Titchwell Manor

A Taste of Norfolk

Titchwell Manor (above)

Overseen by chef Eric Snaith (owner of Eric’s Fish and Chips), the restaurant here offers a la carte and five- and seven-course tasting menus. Dishes include Brancaster lobster bisque and Norfolk quail, parsley root, and cobnuts and Szechuan pepper.

How Much: Six-course meal costs $65 per person. titchweihnanor.com

The White Horse, Brancaster

The White Horse, Brancaster

Look out across the Brancaster Staithe and see the fishing boat used by Cyril Southerland to bring in the mussels on the menu. The seafood platter is spectacular with Brancaster oysters harvested in the waters before you and prawns smoked in the smokehouse in the Jolly Sailor pub across the road.

How Much: Mains from £23 per person. whitehorsebrancaster.co.uk

Shuck’s at Theyurt, Drove Orchards

Shuck's at Theyurt, Drove Orchards

A cozy affair inside a yurt with a wood burner in winter. A starter called ‘sack of spuds’ of salt-baked Maris Piper potatoes comes with garlic aioli and red mojo sauce, while mains include ballotine of free-range chicken, lemon pepper and bacon stuffing.

How Much: Mains from £16 per person. shucksattheyurt.co.uk

Five North Norfolk Food Finds

Crab: The local sweet crab is most commonly caught from Cromer, but shellfish fans can also find it elsewhere on the North Norfolk mast.

Samphire: Pick this sea vegetable —a bit like a salty asparagus — along the banks of marsh creeks. Or buy it along the roadside from ‘honesty’ stands.

Fruit: Farms offering pick-your-own fruit can be found throughout the county— pluck apples and pears in season, as well as soft fruits such as strawberries.

Oysters: These shellfish have been harvested not far from the shore at Brancaster for generations by two families: the Southerlands and the Looses.

Mrs Temple’s Cheese: Catherine Temple makes cheese using milk from cows grazing in fields minutes away from her base in Wighton, near Wells-next-the-Sea.


norfolk food

A Culinary Tour of Norfolk

From glamping in an abundant orchard to foraging for samphire to accompany a freshly caught fish, North Norfolk offers gourmet experiences at almost every turn.

Salt marshes and sea defences; fields of corn and birders with binoculars swinging from a string around their necks; honesty boxes proffering samphire and freshly laid eggs; sand dunes, beaches and village pubs; these are the sights I see through the window of the Coast hopper bus as we clatter our way from Sheringham to Hunstanton.

At points the road is so narrow I fear we’ll clip the flint walls of the cottages that abut the street, but each time we somehow squeeze through. We pass through lovely little Stacey, then Wells-next-the-Sea, with its cheesy arcades sitting cheek-by-jowl with upmarket delis. On through gentrified Burnham Market, with its chic shops, past handsome Holkham Hall, until we reach what looks like a cluster of boutiques by the side of the road. The driver shouts “that’s you love” and stops the bus.

Holkham Hall

Holkham Hall

This is Drove Orchards, a 40-acre fruit farm which is host not only to a farm shop, but a wet fish stall, a restaurant in a yurt, a posh chippy and — it seems my eyes have not deceived me — a couple of boutiques. I’m seeking out Wild Luxury, which offers top-of-the-range glamping right in the middle of North Norfolk’s larder. To reach the site I must first cross the orchard, which — on my visit — is in glorious abundance. Fruit trees reach up to a bright sky, while below them lies a carpet of windfall apples in red and yellow.

The smell is sweet and almost fizzily heady, made all the more bewitching because you can reach out and pick the ones you want. As I pass along the rows I discover varieties I’ve never even heard of —Peasegood Nonesuch, D’Arcy Spice, Robert Blatchford and Norfolk Beefing am just a few among a total of 160 types of apple first planted hem by Major David Jamieson when he returned to settle in his family home after winning the Victoria Cross in the Normandy Landings.

The D'arcy Spice Apple sortiment

The D’arcy Spice’s apple sortiment

A gate leads me to a field laid out with four Serengeti-style tents, one of which is mine. I step up onto my porch, with its two sofas, and unzip the flaps. The inside is fabulous – there’s a table seating six, a sofa, a kitchen, two bedrooms proper and a little double cabin bedroom carved into the side of the room.

