latest information, as details are subject to change à 39


Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

The iconic novels of Alice in Wonderland and

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll are

brought to life at the Victoria and Albert Museum

in London until 31 December 2021. With over

300 objects, the high concept exhibition, Alice:

Curiouser and Curiouser, takes visitors through

a rabbit hole from the 1865 manuscript to the

novels’ various adaptations into film, ballet, art,

fashion and more. Disney’s cartoon is an example.

Highlights include early illustrations, showing

how the White Rabbit and other characters were

developed and a virtual reality game of croquet

against the Queen of Hearts. ◆


Night Fever:

Designing Club Culture

Ever since Bianca Jagger rode a white horse

inside New York nightclub, Studio 54,

in 1977, clubs have captured the cultural

zeitgeist. They have also shaped people’s

identity, says Kirsty Hassard, curator of

Night Fever: Designing Club Culture at

the V&A Dundee, which explores clubbing

experience from Berlin to Glasgow since

the Sixties, to 5 September 2021. Among

photographs, films, clothes and more

that evoke the vibe, like a disco gold lamé

Halston dress worn at Studio 54, there

are also objects from the clubs themselves

including the Hacienda’s mirror ball and

the papier-mâché submarine from above

the bar at Glasgow’s Sub Club. ◆


We're visiting



Sachi is ready to open in Pantechnicon, a Japanese-Nordic food,

drink and design emporium in Belgravia. It complements the eclectic

shops, selling books to bikes, exclusive products and made-to-order

furniture – and the Nordic restaurant, Eldr, with roof terrace.


Royal Albert Hall’s

150th birthday

The Royal Albert Hall celebrates its 150th

birthday on 29 March. Opened by Queen

Victoria in 1871, this Kensington landmark

has hosted gigs, operas, ballets and more

as well as the annual summer music festival,

the BBC Proms. So much more than just a

beautiful Victorian venue, it’s the place of

countless performances, stories and memories

from countless visitors – where people have

been singing, dancing, laughing and crying

together since 1871. In March The Who

plays with a full orchestra. ◆


Editor loves



Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms

For a dazzling experience after months of lockdown, head to

Tate Modern. The Bankside gallery has cleared two rooms for

polka dot queen, Yayoi Kusama’s immersive installations, on

until 27 March 2022. Her signature dots go psychedelic and

flash in ‘Filled with the Brilliance of Life’, whilst rotating

chandeliers shimmer seemingly into infinity in ‘Chandelier of

Grief’. Kusama’s infinity rooms have become a global

phenomenon. Prepare to be revitalised. ◆ 41


Blenheim Palace Food Festival

For a lively food experience in an august setting, head to

Woodstock in Oxfordshire for the Blenheim Palace Food

Festival from 29 to 31 May. Whet your culinary skills and

tastebuds by watching the demonstrations or listening

to talks from top chefs like Jean-Christophe Novelli, a

previous participant. Over 100 regional food and drink

specialists will attempt to tickle your palate, showcasing

their gourmet produce, from burgers to craft beers. You

might even bump into your favourite Bake Off contestant.

Located by the Pleasure Gardens, take a miniature

train to visit the palace too with its paintings, porcelain,

tapestries and more. ◆


Burghley House

When Burghley House in Lincolnshire re-opens on 20 March,

the 16th century stately home will be celebrating a milestone:

500 years since the birth of its designer, William Cecil, the

first Baron Burghley, Elizabeth I’s Lord High Treasurer and

chief adviser. It’s still the family home. To celebrate the birth

and lasting legacy of Lord Burghley there will be a series of

special events taking place throughout 2021 providing a

fascinating insight into the man and his legacy.

Burghley is one of the largest and grandest houses of the

first Elizabethan age, Cecil's life as the most powerful man

in the court of Elizabeth I was both eventful and effective,

and helped to shape the history of the British Isles. His

lasting legacy reaches far beyond the building of Burghley

House to the magnificent collection of works of art from

across the globe gathered by his descendants. Book for

exhibitions to live music to 31 October. ◆


Charlestown Harbour

In Cornwall why not try your hand at traditional sailing? Jump aboard

one of Charlestown Harbour’s fleet of traditional wooden boats for a

day sailing experience, join a sailing holiday or commission your own

private charter. Learn to hoist the sails, trim the rig, take the wheel

and set a course along Cornwall’s coastline – or sit back and relax

with wind under sail and spot for dolphins! 2-day cruise to Cawsand

(sailing on Anny, a 1930’s Topsail Schooner) in April 2021 priced from

£210 per person, including all your food aboard ship. ◆



We're ordering


Northcote At Home Gourmet Box

If you are missing top-notch Michelin-starred cuisine, Northcote in

Lancashire’s Ribble Valley has created new dishes using finest seasonal

ingredients (£105 for two people), courtesy of creative Executive Chef,

Lisa Goodwin-Allen and her team, to enjoy at your own dinner table.


As seen in Bridgerton

Wilton House

Easter marks the re-opening of Wilton House, the Palladian

Wiltshire home of the Earls of Pembroke, rebuilt by celebrated

architects, Inigo Jones and John Webb in 1647. The ornate

rooms may seem familiar, often acting as television and

film backdrops. Most recently on Netflix, Wilton House

was used to create four different residences in the period

drama series Bridgerton, and the Double Cube Room with

its Old Master paintings and Chippendale mirrors are the

Buckingham Palace interiors for Netflix’s The Crown. Other

must visits include the Gothic Cloisters where Napoleon I’s

dispatch box, a lock of Queen Elizabeth I’s hair and more are

displayed. Roam around the 21 acre parkland or head for the

Holbein Porch, the house’s original Tudor entrance. ◆





David Hockney: The Arrival of

Spring, Normandy

After two blockbuster shows at the Royal Academy of Arts (a

50 year retrospective in 2012 and portraits in 2016), David

Hockney returns with vibrant new work. This time, he reveals

his sprawling garden in Normandy through over 100 iPad

drawings created between 11 February and 4 July last year,

using his Brushes app, upgraded to his own specifications,

depicting trees, flower beds, his home and more. ◆ 43





Visiting farms deep in the West Dorset countryside, it’s not unusual

to discover examples of innovation meeting necessity. But would

you expect to find the world’s only vodka made from cows’ milk?

We meet the trailblazers responsible...

Words | Karyn Noble

WEST DORSET IS A GREAT place to visit, it’s a lovely

gentle landscape. But a lot of people drive past us or go

on to Cornwall, and there’s a lot to do here.” Paul Archard

(aka ‘Archie’), co-founder of Black Cow Vodka, is sitting

in the custom-designed Bar + Kitchen adjoining the distillery in Childhay. He

casually reels off the outstanding cheese, cured meat and wine producers of

the famed agricultural region; the flourishing arts scene; the local creatives

making knives and “amazing things out of metal”. But what about the little

project he has going with his dairy farmer neighbour, Jason Barber? “We set

out to make the world’s best vodka, that’s what we set out to do, basically,”

chimes in Jason. “And we’re pretty much there, to be honest.”

à 45



Jason’s family have been making

Cheddar cheese since 1833, which

makes the Barbers the oldest surviving

Cheddar cheesemakers in the world.

‘Basically, my cows are milked twice

a day and I sell the milk to my family,”

says Jason. “They want the protein [the

curds] to make the cheese and we want

the lactose [from the whey] because

it’s the sugar that makes the alcohol.”

They venture they’ve made one of the

most sustainable vodkas on the planet,

given whey’s reputation as a waste

material. “Typically, whey is a rather

forgotten-about product,” says Archie.

“Especially in this country.

Pictured previous

spread: Black Cow

vodka founders

Paul Archard (left)

and Jason Barber

(right). Pictured

above: The Black

Cow Distillery

Bar + Kitchen.

Pictured right: The

distillery - where the

magic happens.

The Italians really know how to

use whey. We end up feeding it to the

pigs. What we’ve done is we’ve taken

an almost valueless by-product from

cheese-making production and turned

it into something wonderful.”

The whey is fermented with a

special yeast that converts the lactose

into alcohol. This milky beer is distilled

in a pot called Ermintrude (named after

the cow from children’s TV show The

Magic Roundabout), then blended and

triple-filtered into a very pure, smooth

and velvety vodka. The realisation that

they didn’t need to add water was a

significant breakthrough texturally

and taste-wise. “There’s a real lack of

minerality,” says Archie, “It’s incredibly


Not needing to add water was

a significant breakthrough... It’s

incredibly soft. It’s got this creamy

texture and that’s because

everything comes from milk

soft. It’s got this creamy texture and that’s because

everything in that bottle comes from milk.”

While it was initially difficult to get their distilling

licence (“When we talked to HMRC, they didn’t

know quite how to deal with it”, says Archie), they

give kudos to “maverick” Julian Temperley from

Somerset Cider Brandy Company (see page 84) who

obtained the UK’s first-ever cider-distilling licence, for

paving the way and breaking the monopoly of larger

distilleries. The first bottle of Black Cow Vodka was

sold in May 2012 and then it was a matter of winning

over bartenders and distributors. “When we first went

to the bars, there were probably about 12 vodkas on

the back bars,” says Jason. “Now there’s probably

à 47

Everyone makes Espresso

Martinis with liqueur – Kahlua or

Tia Maria – we don’t - and yet, you

still get the most perfect Espresso

Martini with the perfect head.

five: you’ll find a rye one, a wheat one, a milk one. Now

it’s all about the raw material and I like to think that we

had something to do with that.” The vodka is now sold

in 17 countries. “Once we get people to try it, they’re

normally converted to it,” says Archie. “We have a very

good conversion rate.”


‘What grows together goes together’ is the ethos

behind their recommendation of pairing their pure

milk vodka with cheese. “We really see ourselves as the

foodie’s vodka of choice and it’s a great thing to have

with food,” says Archie. “In Poland and Russia, people

think they knock back vodka as shots. They do but

they’ve always got little bits of food, whether it’s nuts

or dried fish. One of the best things is cheese. Jason’s

family made this incredible Black Cow Deluxe Cheddar

that we sell at Fortnum & Mason. It goes really well

with a bit of Jarlsberg or a bit of Brie or Stilton or

anything. It also goes really well with seafood, it’s great

with oysters, it’s great with prosciutto.”

