British Travel Journal | Summer 2022

Those who recognise the view of Godrevy Lighthouse from our front cover won’t be surprised to hear our focus this edition is North Cornwall. We love to get the first scoop on exciting UK travel news here at British Travel Journal, so the launch of Una St Ives made it to the top of our travel agenda, as did one of our all-time favourite hotels, The Headland, Newquay – with the launch of their luxurious £10 million Aqua Club swimming and spa sanctuary. While in Cornwall's beautiful Carbis Bay we had the pleasure of meeting renowned British chef Adam Handling at his latest restaurant, Ugly Butterfly and chatted to him about cooking and his passion for zero-waste. Whether you want to go glamping, have a house to yourself or discover the latest hotels this summer, we tell you where to look in our Travel News and suggest ten incredible summer staycation ideas in our Unique Luxury Breaks. From new gardening, cycling and surf-school experiences to food, drink and vineyard tours we are spoilt for choice this year!

Those who recognise the view of Godrevy Lighthouse from our front cover won’t be surprised to hear our focus this edition is North Cornwall. We love to get the first scoop on exciting UK travel news here at British Travel Journal, so the launch of Una St Ives made it to the top of our travel agenda, as did one of our all-time favourite hotels, The Headland, Newquay – with the launch of their luxurious £10 million Aqua Club swimming and spa sanctuary.
While in Cornwall's beautiful Carbis Bay we had the pleasure of meeting renowned British chef Adam Handling at his latest restaurant, Ugly Butterfly and chatted to him about cooking and his passion for zero-waste. Whether you want to go glamping, have a house to yourself or discover the latest hotels this summer, we tell you where to look in our Travel News and suggest ten incredible summer staycation ideas in our Unique Luxury Breaks. From new gardening, cycling and surf-school experiences to food, drink and vineyard tours we are spoilt for choice this year!


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SUMMER 2022 | ISSUE 12



















an indulgent


afternoon tea

in a luxury



T E A !





Tresco is a unique, family-owned island at

the heart of the Isles of Scilly archipelago.

28 miles off the Cornish coast.

Somewhere else altogether.

A subtropical garden and a soul-soothing

spa; beachfront dining and awardwinning

accommodation; deserted bays

and aquamarine seas. Time to be.









FEATURES EDITOR Samantha Rutherford


HEAD OF DIGITAL Adrian Wilkinson


Chantal Borciani, Martin Dorey,

Sophie Farrah, Jane Knight, Sophie Minto,

Adrian Mourby, Karyn Noble, Natalie Paris


View of Godrevy Lighthouse in St Ives Bay

taken from the headland of Gwithian Beach

© Image Editor's own

Published by


Unit 6, Basepoint, Andersons Road,

Southampton, SO14 5FE

01489 660680




Those who recognise the view of

Godrevy Lighthouse from our front

cover won’t be surprised to hear our

focus this edition is on North Cornwall.

We love to get the first scoop on exciting UK

travel news here at British Travel Journal, so the

launch of Una St Ives (page 68) made it to the

top of our travel agenda, as did one of our all-time

favourite hotels, The Headland, Newquay (page 92) – with the

launch of their luxurious £10 million Aqua Club swimming and

spa sanctuary.

While in Cornwall's beautiful Carbis Bay we had the

pleasure of meeting renowned British chef Adam Handling at

his latest restaurant, Ugly Butterfly (page 42) and chatted to

him about cooking and his passion for zero-waste.

Whether you want to go glamping, have a house to yourself

or discover the latest hotels this summer, we tell you where to

look in our Travel News (page 9) and suggest ten incredible

summer staycation ideas in our Unique Luxury Breaks (page 60).

From new gardening, cycling and surf-school experiences to

food, drink and vineyard tours we are spoilt for choice this year.

Have you heard of Boho Gelato, Treleavens or Ruby Violet?

Get a taste of these wonderful artisan ice-creams and gelati,

including where to find them and where to stay, in our Cream of

the Crop summer special (page 34).

Plus, don’t miss our adventures on The Northumberland

Coast (page 86), our interview with British hotelier Robin

Hutson – owner of the PIGs hotels (page 24) – and our Festivals

Calender (page 74). And finally, in celebration as you raise a

glass for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend this June, we

urge you to do so with a Great British Drink (page 76).

Phew! It’s going to be a buzzing summer – enjoy.

Jessica x



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owned by or licenced to Contista Media Ltd, or permitted by the

original copyright holder. Reproduction in whole or part without

written permission is strictly prohibited. While every care is taken

prices and details are subject to change and Contista Media Ltd

take no responsibility for omissions or errors. Views expressed by

authors are not necessarily those of the publisher.




BritishTravelJournal.com 3


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SUMMER 2022 | ISSUE 12






We look at new accommodation (everything from 13thcentury

castles to refurbished Georgian country inns) spanning

hotels, self-catering and glamping, as well as exciting activities

to enjoy this summer, whether it be a vodka school or a cliffside



32 There are four prizes up for grabs: enter for your chance

to win an indulgent Champagne afternoon tea for two at a

luxurious Pride of Britain hotel.


60 This is our pick of the ultimate summer experiences,

whether you fancy water sports in Cornwall, wine in

Buckinghamshire, forest bathing in the Cotswolds, or even a

Bridgerton-themed walking tour in Bath.


74 From summer-solstice-themed events to the world’s oldest

golf tournament, these festivals old and new are the cream of the

crop for summer.


76 Need to stock the drinks cabinet for the Platinum Jubilee

celebrations or take an impressive bottle to a BBQ? We have four

delicious, very British, suggestions.


98 Our summer book recommendations for your beach bag,

as well as crossword fun.




This round-up of the best independent producers

of gelato and ice cream comes complete with nearby cool

getaway suggestions to make the most of your summer gourmet



50 We take a stroll of Bristol’s Georgian port, uncovering the

city’s secrets, its historical glory and stately architecture, and

provide recommendations for where to eat and stay.


56 Head to Sussex for a tranquil getaway amid 35 acres

of countryside; Retreat East is the ultimate destination for

pampering and relaxation.


68 The new Una St Ives luxury resort is even more reason to

visit Cornwall; editor Jessica Way takes her family on a two-day

adventure by the beach.


78 Want to live like Anne Boleyn (without the unhappy

ending, obviously)? Step back in time to Kent’s Hever Castle and

the gardens where she spent childhood or to luxurious Thornbury

Castle in Gloucestershire and sleep in the Henry VIII suite she

once shared with her husband.

BritishTravelJournal.com 5



The new signature Kew Gin and Tonic

and vodka-based Botanical Spritz,

made with the help of East London

Liquor Co, taste as fresh and delicious

as their colourful can suggests.

Ready to drink cocktail cans are

available in Kew’s shops, Kew in West

London and Kew's wild botanic garden in

Wakehurst, West Sussex, priced £4.50.


Launching this June, Terrein is the

world’s first hiking boot to react to

movement three times faster than the

human body to reduce ankle injury

– the perfect boot to wear on hiking

holidays, expeditions and adventures.

Terrein is available to purchase from 20

June 2022 for men and women, in two

striking colour ways, sand and turquoise,

priced £180.




We take a road trip to the underrated

Northumberland Coast and find beguiling

beauty and diversity, serene beaches and

rugged wildernes.



With its exquisite clifftop setting and grand

Victorian architecture, the Headland Hotel

& Spa in Cornwall is one of Britain’s finest

destinations, and now with a new £10 million

swimming and wellbeing complex called The

Aqua Club, there are even more reasons to visit.





Renowned for THE PIG hotel empire,

Robin Hutson OBE has redefined British

staycations with his boutique country-garden

properties that champion local produce and

producers. He chats to us about his new book

and much-anticipated vineyard.


42 We take a trip to the sublime Carbis

Bay Hotel & Estate in Cornwall and chat to

Adam Handling, chef of its Ugly Butterfly

restaurant about his zero-waste policy and

sustainable ethos.


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6 BritishTravelJournal.com


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Whether you want to go glamping, have a house to yourself or

discover the latest hotels this summer, we tell you where to look

Text by Jane Knight





from page 10 from page 14

from page 18 from page 20

BritishTravelJournal.com 9



Hare and Hounds

They’ve had a lot of fun playing on the name

of this beautifully refurbished Georgian

coaching inn. Expect portraits of military

personnel with dogs’ heads, hares’ ears sticking

out from lampshades, plus hunting-themed

fabrics and wallpaper. The pub’s proximity

to Newbury explains the stable door in its

enormous timber-frame dining room, with

horse-head sculptures and bridle accessories.

Some of the 30 well-designed bedrooms

are in the real stables outside; all come with

complimentary gin and Bramley toiletries. And

if you want to visit Highclere, aka Downton

Abbey, it’s just ten minutes’ drive away. Rooms

from £120 a night, with breakfast. ◆



Mingary Castle

Possibly Scotland’s most unique restaurant with rooms, this 13thcentury

fortress is the place to enjoy chef patron Colin Nicholson’s

six-course tasting menu before retiring to one of four bedrooms.

Each named after a Scottish clan, they have hand-carved four

posters, one with a private battlement. From £360 with breakfast. ◆



Congham Hall

Book one of the new Orchard Cabins at Congham and you get a

stylish summer base from which to visit nearby Sandringham, with

its exhibition on the royal family’s relationship with the house.

Rooms have an outdoor tub and a wall of windows. From £475

with dinner for two and breakfast. ◆


10 BritishTravelJournal.com


The Relais Cooden Beach

This summer sees the transformation of a 1930s beach resort to

become hotelier Grace Leo’s second Relais property. The first of

45 rooms are already redesigned in coastal blues, with the rest

finished by September. Rooms from £295 with breakfast.



Lost Property

You’re virtually sleeping on the steps of St Paul’s

at the latest Hilton Curio Collection property,

opening in July. Behind the Grade-II-listed

Creed Court building façade lie 145 rooms,

some with cathedral views. In keeping with

the name, the decor celebrates London’s lost

railway stations, historic fashion trends and old

city professions. The restaurant, called Found,

holds an eight-metre bright-blue resin bar and

a Murano glass chandelier featuring figurines

of extinct birds, which together form the shape

of a two-metre eagle in flight. Classic dishes

include prawn cocktail, roast duck breast and

Eton mess. Rooms from £170 with breakfast. ◆



Guesthouse No 1 York

If you love vinyls, this fun hotel is the place to

come, with a record library, turntables in the

rooms, and DJ Upside Your Mind playing every

Friday evening in the summer on the heated

terrace. A toy train runs through the bar, and

rooms have coffee machines hidden in dolls’

houses. Rooms from £165. ◆


BritishTravelJournal.com 11



Virgin Hotel

It’s been a long time coming, but Richard

Branson’s first UK hotel opens near Edinburgh

Castle in June, seven years after Virgin’s first

hotel launched in Chicago. Delayed after

10th-century remains were found on the site,

it promises to be worth the wait. Some of the

222 rooms have views of the castle, which is

also on show from a rooftop sanctuary.

They all have Virgin Hotels’ signature

layout, with a dressing room and bathroom

rolled into one and a red Smeg fridge in the

bedroom. Downstairs is a members-style

social club and an all-day dining space.