At its beating heart is a log-burning stove, which must be lit to do any kind of cooking There’s also a small camping stove for the kettle but all culinary adventures are wood fueled — plus there’s a large firepit outside should the notion of toasted marshmallows, or even joints of meat wrapped in foil and cooked in the embers, take hold.

A tent for six is a waste for a single girl so my friends and Frank, their baby, drive from London. We pile Frank into a wheelbarrow and head for supplies. The farm shop sells produce grown on the 350-acre farm, of which Drove Orchards is a part. Depending on the season there’s beetroot, potatoes, broad beans, lettuce, rhubarb and soft fruits. Ciders and apple juices are made on site.

Back on our porch, we slide down oysters — cultivated by Richard Loose out near Scolt Head Island. These are followed by dressed crab, lobster, prawns and crayfish, all 43 bought from Gurneys Fish Box a field away. In our stove there’s an apple and blackberry crumble made from fruit picked on the walk back to our tent.

Gurneys Fish Box

Gurneys Fish Box

We cycle along tracks and wooden bridges crossing streams towards Holme Dunes nature reserve, a vast swathe of sand and long grass that marks the point where The Wash meets the North Sea. Norfolk is known for its flat landscape and wide-open skies, and here the beach is vast and sandy.

There’s sea buckthorn everywhere here — the chef’s foraged berry de jours — while in the lodge there are recipes for wild food dishes such as ‘baked fish in newspaper’ or `safari coffee beef which use ingredients collected yards, rather than miles, away.

We cycle on to the Lifeboat Inn for a pint before heading back to Drove Orchards and Eric’s Fish and Chips for fried haddock, mushy peas and IPA-pickled onions.

With Frank strapped up in a baby seat our bike forays ale restricted to the beach and pubs. But the slightly less wary could eschew four wheels altogether and still cover a large swathe of this north-west corner of Norfolk.

Once my friends have headed back to the smoke, I use Shanks’s pony and the Coast hopper to get me to lunches and dinners. On my way back from the glorious White Horse at Brancaster Staithe I walk through marshland and stick my feet in the mud to forage sweet but salty samphire around the banks a little in from the coast. It will go perfectly with a piece of fresh fish.

Other highlights include Mrs Temple’s Cheese, made by Catherine Temple at Copys Green Farm in Wight on; and a preponderance of local gins, including Bullard’s, Black Shuck and Norfolk Gin, as well as local berry liqueurs.

A slice of Mrs Temple's Blue Cheese

A slice of Mrs Temple’s Blue Cheese

For almost the entire weekend the weather is kind, but on the day I leave the rain pours. As I wheel my bags along in the barrow, I see fellow campers wrapped in blankets lying on their outdoor sofas with books in hand. There’s a pair of kids playing swing ball with waterproof jackets flapping. They all smile: they might be laughing at the state of me, but I think it’s also because — in spite of the rain —this is just a good place to be.

Up by the roadside, I stick my hand out for the Coast hopper. The windows are steamed up so I cannot nod at the multi-colored sign I love in Blakeney, guiding people to a path down the side of a house where they will find ‘crabs fresh boiled and dressed’, `oysters’ and `samphire’. I can’t see the old windmill in Cley or any of the lovely village churches. But I am happy. I may be soaked to the skin, but North Norfolk has left me truly aglow.


bath city

Bath Is the City Where You Can Find Any Attraction

Subterranean bars, thermal spas and a thousand Georgian panoramas — arguably the UK’s most attractive city, Bath serves up a mean cocktail, too.

Where to Eat

Ponte Vecchio - Bath

Ponte Vecchio – Bath

There may be a few flashier restaurants in town, but Ponte Vecchio is an atmospheric Italian option, with tasty dishes and pleasing terrace views of both the River Avon and Pulteney Bridge. pontevecchiobath.com

Bath does a good line in cosy cocktail bars. One of the best is Opium — in the Vaults under Grove Street — a snug cavern with a sprightly tipple list. opiumbars.com

Why Go?

roman-baths-in-bath-somerset

Roman baths in Bath, Somerset

You don’t have to spend long in Bath to understand why its centre was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status. Around almost every corner you’ll find a row of handsome Georgian facades, built from the local golden Bath stone.