They have branched out into a sustainably

produced English Strawberries Vodka (launched in the

summer of 2019) as well as a Christmas Spirit that was

much lauded by locked-down Brits across the winter

of 2020. But bartenders are particularly impressed

with the purity of the original spirit, which lends itself

to holding fragile flavours very well. “Everyone makes

Espresso Martinis with liqueur – Kahlua or Tia Maria

– we don’t,” says Archie. “The reason why they do

that is to make it sweeter and because they want it to

froth up, so it’s got a head like a Guinness. But if we

just put in maple syrup and make an espresso, you put

them with our vodka in a shaker, and you get the most

perfect Espresso Martini with the perfect head like a

Guinness, and that holds because of the lack of the

minerality in the water. Restaurants love it because

they don’t have to pay for the shot of the liqueur, which

means they make a better profit on it as well.”



While the team have missed hosting distillery tours

during Britain’s COVID-19 lockdown, there’s usually a

variety of idyllic, bucolic experiences for food and drink

lovers. “We’d go out on the farm and take you around

the cows,” says Jason. “Have plenty of drinks, see a bit

of the countryside.”

Acclaimed local chef and restaurateur Mark Hix is

also a frequent visitor to the Black Cow Bar + Kitchen,

having designed the three-course lunch that’s part

of the Distillery Experience, which also includes a

cocktail-making class in addition to the distillery tour.

“Mark puts a recipe together for us with locally sourced

food,” says Archie. “We integrate the vodka and the

cheese. There’s hand-picked scallops out of the bay at

the moment or someone’s shooting rabbits or picking


Whatever the future brings, Archie and Jason

remain as inventive as ever, particularly when it comes

to cocktail creations. “I would love to do a Gorgonzola

cheese wash martini with a pear infusion,” says Jason.

“Do you think the world is ready for it? We could do it.”

While Archie concedes that he and Jason “always

like to think quite big”, despite their enthusiasm and

ambition, neither can have truly anticipated the

outcome of a casual chat in 2002 with one of the dairy

workers, Jozef. Jason was gauging Jozef’s opinion on

their latest distilling experiment, an eau de vie: “he’s

Polish, so I said to him, come on Jozef, how do you

make vodka, it’s your national drink? And he said

‘anything with sugar in it’. And I thought, hold up,




“We already love going to Mark Hix’s restaurant

(The Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis:, but he’s just taken over

this pub, which locals have been going to for decades,

and it’s amazing.”



“Our friend Cass is the chef there and the owner, with

his wife Louise. Foodwise, it’s really good.”



“Run by our friend Mary-Lou Sturridge, who used to

be the MD of the Groucho Club [in London]. She’s set

this up, which is really a hotel. It’s a really good place

to stay, very relaxing, right on the sea”


“The Ollerod, which is the name of a flower, is a

wonderful place to stay, the food’s really good, the

bar’s really lively and the rooms are really nice.”


“Guy Mallinson, who is a friend of ours, has built

absolute luxury treehouses, which have got beautiful

bathrooms in them: proper five-star treehouses.”



“Harry takes people out on day trips fishing, which is

excellent if you want to come and catch your own fish

and eat it.”

milk’s got sugar in it.” Archie remembers the two of

them looking out the kitchen window towards Jason’s

herd of 250 grass-fed dairy cows. “We took one

look at those lovely ladies and I looked at Jason and

saw a lightbulb go on over his head.” It took years of

experimentation to get them to a unique product: a

vodka not just derived from milk, but made entirely

from it. 49



Nestled in the heart of the Suffolk countryside,

surrounded by acres of protected woodland within

a National Trust landscape, The Ickworth is a

sumptuous family retreat like no other.

Words | Jessica Way















It’s been a difficult year for all, living

through a global pandemic, and

an especially confusing time for our

younger generation. If there’s one

proven remedy that’s always worked

for my children it’s getting them outside,

enjoying the countryside and exploring the

great outdoors.

The simple pleasure little ones receive

from splashing in muddy puddles,

clambering up ancient trees, being in

nature and breathing in the crisp clean

air - it’s both therapy and family-time at its


Set in an unrivalled location, 1,800

acres of beautiful parkland and rolling

Suffolk countryside, there’s no better

place to spend quality time than this

exquisite country house. The Ickworth

Hotel, which dates back to the Domesday

book (when it was merely one of hundreds

of assets belonging to the Abbey of

Bury St Edmunds), is not only one of

the Luxury Family Hotels’ five stunning

hotels, renowned for their individual

character and exceptional family-focused

hospitality - but it’s also one of just three

independently-owned British hotels that

are also National Trust properties (the

other two being Cliveden House, Berkshire

and The Causeway Hotel, County Antrim).

The National Trust, who own just five

hotels themselves, (The Causeway Hotel,

Northern Ireland, Hunter's Inn, Exmoor

National Park and the Historic House trio,

Bodysgallen Hall, North Wales, Hartwell

House Hotel, Buckinghamshire and

Middlethorpe Hall Hotel, North Yorkshire)

is Europe’s largest conservation charity.

The trust - which celebrated its 125-year

anniversary in 2020 - care for hundreds of

historic buildings and miles of coastline,

woodlands, countryside, gardens and

precious collections throughout the British


The Ickworth, just two hours from

London, is a preserved masterpiece of

Italian-inspired architecture, and said to

be one of the first of its kind in the UK.

Its most distinguishing feature,

over 100 feet high, is its very own

grand Italianate Rotunda.

à 51

The Ickworth is a preserved masterpiece of Italian-inspired

architecture, and said to be one of the first of its kind in the UK.

The long straight driveway leading you

directly to it only enhances the wow-factor,

watch the kids’ excitement grow as it gets

seemingly larger as you edge your way closer

on arrival.

This impressive building was the brainchild

of Frederick Augustus, 4th Earl of Bristol

and the Bishop of Derry (also known as the

Earl-Bishop) who wanted to create a house

for his family and provide galleries for his art

collection. The East Wing of the house is today

the hotel, while the West Wing is a visitor

centre and café.

There are daily tours exploring the

magnificent Italianate palace while

uncovering the stories behind Ickworth, and

the flamboyant pride of the 4th Earl of Bristol.

A multi-million-pound major conservation

project mending the Rotunda roof was

in progress during our stay, and we were,

unfortunately, unable to delve into the Hervey

family’s legacy, but will be sure to return at a

time when we can see the Rotunda back to its

original glory.

The parkland and gardens at Ickworth

proved more than enough to keep us occupied.

Maps are available from reception providing

routes ranging from a sedate stroll along the

half-mile Lady Geraldine walk to an energetic

seven-mile bike ride along Grand Tour. Armed

with a GPS device you can even try geocaching

here (basically a modern-day treasure hunt

around the parkland!) Worried you don’t have

a pushchair designed for countryside walks?

















Don’t worry, iCandy’s are available for complimentary

hire from the hotel. We hired bikes (stabilisers and

toddler seats available), and began our journey through

Deer Park where Ickworth’s resident herd of deer roam

free. Look out for Parson's Pond on your right before

passing rows of old oak trees and St. Mary’s Church

on your left, the oldest building on the estate. Recently

restored, here you can see a 13th century altar and 14th

century wall painting of the Annunciation of Angel


Take some time to explore The Walled Garden and

canal lake, the 1st Earl’s ‘springe’ garden, whose son

John so eloquently describes “lavish Nature’s favourite

Blessings flow, and all the seasons all their Sweets

bestow”. Discover the Earl's Summer House and look out

for the tin man scarecrow made from recycled objects.

There’s an abundance of flowers, wildlife, apple trees,

and other fruits and vegetables growing - it’s the perfect

picnic spot.

Carry on along the river and pick up the Monument

Trail, passing grazing sheep and miles of beautiful

à 53











woodland. If you’re lucky you might see deer as you glide

through Stoney Hill and Lownde Wood. Pass the Round

House to your left, a mini cottage resembling a folky

version of the rotunda before heading over Fairy Lake

bridge. From here you can choose to turn left along the

River Linnet back towards The Walled Garden, or pick up

another trail - Lady Hervey’s Walk which takes you through

Fontainebleau Grove and Adkins Wood then back to the

hotel entrance.

As a guest staying at the hotel you are welcomed to

explore the estate and discover the house both by day,

(with free access to the Ickworth National Trust site), and,

as night falls, with exclusive after-hours access to the

wonderful Italianate Gardens (from 6pm until 9pm) via a

gate behind the house.

Spend your time in this magnificent landscape gently

strolling the neat pathways, lined with à manicured

hedges, lush lawns, beautiful borders and towering cypress

trees. Walking in the footsteps of aristocratic ladies and

gentlemen, who in the gardens’ heyday, would spend their

leisure time here playing croquet or promenading on the

raised terrace, will leave you feeling invigorated. And as

Lady Mary MacRae, granddaughter of the 4th Marquess

remarked, wandering through the blossomed trees in the

gardens in spring is "like walking through lace".

The children will enjoy playing ‘find the giraffe

sculptures’, and if they still have energy left to burn, there’s

a slide and swing in the fairy garden, cars, trampolines,

sandpit, scooters and scavenger hunts. We opted for the

indoor heated swimming pool, which is well stocked with

floats, foam noodles, and everything else your little ones

might need.

And this is certainly what sets Luxury Family Hotels

apart from other great British hotels, being family-focused

is at the heart of ‘everything’ they do. Their attention to

detail is unsurpassed.

From every item of baby equipment you could possibly

need, including cots, nappy bins and bottle warmers,

fresh morning and evening milk delivered to your room,

free childcare each day, to collecting your children and

entertaining them with a Sunday morning breakfast club,

so that you can enjoy a lie-in.

When dinner time comes, there’s a baby-monitoring

system available in the room - the option for an earlier

Children’s High Tea, ‘Younger Ones’ menus, together with

‘mocktails’, and a chef on hand to provide puréed food.


Older children will love making friends in the Games

Room, watching the latest blockbusters in the cinema

room (daily at 6pm) or challenging themselves to a

game of tennis.