Rooms from £330, with breakfast. ◆



Talbooth House and Spa

After adding a spa by its outdoor pool, the former Maison

Talbooth has rebranded itself to show its new focus on

wellness. Top-to-toe Elemis treatments are on offer, or you

can just lounge in the outdoor hot tub. Stay overnight in

one of 12 bedrooms from £300 with breakfast. ◆



The Georgian, Coppa Club

The all-day lifestyle ethos of Coppa Club has just arrived in the

market town of Haslemere. In a Grade-II-listed property, the

venue has spaces to work, eat, drink, and relax (with CBDinfused

cocktails). You can stay in one of 13 bedrooms, which

cost from £90 with breakfast. ◆


12 BritishTravelJournal.com


Royal Marine Hotel, Brora

Tartan fabrics and a stripped-back style give a Scandi-Scottish

feel to this hotel’s 21 rooms, following a multimillion pound refurb.

On the popular North Coast 500 coastal route, it’s just an hour

from Inverness. Rooms from £224 with breakfast.




The Michelin-starred menu created by chef

Jean Delport at Restaurant Interlude is up

to 21 courses. It’s good, then, that after

dishes such as pork with lobster and wild

garlic and brown choux with dandelion

and hazelnut you now only need to stagger

up the stairs at this 19th-century Italianate

mansion. Along a magnificent hallway and

galleried landing ten elegant rooms mix

antiques with contemporary art. Outside

are 240 acres of garden to walk off the

excesses of the night before, with a wallaby

enclosure, an ornamental rock garden, a

sculpture park and seven interlaced lakes.

Dinner £145pp, rooms from £350. ◆



Grove of Narbeth

This boutique bolthole near the Pembrokeshire coast

is looking fresh from a complete refurbishment, which

started in the public areas and finished in

April with the last of its bedrooms. A Pride of Britain

member, its rooms blend traditional styles and

textures with contemporary comforts, and are

from £260 with breakfast. ◆


BritishTravelJournal.com 13



Kirnan Estate

Get back to nature at the 400-acre Kirnan

Estate on the west coast of Scotland, about

two hours from Glasgow. As well as two lochs

and a picturesque glen, Kirnan now has three

newly renovated cottages. Pick from one-bed

Torrnalaich Cottage; Chapel Cottage, with

two double bedrooms plus a third room for

four singles; or Kirnan Beg, a Scandi-inspired

wooden cabin. Then head off on one of the

many walks, try clay pigeon shooting, or fly

fishing on the River Add, which runs through

the estate. Yoga and wild swimming are on

offer too. From £200 a night for two. ◆



Gwithian Lookout

When you can enjoy views of a lighthouse from the

outdoor shower, from the table on the large terrace,

or from the master bedroom, you know your holiday

rental is going to be pretty special. At this chic beach

bolthole, it’s even more special, as the building on show

is Godrevy Lighthouse, which Virginia Woolf first visited

in 1892 and which inspired her novel To The Lighthouse.

Accommodation has clearly changed a lot since then.

This cedar-clad beach house with a wall of glass has

an open-plan kitchen/living area with wooden ladders

leading to further seating in two mezzanine areas. The

three bedrooms are stripped back and simple. The

master room has its own en suite while the other two

(one of which is a single) share a shower room.

The Lookout is just 100 metres from the beach, from

where you can take a boat trip to the lighthouse, as

Woolf did herself. Or try to catch a wave with the help

of one of the local surf schools. Just down the coast is

the blue flag beach at Carbis Bay, and walkers can join

the nearby South West Coast Path. Seven nights for five

people costs from £2,560. ◆


14 BritishTravelJournal.com


The Lakes by YOO at Cotswolds Waters

If you’ve always fancied owning a lakeside holiday home, take

a look at this development by the original Lakes by YOO estate.

Reservations are now open and estate tours are available to

book, with a show house opening later this year. Prices start from

£765,000 for a stunning two-bedroom lake-view apartment.



Daylesford Houses

Joining the litter at The Wild Rabbit’s countrycottage

collection are two larger properties for

groups. With reclaimed timber beams, exposed

Cotswold stone walls, and country-chic

interiors, they are just as lovely as their smaller

siblings. Fowler’s House sleeps eight adults and

four children, with a wooden table for 12 in the

farmhouse kitchen, two spacious sitting rooms

and a sweeping rear terrace. It costs from

£7,000 a week. The 17th-century Old House

has four double bedrooms, is surrounded by its

own walled garden, and costs from £5,500 a

week. Guests also have access to the Bamford

Wellness Spa. ◆



Hedingham Castle

It’s the ultimate romantic escape – the only bedroom in

a Norman castle with a four-poster bed and a bath for

two. Explore the grounds or book the escape room, then

retreat to the Royal Chamber at the top of the keep,

which costs £395, with Champagne and continental

breakfast. Opens July. ◆


BritishTravelJournal.com 15


Sawcliffe Manor

Groups of two to 46 people can stay at Sawcliffe, which has just opened

the doors of its historic house and cottages to guests after a careful

restoration. Try axe throwing or hit the giant yurt for an on-site party.

Cottages from £150, manor for 24 from £1,500 a night.



Rosehill in Padstow

We’re not sure if Charles Dickens actually

stayed here when visiting his friend, who

owned the property, but we are sure of

Rosehill’s fantastic location. Within walking

distance of the beach and all the foodie

restaurants that Padstow has to offer, it

comes with its own parking space and

garden. Inside the Grade-II-listed building,

as well as a comfy living room and openplan

kitchen diner, there’s also an attic

room, ideal for a snug. It has the same

views of the Camel Estuary you get from the

master bedroom, one of five rooms. A week

for eight from £3,328. ◆



The Other House

Stay for a night or a year at this apartment-style

club with hotel services, opening on 5 July.

Book studios with kitchenettes from £270 or

Club Combos sleeping ten with their own front

door, from £1,500. There’s an all-day café,

two bars, and a gym with vitality pool and

wellbeing classes, too. ◆


16 BritishTravelJournal.com


17 UK country houses in prime walking locations with full board accommodation

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Dixie the Daydream


Think caravans are boring and old

fashioned? Then take a look at Dixie

Daydream, which has been beautifully done

out by two stylists using products from online

store Wayfair. Cassandra Doyle and Diana

Civil aka The Style Producers have totally

transformed the three-bedroom caravan at

Camber Sands, adding a copper sink and a

contemporary built-in fireplace along with

statement furniture and decor. If you like

the look, you can shop online for individual

elements. From £180 a night for six. ◆



Lake pods at Clawford Lakes

Fish from the deck of these lake pods on an 80-acre wildlife

haven that opened in April with a range of accommodation,

from floating cabins to lakeside lodges – close to two National

Parks and a spectacular coastline. A pool will open later this

summer. The pods sleep two from £340. ◆



The Little Cabin Dungeness

Twin railway carriages make a quirky new holiday retreat

amid the unique Dungeness Nature Reserve, with

uninterrupted views of the shingle beach. Created by artist Sara

Newman, The Log Cabin sleeps six in three bedrooms.

Three nights cost from £885. ◆


18 BritishTravelJournal.com


Airstream Dolly at the Eden Project

Vintage caravans, bell tents and pods make up the YHA’s new

glamping site at the Eden Project, where you can eat at The Hub

or cook for yourself on a BBQ firepit. Sleeping just two people,

Dolly costs from £59.



Bainland Lodge Retreats

Safari tents and shepherds’ huts already

abound at Bainland, a 45-acre country

estate near Woodhall Spa. Now, for the

perfect romantic break, they also have

a one-bedroom treehouse with lakeside

views and a hot tub on the deck. Cook in

the kitchen or use the new Copper Goose

delivery service, with food delivered to

the door by electric cart — you can even

order it by app from the hot tub. There are

plenty of activities on site, from cycling

to swimming; you can book the pool for

private use for £30 an hour. Stay three

nights in summer from £1,049. ◆



Pythouse Kitchen Garden

You’ve heard of restaurants with rooms – now we

bring you the restaurant with a glamping village.

Six bell tents and a cosy shepherds’ hut sit in an

orchard near this lunchtime-only restaurant.

They share showers, a cocktail area, a kitchen and a

dining area. Two nights for six people from

£950 on weekdays. ◆


BritishTravelJournal.com 19



Surf Wood for Good

Been to the beach and seen a discarded

broken bodyboard? More than 16,000

polystyrene bodyboards are left on UK

beaches each year, releasing myriad micro

polystyrene balls into the coastal ecosystem,

according to Keep Britain Tidy. Jamie

Johnstone from Dick Pearce Bellyboards

felt compelled to act after seeing the sheer

volume of snapped boards at his local beach.

He came up with a brilliant solution in the

form of the Surf Wood for Good campaign.

Through it, wooden boards can be hired

free of charge in 24 locations around the UK

coast, allowing everyone to enjoy sustainable

surf and seaside fun. ◆



Jodrell Bank

Launch your own digital Sputnik, experience a meteor show or

try ‘driving’ a radio telescope at the interactive exhibition in the

observatory’s First Light Pavilion, which opens on 4 June. The

76-metre grass-topped dome mirrors the shape and scale of the

Lovell Telescope and will also feature planetarium-style shows. ◆



Duck and puffin trails

Follow an art trail of 30 five-foot rubber duck sculptures

along the Sussex coast from Hastings to Bexhill from June.

Each has been painted by a local artist and will host a wellbeing

activity. In Yorkshire, look out for giant puffins from July,

with 40 sculptures placed along the coast. ◆

followthatduck.co.uk / puffinsgalore.co.uk

20 BritishTravelJournal.com


Racing at Newmarket

Go behind the scenes at the races before taking your seat in

the private enclosure during the Champions Lawn Race Day

Experience, with dates throughout the summer, for £65pp. Pay an

extra £10pp for the tour, evening racing and a top-name concert.



Cliffside Saunas

Sweat it out this summer in a sauna with a

view, looking out over beautiful Watergate

Bay. You can hire the Canadian cedarwood

cabin for your group of up to ten people or

join a communal session. Either way, there

is a range of complimentary essential oils to

enhance the experience, a freshwater rainfall

shower outside to cool down afterwards

and even cold-water immersion if you’re

feeling brave. A series of workshops are also

planned, dealing with breathwork, hot and

cold immersion and holistic health. From

£20pp for an 8am communal session or £95

for an hour’s private hire. ◆



Colwith Farm Distillery

Done your share of gin distilleries and want

something different? Then try a plough-to-bottle

vodka school, using Cornish potatoes. The

two-hour class (£79pp) looks at the history and

origins of vodka and then lets you try your hand at

blending botanicals to your own taste and filling

your own 70cl bottle. ◆


BritishTravelJournal.com 21

Matilda The Musical


Make time for Matilda as part of your trip to London this summer

Matilda The Musical is the

record-breaking production

from the Royal Shakespeare

Company which has

been performed in countries including

Australia, New Zealand, South Korea,

USA and more.

Adapted from the much-loved Roald

Dahl book, the globally acclaimed

musical has won 99 international awards

including 24 for Best Musical and has

been seen by more than 10 million people

across more than 90 cities worldwide.

Matilda The Musical premiered at the

RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratfordupon-Avon

in November 2010, playing

to sold-out audiences before transferring

to London’s West End, opening at the

Cambridge Theatre on the corner of

Earlham Street facing Seven Dials in

October 2011, and is currently taking

bookings until the end of May 2023.

With book by Dennis Kelly and original

songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical

is the story of an extraordinary little girl,

armed with a vivid imagination and a

sharp mind, who dares to take a stand

22 BritishTravelJournal.com


Photos by Manual Harlan

and change her own destiny.