What to Do?

bath-skyline

Bath’s skyline offers tourists amazing views

The green hills visible from any point in the city are worth exploring. There are walks available from the Bath Tourist Information Centre —the Bath Skyline is ideal for newcomers to the city.

Where to Stay

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Gainsborough Bath Spa offers classically attractive rooms with iPod docks, a fine-dining restaurant and the Roman themed Spa Village. thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk

Don’t Miss

After admiring the Roman Baths, experience the city’s thermal springs for yourself at the Thermae Bath Spa. Start with the basement Minerva Bath, then head up to its floor of steam rooms and saunas, before finishing in the rooftop pool.


Tintagel-Castle

King of the Castle – Cornwall

Certain stories endure through the ages and the legend of King Arthur is the daddy of them all.

The 148 steps onto the island to see Tintagel Castle in Cornwall have to be taken slowly and in single file. It’s steep, hard work, treading the well-worn stone grey steps to reach what would be known as the Great Hall, built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall. Tintagel, which for centuries has captured the imagination as the birthplace of King Arthur and home of Merlin, foretells of magic, and it’s truly a spectacular pile of rack and ruin to behold.

tintagel-castle-cornwall-and-its-arounds

An aerial view of Tintagel Castle and its surroundings

The new film, King Arthur. Legend of the Sword, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Jude Law, David Beckham (really) and Charlie Hunman in the title role, released this March and will no doubt spark further interest in the legend.

The castle, connected to the mainland by a narrow neck of land, offers spectacular views of the dramatic Cornish coastline. It has had some ‘touristy’ additions in the past year, including Merlin’s face carved onto the stones by the beach — but the aim is to help preserve the magic for future generations. Open 10am-4pm in winter; with swordplay in the summer. english-heritage.org.uk/tintagel

Arthurian Connections

  • The Round Table, a Neolithic henge in Cumbria, was King Arthur’s jousting arena
  • Somerset’s Cadbury Castle a possible site of Camelot, King Arthur’s court
  • Northumberland’s Alnwick Castle (which found recent fame as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts) is, according to medieval texts, the castle of Lancelot, King Arthur’s knight.

london wallpaper

London – Top Suites and Culinary Treats

High-Fashion Afternoon Tea: “Each season, pastry chef Mourad Khiat creates a pastry and cake collection for The Berkeley’s famous Prêt-à-Portea – afternoon tea inspired by the latest catwalk designs. We loved our baking workshop with him! His approach is so creative and full of imagination. It was such a special afternoon to get a glimpse of how these miniature haute couture masterpieces are created.”

Hotels: “It is very important to all of us to be familiar with the best suites for our clients. In London, we toured The Berkeley, Claridge’s, and The Connaught. Each hotel is very special and offers unique experiences for travelers.”

the connaught london

The Connaught Hotel – London

Culinary Experiences: “Two restaurants stand out: chef Hélène Darroze’s eponymous restaurant at The Connaught and chef Simon Rogan’s Fera at Claridge’s. We also had a martini demonstration at the Champagne Room at The Connaught –  Giorgio the bartender was charming and knowledgeable. At Claridge’s, we enjoyed drinks and admired their Foyer, which is the heart of the hotel – a royal favorite full of history.”

Cocktails: “We loved the elegant, buzzing Blue Bar at The Berkeley, where mixology is an art form and the staff is always gracious. The cocktails had exquisite flavor combinations and were delivered in style.”

Cool Souvenir: “I am a cook, so the new Prêt-à-Portea cookbook from The Berkeley was the perfect thing to bring home. I have a personal mission: I would like to re-create one of those whimsical desserts at home – not an easy task, but I am inspired!”

A Great Outdoor Spot: “We went to Portobello Road on the best day of the week, Saturday, when the market is in full swing. We went on a world food tour that covered Spanish bites, Swedish baked goods, cheeses, spices, and a cookbook store. The street was vibrant and full of vendors selling local produce, homemade churros, and even clothes.”

Portobello Road, London

Portobello Road, London