As this is a hotel that makes couple time easy, be

sure to book yourself a table for two at Frederick’s -

the hotel’s two rosette fine dining restaurant. Spend

a romantic evening for two dining by candlelight,

sipping vintages recommended by an expert sommelier,

sampling cuisine based on seasonal ingredients from

local and artisan suppliers. The À la carte menu is

every bit as sensational as the setting, overlooking the

Italianate Gardens, including tandoori spiced scallops,

truffle and parmesan chips, King oysters, Shakshuka

and decadent desserts - the Hedgerow Bakewell tart

with vanilla ice cream, toasted marzipan and sour

cherry was divine!

Another highlight of our stay was our bedroom

‘Grand Tour’ - decorated exquisitely in period style,





complete with an 8ft bed and views (also overlooking

the Italianate Gardens), we felt like the Lord and Lady

of the manor! The hotel boasts 27 family suites and

interconnecting bedrooms, or for something more

private book The Lodge - the former Dower House set

on the estate just half a mile from the main hotel, with

eight further apartments and three double rooms set

amongst four acres of gardens.

Rooms from £199 per night B&B, +44 (0)208 0765555 55




Islay was once home to Scotland’s fearsome

Lord of the Isles. Today it is one of the premiere

whisky-producing areas in the world.

Words | Adrian Mourby

IN THE FAR west of Scotland, only 25 miles from the coast of

Northern Ireland, lies a whisky-producing island known as

Islay. At 239 square miles it is slightly smaller than Singapore

(260 sqm), yet this mossy, windswept rock is home to

seven of Scotland’s greatest distilleries: Ardbeg, Bowmore,

Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig,

as well as two of the newest, Kilchoman and Ardnahoe.

Long-term and passionate lovers of whisky, my wife and I arrived

one autumn evening in Islay’s Port Askaig after a rainy, two-hour

crossing from the mainland. As our ferry squeezed slowly up the

narrow channel that separates Islay from its sister island, Jura, it

was already growing dark and the tiny port was lit up. Caledonian

MacBrayne, the ferry company that keeps Scotland’s islands

supplied in all weathers, is very efficient at loading and offloading.

We were swiftly marshalled off, and followed every other car

up the steep harbour road. Dark, flat moorland dotted with white

cottages led us south to Bowmore, Islay’s capital.



Pictured above right

inset: On board

the MV Finlaggan


MacBrayne ferry as

she sails through the

Sound of Islay en

route to Islay

Close to Bowmore stands Islay House,

which was built by Sir Hugh Campbell

of Cawdor in the eighteenth century.

Sir Hugh’s great grandfather, Sir

John Campbell had been granted the

whole of Islay by the Scottish Crown.

His mission for King James VI was to

tame the troublesome local lords who

ruled the islands in almost complete

independence. He succeeded.

Various owners added to Islay House

over the centuries until it became the

island’s grandest home, resembling

a white Balmoral. In the twentieth

century its owner, Lord Margadale

hosted not only the Queen but several

Conservative prime ministers at his

home. Since 2014 it has been a hotel,

with one of the top floor bedrooms

where the Iron Lady often stayed

named “Thatcher”.

We were delighted to abandon

our mud-bespattered car outside the

front door and step into an entrance

hall with a blazing log fire. There was

a whisky decanter and two glasses

waiting in our bedroom. Dinner was

in the Jib Door, a gracious, antlered

à 57


The next morning Islay was

bathed in sunshine as we relaxed on

the old leather sofas in the drawing

room and planned our attack on the

island’s distilleries.

Islay House Hotel

graveyard of the ruined Kilchoman church. Anthony

Wills, who started this distillery in 2005 chose the

site because it was the best farmland on Islay and he

wanted to grow as much of the barley he needed on

site. There are signs in the fields nearby telling you

how much grain and therefore how much whisky each

produces (most Islay distilleries buy in their barley from

the mainland).

Kilchoman has a lovely modern visitor centre with

an elegant glass and metal log-burning stove in

the middle. This was welcome because already the

weather had shifted and rain was blowing up the loch

from the Atlantic.

That afternoon we spent some time in Bowmore,

an eighteenth century new town of low, white-washed

buildings - built by the Campbells on the other side

of Loch Indaal. This is Islay’s capital and also where

the famous Bowmore distillery is located. We visited

the unusual Round Church and Celtic Stores which

sells fairisle sweaters, seawashed paintings, unusual

souvenirs like the Islay version of Monopoly, and many

books about the island. From photo essays to poetry

collections to highly-detailed history books, it’s clear

that Islay has inspired a lot of writers.

Dinner that evening was at the Bowmore Hotel, an old

stone inn whose most recent extension was built in 1912.

In the tartan-carpeted dining room, the chairs were made

of local ash and elm. The array of fresh seafood on the

menu was impressive and owner Big Peter MacLellan is

renowned as an expert on Scotch whisky.

dining room added to the house by the prolific

architect – and aristocratic favourite - Detmar Blow at

the beginning of the twentieth century. (The restaurant

gets its name from the fact that you access it through a

hidden doorway in the panelling of the old house.)

The next morning Islay was bathed in sunshine as

we relaxed on the old leather sofas in the drawing

room and planned our attack on the island’s

distilleries. Eventually we decided to drive west round

the bay of Loch Indaal to one of the newest distilleries,

Kilchoman. It stands very close to Kilchoman Cross, a

fine piece of fourteenth-century Celtic carving in the


Ocean coast lighthouse in Port Charlotte

Cattle near Port Ellen

The next day we headed down the most famous

road in the history of distilling. Port Ellen stands on

one of the southernmost tips of Islay. From it the A483

road runs east and along it, within a two mile stretch

it passes three of Scotland’s best-known distilleries:

Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. We were going

to be down this end of the island for a while on our

whisky pilgrimage so I had booked into No1 Charlotte

Street, a stately Victorian hotel with lofty public rooms,

which have been given a funky colourful make-over by

its manager, Caroline Park.

After checking in to our very purple bedroom we

drove along the coast. It was a misty day and when we

got to Laphroaig great damo clouds of black smoke

were hanging over the pagoda-like chimney above its

kiln. The smell of the peat smoke was unmistakably

the flavour of one of my favourite whiskies. We had an

appointment with John Campbell, the manager, for

a tour, during which he showed us the furnace where

peat is burned to flavour the barley grains before they

are mashed and distilled.

John removed the bung from an enormous wooden

cask in a warehouse so we could taste some of the

whisky. It stays here on site for up to 15 years before

being shipped to the mainland for bottling.

Behind the distillery, Laphroaig owns all the land

running up to the hills where its spring rises. Water is

as important to the taste of whisky as barley (or indeed

peat smoke). In 1908 the owner of what was about

to become Lagavulin Distillery next door, “Restless”

Peter Mackie tried to dam Laphroaig’s stream. So now

Laphroaig owns the whole length of the watercourse.

Just to be on the safe side…

Laphroaig Distillery


Lagavulin Distillery

Relations with Lagavulin are much more cordial

these days. We weren’t in time to get a tour of their

distillery, but we did get to taste four excellent whiskies

in the company of Isla Gale, one of the company’s

whisky guides. Isla chatted amiably with us for over

an hour, and we learned not just about whisky but a

lot about life on this island, including some indiscreet

details (which you won’t read here).

à 59

We produce the best whisky in the world here but

everything has to be delivered by boat - I’ve run out!

Ardbeg, the last in these three whisky

gods was closed that day so we drove

on past it to a lovely little sandy bay,

Loch a’Chnuic where people were


Even though the sun had come

out briefly they were all in wet suits

against the chill weather. Soon

afterwards on a headland we came

upon Kidalton (another of Islay’s

ruined churches) and its eighthcentury

Celtic cross. Almost on cue

the mist began to descend, which lent

the ruins and its graveyard a suitably

brooding quality. Inside the roofless

church there were tombstones

representing armoured knights from

the days when Islay was ruled by the

Lord of the Isles.

That evening we ate at the Islay

Hotel in Port Ellen. It was another

great meal of seafood in a packed

dining room with Isias, a jovial

Spanish wine waiter who told us he

was waiting for supplies of bottled

Laphroaig to be shipped back from

the mainland: “We produce the

best whisky in the world here but

everything has to be delivered by

boat - and I’ve run out!”

Our ferry back to the mainland

was booked from Port Ellen the

next morning. The MV Finlaggan is

named after the ancient capital of

the Lord of the Isles. It seemed an apt

way to leave this enchanting place.

This time we’d only managed three of

the eight distilleries, but that’s a very

good excuse to return next year.

The Caledonian Sleeper leaves Euston

Station nightly to arrive early morning

in Glasgow. Prices from £140, Caledonian Macbrayne

run ferries from Kennacraig on the

Scottish mainland to both Port Askaig

and Port Ellen. A single journey takes

approximately two hours, prices from





Bridgend PA44 7PA

01496 810287


Port Ellen PA42 7DG

01496 300120


Bowmore PA43 7LB




Bowmore, PA43 7HL



Port Ellen, PA42 7DF




Port Ellen, PA42 7DU

01496 302418


Port Ellen, PA42 7DX

01496 302749


Rockside Farm, Bruichladdich,

PA49 7UT

01496 850011



Looking from

the steps of a

hillside towards

the pier at

Whitby, North






Britain’s largest county has a proud

identity all of its own

Words | Adrian Mourby

BRITAIN IS A long country,

running over 700 miles on its

north-south axis. This means

that our greatest national

variations are not found

between towns on the east and west

coasts but between the north and south.

Half way up the country, and closer to

Scotland than London, stands

Yorkshire, solid and sturdy, and the

biggest county in England. Historically

Yorkshire was so far from the king in

London that it had its own autonomous

archbishop since before the Norman

Conquest. In the Middle Ages the dukes

of York were so powerful they seized the

English throne from time to time.

Today Yorkshire remains proud of its

sense of difference. It has produced many

great writers including the Brontë sisters,

Ted Hughes and even Alan Bennett. In

the visual arts it was the birthplace home

of Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore

and of David Hockney, whose work still

celebrates his native Saltaire in West

Yorkshire. Moreover the British music hall

and BBC television would have run out of

comedians years ago if it weren’t for the

dry humour of Yorkshire.