A tonic for audiences of all ages, this

anarchic production continues Roald Dahl's

theme of bravery and standing up for what

you believe in, inspiring young audiences

all over the world. The London production

has welcomed over 4 million audience

members to the Cambridge Theatre, where

it recently celebrated 10 years in the West

End. Your visit to London this summer just

isn’t complete without a trip to experience

Matilda The Musical. ◆


Matilda The Musical is now

taking bookings until 28 May

2023 with excellent group rates

available midweek throughout

the summer holidays.

Tickets priced from £20.

Call 020 3925 2998 to book.

For the full performance

schedule visit;


BritishTravelJournal.com 23



One of Britain’s most influential hoteliers, Robin Hutson

OBE, tells British Travel Journal about his renowned PIG hotels,

brand-new book, and much-anticipated vineyard

Text by Sophie Farrah | Images by Jake Eastham

They say that from little acorns great oaks

grow, but in the case of Robin Hutson, the

starting point was in fact a few weeds and a

couple of carrots.

After selling his hugely successful hotel chain Hotel

du Vin in 2004, Robin was ready to kick back and

relax, but a chance encounter in the New Forest quickly

changed all that.

“I was planning to put my feet up!” he laughs.

“Then I got a call from Jim Ratcliffe who asked me to

help him get Lime Wood (a five-star hotel in the New

Forest) open. I was looking at other bits of property

that the hotel owned; tidying things up, closing and

selling, and there was this little hotel in Brockenhurst

called Whitley Ridge…” he recalls. “I went there to have

it valued for sale, but when I walked into the kitchen

garden I had a lightbulb moment, I suppose. This small

but perfectly formed garden had two carrots and a

few weeds growing in it, and I just suddenly thought, I

wonder if there’s a way of bringing the kitchen garden

right to the fore of everything?”

And with that seed firmly sown, great hotels began

to grow. Robin and his wife Judy transformed Whitley

Ridge and in 2011 it reopened as THE PIG. Since then,

the litter has expanded considerably, and there are

now a further seven PIG hotels spread across every

county along the south coast of England. Today,

Robin, who earlier in 2022 was awarded an OBE for

services to the hospitality industry and philanthropy, is

one of the most influential hoteliers in the country. He

is deeply admired by his peers and, most importantly,

well-liked, and it’s easy to see why; when we speak, he

is full of warmth, sincerity and has a palpable sense of

fun, much like his hotels.

“Coming from a background of five-star properties, I

was aware that the country-house sector was peddling

an out-of-date concept, really. It was all rather formal

and stuffy – punters were scared to go up the drive,” he


“Not being too grand was central to what we

wanted to do. That’s really where the name THE PIG

comes from. I wanted it to have an agricultural

BritishTravelJournal.com 25

connotation because of the garden, but I also thought – it

sounds a bit like a pub, people aren’t scared of going to

pubs. It was never going to be ‘the something-something

grand manor hotel’, or anything that sounds too posh.”

Having weathered the recent pandemic storm, Robin’s

unique porcine properties have been at the forefront of the

UK hotel scene for over a decade now. Widely celebrated

for their laid-back ethos and distinctive sense of organic

style, THE PIG offers guests a luxurious, yet unpretentious

stay immersed in the bucolic British countryside, with

plenty of delicious sustenance on offer. This same recipe

for success (and the perfect weekend break) has now

been applied to PIGs in Somerset, Southampton, Dorset,

Devon, Kent, Cornwall and Sussex, but despite this

impressive expansion, much of what was first sown in the

New Forest way back when remains part of the glorious

experience today; the walled garden, the Potting Shed

Elizabethan manor, nestled in Devon’s green and pleasant

Otter Valley. Its bedrooms are characteristically PIG, with

rich and cosy fabrics, reclaimed textures and wood, rolltop

baths, locally stocked ‘larders’ and each one totally

unique. There are also three bountiful walled gardens, one

home to an old stone folly, now a scenic spot designed for

‘quaffing and troughing’, as is positively encouraged.

“I always say that the hotels are like kids and that you

can’t have a favourite, but there are certain ones that have

particular significance. Brockenhurst was the first, so that

makes it very special, and the last one you do is fresh in

your mind, as you live it night and day for so long,” Robin


“But Bridge Place (in Kent) is very special – Judy, my

wife, lived in the village of Bridge throughout her teenage

years, so we knew that beautiful building very well.”

Today, each hotel is undeniably shaped by the historic

There are common elements to all the hotels – the restaurants follow a theme,

but we allow the buildings themselves to dictate how we lay the rest out. We don’t

fight the building; we allow it to give us the clues as to what we should do.

treatment rooms, roaring open fires, upcycled furniture,

resident animals and the hotel’s highly acclaimed 25-mile

menus, which use ingredients sourced from within a 25-

mile radius alongside fresh, seasonal produce harvested

from the kitchen garden.

“We let the garden inform everything that we do, from

the menu to the design and decor and so on. I want it to

feel very natural, comfortable, friendly, not too designed,

and somewhere you can put your feet up on the table if

you want to and have fun,” Robin enthuses.

Ingeniously, while retaining the unique formula of the

first, each PIG also has its own distinct sense of identity.

They share the same handwriting, but each one has its

own unique signature. Because of this, most regular

guests are known to have a favourite, from THE PIG-on

the Beach, which overlooks the golden sands of Dorset's

sweeping Studland Bay, to THE PIG-at Harlyn Bay in

Cornwall, with its abundance of original features and

indulgent outdoor dining hotspot, The Lobster Shed.

I love THE PIG-at Coombe; a secluded, Grade-I-listed

property that it inhabits. These grand old buildings are

carefully hand-picked by Robin and Judy, who is also

responsible for the group’s celebrated interior design.

“We look at loads of properties all the time, and I get

a gut feeling. Sometimes I don’t even get out of the car,”

Robin laughs.

“There are common elements to all the hotels – the

restaurants follow a theme, but we allow the buildings

themselves to dictate how we lay the rest out. We don’t

fight the building; we allow it to give us the clues as to

what we should do,” he explains.

“And our design philosophy is very personal – Judy and

I just choose stuff that we like. Our dining room table at

home is always full of swatches and things, every surface is

covered. It drives me nuts sometimes!”

The couple’s latest transformation is THE PIG-in the

South Downs, a beautiful old dower house tucked away

near the ancient market town of Arundel in Sussex.

Much to Robin’s delight, it is home to THE PIG’s very first


26 BritishTravelJournal.com

“It’s my train set,” he says, grinning from

ear to ear.

“Wine is a bit of a passion of mine, I

am quite partial to the odd glass. So, it's

very exciting. All the team are involved

in the pruning and picking, and we’ve all

adopted a row.”

With Robin’s eyes firmly on the vines, it

is son Ollie who oversees THE PIG’s allimportant

kitchen gardens and has done

ever since their conception. Robin's other

son, tattoo artist Will, has also recently

made his distinctive mark by creating

striking treasure map-esque illustrations

that feature in the hotel group’s brand-new

book, THE PIG: 500 Miles of Food, Friends

and Local Legends (see page 98).

Released in May 2022, this lively and

energetic coffee-table compendium

celebrates the several counties that THE

PIGs now call home, shining a spotlight

on the unique produce and flavours

associated with each one and the cast of

characters that all play their part, from

scallop divers and surfers to farmers and





















For those who prefer glamping there are

six brand-new shepherd huts, each with built-in stargazing roofs and wood


[The vineyard] is [like] my train set. Wine is a bit of a passion of mine, I am

quite partial to the odd glass. So, it’s very exciting. All the team are involved in

the pruning and picking, and we’ve all adopted a row.

“We like to work with people that we like to work

with, and I hope that comes through in the book. There

are some very interesting, wonderful characters,” Robin

explains affectionately.

As well as mouth-watering recipes and some handy

gardening tips, the book also provides a potted history

of each remarkable building, and some truly riveting and

often heart-warming stories and anecdotes of how Robin

and Judy are connected to each one, making THE PIG feel

even more personal than ever.

“We’ve opened three new hotels since the last book

(THE PIG: Tales and Recipes from the Kitchen Garden and

Beyond), and I felt it was time for an update. I was proud of

the first book, and I like it a lot, but I felt it was safe. It was

a bit 'John Constable' for me. A bit sweet! I felt that there

was more of a story to tell.” Indeed, there is. And how

about the next chapter? Before we part ways I ask if there

are plans afoot for further additions to the much-loved

piggy litter? “Yep,” says Robin, smiling. “And there could

be more vineyards too…”

BritishTravelJournal.com 29


Discover the Celtic Spirit in West Wales and Ireland’s Ancient East

You’ll find it in the land, the sea, and the sky. You’ll

find it in the people, their languages, and their

stories. And you’ll find it in the rivers, the trees, and

the stones. But what is it? We call it the Celtic Spirit.

It’s hard to describe, but if you travel to West Wales and Ireland’s

Ancient East, it’s easy to discover.

Recent years have been difficult for all of us. Now in 2022,

we are ready to discover new places. And for many it’s about

finding lands where we can feel closer to nature and history.

Places to restore a sense of balance and harmony in this

pressured and sometimes scary world. But there is no need to

travel a long way to feel a million miles away from the everyday.

Celtic Routes is a collection of authentic Celtic experiences.

They offer fresh ideas and inspiration to discover the counties

of Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow in South-East Ireland and

Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire in West Wales.

Celtic Routes encourage visitors to go beyond tourism

honeypots and take roads less travelled. In Wales,

Pembrokeshire is a popular destination but it’s still possible to

avoid the crowds and really get to know the county. In the Preseli

Hills you can walk ancient tracks through captivating prehistoric

landscapes – it’s known in Welsh as Gwlad Hud a Lledrith,

meaning ‘Land of Magic and Enchantment’. If you visit Pentre

Ifan Burial Chamber, particularly at dawn or dusk, you really

30 BritishTravelJournal.com

There is no need to travel a long

way to feel a million miles away from

the everyday... Celtic Routes encourage

visitors to go beyond tourism honeypots

and take roads less travelled.


have a sense of time of place. The hustle and bustle of modern

life will feel a world away.

North Pembrokeshire shares many characteristics with

Ceredigion, its neighbour to the north. A dramatic and beautiful

coastline, wild and wonderful uplands and a strong Welsh

culture. Visitors to Ceredigion who decide to leave the coast

and head for hills will be rewarded with an area of astounding

natural beauty, otherwise known as the Cambrian Mountains.

Here you will feel close to the land as you tread in the footsteps

of ancient pilgrims enroute to ruined Strata Florida Abbey. And

as you enjoy the tranquillity of the Teifi pools, you are more

likely to hear skylarks and the whistling call of Red Kites soaring

above, rather than the constant hum of traffic.

Carmarthenshire is farming country. Agriculture has

always been important, so you’ll find plenty of places serving

food and drink from the area, locally sourced, prepared

with care and presented with passion. Towns in the county

are blossoming, alive with independent shops and full of

products and stories connected to the county. You can also

find your lunch in the wild. On a foraging experience along the

Carmarthenshire coastline, you’ll learn how to find prawns,

mussels, cockles, wild samphire, sea anemones and scarlet elf

cup mushrooms. The reward for your efforts is your very own

zero-waste, organic lunch on the beach.

Southeast Ireland is less visited than some other parts.

But a visit to Ireland is not complete without venturing to this

corner known as Ireland’s Ancient East.

Visitors to Dublin can head to the nearby Wicklow

mountains to get a real sense of being in the “Emerald Isle”. In

the foothills lies scenic Blessington Lakes. As well as being the

main source of drinking water for Dublin, it’s a popular base

for water-based activities like fishing, boating and kayaking.