So here is our guide to the Top Ten places

to visit in Yorkshire in 2021 and if this

whets your appetite there are many more

for you to discover on a second visit in the

years to come.

à 63



Because of its remote moorland Yorkshire was often

chosen as a place for religious retreats. Rievaulx

Abbey was founded in the early twelfth century

by Cistercian monks from France. It occupies

a romantic wooded valley deep in the North

York Moors. St Aelred, one of the first abbots of

Rievaulx, wrote of the location 'everywhere peace,

everywhere serenity'. Under Aelred the abbey

grew to great wealth thanks to the enterprise of

its 140 monks and 500 lay brothers. This religious

community farmed, brewed, traded and even set up

an early blast furnace on the site. When Henry VIII

dissolved the monasteries in 1538 Rievaulx fell into

disrepair, but in the eighteenth century its beautiful

remains became a place of inspiration for artists.

In the 1750s local land-owner, Thomas Duncombe

MP built a terrace along the valley top from which

the abbey ruins can be still be admired today. The

soaring Gothic arches of Rievaulx’s choir -mercifully

intact - continue to inspire visitors and there is also

a new café and museum on the site.





Abbey is the

perfect choice

for a peaceful

day out, with

its extensive

ruins and


museum in a

secluded North

York Moors



Young woman

looking at the

window of

Betty's Cafe

Tea Rooms,






Bettys occupies a prominent position

in Helen's Square, York and on the corner

of Parliament Street and Montpellier

Parade in Harrogate. It also occupies a

special place in the heart of Yorkshire

people. This small chain of elegant cafes

was begun in 1919 by a Swiss confectioner

called Frederic Belmont who arrived in

Harrogate speaking very little English. At

the time this spa-town was a goldmine

thanks to wealthy visitors seeking to

drink it restorative waters. (To modern

sensibilities the sulphurous waters of

Harrogate are far too pungent to support

a tourism industry!). Belmont’s business

prospered, later merging with the famous

coffee-makers, Taylors of Harrogate.

Today there are six Bettys across Yorkshire

and the company is still owned by Frederic

Belmont’s descendants. The Lady Betty

Afternoon Tea presented on a three-tier

cake stand is the signature dish of these

tea rooms but also popular are Bettys

Champagne Truffles, Yorkshire “Fat

Rascal” Scones, Lemon and Lime Cake

and the Bettys Bread Box.

à 65





This 40-mile crossing of the remote North York

Moors starts near Osmotherley and finishes

near Ravenscar on the East Sea coast. It is

possible to do the entire route on heather,

hardly ever stepping onto a roadway. Although

the walk was only designated in 1955, it took

its name from the old Scandinavian word for

a corpse (Lyke) because when the Vikings

ruled Yorkshire the people who inhabited

this area would carry their dead across these

moors to their ancestral burial grounds. There

is a powerful ancient hymn (set by Benjamin

Britten, amongst others) called The Lyke-Wake

Dirge which conjures up the terrors of crossing

these moors by night.

When farmer/broadcaster Bill Cowley

created the Lyke Wake Challenge in 1955 he

proposed that all 40 miles be completed in 24

hours. Undertaking the route today in a less

spartan manner, the Lyke Wake Walk offers the

chance to see a landscape crossed by few other

travellers and no signs of modern development.

It feels like stepping into history.



York is one of the most beautiful cities in Britain. Its encircling

medieval walls remain almost complete and where they had

to be blasted apart to let the railways in, it has one of the

most graceful late nineteenth-century train stations. When,

opened in 1877 this was the biggest station in the world with

13 broad platforms. In the twentieth century the station’s

interior featured in the Harry Potter films as part of King

Cross. Another Potter connection is the medieval shopping

street known as “Shambles”. Its overhanging upper floors

were the inspiration for the design of Diagon Alley. York has a

history of occupation going back to Roman and Viking times

but its absolute glory is York Minster, a sublime construction

from the fourteenth and fifteenth-centuries whose east

window is the largest stained glass in Britain.

Pictured above left-right: Two people walking in

the North Yorkshire landscape; The Shambles is an

old street in York, England, with overhanging timber-framed

buildings, some dating back as far as the

fourteenth century.



Pictured: The centre of York, surrounded by

walls whose foundations date back to medieval

times. There is a wall walk around the city.

York Minster at sunset.

à 67




“Scarborough Spa” became Britain’s first seaside

resort after a stream of acidic water was

discovered running down one the cliffs above

its port in the seventeenth century. In those

days such waters were considered good for

one’s health and by 1735 Britain’s first bathing

machines were being rolled out into the sea from

Scarborough’s beaches.

In the nineteenth century many hotels were

constructed on top of Scarborough’s cliffs

including The Crown, which was Yorkshire’s first

purpose-built resort hotel and The Grand, which

was the biggest hotel in Europe when it opened in

1867. Both still welcome guests today. The town

also has a number of Georgian structures built

for visitors including the Rotunda Museum, the

Cliff Bridge, and Scarborough Pier Lighthouse.

Its church contains works by the Pre-Raphaelite

artists Rossetti, Burne-Jones, William Morris and

Ford Madox Brown.

Another famous name associated with this

fashionable resort was the novelist Anne Brontë

who in 1849 died in a clifftop boarding house

where the Grand Hotel stands today. Ironically

she had come to Scarborough to try and recover

her health.






James Herriot, author of All Creatures

Great & Small told the story of a man from

Richmond going to heaven only to be told

by St Peter that he might find his new home

a bit disappointing.

The market town of Richmond at the

foot of Swaledale is truly gorgeous and

full of elegant Georgian houses that teeter

down steep wynds (streets) towards the

river Swale. It’s dominated by the 100-foot

keep of a huge Norman castle that was

completed here in 1086. Scolland’s Hall,

a residential building within the castle

complex is one of the oldest buildings in

England and the castle’s outer bailey is now

the town’s market place. Today Richmond

has a working cinema in its old railway

station and a tiny Theatre Royal which

dates back to 1788 and has recently been

restored to its original Georgian colour


Not surprisingly Richmond is also

a popular base from which to explore

the Yorkshire Dales National Park of

Swaledale, Wharfedale and Wensleydale.




Middlethorpe Hall is one of the National Trust’s Yorkshire gems, a

sublime example of William and Mary architecture. It was constructed

in expensive red brick in 1699 for Thomas Barlow, a wealthy Sheffield

industrialist.Thomas sited it close to the main road into York so no one

could fail to notice his wealth. When the Barlow family went on the

Grand Tour in 1712 they let their house to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu,

who had just eloped with her new husband Edward. He was soon

appointed the British ambassador to Constantinople and after their

departure she went on to be an eminent Georgian woman of letters.

Today the house and its chequered marble floors are furnished with

eighteenth-century antiques and – delightfully – it doubles as a hotel run

by the Historic House Hotels group. There are ten bedrooms in the house

itself, 16 in the adjoining eighteenth-century stable block courtyard and

three cottages in the grounds. The hotel’s wood-panelled Oak Room is

one of the most glamorous restaurants in the York area.

à 69





Located in the village of Hunmanby, Spirit of

Yorkshire is the county’s first whisky distillery. It

produces a range of “Filey Bay” single malts whose

label features a gannet for the simple reason that

Britain’s biggest gannet sanctuary lies on the coast


All the barley used in the distillation process here

is grown on the farm of Tom Mellor, co-founder of

Spirit of Yorkshire. The water, a crucial ingredient in

any successful whisky, comes from a borehole on the

farm that is sunk deep into chalky soil. The company

even bottles on-site, allowing them to assert that the

whole whisky process “from field to bottle” happens

here in Hunmanby.

One-hour distillery tours cost £12.50. There is

also a longer brewery and distillery tour (£22) as

Tom and his wife Gill also set up the nearby Wold

Top Brewery.

more inspiration on visiting Yorkshire take

a look at the Welcome to Yorkshire website:




The Brontë Sisters lived and wrote most of their

novels in the parsonage at Haworth, West Yorkshire.

This interior of this building has been meticulously

restored to how it looked when these three remarkable

young women were publishing novels like Jane Eyre,

Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Today the village is extremely picturesque and it’s

difficult to believe that in the Brontës’ time it was one of

the most polluted places in Britain – one of the reasons

the sisters died so young.

The Church of St Michael and All Angels, where

Rev Brontë preached, still broods over High Street and

the Black Bull, where his wayward son, Branwell drank

away his talent, still stands nearby on Main Street. You

can also see the Old School Room where the sisters

taught and the Apothecary Shop where Branwell

bought his opium.



Anyone who has read Dracula will know that the

Transylvanian vampire arrived in Britain via the port

of Whitby. It’s a suitably dramatic town with a ruined

cliff-top abbey that has been home to several saints,

with narrow streets of red pan-tiled houses below

and a memorial to Captain James Cook which gazes

romantically out to sea. Cook learned seamanship in

Whitby where the harbour was always full of whaling

ships, colliers and the herring fleet that contributed

massively to the town’s prosperity.

Fishing, supported by tourism, is still a mainstay of

Whitby's economy and its harbour is sheltered by two

Grade II listed piers, both with working lighthouses.

The west lighthouse (1831) is 84 feet high and has a

foghorn that sounds a blast every 30 seconds during

reduced visibility at sea. This is a working harbour

designed to protect fishermen whose lives depend on

the often stormy North Sea.

10 71

Pictured: Tresco Sea

Garden Cottages

48 HOURS IN...



In search of an idyllic private island with magical charm,

blessed with exotic plants, translucent seas and endless

amounts of golden sand? Somewhere you can spend

your days exploring ruined castles, discovering tales

of shipwrecks, and enjoying the sounds of the ocean?

Welcome to Scilly, Britain's very own Island treasure.

Words | Jessica Way

IT’S AS IF YOU’RE watching high-definition drone footage of the

most beautiful sub-tropical paradise you could possibly imagine,

mesmerised by the perfect aeriel view of an archipelago surrounded

by turquoise ocean, outlined by craggy coastlines and white sandy

bays. Waves lapping onto the shores and sweeping against the

rocks, whipping up an effervescent trace of brilliant white as they break

before they seemingly melt away again into the mica twinkling waters.