You can walk or cycle the Blessington Greenway along the

lakeshore and into natural woodland. Or drive the 26km

route around the valley. Novelist and poet Brendan Behan

described his trip to the area as a ‘journey to the jewel of


Perched on a green hill overlooking the River Bann in north

Wexford is a special place. Ferns is special because here, the

many strands of ancient stories which shape modern Ireland,

come together. In this Ancient Capital of Leinster, you can

trace the steps of Saints, Celts, Vikings, and Normans who

have all influenced the nation we know today. Stay in nearby

Enniscorthy and visit the castle which has played a key role in

Irelands turbulent history.

Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and has attracted visited

for 1000’s of years. In 914 a fleet of Viking ships landed in

what is now Waterford City. They settled, forged alliances and

established trading routes and became an important part of

Ireland’s story. If you join The Epic Tour of the Viking Triangle,

you’ll discover six national monuments that date from 1190

AD to 1783. This is a wonderful way for visitors to get an

overview of Irish history in Waterford. ◆

If you are planning on visiting Ireland or Wales in 2022,

make sure you take a Celtic Route and truly discover the Celtic

Spirit; celticroutes.info

BritishTravelJournal.com 31



Enter our competition to win one of four indulgent

Champagne afternoon teas for two at a luxury hotel

In a year that celebrates Her Majesty becoming the

first British Monarch to reach the Platinum Jubilee

milestone of 70 years of service, there is even more

reason to indulge in a spot of tea or raise your

Champagne glass – and there is nothing quite like sitting

down for afternoon tea: the warming tea blends, sweet

and savoury treats.

British Travel Journal has teamed up with Pride of Britain

Hotels to offer you the opportunity to win one of four

Champagne afternoon teas in a luxury hotel with

glorious gardens.

Our fortunate winners will be hosted in one of four

gorgeous hotel settings: Mediterranean-inspired luxury

hideaway Feversham Arms in North Yorkshire; four acres

32 BritishTravelJournal.com

of English cottage garden at The Priory,

on the banks of the River Frome in Dorset;

the romantic restored 17th-century parterre,

lily pond and rose gardens of Bodysgallen

in North Wales; or the secluded three-acre

rose garden of Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa

in Newmarket, while looking out to one of

the world’s most famous racecourse and


Enjoy the tradition of Afternoon Tea at

The Priory, served in the relaxed comfort of

either The John Turner Restaurant or on The

River Terrace in the summertime. Afternoon

tea here includes a selection of traditional

finger sandwiches; delicious home-made

cakes, and scones, jam and clotted cream,

served with a pot of your choice of Hoogly

Tea blend. At Bodysgallen, afternoon tea is

served in their oak-panelled hall, library or

drawing room, or on warm summer days

outside on the terrace.

Bodysgallen’s Traditional Afternoon

Tea includes a selection of finger

sandwiches, freshly baked scones with

clotted cream and strawberry jam, cakes

and pastries and a choice of freshly

brewed teas. Afternoon tea at Bedford

Lodge Hotel & Spa, popularised by their

very own Anna Maria, The Duchess of

Bedford, is served daily and can be taken

in Squires Restaurant, Roxana Bar, or on

the sun terrace overlooking the stunning

lawns and rose gardens at the hotel – the

choice is yours. ◆




Pride of Britain Hotels is a

collection made up of the finest

properties; each one unique and

characterful. With manor homes,

castles, woodland retreats,

elegant lodges and city boltholes

on offer, there is a special experience

awaiting every guest. Experience

the best places to eat, stay and

unwind within the British Isles.

Last entries August 31 2022.

Prize is to be taken before 20

December 2022.

BritishTravelJournal.com 33

34 BritishTravelJournal.com




From artisanal ices and locally churned velvety

scoops to family recipes dating back decades, Britain’s

top independent ice cream and gelato makers provide

the perfect accompaniment to a long, hot summer

Text by Chantal Borciani


Traditional gelato is said to be smoother,

creamier and carries less fat content

than ice cream. At Swoon it's made from

scratch and churned fresh using Somerset

milk. Set up by the latest generation in

a family of gelato makers going back

120 years, the first Swoon store opened

its doors on College Green in Bristol in

2016. The family-run company now has

outposts in Bath, Oxford, Selfridge’s in

London and will be opening its newest

swish set-up in Cardiff this summer.

Ingredients such as lemons, hazelnuts

and pistachio are sourced direct from Italy,

and Swoon offers ten traditional flavours

and six monthly changing seasonal

varieties, alongside a selection of gelato

cakes and artisan coffee from Naples.

BritishTravelJournal.com 35

Flavours on offer include pistachio, dark chocolate

sorbetto (vegan) and Bacio (chocolate and hazelnut) with

a selection of dairy free and vegan sorbetto options.

Visit: We love the decor and vibe of the Swoon store in

Bristol for an eat-in parlour experience but if you prefer

to head out into the sunshine with a towering cone, take

a rug and relax on College Green overlooking Bristol

Cathedral or pile a tub high and chill out in Bath’s Green

Park overlooking the Avon.

Stay: The Aspiring Cook is the newest addition to a clutch

of luxury self-catering boltholes in Bath renovated by The

Curated Collection. A short walk from the city centre,

this cosy flat is perfect for a couple and sits among a

handsome row of classic Georgian terrace houses, built

around 1790 by Thomas Baldwin.


Visit: While it seems churlish to not enjoy at least one

scoop on Brighton’s famous pebble beach, why not also

take a picnic out of town and head for the Devil’s Dyke,

a 100-metre-deep V-shaped valley on the South Downs

laced with beautiful walking trails offering incredible views

of the Sussex countryside.

Stay: The Garden Room sleeps two and is set at the foot

of the South Downs – meaning guests can enjoy the best

of countryside and coast in one vacation. Exquisitely

appointed, the romantic hideaway features a secluded

garden complete with hot tub.


Boho Gelato

Boho Gelato has been producing Italian-style ice cream,

sorbet and vegan gelato on site in Brighton for 12 years.

Gelatiere Seb Cole and his team use Sussex-produced milk

and cream as well as ingredients from around the world

(such as Sicilian DOP Bronte pistachio and Indian alfonso

mangoes) to make 24 ever-changing flavours daily. All

flavours are suitable for vegetarians and Boho also offers a

selection of gluten-free and vegan scoops.

Now with outposts in Weymouth and Worthing, the

award-winning gelato producer has created more than 500

flavours over the years. Some cool new additions include

malted miso choc nougat, coconut cocoa nib, strawberry,

basil and black pepper, and hazelnut custard pie.


Having started as a small enterprise in Looe, Cornwall,

Treleavens ice cream is now made in a custom-built

premises on Tretoil Farm in the north Cornish countryside.

Keeping things local is still key – all of Treleavens’ dairy

ice creams have a base of Rodda’s clotted cream and

ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible,

including Cornish sea salt for its moreish salted caramel

ice cream. Treleavens dairy ice creams are made with

Trewithen Dairy milk – sourced from 25 farms within 25

miles. The award-winning ice cream maker has around 50

flavours in total with a few new vegan flavours launched

recently, including mint choc chip, Biscoff, salted caramel

and raspberry ripple. Small theatre tubs of vegan vanilla

and a vegan chocolate are also available.

Visit: St Ives Coffee and Ice Cream nestled in the pictureperfect

Cornish harbour town incorporates Treleavens’ ice

cream into milkshakes, crepes, and epic sundaes.

36 BritishTravelJournal.com

Or hit the surf off Watergate Bay and head shoreside to

the coastal bolthole hotel for an ice cream.

Stay: Molesworth Manor is an exquisitely restored 17thcentury

manor house just a short walk from Padstow on

the north Cornwall coast. Sleeping 14 guests in seven ensuite

bedrooms, this Cornish hideaway is complete with a

games room, a garden room, a banqueting hall, two cedar

clad six-seater hot tubs and a cinema room – perfect for a

film and your favourite scoops.


Baboo Gelato

Baboo Gelato was set up in 2015 by Annie Hanbury, a

trained gelatiere, who wanted to combine her passion for

ice cream with the glut of fabulous ripe fruit she found

at her new home’s overflowing and abandoned market

garden near the Dorset town of Bridport. Today, Baboo’s

artisanal gelato is still handmade using fresh, seasonal

fruit and local organic milk. A lot of the fruit is still sourced

locally, whether it is plums from North Perrott Fruit Farm,

pears from Ellwell Farm, elderflowers from the local

hedgerows, or gooseberries from Forde Abbey.

The artisanal gelato comes in scoops, tubs, or chocolatecoated

ice cream ‘Baboos’ bites. All Baboo ice creams are

suitable for vegetarians and all its sorbets are suitable for

vegans. Visitors can head to the Baboo Gelato kiosks in

West Bay, Weymouth, Morcombelake and Lyme Regis.

Doggy Doggy Yum Yum

Baboo’s fabulous doggy offshoot is its Doggy Doggy Yum

Yum – a frozen treat made with bananas, coconut yogurt,

agave syrup and 100% peanut butter.

Made for dogs who want a cool treat in the summer

heat, Doggy Doggy Yum Yum is 100% organic and uses

no artificial flavours or refined sugars. It is also suitable for

vegetarian and vegan pups.

BritishTravelJournal.com 37

Visit: Ice cream lovers can head to the Baboo Gelato

kiosks in West Bay, Weymouth, Morcombelake and Lyme

Regis, with their canine pals in tow of course.

Don’t miss a spot of fossil hunting at Monmouth

beach (particularly for ammonites), and East Cliff beach

between Lyme Regis and Charmouth.

Stay: The Beach House is perfectly located for exploring

the Jurassic coastline and has been renovated with

a sublime coastal palette running through the guest

areas. The captivating family homestay sleeps four and

sits between Lyme Bay and West Bay – ideal for beach



New Forest Ice Cream

Born and bred in the New Forest and a family-run business

to this day, New Forest Ice Cream was founded over

36 years ago, with the velvety ice cream now sold to

restaurants, pubs, cafés and kiosks across the UK and

beyond. Of course, you can’t venture far in Hampshire’s

spectacular New Forest without seeing a sign for its velvety

ice cream. Since 2012, New Forest Ice Cream has received

at least one new gold star for a product every year in the

prestigious Great Taste Awards, with a total of 17 product

awards to date. Winners include the company’s vanilla ice

cream, liquorice ice cream and sambuca sorbet.

Visit: A stone’s throw from New Forest Ice Cream’s HQ,

the bunting-lined harbour town of Lymington has cobbled

streets, a pretty quayside and a breakwater walking trail

38 BritishTravelJournal.com

with far-reaching views across the Solent. The town is also

home to a host of ice cream parlours and cafes, selling

locally churned New Forest Ice Cream.

Stay: The sublimely romantic Undercastle Cottage in

the heart of the New Forest has magnificent views with

gardens that gently roll down to the river's edge.

The three-bedroom oak-framed cottage is also home to

half a mile of exclusive private fishing.



Weymouth’s Rossi’s Ice Cream was established in 1937 by

Fioravanti Figliolini and is currently run by his grandson

Fulvio Figliolini. All the ice cream is still handmade using

the same traditional method and uses the same closely

guarded family recipe.

Rossi’s doesn’t use vanilla of any kind – saying that

its natural ice cream creates its own flavour while being

cooked. Other flavours include chocolate, coffee, banana,

peppermint & dark chocolate, mango, and more.