It’s a satisfying contrast to watch - from the deep greens of the islands

and the crisp whiteness of the waves to the contouring blue of the sea

- the glistening sapphire in deeper waters, blending into a crystal-clear

emerald in the shallows.

à 73

Pictured left-right: Jessica's daughter (Daisy)flying

to Tresco with Penzance Helicopters; aerial view

over Tresco Island; Tresco Cows; Tresco Ruins; Old

Grimsby Quay; Sea Garden Cottage.


Classed as part of Cornwall, The Isles of Scilly (to

include Tresco, Bryher, St Mary’s, St Agnes and St

Martin's) might feel more like you’re abroad, but they

are in fact the UK’s largest group of islands - and quite

surprisingly - still one of Britain’s best-kept secrets.

Bathed by the warming influence of the Gulf

Stream, the temperature rarely dips below 5°C, and

this balmy climate not only means it feels warmer than

on Britain’s mainland but that plants flower here all

year round.

Described sometimes as 'The Fortunate Isles', the

islands are a kaleidoscope of colour in both flora and

fauna - a myriad of wildflowers, abundant wildlife, and

palm trees apparent in every landscaped vista.

We're flying by helicopter from Penzance to Tresco

on a new 28-mile direct flight, taking just 15 minutes

to reach utopia. From the air, the 140 specks of land,

five of which are inhabited, look more like the tropics

than the south of England. Beautiful enough to rival

anywhere in the Caribbean, Scilly is every bit as

dreamy, yet without the cars, the hurricane season

or the need for passport control! There’s a sense of

magic on these tranquil lands - a place where simple

pleasures and outdoor adventures invigorate feelings

of contentment, relaxation and a profound sense of

wellbeing. So whether you’re an international globe

trotter considering your first British staycation, or a

hardened British Isles adventurer, I hope this account

of 48 hours spent in paradise will inspire you to

visit these remarkable islands and experience the

enchantment for yourself.


The Isles of Scilly are a

kaleidoscope of colour in both flora

and fauna - a myriad of wildflowers,

abundant wildlife, and palm trees

apparent in every landscaped


In 2020 yet more fortune came Tresco's way with

the launch of the long-awaited return of the Penzance

to Isles of Scilly helicopter service. Not a small feat

when you consider this is one of very few scheduled

helicopter services across the entire world!

Penzance Helicopters, following many years of

hard work, is now running a service of up to 17 flights

per day, six days a week, over 313 days a year to both

Tresco and St Mary’s..

There is no better way to travel to this luxurious

private island than to ‘do it in style’ aboard a state-ofthe-art

AW139 helicopter flight across the Atlantic.

The bird’s eye view from the sky, from the legendary

St Michael’s Mount on departure to your very first

glimpse of the Isles of Scilly and watching your pilot

master a grand crescendo of a flawless landing, makes

the journey of getting to Tresco now every bit as special

as staying there.


Tresco is the Isles of Scilly's second-largest island,

and the only island to be privately-owned, leased from

the Duchy of Cornwall to the Dorrien-Smith family

since 1834. From the moment you step foot on the

island, you feel an incredibly warm welcome.

There is a true sense of this being a family-run estate

- home-from-home - you barely even need to say who

you are, your luggage is lifted into your transfer buggy

and you’re benevolently escorted to your cottage.

We stayed in Driftwood, one of the Sea Garden

Cottages situated on the east side of the island, and I

couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful property as

our island holiday home. Light flooded through the

open plan living space, with a modern kitchen, beachydesigned

lounge with beautiful Scilly artwork, exposed

beams and log fireplace and a huge dining area with

painted lobsters and mackerel dinner plates and floor

à 75

There is a true sense of this being

a family-run estate - home-fromhome

- you barely even need to

say who you are, your luggage is

lifted into your transfer buggy and

you’re benevolently escorted to your


to ceiling views out to Old Grimsby harbour.

When we visited Tresco a few years before we had

stayed on the opposite west side of the island, in

Flora, one of the beautiful Flying Boat Cottages - both

properties are equally as luxurious, highly deserving of

their 5-star status, and within footsteps of white sandy

beaches with breathtaking views.

The Flying Boat Cottages have the advantage of being

directly alongside many local conveniences, from the

local stores, Island office and bike hire, however, the

Sea Garden Cottages on the quieter side of the island,

with the beautiful beach bays, sailing school and Ruin

Beach Cafe was my idea of complete heaven - almost

unimaginably beautiful.

Whichever side of the island you choose (there are

also rooms and apartments ideal for shorter stays)

all guests to the island are entitled to entry to Tresco

Island Spa (which includes one outdoor and two indoor

swimming pools) and the Abbey Garden. There’s also

good wifi available throughout the island - especially

useful for ordering deliveries from the Tresco Stores & Deli

(a new service launched in 2020).

The stores are a shop, bakery and delicatessen all

in one - stocking everything from breakfast essentials,

light snacks to pizzas and frozen Cook meals. There’s

plenty of option of cereals, fresh bread, croissants,

pastries, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish - as well as a

fabulous selection of beers, wine and tasty treats!

My husband pre-ordered from home before we set

off and our shopping was in our cottage on our arrival.

For top-ups throughout your stay as long as you make

the order before 2pm Monday - Saturday they'll even

deliver to you on the same day.

Be sure to add some of Zoë's locally-made chocolate

chip brownie slices to your order - they are heavenly!



Once we had unpacked and settled in we strolled

out of our back door and down our garden steps to

arrive at the two AA Rosettes Ruin Beach Café. The

café takes its name from the ruined smuggler’s cottage

that forms part of its terrace, overlooking Raven’s

Porth - but don’t be mistaken, it might be small but its

Mediterranean-inspired menu far exceeds the selection

of light meals and drinks you might imagine would be

available from a beachside café.

Serving lunch and dinner throughout the season,

a visit here is one of the many highlights of Tresco.

Famed for its pizzas, sharing boards, salads and

chargrilled meat dishes, at the heart of the restaurant

is the wood-fired oven, roasting fresh fish, chicken and

vegetables - as well as producing delicious pizzas.

The Ruin dinner menu features ‘catch of the day’

from local fishermen or, for another sea to fork delight,

the seafood platter (to include Tresco gin cured sea

trout and dressed Bryher crab) is an absolute must.

If there’s any space for more, decadent desserts,

including local Troytown Farm Ice Cream, become

difficult to resist.


We woke up to the sun rising over the Old Blockhouse

lighting up the quay, and took a stroll by the water’s

edge. For an endorphin boost like no other, we chose

to take a dip in the ocean for a cold water swim. You

will be likely to see at least one other islander doing the

same, wild swimming is gaining in popularity across

the UK, said to improve general health and wellbeing.

It has been a treasured pastime for islanders and

coastal lovers for generations, and I can see why so

many add it into their daily routine, there’s really no

better energiser for starting your day.

You might find Tresco offers enough escapism

purely from its idyllic landscape, but for even more

natural healing you might choose (as I did with my

Pictured left-right: Old Grimsby

Harbour; Tresco Island Spa;

Tresco Sea Garden Aerial view;

Ruin Beach Café.

daughter Daisy) to head to the new Flying Boat Yoga

Studio with Gem Hansen, who lives on Bryher. Gem’s

practice offers a balance of strength (sthira) and

serenity (sukha) and uses visualisations and techniques

inspired by Scilly’s scenery and natural surroundings.

This includes visualising the breath as the ebb and

flow of the tide, and honouring the mythic qualities of

asana (poses) that were inspired by the islands and

the environment, from the fearless lion to the reticent


For lunch we headed to The New Inn - Tresco’s

authentic island pub. You can spend much of your

holiday under the sense of having travelled to your very

own private island, other than the odd encounter on a

walk, meeting very few others during your stay - so it

feels quite apparent that The New Inn has an important

role to play. More than just a pub serving delicious

food, this is the island's social heartbeat - a place for

à 77

Pictured left-right: The New Inn;

Gallery Tresco; all other images

Tresco Abbey Gardens.


Tresco Abbey Garden, built around the 12th-century

ruins is home to a wonderful variety of sub-tropical

species. Augustus Smith established the Abbey Garden

in 1834 - he built up a collection of exotic plants from

South Africa, Brazil and Mexico that thrived in the

micro-climate - and the gardens have been lovingly

tended by successive generations of the same family

ever since.

There’s not a bad time of the year to visit - thanks

to the balmy weather plants flower in Tresco all year

round. Visit in the spring to see flowers blooming weeks

islanders in need of some good conversation and time

to catch up with friends.

As a holidaymaker, you are made to feel every bit

as welcome as the locals, the atmosphere is warm and

inviting with genuine wreck wood and marine relics

adorning the ceilings, beams and walls. They serve

traditional pub fare from crispy whitebait and dressed

Bryher crab to traditional cottage pie, using locally

grown, reared and landed produce.

There’s also a sheltered terrace decorated with

candlelight and fairy lights, and occasionally live music

- an opportunity for visitors and locals to dance the

night away under the stars!

We popped into the gallery next door - formerly

the pilot gig shed, the Gallery Tresco hosts art by some

of Cornwall's most established artists, as well as a

selection of unique giftware inspired by the islands. We

then continued our stroll south to Tresco Abbey Gardens,

turning left along Abbey Drive for a river walk (or head

straight onto Appletree Road passing Appletree Bay).


Visit in the spring to see flowers

blooming, and in the autumn,

beautiful reds, golds and ambers

contrast with the magnificent

proteas, aloes and camellias.

ahead of those on the mainland, and in the autumn to

see beautiful reds, golds and ambers contrast with the

magnificent proteas, aloes and camellias - even during

the winter solstice, there are usually more than 300

species of plant in flower!

A tradition dating back 150 years, there is a flower

count to see how many different species are in bloom

conducted by the team of gardeners in the first week of

every new year - the record is 313 in 2017.

Tresco Abbey Garden is one of the main attractions

in the Isles of Scilly, there are daily tripper boats from

the neighbouring islands of St Mary’s, Bryher and St

Martin’s, and regular trips from St Agnes, but if you’re

lucky it is not unusual, especially at either end of the

season, to visit at a time when you have the gardens

almost entirely to yourself. Luckily for us it was one of

those occasions.