In addition to tubs, cones, and sundaes, Rossi’s serves

up pancakes, waffles and cream teas and is a fantastic

spot right on Weymouth’s Western Esplanade.

Visit: Weymouth beach is literally on Rossi’s doorstep

while the famed Chesil Beach lies around the headland.

BritishTravelJournal.com 39


Against the backdrop

of a renowned collection

Rossetti’s experience Portraits

critically acclaimed

until exhibitions

9 January of


historical and

The contemporary Tudors: Passion, art, lectures, Power

& concerts, Politics

workshops and

28 events January or indulge to 8 May in 2022


Garden Café.


George Shaw

A Corner of a Foreign Field

Against the backdrop

of a renowned Édouard Vuillard collection

experience The Poetry critically of the Everyday acclaimed

exhibitions Lauren of Child historical and

The Art of Illustration

contemporary art, lectures,


concerts, workshops and

A Life in Print

events or indulge in our

Garden Café.

Henri Matisse

Master of Line

in our

ps and

, lectures,

rical and

y acclaimed

Great Pulteney George Street, Shaw

Bath BA2 4DB

www.holburne.org A Corner of a Foreign Field


Édouard Vuillard

The Poetry of the Everyday

Lauren Child

The Art of Illustration


A Life in Print

Henri Matisse

Master of Line

Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB


Biscuit-themed Events, Exhibitions and more:


Official Travel Partner

For a quieter day out head for the captivating water-lily

ponds, adorned gazebos and Monet-style bridges of the

eight-acre Bennetts Water Gardens.

Stay: A spectacular barn conversion ensconced in the Dorset

countryside, Merry Hill Barn is a wonderful jumping-off point

to explore the Jurassic coast – well positioned for Weymouth,

Chesil Beach and West Bay and features exposed stone

walls, original beams and contemporary flair.


Ruby Violet

What started as a culinary passion project has grown to a

famed London ice cream name with a devoted following.

Named after her maternal grandmother – who loved a

choc ice – Julie Fisher started Ruby Violet from her kitchen.

Currently the capital is home to just one Ruby Violet

parlour, in King’s Cross – though there are plans for it to

reopen a second in North London.

Visit: Head to Ruby Violet’s King’s Cross parlour for its

unique afternoon tea experience. Alongside savoury

treats, the menu serves up an array of tasty morsels

including mini Genovese sponge ice cream sandwiches,

Belgian chocolate shells, raspberry rosewater and

Prosecco lollipops, rounded off with a three-tiered ice

cream cake and ice cream chocolates.

Stay: Put your feet up just around the corner at one of

London’s most recognisable hotels.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel originally opened in 1873

and following its extensive renovation now marries historic

finery with modern luxury.

BritishTravelJournal.com 41

42 BritishTravelJournal.com




Sustainable cooking has never looked – or tasted

– this good. We speak to chef Adam Handling on

taking eco to new heights in Cornwall's Carbis Bay

and catering for presidents and prime ministers

Text by Chantal Borciani

Winding down the hill towards Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate, it’s

hard to picture a more perfect Cornish setting. The emerald

bay, glinting in warm shimmering sunshine, dominates the

vista as the horizon reveals itself like blue-green pages of a

book falling open. The steep valley sides are dotted with white-washed homes

and verdant foliage and Carbis Bay Hotel & Estate sits snug right in the

centre of this cosiest of Cornish nooks.

A presidential enclave

Privacy is one of the hotel’s calling cards, not least because the luxury coastal

boutique hotel hosted the2021 G7 Summit. The presidential motorcades were

quite the sight as they rumbled into the quiet Cornish hamlet last summer yet

it’s easy to see why the estate was selected as the venue to showcase to the

world the beauty of Cornwall.

We, like Macron, Merkel, Johnson and friends, stayed in the extraordinary

beachfront lodges. The chic, neutral-toned desirable residences wisely makes

the most of the sea views at every opportunity, spanning three sweeping

floors. The hot tubs and roof terraces overlook the surf, and spiral stone

staircases lead down to sumptuous bedrooms where you can laze and

BritishTravelJournal.com 43

When you walk into the restaurant, you have that

view, which is a million dollars,” says Adam. “I don’t

think there’s a more beautiful place in the world.

listen to the waves from your bed. A capacious open-plan living space with full

kitchen, a fireplace, a grand dining table, and a private garden leads down to the

butter-coloured sand. While the main hotel building has a traditional luxurious

appeal, and was built by celebrated Cornish architect Silvanus Trevail, the newly

built lodges are more modern-Scandinavian in style than seaside bolthole, offering

exclusive living with only the best roll-top baths and sea views. High-quality natural

materials used throughout lend a soothing quality to the swoon-worthy decor.

The spectacular living room features floor-to-ceiling sliding doors so, from sunrise

to sunset, the captivating light from the water fills the space. Light again cascades

into the bedrooms where yet more floor-to-ceiling glass frames the uninterrupted

sea view. Two of our three bedrooms feature a wide connecting balcony, bringing

the picturesque shore even closer. The balcony proved a perfect spot for a morning

coffee overlooking the rolling waves. A lodge concierge is on hand for everything –

aperitifs and signature canapes at sundown, bountiful breakfast hampers served at

a time of your choice with the finest of Cornish ingredients and oven-warm bread,

dinner reservations and turn-down services.

New beginnings

Alongside the hamlet of Carbis Bay’s luxury beach lodges, and just steps from the

main house, is the Ugly Butterfly. The new restaurant on the estate is the brainchild

of revered chef, Adam Handling. Ugly Butterfly opened in August 2021 and sits

elevated above the beach with uninterrupted views of the ocean so breathtaking

that walking in feels like a cinematic experience in itself. Full-height windows

run the entire length of the vast restaurant and bar space, filling the view to the

metaphorical brim with sand, sea, surf and sky. This is one restaurant to book for

lunch or an early dinner so your jaw can suitably drop.

“When you walk into the restaurant, you have that view, which is a million

dollars,” says Adam. “I don’t think there’s a more beautiful place in the world.”

Ugly Butterfly embodies three crucial elements for Adam: sustainable, local and

luxurious. The restaurant focus on sustainability means using every ingredient,

creating food that is both artistic and theatrical. “We only use items sourced in

Cornwall. We hope to look after and work with the locals, because if it isn’t in

Cornwall we aren’t using it.”

Adam says he strives to make menus that are delectable and the highest culinary

experience, in spite of them being zero-waste.

44 BritishTravelJournal.com

“I love luxury. I love to eat really good food. And I like to drink

really good wine. And I like to know that I'm doing something good

for the environment and good for the planet. But lazy chefs just put

fermented food on everything and call it sustainable, because all

they know how to do is ferment it.”

During the G7, Adam and his team oversaw all the presidential

requests, including private lunches and breakfasts for the delegates.

“It's always exciting, it's always nerve-wracking, it's always scary.

But it was great to be able to showcase that sustainable can be

luxurious,” he says.

“I wanted to utilise as much zero-waste as possible, but in a way

where it's still luxury enough and tasty enough to serve to world

leaders. Sitting down and speaking to the leaders about that sort of

stuff, and them enjoying it was really quite really special.”

BritishTravelJournal.com 45

Hero of zero

Ugly Butterfly is Adam’s newest restaurant, he also has Frog in Covent Garden and

The Loch & The Tyne in Windsor. “We lost four restaurants in the group during the

lockdown,” Adam continues. “When it came to reopening, I went down a different

route. Everyone with a passion thinks they're invincible but nowadays, learning from

the mistakes of the past, we said instead of opening a lot of restaurants quickly, we're

just going to strip it back. I want each of my restaurants to have its own identity,

rather than having a number two of a number one restaurant.”

“I don't want people to think, ‘oh, he just put his name on another luxury property

and popped off’. I have a house in Cornwall and a house in London and I split my

time 50/50. We spent months finding the right Cornish suppliers. This isn’t just a

concept, it’s years of experimenting coming to the fore.”

The chef’s favourite dish on the menu is the ‘lobster, beef fat’, a dish that hails

from another of Adam’s restaurants. “Many years ago, I bought a whole Wagyu cow

from Highland Wagyu in Scotland. This dish was created because these 1,300 kilo

animals have a lot of fat and one of the challenges was what we could do to utilise all

the fat.”

The solution was to use the Wagyu fat to cook the fresh lobster. “Here, we now

use a Cornish dairy that’s around five minutes from the doorstep.” The lobsters, we

are told by our excellent waiter, are caught under the lighthouse we can see in the

distance through the window of the restaurant.

46 BritishTravelJournal.com

I don't want

people to

think, ‘oh,

he just put

his name

on another


property and

popped off.

“It's just really wonderful to build up such a

relationship with suppliers, a stone's throw away from

the restaurant door, and use wonderful things from

what they're doing in imaginative ways that they

hadn't thought of doing either.

So you excite both the supplier, the chef, and

fundamentally of course you excite the guests, because

they feel like ‘this is so cool’. But it's cool in a way where

you’re actually having a great experience. It doesn't

taste like garbage, and it's been sustainable.

BritishTravelJournal.com 47

People think I'm a

bit bizarre because

I'm a chef yet I'm

more front-of-house

focused because, for

me, it's all about how

a guest is made to

feel as soon as they

walk in this place.

And I say that doesn't taste like garbage quite literally,

because I can't stand bowls of fermented foods. I

understand it's zero-waste but when I'm spending a lot of

money, I want a delicious mouth-watering meal. I don't

want to just be eating sour fermented stuff because it's

saving the planet, I still need the experience, I still want the


We can attest that nothing tastes dodgy or sour at the

Ugly Butterfly. Fresh, local and zero-waste – the philosophy

runs deep and works – even the fantastical cocktail menu

features takes on classics but uses ‘waste’ from the kitchen:

herbs, shrubs, peels and ingredients that infuse and produce

the most wonderful distillates and flavours.

Luxury and connections

The food is also a spectacular journey full of real standout

moments. The ‘snacks’ – a table laden with achingly

pretty and elegantly precise dishes is a triumph and sets

the bar exceedingly high for the tasting menu proper,

featuring tastes Adam loves, including a crisp duck and

plum sauce, a flavour bomb cheese doughnut, and a

punchy beef and kimchi roll.

The tasting menu is one of a kind – if you’re going

to invest in a special meal, this is where ours would be.

The execution is elevated and intricate, while the food is

unpretentious and delicious. The ‘Bread, chicken butter’

dish is inspired by Adam’s fussy eater sister resolving only

ever to eat roast chicken for Sunday lunch when they were


The deliciously salty bowls of yellow butter topped with

crispy chicken skin and IPA-infused sourdough arrives

with a note that reads: ‘But Mondays were my favourite.

Leftover chicken in a white floury Scottish bap with loads

of salty butter. This is my take on the happy memories of

that Monday morning roast chicken sandwich.’

Cornish crab with apple and jasmine is the prettiest

plate – light and with a taste of both the sea and Cornish

orchards tangy Victoria plum, beetroot and luxuriant

English truffle accompanies salt-aged duck with crisp

skin; while playful heart-shaped waffles top local salmon

and sturgeon.

“Nostalgia, relatability, connection with dishes – it’s so

important,” says Adam. “I think the way that you're made

to feel in a restaurant is equally as important as how the

food tastes. If you have great food somewhere but you’re

treated like dirt, it’s never going to be a good experience.

I want the diners to have a very one-to-one intimate

experience at the Ugly Butterfly. For it to be memorable.

People think I'm a bit bizarre because I'm a chef yet I'm

more front-of-house focused because, for me, it's all about

how a guest is made to feel as soon as they walk in this

place.” Fortunately, it’s clear his team are imbued with the

same passion and ethos, keenly sharing titbits of Adam’s

stories, menu revelations and details of the ingredients

48 BritishTravelJournal.com



















without it being forced, laboured or overbearing.

Following a belt-busting meal, the hotel has a host of relaxing offerings for

guests to enjoy. A beautiful seafront orangery and patio is perfect for morning

coffees and afternoon teas, while the hotel’s C-Bay Spa is recently renovated and

features a spine-soothing infinity pool and open air Jacuzzi, with tiered decking

offering private hideouts from which to drink in the glorious views.

The South West Coast Path passes across the hotel grounds – ideal for avid

walkers. St Ives, with its mix of tea shops, galleries and shops, is an easy mile

and a half (2.5km) hike along the breathtaking hills or eight minutes by the

equally charming branch-line train that chugs into the Carbis Bay station just

up the hill from the hotel.

All told, for a slice of Cornwall and one of the most innovative restaurants in

Britain to date, Carbis Bay is a perfect seafront escape.

BritishTravelJournal.com 49



From the imposing heights of

Clifton Gorge down to this city's lovely

reclaimed harbours, Bristol is a beautiful

Georgian port full of energy and colour.

Join us for a stroll around its streets

Text by Adrian Mourby | Illustrations by Sophie Minto

of 19th-century buildings that gaze out at the bridge. First

comes the old Clifton Rock Railway, a funicular that used

to drop tourists down to the Hotwells volcanic springs

on the banks of the River Avon. Next is the Avon Gorge

Hotel, which opened in 1896 as the Grand Clifton Spa and

Hydropathic Institution, using water pumped up from those

wells to provide an efficacious Turkish bath for guests.

START IN ONE of England’s grandest suburbs at

the Clifton Observatory, a former windmill that

was converted into a camera obscura in 1828.

From here, there are impressive views across the

Avon Gorge (300 feet deep at this point) and of

Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge that has spanned it since

1864. Taking the path down Sion Hill, you pass a complex

These buildings form one end of a 19th-century terrace

that was intended to rival Bath’s Royal Crescent. It was

named Prince’s Buildings but was left incomplete. Today,

single-storey extensions fill the gaps between grand town


50 BritishTravelJournal.com

One of them displays a coat of arms depicting St

George killing a dragon under the Prince of Wales’ feathers,

confirming that the prince in question was indeed the Prince

Regent, England’s future George IV.

At the end of Prince’s Buildings on the right-hand side

there is a lovely crescent, almost hidden from passers-by.

It’s known as The Paragon and, like many houses in Clifton,

it enjoys wonderful views across Bristol and its harbours.

This row of houses is also remarkable for its unusual semicircular

vestibules with their different coloured doors. It was

At the end of Prince’s Buildings on the

right-hand side there is a lovely crescent,

almost hidden from passers-by.

constructed between 1809–1814 during the Napoleonic

Wars. The builder John Drew went bankrupt halfway

through the project, something that happened to many

speculators in those turbulent times.

The same fate befell the builder of Royal York Terrace,

which branches off from the left-hand side of Prince’s

Buildings. Begun in 1791 as the longest terrace in Europe,

this graceful stretch of Regency town houses was designed

by Bristol architect William Paty and stands on a huge

plinth that had to be constructed first to mitigate against

the steep slopes of Clifton. Only completed in 1820, Royal

York Terrace was where novelist Angela Carter lived (at No

38) during the Swinging Sixties.

At the end of this terrace turn right into Regent Street,

where Victorian Bristol suddenly appears in a series of

closely packed Clifton shops. When they end, at Clifton

BritishTravelJournal.com 51



High above the Avon Gorge stands this 78-bedroom hotel with

the best views of Clifton’s Suspension Bridge from its dining room.

Opened in 1896, the Avon Gorge is now run by Hotel du Vin,

which means that the interiors have the HdV signature features

we’ve come to love: dark walls with bright downlighters, moody

bedrooms with white-tiled bathrooms and lots of irreverent art.



Bristol’s grandest 19th-century hotel opened in 1868 on College

Green, overlooking the Floating Harbour. For many years, the

Royal was hotel of choice for visiting celebrities like Laurel and

Hardy, Gracie Fields, Winston Churchill and Cary Grant. Closed

for decades, the hotel only recently reopened with its original

Palm Court majestically restored. A four-storey car park dug into

the ground beneath the property is one of the many

modern conveniences of this 241-room hotel.



In a dignified square between Cabot Tower and Bristol University’s

Wills Building stands the Berkeley Square Hotel, an amalgam of two

Georgian town houses that was once the home of Sir Frank Wills,

the man whose family endowed so much of the university. It’s a lively,

modern hotel with a commitment to modern art and a kitchen that

serves excellent food. Leave your windows open at night and you’ll

hear 'Big George' tolling in the university's bell tower.




Fishers is a Clifton original, founded by Alison Brown in 2001.

If you like fish and seafood, head here for an unforgettable meal.

From the outside, it’s a small, unremarkable whitewashed building

with blue awnings. Inside it’s low-key too, with small tables and

some touches of nautical decor but superb food and wine.

If you fancy a picnic ask about the Fishers’ Champagne &

Oyster Hamper Box (£59).



High up on Whiteladies Road and down on the quayside at Welsh

Back are two outlets of this family-run mini-chain of cheery West

Country restaurants. Aqua was founded in 1998 by Richard

Smithson and is now run by his son, Ben. Monday to Friday there

is a great three-course lunch menu for £18 that extends till 7pm –

ideal if you are catching a show. There are also two-for-one

Bellinis available from 12pm till 7pm.



Taking over an old Clifton department store, the Coppa Club's

huge plate-glass windows look out on to Regent Street while inside

a modern mezzanine floor has comfortable sofas for sitting with

your laptop. The Coppa ethos is to combine a bar, a restaurant, a

workspace, and café in one welcoming space. The all-day menu

focuses on uncomplicated dishes, from Coppa Vegan Burger to

Lamb Rump and Flash Steaks plus excellent cocktails.


52 BritishTravelJournal.com

Road, the street curves east with Cabot Tower in the far

distance. Bristol consists of a number of hills of which

Clifton is the tallest. Cabot Tower, which commemorates

John Cabot’s journey to Canada from Bristol in 1497, stands

across a valley on nearby Brandon Hill. To get to it from

Clifton it’s necessary to walk down Constitution Hill – one of

the steepest in the city – to cross Jacob’s Well Road and then

climb up through Brandon Park.

Georgian House Museum. It was built in 1790 for a sugar

merchant and plantation owner in the West Indies. Many

believe that it was here that the poets William Wordsworth

and Samuel Taylor Coleridge first met in 1795.

From Great George Street turn right down Whiteladies

Road, another steep hill where no two shops have rooflines

at the same height. The road gets its name from the White

Ladies public house that once stood on this major route

between Clifton and Bristol docks. Look left up the hill and

you’ll see the monumental bell tower of Bristol University,

completed in 1925. It’s 223 feet high and was the last neo-

Gothic structure erected in Britain. Walking downhill to the

right brings you to College Green and Bristol’s Cathedral.

But first at the top of Constitution Hill stands Goldney

Hall, which was built in the 1860s by a Quaker family who,

among other ventures, financed the voyage that rescued

Alexander Selkirk (the original Robinson Crusoe) from his

desert island. Starting down the hill, there’s a sprinkling of

pretty 18th-century cottages that reflect how rural Clifton

was before the Regency building spree.

On the other side of busy Jacob’s Well Road, Brandon

Hill has been kept as a large, inner-city nature reserve. It’s

topped by Cabot Tower, a 105-foot monument built in 1897

with panoramic views from its Venetian-style balcony. After

visiting, leave the park by walking down Charlotte Street to

Great George Street, which contains some very imposing

houses from the reign of George III. One of these is now the

Because it was successively built, destroyed, and rebuilt

from Norman times right up until the Bristol Blitz of 1942,

this cathedral seems to contain every style and period of

English architecture, although it was all cleverly knitted

together in the 19th century.

Take a while to look inside. It’s a perfect place to rest

your feet after all those hills.

Next Issue: We take a walk around the medieval walls of York,

a city that combines Roman, Viking and Georgian architecture

with one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Britain.

BritishTravelJournal.com 53


Hidden London Tours

Are you bored of visiting the same old places on days

out? Are you on the hunt to explore somewhere new?

If so, why not take a look at the Hidden London tour

programme run by London Transport Museum

Hidden London tours are

a fascinating collection

of tours run by London

Transport Museum giving

guests exclusive access to disused and

abandoned Tube stations and sites

across the London Underground. Many

people are unaware that behind many

inconspicuous doors and vents there are

often secret passageways and tunnels

from bygone eras just waiting to be

explored with the Museum’s expert team.

Many of these unique sites have

remained untouched for decades. Down

Street station, situated between Hyde

Park Corner and Green Park stations,

had a short life a as working station from

1907 to 1932.

However, it became critical to winning

the Second World War when it was

covertly transformed into the Railway

Executive Committee’s bomb-proof

headquarters where Prime Minister

Winston Churchill secretly took refuge

during the height of the Blitz.

Think you’re familiar with Charing

Cross station? Think again. On a Hidden

London tour, you can go behind the

scenes to see exclusive disused areas

of the station normally off-limits to

54 BritishTravelJournal.com

the public, including the chance to walk

underneath Trafalgar Square! As part of

a tour, you will get to explore the Jubilee

line platforms at Charing Cross that

have been closed to the public since 1999

which are now frequently used for filming

purposes, including blockbuster movies

such as Skyfall and Paddington Bear.

Other tour locations include Aldwych,

Clapham South, Euston, Moorgate and

Piccadilly Circus stations and Kingsway

Tram Tunnel. Each group has a limited

number of people per tour so you will get

to see these spaces without the crowds.

Tours are lead by the Museum's expert

guides telling you all you want to know

about the history and design used to

create these iconic spaces.

As well as in-person tours, London

Transport Museum runs a variety of

virtual tours too, meaning you can join

a tour from the comfort of your home

anywhere in the world. Conducted over

Zoom, guides will talk to you about secret

stations including King William Street and

Brompton Road stations through a gallery

of contemporary photos, archival images

and never before seen footage.

Access to many sites on the virtual

tour roster are so restricted that in-person

Hidden London tours will never be

possible, making these virtual experiences

particularly special.

For any transport fans, Hidden London

tours include a number of locations

featured on UKTV’s popular Secrets of

the London Underground series. Fans

of the show can follow in the footsteps

of presenters Siddy Holloway and Tim

Dunn to explore these special sites for

themselves. The much anticipated second

series of the hit documentary returns to

Yesterday channel on Thursday 5 May at

8PM, and on catch-up at UKTV Play. ◆

Tickets for all Hidden London tours

are on sale now. To book head to


BritishTravelJournal.com 55




Quiet and secluded, Retreat East offers a

tranquil experience, both day and night. Spend

some time enjoying this à la mode Suffolk

hideaway and you are guaranteed to leave

feeling both pampered and restored

Text by Jessica Way

Easily accessible from London, Retreat East is situated in the heart

of Suffolk, surrounded by 35 acres of pristine British countryside.