We had fun looking out for red squirrels as we

roamed the garden's criss-cross paths through

towering palms and giant trees, admiring the great

blue spires of Echium and shocking-pink drifts of

Pelargonium. Don’t miss the fascinating Valhalla

Museum – a collection of figureheads collected from

shipwrecks around the islands - and take a pit stop at

the Garden Cafe for a coffee and cake - there’s a wellstocked

gift shop and an interesting exhibition telling

the history of the Abbey Garden.

We fancied a movie night in, so were delighted to

discover a good selection of DVDs available to rent

from the Tresco Stores on the way back to our cottage,

(alternatively, there’s the option to log into Netflix from

your cottage). Walking back to Old Grimsby Quay we

passed St Nicholas’ Church and the primary school before

stopping in at Lucy-Tania, Tresco’s boutique and sewing


à 79

You can clearly see Bryher across

the azure waters - in fact, it is so close

to Tresco that if you are lucky enough

to visit during dramatic spring tides

the channel between the islands

becomes dry enough to cross on


There’s a luxe selection of island-inspired homeware,

swimwear, jewellery and more - and I couldn’t resist

buying a navy blue Tresco branded hoodie and Lobster

embroidered cap.

Back at our cottage it was time for dinner, a movie,

and playing a family game of Catchphrase (the board

game version) in front of the log burner before falling

asleep to the sounds of the ocean.


Tresco is a world away from the hustle and bustle of

the British mainland - with no cars on the island you are

not only filling your lungs with pure coastal air, instead

of breathing in fumes, you are naturally exercising more,

taking your bike or walking whenever you leave the

front door. It doesn’t take very long before you feel the

positive effects of this - and from the time spent outdoors

connecting with the beautiful landscape.

For me, this happened on day two. I woke up glowing

and feeling more vitalised than usual. I had a Kundalini

Back Therapy massage booked at the Island Spa and

remember wondering if I even needed it!

As it turned out it though, I did - I felt the tension

in my computer tight shoulders being released and

my body felt more balanced. It was wonderful - and

thanks to Ila Spa the delightful scent stayed with me

throughout the rest of the day.

From the spa it is just a short walk to New Grimsby

Quay - our departure point for visiting the neighbour

island, Bryher. You can clearly see Bryher across the

azure waters - in fact, it is so close to Tresco that if you

are lucky enough to visit during dramatic spring tides,

(when lunar forces combine) the channel between the

islands can become dry enough to cross on foot. As

such, every year the islanders (never ones to pass up an

opportunity for a shindig!) prepare for a mid-channel

mini-festival, low-tide event. This involves teams from

Tresco and Hell Bay setting up benches, bar and

firepits on a long sandbar between the islands - then as

the water recedes further the celebrations begin with a


Pictured left: Jessica in Old

Grimsby Harbour; Bryher.

below: Island Fish café and fresh

fish private orders and deliveries.

host of impromptu games, live music, food and drink.

Thankfully for the other 362 days of the year, regular

services by Tresco Boat Services will get you there safely

instead! Weather permitting of course.

It was a very pleasant 10-minute inter-island boat

trip across to Bryher. Remember to listen out to hear

the scheduled return times on landing - and whether

it is the new Anneka's Quay (named after Anneka Rice

who managed to build it in less than 4 days) or Church

Quay (inaccessible at low tide).

We stepped out onto one of Bryher's white sandy

beach bays. Although smaller, it very much resembled

those on Tresco. The island is smaller in general,

around one kilometer wide and two kilometers in

length - home to 80 residents - you can easily walk it in

a day or spend an afternoon enjoying the highlights.

An island of dramatic contrast - Bryher is pounded

by Atlantic waves on one side, yet blessed with calm

sandy beaches on the other. You might recognise

it from the movies as Bryher was also the setting of

the film, "When the Whales Came", based on Michael

Morpurgo's novel inspired by the island. (Samson Hill

on the southern end of the island was the site of the

birdman's cottage).

We enjoyed meandering our way around, walking

past the dotted stalls selling fresh produce including

farm eggs, local vegetables, freshly-landed seafood

and mouth-watering island fudge. It is all so pretty, a

picture-perfect postcard at every turn - you do feel as

though you are wandering through a movie set.

Lending itself to a real ‘Swallows and Amazons’

style adventure you can choose to spend your time in

Bryher exploring rocky coves, relaxing on white sandy

beaches or hiking up one of its small granite hills for

some great views.

An absolute must for us was watching the Atlantic

rollers thunder into Hell Bay (especially spectacular in

the winter!) and we also enjoyed the calm tranquillity

of Rushy Bay overlooking Samson.

There are a number of restaurants, bars and cafés

located around the island. Stepping off at Bryher

Boatyard we first stumbled upon Island Fish, owned by

the Penders - a traditional fishing family who go back

generations on Scilly. You won’t find a better crab

roll or lobster salad than here, and they have a great

selection of coffee and cakes with the most picturesque

immaculate lawn, where beautiful birds dart about,

from which to enjoy it.

Also, good to know is that while they supply to local

hotels and pubs they also take private orders (delivered

within 24 hours notice) so you can enjoy fresh shellfish

while on holiday from the comfort of your own cottage.

à 81

the freshest island produce. Islanders and visitors

journey from across the islands to dine here. Think

dishes like tender Hell Bay gin cured salmon, succulent

roast partridge, pan roasted sea bass and Richard's

sensational tangy lemon meringue pie.

Order the oysters - they were by far the best

I have ever had. By evening, you can dine in the

contemporary yet intimate Czar restaurant - named

after one of the islands historic island pilot gigs - and

lap up the views as the sun sets over Gweal Hill and

dips into the Atlantic.

Following our lunch we continued south along

the coast and stumbled upon Golden Eagle Studio - a

gig shed transformed into a studio and gallery for

local artist Richard Pearce. You can step out from the

gallery and look out across the exact view of one of his

paintings. His artwork is mostly of Tresco and Bryher

and is incredibly beautiful, capturing the Scilly spirit so


From here you can choose to continue around

the south of Bryher, passing Droppy Nose Point and

watching seals swimming off the rocks while dipping

your toes in the white sands of Rushy Bay. Take a walk

Pictured above: Hell Bay Hotel. Left-right: Jessica

visits Golden Eagle Studio; walking towards Droppy

Nose Point; Byrher and Tresco from the water; views

from Samson Hill.

Next we made our way up the hill passing Olivia's

Kitchen at the Vine, a small, family-run café situated in

“the Town'' in what was originally a flower and bulb

shed (previously Vine Café) serving sumptuous lunches

and suppers, light snacks and cream teas.

A must here is the Scillonian tattie cake - it is so

good you might want to buy some to take home too!

We passed the Bryher Shop and Post Office before

taking Newton Road on our right. We followed this for

a few hundred yards before reaching the luxurious Hell

Bay Hotel - Scilly's highest-rated restaurant, with a 3

AA Rosette rating and open to non-residents to enjoy.


At the helm is Head Chef Richard Kearsley - known

for serving the finest food on the islands, using only


Continue around the south of Bryher,

passing Droppy Nose Point and

watching seals swimming off the rocks

while dipping your toes in the white

sands of Rushy Bay.

up to the summit of Samson Hill where the views are

sensational – or head to the rugged north of the island

towards Fraggle Rock, one of Britain's smallest bars,

overlooking Hangman's Island, famous for their Friday

Fish & Chip night. Feeling somewhat ambitious and in

awe of the island we opted to take the later ferry back

so we were (just about) able to experience all three.


Once you have stepped foot on the white sandy

shores of the Isles of Scilly it has an incredible way of

capturing your heart - offering a notion of escapism

to rival that of any coastal destination on mainland

Britain. I was so smitten three years ago I choose to get

married on Scilly – and visiting for the second time, I

was surprised to discover that there was yet even more

to love.

It is no surprise the same guests visit year after year

– and Tresco’s successful Islandshares is testament

to this. Often passed down from generation to

generation the scheme offers families the chance

to become owners of their very own week, in their

favourite cottage, for up to 40 years.

Closing my eyes to remember the views, I will

regularly take myself back there – always dreaming

about my next visit to this incredible destination – this

is a holiday that just can’t come again soon enough.

Now where did I put the Islandshares listings again?

On the way to Fraggle Rock we passed Mike and

Sue Pender’s honesty stall in front of their house, selling

a broad range of herbs, fruits, eggs and vegetables.

Our final stop was at Veronica Farm’s fudge stall for a

bag of delicious homemade fudge.

Jessica was a guest staying on Tresco Island

Travel by train with Great Western Railway from London

Paddington to Penzance Station with advance one-way

tickets starting at £26.20

Flights with Penzance Helicopters start from £130 per person


Prices to stay at Hell Bay Hotel, Bryher start at £95 per

person per night (based on two sharing) on a bed and

breakfast basis 83




A visit to the pastoral landscapes of Somerset can

both soothe the soul and nourish the palate. But this

south-west English county is not merely the home of

Cheddar Cheese or ancient apple orchards,

Somerset’s epicurean delights are in abundance

Words | Karyn Noble


I’M STARING AT A LAMINATED newspaper clipping of Prince

Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding menu, pinned with

two gold thumb tacks to a pole. Amid the usual suspects – beef

from Prince Charles’ Duchy organic farm, Scottish trout roe –

someone has neatly circled ’10-year-old Somerset cider brandy’

from the short ‘Wines, Beers & Liqueurs’ listing in blue pen. I suspect

that someone is hovering over my shoulder. ‘They might have chosen

it because they thought it was jolly good stuff,’ says Somerset Cider

Brandy founder Julian Temperley, ‘Or they may have chosen it

because the label matches the good prince’s hair colour. Anyway, it’s

a song that we’ll sing for a very long time.’ After tasting said brandy,

I’m inclined to agree with Temperley’s first opinion: it’s jolly good stuff.

à 85

Unlike most people packing their Wellington boots for

Somerset’s famed Glastonbury festival, I’m stomping about

in mine in apple orchards. In distilleries. On dairy farms. In

cheese rooms. In smokeries. Even around an organic spelt and

walnut farm. While the Glastonbury festival may be uncertain

again due to pandemic concerns, the real showstopper for

anyone considering an extended road trip is Somerset’s

permanent food and drink line-up.