It is no wonder it has quickly gained popularity with celebrities

– from football freestyler Jeremy Lynch to reality TV star Millie

Mackintosh, who recently celebrated her 30th birthday at the

retreat. Previously a working 16th-century farm, the site has been converted

into a luxurious spa resort with 15 beautifully appointed eco-conscious

barns, including their first barns to have private outdoor baths under

canopies with sun loungers (launched this summer), and a further eight

coming soon, some with their own wood-burning fires and four-poster

king-size beds. Ranging from cosy sleeps for two, such as The Piggery, a

large romantic barn with a fantastic sculptural bath and private sunny and

sheltered courtyard twice the size as the barn itself, to four-bed farmhouses

like the Cow House, the oldest barn with enormous kitchen and dining area

and a luxurious double shower with underfloor heated pebbles – the barn

stays are eco-luxury at its finest.

BritishTravelJournal.com 57

Retreat East was the vision of Dominic Richards who,

20 years ago, bought a house in the beautiful Suffolk

countryside. His home became incredibly popular with the

friends he had left behind in the London Spitalfields area.

It was the countryside residence they all wanted to visit

as it offered them an opportunity to recharge, enjoy the

clear skies, fresh air and artisan seasonal food.

This gave Dominic an idea, and when a nearby

redundant dairy farm came up for sale he immediately

identified its potential as a retreat for more sapped

Londoners. The farm had certainly seen better days; its

16th-century farmhouse, historic barns and surrounding

fields needed a lot of work, but the challenge was not

enough to deter Dominic – he was determined and had

already identified the potential with urbanites looking to

get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.


Guests check-in at the reception area, which doubles up

as Retreat East’s farm and coffee shop, selling delicious

farmyard essentials and locally made gifts such as

Loggigue candles, Framlingham soaps, Pump Street

chocolate and Tiptree cakes.

On the accommodation side, in the heart of the retreat

is the historic picturesque four-bedroom farmhouse.

Perfect for multigenerational family stays, group stays

and weddings, the timber-framed property has its own

private garden and is packed with character.

We stayed in The Granary, an authentic eco-luxurious

converted dairy barn with its own private terrace

overlooking the Suffolk meadows. Luxury touches

include a heated floor throughout, a wood burner, a

stylish farmhouse-style kitchen complete with SMEG

fridge, a Nespresso coffee machine and, in the bathroom,

a state-of-the-art walk-in shower. The interiors are

homely. Think laid-back woven rugs, rustic brickwork

and wooden beams throughout (dividing the otherwise

open-plan living spaces), pretty throws and cushions,

modern artwork and contemporary furnishings. Natural

light floods in from the Velux window above and there’s a

spacious dining room with patio doors out to the terrace.

Offering a very warm welcome to guests and locals

alike, the triple-height Great Barn restaurant is a fabulous

foodie experience. Seasonal menus feature an array

of beautiful dishes, prepared using ingredients from

local artisan producers. Choose from chicken liver pâté,

scallops, organic rainbow chard, fennel, smoked scallop

roe or green curry. Take your time to savour, leaving

some space for dessert; on the menu during our visit was

banana and spiced rum baked Alaska with caramelised

pecans and smoked caramel sauce – the flavour was

divine. The Great Barn is open for breakfast, lunch and

dinner (including Sunday lunch). You might visit to simply

enjoy a cocktail, one made with Suffolk Distillery gin

perhaps – and you can choose to wine or dine al fresco on

the south-facing terrace while sipping some bubbles and

watching the sun go down.

Talking of bubbles, the south-facing terrace is also

where you will find the retreat's outdoor hot tub and spa

facilities – and watch this space, as the retreat has plans

to extend the spa area. Unwind and experience a tranquil

moment of pure relaxation with a treatment. I opted for

their Five Element Aroma signature massage and felt the

58 BritishTravelJournal.com

home-baked cakes, and exploring the stunning Shrubland

Park. There are plenty of walking-route maps for you to

enjoy during your stay from the front desk, and bike hire is

complimentary to guests.

Retreat East is pooch friendly throughout, including

in the restaurant, with all properties allowing up to two

dogs (other than The Little Warren & The Little Hive).

There is even an impressive doggy shower for muddy dogs

returning from their countryside walks. Plus, they sell local

dog products from Pooches and Sniffe & Likket in their

farm shop.

Prices from £130 for Little Hive & Little Warren barn

rooms, £225 for a one-bedroom barn and £325 for a

two-bedroom barn; retreateast.co.uk

tension in my shoulders melt away. An in-barn massage

service is also available.

Take a tour of the wild flower meadow, farm and the

kitchen gardens that supply organic produce for use in

their restaurant. Little ones will love meeting the ducks by

the pond, stroking the farm chickens and watching the

bees at work in their hive. Guests can also take part in clay

pigeon shooting, axe throwing, archery, yoga, floristry

classes, meditation, and chocolate making.

Popular local footpaths pass through the retreat

grounds. Favoured walks include strolling the fields to the

pretty village of Coddenham for a cup of tea and some


Whether you're looking to get out and about and

explore by road or by foot, there are some must-visit

places within very easy reach.

Ipswich Ipswich is just under 20 minutes' drive

away from Retreat East. With direct rail links from

London, it's a great option if you're travelling to

Retreat East by train.

Woodbridge Woodbridge is a pretty market town

that sits along the River Deben. It'll take you around

25 minutes to get there, but it is more than worth the


Southwold A quaint and pretty little seaside town,

home to the famous Adnams Brewery. Southwold is

ideal for beer, wine and spirits lovers to take a tour of

Adnams Brewery brewing and distillery plants, or to

enjoy a walk along the beach.

Aldeburgh The drive is around 40 minutes but a visit

to Aldeburgh is worth it. Perfect open beaches for

a nice long dog walk and some of the best seafood

restaurants around.

BritishTravelJournal.com 59




Need inspiration for a short break? We bring you the most interesting

experiences to book now, for exploration that is more memorable this summer

Text by Natalie Paris

60 BritishTravelJournal.com



Perfectly positioned on a two-mile beach in

northern Cornwall and a firm favourite with

families, the Watergate Bay Hotel is well-known for

its surf school. This summer, however, there is even

more to tempt water-sports enthusiasts. A recent

expansion means that hotel guests can add everything

from paddleboarding to beach yoga and outdoor fitness

sessions to their active break. These are run by local

Wavehunters instructors who take pride in knowing the

sea here really well. They recommend the big, sandy

break as being gentle, so great for beginner surfers.

Both private and group lessons are available. Time

away from the beach can be spent watching the rollers

from one of the varied hotel restaurants or from the

glass-fronted indoor pool. Alternatively, have a soak in a

clifftop hot tub or enjoy a hot rocks massage or pedicure.


Two nights from £250 per person




English wine has enjoyed a vintage few years,

with certain winemakers growing in stature and

producing bottles to really treasure. For an insight

into the creation of award-winning English

wine, head to Horwood House in the Buckinghamshire

countryside. The hotel is a 20-minute drive from the familyrun

23-acre Chafor wine estate, where guests who book

a Grape Escapes experience are welcomed with a glass of

Chafor’s top-rated Vintage Cuvée Sparkling Wine.

They are then taken on a tour of the vineyard and winery,

wandering among the rows of gnarled vines while listening

to head winemaker Tim Chafor talk about the estate’s

history, his grapes and the winery’s signature style.

A tasting and cheeseboard follows, after which guests

can retreat to the hotel to try its new spa, with a swimming

pool, a sauna and steam rooms. Dinner at the hotel

restaurant is also included.


One night from £325 per person

BritishTravelJournal.com 61


Idyllic escapes in the heart of Suffolk

Nestled amongst 35 acres of rambling countryside Retreat East is the ultimate

escape. Savour the moments with wildflower walks, hot tub dips, tranquil

treatments, delicious dinners and cosy nights in your character barn...


Have a four

legged friend?

We are a dog friendly

hotel so you are

welcome to bring

them too!








menus Experience by Executive the new Chef

Ricki menus Weston by Executive and his Chef team

Ricki Weston and his team

Bursting Bursting with flavour. with flavour. Choose Choose either either the

Michelin-starred Michelin-starred restaurant ‘The Dining Room’,

Bursting with


flavour. Choose

‘The Dining




Grey’s or Brasserie.




restaurant ‘The Dining Room’,

or Grey’s Brasserie.

joy a Enjoy one-night a one-night break break with dinner in

Grey’s Brasserie from £449.

Enjoy a one-night break with dinner in

Grey’s Brasserie from £449.

Or the Michelin star experience with

dinner in The Dining Room from £784.

Or the Michelin star experience with

dinner in The Dining Room from £784.

Book online whatleymanor.com

ok online whatleymanor.com

or call reservations on 01666 822 888

or call reservations Book online whatleymanor.com

01666 822 888

or call reservations on 01666 822 888

Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa Easton Grey Malmesbury SN16 0RB




A gentle way of exploring the rambling Sussex

countryside, from hills to coast, is offered by

Ockenden Manor and Bailiffscourt hotels,

who invite guests to take electric bicycles

out on a new, well-planned route. The starting point at

Ockenden Manor, a hotel with a spa and Michelin-star

restaurant in the High Weald, has guests on the ‘Cycling

for Softies’ tour will riding to Climping, which is the

location of Bailiffscourt, a second spa hotel on the coast

(40 miles). The route then continues onto the South

Downs and The Spread Eagle, another historic hotel in

the charming market town of Midhurst, for the final night

(25 miles). The journey wheels along country lanes, river

and coastal paths. Pedalling is a breeze on these bikes,

with GPS routes included for ease and a luggage transfer

service provided between each night’s accommodation.


Three nights from £1,034 per person




The summer months are a great time to explore

the patchwork of fields and rolling hills that

make up the Cotswolds. The region’s impossibly

pretty villages are a highlight, built from

honeyed stone and hiding quaint teahouses and oak-beamed

pubs up quiet, cobbled lanes. Guests at Whatley Manor on

a ‘Cotswold Explorer’ break can enjoy a genteel, end-ofthe-week

stay that includes afternoon tea. It also offers the

chance to indulge in the British equivalent of forest bathing,

by including two entrance tickets to Westonbirt, the National

Arboretum. Here, visitors can stroll between 2,500 different

species of tree, grown all over the world.

The hotel, set a short drive from the arboretum on

the edge of the Cotswolds, also has a newly appointed

Executive Chef who has been awarded a Michelin star

for The Dining Room restaurant, which guests can book

separately for another night if they wish.


Two nights from £456 per person

BritishTravelJournal.com 63




As camper vans combine freedom with little

luxuries, they make a savvy choice for a

music festival. In fact, some say the campervan

field is where the real fun happens when

the stage lights dim. Highlights for the forthcoming

festival season include Bigfoot, in Buckinghamshire,

where the artisan drinks and food are as important as

the music, or Wilderness in Oxfordshire, where revellers

relax in a lakeside spa in between acts. Alternatively,

a weekend at Latitude – known for its strong spoken

word programme – can be combined with a few days

exploring sand dunes along the Suffolk coast. The

smart vans from new, Dorset-based company OTBT,

for example, are stylishly put together, containing tiled

kitchens with leather cupboard handles and oiled wood

surfaces, as well as a cleverly hidden away boot area,

solar panels and a hammock swing.


Three nights from £468 in OTBT’s Maya van



Those whose knowledge of Loch Ness

is limited to the legend of a waterborne

monster might be surprised to learn

that this Scottish beauty has many more

secrets. From castles and battlefields

to standing stones and tumbling waterfalls, the

best way to explore this enigmatic body of water is

by going on a day tour of the lake with an expert.