The small radius of extraordinarily high-quality producers

has a lot to do with this south-west county’s geography. Over at

Thatchers Cider, which has been a commercial cider business since

1904, chief cidermaker Richard Johnson points out the Mendip

Hills around us at Myrtle Farm: ‘They were produced hundreds of

millions of years ago when Africa crashed into Europe and pushed

Britain up out of the water. At the time we were under water here.

The Mendip Hills are limestone, so for millions of years all that

limestone was under the sea and when it was pushed up out of the

water, all its microscopic sea creatures were pushed into the valleys,

so we have really deep, rich, mineral soil, which provides really

good nutrients.’ Combined with the temperate climate this close to

the sea, it makes the west of England an excellent spot for growing

apples, which is why you’ll find most of Britain’s cider makers here.

But Somerset’s not just about the cider. I emerge from Brown

& Forrest Smokery in Langport as aromatic as a blazing wood

bonfire, but I’ve tasted some of the best smoked meat and fish of

my life here. ‘I’m only interested in the best quality I can find,’ says

owner Jesse Pattisson, who supplies the likes of chefs Mitch Tonks

Don’t Miss: Porlock Bay


Porlock Bay, on the Exmoor

coast, produces oysters that

are akin to France’s Speciale

de Claire or Fine de Claire in

terms of quality. Benefitting

from one of the highest

tidal ranges in the world

(second only to Canada)

and Grade-A water quality,

Porlock Bay oysters are

sought after by some of

the top chefs in Britain, not

just for the pure taste but

because, unusually, they’re

available year-round.














Forget Glastonbury festival,

I’m here in my wellies to stomp

about in apple orchards. In

distilleries. On dairy farms. In

cheese rooms. In smokeries.

and Nathan Outlaw with bespoke smoked

produce, as well as restaurant chain Hawksmoor

and Fortnum & Mason. You won’t find Brown

& Forrest produce in supermarkets either, which

is reason enough to make the trip to the redchecked

tableclothed restaurant here (closed

during lockdown, though the shop remains

open) to indulge. ‘Ninety per cent of my stuff

comes from within 20 miles of here,’ says Jesse,

as we survey the rain-spattered, glowing-green

landscape. ‘Somerset grows great grass and that

makes great milk and that makes great cheese.

It’s not rocket science.’

‘Somerset is fantastic for grass,’ echoes Tim

Mead, CEO of Yeo Valley Organic Farm, which

has been making yoghurt since 1969 but decided

to back organic farming 20 years ago and now

has 1800 employees. Unlike Brown & Forrest,

Yeo Valley’s wide range of dairy products

is available in supermarkets across

Britain, and they have a cafe in Somerset’s

Blagdon, as well as one in London’s

Bayswater that serve breakfasts and

brunches, both of which will open again

when COVID-19 restrictions allow.

It’s a slick operation. At the quirkily

decorated Blagdon outlet, there’s

even a dedicated space for their food

ambassador (chef Paul Collins) to do

regular cooking demonstrations, and they

also hold a festival (Valley Fest) at the

end of July that attracts 50,000 visitors

annually, with the hope to run it in a

socially distanced manner in 2021.

‘Today we have over 100 dairy farmers

from the southwest supplying the Yeo

Valley dairies,’ says Tim, ‘We’ve got two

dairy farms of our own and we buy milk

from another 100 dairy farms, and the

total organic milk produced in the UK is

about 5% and we’ve set ourselves a life

goal of 10%. That’s just a big enough

à 87

















sector that we don’t lose all the knowledge and consumers

now have an option to not have factory-farmed milk.’

True dairy aficionados shouldn’t pass up the opportunity

to sample cheddar cheese in the Somerset village of

Cheddar and from the world’s only cheesemaker that

matures some of it in the caves of Cheddar Gorge itself. ‘It’s

traditional cheddar cheese made by hand,’ says Katherine

Spencer who, along with partner John, took over the small

business when it was in decline in 2003 and turned it into

the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company. ‘We only make

between six and nine cheeses every day. It’s small batch,

it’s very much an artisan process.’ Cheese products and

accessories can be purchased on-line during COVID-19

restrictions, but when the shop re-opens, visitors can also

watch the cheese being made from a viewing gallery.

But the most overachieving small producer I meet is

Roger Saul. The former founder of the Mulberry designer

label was born in Somerset, and after leaving the fashion

world in 2003 he bought a farm here and started growing

spelt. ‘It was a rundown dairy farm that came up for sale for

the first time in 100 years,’ he says, still impeccably attired

as we jolt around the Sharpham Park estate in a buggy (he

also used to be a racing car driver!) as his herd of red deer

frolic below Glastonbury Tor. ‘It was just as organic farming

was really coming back in. Food was the new fashion. So,

I literally jumped out of fashion to being back in fashion by

being in food. And nobody was growing spelt in the UK.

There were millers milling it but no one was actually

growing it seriously.’ Saul’s farm produces not just an

astounding range of spelt products (flour, bread, muesli,


The most overachieving small

producer I meet is Roger Saul -

former founder of the Mulberry

designer label... born in Somerset

porridge) that are stone-ground in the traditional way,

but organic venison and walnuts (‘With 300 trees, we’re

the biggest organic walnut farm in the country, if there

are any other organic, because it takes so long’).

And while the 300-acre Sharpham Park isn’t open

to the public, its organic produce is sold at Waitrose

and Sainsbury’s supermarkets or, when freedoms allow,

can be enjoyed close to the source at the Sharpham

Pantry Restaurant or Harlequin Café in Kilver Court,

essentially a designer village that Saul founded on the

edge of Shepton Mallet in 2011. For a British organic food

trailblazer, he’s remarkably humble. ‘Provenance, I think,

today couldn’t be more important,’ he says as we lunch

on his spelt pasta range,’ And we always want to know

where our food comes from. And if it’s organic, from my

perspective, it’s 100 times better for you.











It is a 90-minute train journey from London’s Paddington

Station to Somerset (Bath) with Great Western Railway.

Fly into Bristol or Exeter airport or take the M5 motorway. 89






Anyone who stays at this cute hideaway for couples must feel as if they’ve

bagged front row seats for one of the best natural shows on earth. The views from

the terrace, hot tub and all the windows are nothing short of spectacular – with

the sea mere metres away, fringed by misty mountains. This area is rich in wildlife,

too, with a RSPB otter hide nearby. The building is a simple croft turned sumptuous,

with light-filled rooms, cosy textiles, a slick modern bathroom. There’s a wooden

swing bench on the terrace where you can enjoy special moments – from morning

coffee watching the day unfold, to wrapping up to stargaze as darkness falls. Outside

are three acres of your own grounds to roam. Or get out and explore Skye’s amazing

scenery. Take a dip in the sea or in the crystal clear Fairy Pools. Tramp around the

crags and pinnacles of the Quiraing or up the Old Man of Storr. Hop on a boat to go spot

sea eagles and whales. In between, dine out in some of Skye’s excellent restaurants

– indeed people cross continents to dine at the legendary Three Chimneys. Bring the

credit card! Prices from £1,352 for a long weekend or mid week break. ◆


Some fabulous

self-catering properties

have opened around the

UK during lockdown – all

offering privacy, space

and inspiring locations.

Just what we all need!

Words | Emma O'Reilly



The Isle of Portland is joined to the rest of Dorset by the

shingle barrier of Chesil Beach. Most visitors bomb

straight to Portland Bill, the famous lighthouse. There’s

much more to see. Clifftops, a new venture at the

Pennsylvania Castle Estate is a good base from which to explore

it. Five sleek looking lodges, each sleeping four, are carved into the

cliffs – made from the local Portland stone, then clad in copper,

designed to weather and blend into their environment. Each

provides sparkling views over the English Channel, best seen from

the terrace. Thoughtful planting of indigenous flora attracts birds

and butterflies. The rooms are sexy and simple, with blonde woods,

neutral furnishings and big windows – it’s all about the view! It’s a

mere totter down to tiny, secret Church Ope Cove for a swim.

Or get out and see the rest of the island – from Portland Castle,

built by King Henry VIII, and with an interesting war-time history to

The Tour Quarry Sculpture Park, set in a disused quarry and used as

a vast outdoor studio by artists. Chesil Beach is wild and windswept

– good for long walks and wildlife spotting. Lodges priced from

around £585 for a three-night stay. ◆


This big, modern rustic barn sleeps up to seven across its four

bedrooms. Double height windows and open plan spaces

mean plenty of room to spread out. Speaking of space, there

are no less than 3000 acres literally on the doorstep. The barn is on

the Dudmaston Estate. Bring your bike and cycle, or walk, through

the parkland and woodland paths, past lakes and babbling brooks.

Dudmaston House is a very pleasing rainy-day option. It’s been lived

in by one family, inherited through birth and marriage, for 875 years

and, for a stately home, it has a surprisingly homely feel. It would be

easy to spend a break here and go nowhere else, but it would be a

shame to miss out on the bucolic scenery of Shropshire – the beauty

spots of Long Mynd and Wenlock Edge are both just a short drive

away. Prices from £975 for a three night stay. ◆

à 91





Fritton Lake, set in 250 acres of mature woodland

with stunning views of the open countryside and one of the

most beautiful lakes in East Anglia, has recently completed its

luxury refurbishment to include a new outdoor heated swimming

pool, tennis courts, children’s adventure trail and other outdoor

games. Since the coronavirus pandemic has left us all searching

for ways to live a healthier lifestyle, thinking more about our

happiness and wellbeing, the timing of this, along with the

launch of their new luxury holiday lodges, couldn’t be better.

This simple peaceful retreat offers the perfect setting in which

to reconnect with nature and de-stress from the modern world.

It’s a members club, with 100% self-owned lodges located in

fields and woods around the tranquil grounds, all within a few

minute’s reach of the lake. Some of the property owners rent out

their properties for holiday-goers while others enjoy the facilities

around their second-home, retreating to them whenever they get









The lake is the heartbeat of Fritton Lake - In

addition to the main resort hub, watersports and

open water swimming clubs, the weekly classes

including trail running, dancercise and yoga also

take advantage of the beautiful views.


Fritton Lake sits as part of the Somerleyton country

estate, and Somerleyton Hall and Gardens are

just under four miles away. One of the great

Victorian country houses surrounded by 12 acres

of arboretum and formal gardens, including

Nesfield’s famous maze and finely restored

parterre. Enjoy cream teas and charming guides.


The club has four tennis courts, a pair of lawn

tennis courts, and two clay, one of which is a new

‘all-weather clay’ allowing for year-round play.

Tennis coaching is also available.

the chance (out of lockdown!). In the centre there’s a charming pub,

The Fritton Arms, with eight beautiful guest rooms, serving also as the

resort club house exclusively for members and guests.

Think locally sourced seasonal menus, roaring fires, wooden beams,

deep sofas and pretty fairy lights in the courtyard garden – a beautiful

spot to dine alfresco and enjoy as the sun is setting. Adventures can

be found in the nature and on the lake, to include wild swimming, trail

running, yoga, canoeing, rowing and even Croquet – but most of all

Fritton Lake is a place to relax, to enjoy the peace and quiet and great

local food – to sit and read a book or take a gentle stroll along the lake

and replenish your sense of wellbeing. Cabins are priced from £647 off

season and £1734 peak season for a 3/4 night stay. Rooms for B&B at

The Fritton Arms are priced from £140 per night all season ◆


Formerly a farmstead, Fritton Lake is blessed with

wonderful stables. For a small extra charge you

can bring your pony on holiday and either enjoy a

guided ride around the lakeside woodland or brush

up on your show-jumping and dressage.


Discover more about the emerging food and drink

scene in the Wild East of England by joining a tour

with a selection of local breweries and vineyards to

hear from passionate owners and to taste fantastic

locally sourced produce.

à 93



Treehouses just went up a notch! These five snazzy little numbers

by Wild Escapes are the first ever to be built on a UK vineyard. So, as

guests, it would surely be rude not to lie in your outdoor bath, a glass

of (ultra local!) Black Chalk wine in hand. If you like it, organise a vineyard

tour and tasting with lunch (truffle hunts in late Autumn too). Each of the

four treehouses sleeps a couple (two can take a further two adults) and

is slightly different but they all have an ultra large outdoor bath, outdoor

and indoor showers, a loo, kitchen, wood burner and electric heating and

lighting. You can still say you’re camping though, right? The local town,

Stockbridge, has plenty to divert – independent shops, tea rooms, pubs and

restaurants, galleries and gift shops. Danebury Hill Fort, Houghton Lodge

Gardens, and the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop are also nearby.

But you’ll probably want to spend most of your time hiding away in your

beautiful bolthole. Prices from £280 per night for 2 adults. ◆


This bijou barn conversion for two is a delight – all vaulted ceilings

and restful Scandi chic interiors. It sits in deep countryside on the

Suffolk/Norfolk border, just a half hour or so from the Suffolk coast

(and under an hour from the beaches of Norfolk). On warm days

bifold doors can be flung open, with views of woodland and flowers - the

florist owner’s cutting garden is here. In cooler weather there’s underfloor

heating and a wood burner to keep things cosy. The little details have

been thought out – like a super king size bed, a second smart TV in the

bedroom, a Lavazza coffee machine and an electric car charging point

outside. Close by is the village of Broome, with its dog-friendly pub. Also

minutes away is paddle boarding and canoeing on the River Waveney and

Beccles, gateway to the Norfolk Broads from where you can spend time

messing about in boats. Prices from £391 for a midweek stay. ◆





A kind of alchemy happens when city folk fall in love and up sticks from

the city in search of a secret country bolthole. Filled to the beams with

English eccentricity and encircled by a wooden picket fence, this unique

canal-side home near Banbury in the Cotswolds is a perfect example.

Little Red Lock's waterfront setting on the Oxford canal oozes tranquillity,

while inside its brick walls, a carnival-like celebration of eclectic rustic

charm awaits. In true English country home style, copper pans hang

above a clotted cream coloured Aga and heavy curtains frame bucolic

views as far as the eye can see. Mornings are best spent plotting the

day's adventures with a generous breakfast spread laid out on the picnic

table by the water's edge; the mooing cows or odd passing narrowboat

your only neighbours. The market town of Banbury (six miles south) is a

higgledy-piggledy affair with narrow alleyways and independent shops.

Sleeps 6, prices from £1,950 per week, £1,495 per short break ◆




Relax, unwind and reconnect in this beautiful Grade II Listed

stone built farmhouse with breathtaking views across the North

Cornish coast. From your holiday door it is a short walk down to the

banks of the Camel Estuary and along the Camel Trail into Padstow

where Michelin starred restaurants, artisan shops and cool cafes blend

beautifully with the Cornish harbour life. Take a trip around the bay at

high speed, hop aboard the Padstow to Rock Ferry, stop for a local ale

and crab sandwich and simply immerse yourself in the beauty of this

wonderful coastal town. Join the South West Coast path from Padstow to

the dramatic high cliffs, across golden sand beaches and across stunning

headlands. Hit the waves at nearby Harlyn Bay or Trevone, stretch

out across the beach at Constantine and Treyarnon Bay and find your

favourite corner of this magical corner of Cornwall. Sleeps 7.

Prices from £1620 (3 nights) and £2025 (7 nights). ◆





With most events cancelled for the foreseeable, what to do with all

those trendy Airstream trailers used for housing pop stars and festival

goers? Well that’s exactly what the team at The Wells Glamping thought.

They’re keeping five of them busy in two big, peaceful (ie. minus the loud music!)

meadows in Herefordshire. Each sleeps 2-5 guests with everything needed within

– kitchens, beds, shower rooms and loos. Outside are picnic tables, and firepits

and hot tubs are available to hire if you want them, too. Within a 20-minute

drive of the site are plenty of sightseeing options – from the National Trust’s

Brockhampton Estate to the Malvern Hills for walking and the city of Hereford,

whose cathedral is home to the Mappa Mundi. Herefordshire is a delight to drive

around, with the 40-mile ‘Black and White Village Trail’ brimming with pretty

timbered and half timbered houses, orchards and hop fields. Prices on request. ◆

10National Park. It’s an area jam packed with amazing beaches – with more


Stunning location, stunning house…what more could one ask for?

Strumble Head is a rocky headland and lighthouse (and excellent

place to view dolphins, grey seals, even orcas) in the Pembrokeshire Coast

Blue Flags than anywhere in the UK. Just a short walk away from it all is this

former stone granary, once used to store grain or feed. The house has been

lovingly converted by comedian Griff Rhys Jones and his designer son, and is

part of the family’s 70 acre Trehilyn Estate - the restoration of the farm was seen

in BBC series ‘A Pembrokeshire Farm. Prices from £564 for a midweek stay. ◆ 97



1 Pulled over (7)

5 Saucer study (7)

9 Urbane (6)

10 Sidmouth's cliffs are from this

period (8)

11 Loch Ness castle (8)

12 Avaricious (6)

13 Advocates (10)

15 --- Thames, an historic street

next to Tower Bridge (4)

16 Parliamentary productions (4)

18 In a unified manner (10)

21 Burns brightly (6)

22 Rebelled at sea (8)

24 The Granite City (8)

25 William III's favourite fruit? (6)

26 Annie and Oliver Twist (7)

27 Secreted (7)


2 Devon/Cornwall border river (5)

3 Scandalous affair of the early

1960s (7)

4 Mountainous gardens near

Faversham, Kent? (7)

6 Cold spots (7)

7 Flat fillers (7)

8 Ceremonial centre of the City of

London (9)

10 Egyptian subject of a permanent

exhibition in Dorchester (11)

14 Vale of Avalon brand? (9)

17 Cumbrian stately home (7)

18 Artificial reservoir (7)

19 So Titus, drunk, doesn't dance


20 Roman sackers (7)

23 Caernarfon Castle's most

impressive tower (5)

The first correct crossword received will be rewarded with a free gift from

The Travelling Reader. Simply send your completed crossword (or the answers)

with your choice of The Original, The London, or Simply British Tastes box,

( and your postal address, by post to British Travel

Journal, Mitchell House, Brook Avenue, Warsash, Southampton, Hampshire,

SO31 9HP, or email the answers to

Answers will be printed in the Summer Issue out 4 June


ACROSS: 8 Oil palm 9 Yule log 10 Napoleon 11 Missus 12 Aintree 13

Orcombe 14 L S Ts 17 Etive 19 Sham 23 Thrones 24 Cuillin 25 Glasto 26

Romancer 27 Ingrate 28 Islands DOWN: 1 Cornwall 2 Slip knot 3 Sailors 4

Immodest 5 Submerge 6 Tensions 7 Columbia 15 St Helena 16 Scousers 17

Eyemouth 18 Victoria 20 Holocene 21 Montrose 22 Sizable.


Books, apps, travel gadgets and crossword




Trips that can be made via land or sea

ensuring greener, more sustainable journeys.

Includes Scotland’s western isles, Dublin and

Galway, Bristol, Wales Coast Path, West

Highland Way and County Wicklow. £22




The Samsonite Konnect-i slimline Backpack

seamlessly connects with your mobile via a

tag that tucks into the strap, allowing you to

accept calls, hear text messages and play

music with just one touch! £179



Based on the hit BBC2 show, the House

of Games board game is the ultimate

test of knowledge and skill. Team up to

tackle some trivia or face off against each

other in the iconic Answer Smash. £25



Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish's

wild Scottish adventure! Plus don't miss

their eight-part TV series of their journey

Men in Kilts: A roadtrip with Sam And

Graham coming out soon. £20

Unforgettable Cornwall Holidays


Let Cornish Gems set the scene for your holiday highlife in Cornwall.

Choose from over 180 luxury holiday homes offering beautiful settings from groups of 2 to 20.





These small, delicate flowers herald

the beginning of spring, and are

a welcome sign of life and renewal.

Shown in silver with Leaf enamel

and also available in 18ct gold

with Opalescent enamel.


01856 861 203 |

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