It is not all walking either, with picturesque drives

included, as well as a boat cruise across the deep,

mysterious water. Ness Walk is a five-star hotel

located in Inverness, not far from the loch. Its

‘Wonders of Loch Ness’ break includes a picnic lunch

and visits to Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns,

Urquhart Castle and Divach Falls, which is where J

M Barrie wrote Peter Pan. Round off the day in fine

style with a dram or two of local whisky back at the

hotel, which sits on the banks of the River Ness and

was once a 19th-century house.


Three nights from £735 per person

64 BritishTravelJournal.com




From whisky to lobster, it’s possible to

sample some of the best of Scotland’s

culinary treasures on a luxury tour that

uses a private chauffeur. Guests of both

the Edinburgh hotel Prestonfield and The Witchery by

the Castle – an oak-panelled restaurant with suites –

can be driven to destinations within two hours of the

city as part of a new Taste of Scotland trail. Locations

visited include Dunbar Harbour, to see the seafood

catch arrive and learn about sustainable fishing from

Belhaven Lobster; East Lothian for a distillery tasting

and a foraged-food-pairing workshop with Buck

& Birch; Old Leckie farm for a quad-bike or tractor

tour and Scotland’s oldest working distillery, The

Glenturret. Here guests can expect a tour and lunch at

Michelin-starred The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant.

Dinner back at the accommodation will feature plenty

of the day’s produce.


Two nights from £1,720 per person




What could be better during Her

Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

celebrations than a private tour to

marvel at the Crown Jewels, travelling in

a chauffeur-driven Daimler car that once belonged

to the Queen Mother? This very exclusive luxury

break has been masterminded by London’s Hotel

Café Royal to provide an unforgettable experience

for guests who check into the two-bedroom Royal

Suite. On arrival at the Tower of London, a tour is

conducted by a Beefeater, before a private viewing

of the Crown Jewels and Royal Collection takes


Those who visit during the weekend of 4 or 5 June

will not only get to enjoy being inside a Royal Palace

during the jubilee celebrations but will also receive

a Champagne reception on arrival and the chance

to extend the visit by booking dinner afterwards in a

private dining room at the Tower.


One night from £6,147 per person

BritishTravelJournal.com 65



The gardens at Hadspen House, first

designed by Penelope Hobhouse, have

been transformed by luxury hotel The Newt

into one of the south’s must-visit estates.

With an apple-tree maze, a 'beezantium', deer quietly

milling about in the woods and an interactive gardening

museum, not only is there much to see on the average

day here but the hotel is offering gastronomes an extra

treat this summer.

Taking a tour of the edible garden area, guests can,

with the help of the estate’s head chef and a head

gardener, pick their own lunch. They can then take their

produce-laden trugs up to a spot above the wildflower

meadow, where a fire will be lit. Under chef’s guidance,

guests can create dishes and then help cook their finds,

for a slap-up picnic lunch that is as inventive as it is fresh.


Two nights from £720 per person





The television drama Bridgerton has

gripped the nation recently, stirring

up interest in the lives of high society

during the Regency period. There is

nowhere better to imagine the whirlwind of balls and

park strolls loved by characters from Bridgerton than in

Bath, with its dashing Georgian buildings that were used

as a backdrop during filming. To spot key sites from the

show, and to learn about this Unesco-heritage city at the

same time, the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is offering

guests a private Bridgerton-themed walking tour, plus a

Champagne afternoon tea as part of a package called

‘Promenade like a Bridgerton’. The hotel is located at

the heart of the sweeping Royal Crescent, the city’s bestknown

architectural masterpiece.


Two nights from £260 per person

66 BritishTravelJournal.com

Indigo Barn, Norfolk

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.

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68 BritishTravelJournal.com





Coastal walks, sandy beaches, surfing and art galleries: there’s

many reasons to visit St Ives, north of Penzance. With the

opening of Una St Ives luxury resort it is now easier than ever

to plan your perfect trip to this much-loved destination

Text by Jessica Way

Situated on the north coast of Cornwall within

easy reach of the white sands of Carbis Bay

and buzz of St Ives town, Una St Ives is an

idyllic holiday village delivering laid-back

indulgence in one of the county's most desirable hot

spots. British Travel Journal first wrote about Una St

Ives in our Spring 2021 edition, featuring the resort

as one of the most exciting new coastal launches

in the UK. It is no surprise then, that given the first

opportunity to stay in one of their brand-new luxury

lodges, we had our suitcases packed.

Named ‘Una’ after the first boat to win the

Cornish Gig Rowing Championships and built with

beautiful Cornish stone amid stunning landscaped

grounds, the resort has taken its Cornish heritage and

artistic influences to heart. The design is consistent

throughout the lodges, leisure facilities, restaurants

and spa, with spacious and creative spaces and

contemporary furnishings, inspiring coastal living.

Packing is made easy as your home-from-home lodge

is kitted out with items you might need, including a

washer/dryer and all your bathroom luxuries. It is

so easy to put down your bags and let your holiday

begin, whether by making yourself a cuppa in the

kitchen, relaxing in the dining area, putting your feet

up on the sofa, or unwinding on your private terrace.

The Scandi-influenced ecolodges, using solar

panels and lamb's wool insulation, range from one-,

two-, three- and four-bedroom properties. The

exciting next phase of development will see a further

27 high-end two- and three-bedroom villas with private

hot tubs, a 20-metre heated outdoor lido with an

BritishTravelJournal.com 69

additional kids’ pool, an outdoor kitchen, a bar and

restaurant serving barbequed burritos, rotisserie chicken

and flat iron steaks prepared al fresco over charcoal to

create a street-food-festival vibe by the pool, along with

a games room and padel-tennis courts. Plus, there's a

55-bedroom apartment–hotel with its own central piazza,

bar, restaurant and further leisure facilities in the pipeline

– in total there will be 93 new luxury villas to be completed

by the end of 2023, making it the largest luxury resort in the

south-west and a spectacular jewel in Cornwall’s crown.

Yet, even with just the newly completed lodges and

Atrium (home to the the leisure club and Una Kitchen

restaurant), and some construction work taking place

around us, it was already a fabulous resort – far exceeding

our expectations. (The new villas are also available to

purchase under a holiday-home-ownership scheme.)


After a restorative night’s sleep in the super-comfortable

beds, the tranquility and calm continued through the

morning, helped largely by a stocked fridge following our

pre-arranged supermarket delivery the night before. It was

weekend breakfast-as-usual only in a much brighter, more

uplifting setting than our usual Hampshire abode.

It had been such a long time since I had been to a spa

(due to COVID-19) that I was delighted to kick-start my

holiday wellness with an ELEMIS bespoke deep-tissue

body massage while my husband and daughters enjoyed

the swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms. Following a

Cornish coffee espresso and slice of home-made banana

cake from Una Kitchen we jumped in a taxi to St Ives (to

avoid parking on a Saturday – it costs around £5 for the

journey), excited to explore the picturesque town.

70 BritishTravelJournal.com

One of Cornwall’s best-loved and most

visited places, St Ives is famed for the artists,

past and present, who have visited and

settled here.

Perched above the town, Tate St Ives looks

over Porthmeor Beach. Part of the famous Tate

family, with siblings Tate Britain, Tate Modern

and Tate Liverpool, this landmark is recognised as

an international showcase for modern art, with a

permanent collection and regular contemporary

exhibitions. It epitomises the unique culture of St

Ives, celebrating the artists associated with the

town, including Barbara Hepworth, Naum Gabo,

Alfred Wallis and Mark Rothko. Join in one of the

guided tours or stop for a light lunch while enjoying

the sea views and activity below.

Contrasting with the space and openness of

Tate St Ives is the intimacy of the neighbouring

former home and studio of Barbara Hepworth (one

of Britain’s most recognised 20th-century artists)

known as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and

Sculpture Garden. Here you can wander among

the stunning sculptures, perfectly placed in their

garden setting, take time to sit and reflect and feel

yourself getting to know and understand the great

sculptor. The shade, solitude and sheer beauty of

the garden is there to inspire, refresh and enliven

any art lover or green-fingered visitor.

Just a short journey from this buzzing art scene is

another of Cornwall’s top tourist attractions: The

Minack Theatre. In 11931, local Rowena Cade, who

lived at Minack House, felt that the cliffs she saw

One of Cornwall’s best-loved and most-visited places, St Ives

is famed for the artists, past and present, who have visited and

settled here. This isn’t surprising given its natural charm and beauty

and, important to any painter, its crystal-clear light. Hugging the

shore is the town itself, with higgledy-piggledy lanes presenting no

end of treasures. Around every corner, a tiny workshop, gallery or

studio beckons, and there are many independent boutiques selling

fashionable seaside clothing brands, handmade gifts, chocolates

and other artisan creations.

We wandered down the cobbled streets before stumbling upon

Noall Square, a pretty courtyard with coloured flags, a rock shop, a

record shop, and a tea room where we had some lunch.

By the time we arrived at the picturesque harbourside it was

time for an ice cream, which we enjoyed on Town Beach before

meandering back through town to the opposite coastline to discover

Tate St Ives – the world-renowned must-visit attraction.

BritishTravelJournal.com 71

...if you like your sea-to-fork fish dishes,

the Una Kitchen Seafood Chowder is tasty

enough to give Rick Stein a good run for

his money...

from her garden would be the perfect setting for a

production of The Tempest. After that performance,

the theatre was established and today attracts

audiences from all over the world. There's no better

backdrop for any play or musical performance than

a sun-kissed shore, a Cornish sunset and distant


For us, though, it was time to get back to Una

St Ives for our dinner reservation at Una Kitchen.

Led by multiple AA-Rosette-winning Cornish chef

Glenn Gatland, Una Kitchen’s Mediterraneaninspired

seasonal menus have been quick to

impress. So much so, that at the recent Cornwall

Tourism Awards they were declared the winners

of the highly acclaimed Restaurant of the Year

award. Starters include much-loved favourites

like sticky chicken wings and salt & pepper squid,

and for the mains, if you like your sea-to-fork fish

dishes, the Una Kitchen Seafood Chowder is tasty

enough to give Rick Stein a good run for his money,

while children are likely to be fans of their woodfired

Gozney-oven-cooked pizzas. To finish off we

devoured some chocolate ganache and strawberry

and cream pavlova.

Guests are also welcome in the evening to enjoy

the bar, which offers a wide selection of wines,

local beers and handcrafted cocktails with Cornish

Orchards Gold cider, Alba IPA or Hella Pale Ale

from St Ives Brewery, and St Ives Blood Orange gin.


Eager to explore the many beautiful beaches,

including Gwithian, Hayle, Porthmister and

Porthmeor, all within easy reach of Una St Ives,

we got dressed into our wetsuits. Together with

our beach bags and our Dick Pearce wooden

bellyboards from Newquay, (see my article on page

92) we were ready for a day of wave riding. We had

been told by one of the locals about The Towans

(Cornish for ‘dune’) – a three-mile stretch of sand

linking Godrevy Beach at the eastern tip of St Ives

Bay to Gwithian Beach, all the way to Hayle Sands.

We headed to Gwithian and couldn’t believe our

luck: white sand, turquoise water, dramatic cliffs,

glistening rockpools and rolling dunes.

72 BritishTravelJournal.com






The sun was shining and we hit the surf under the

backdrop of Godrevy Lighthouse – the inspiration for

Virginia Woolf’s seminal novel To the Lighthouse.

There were a few dog walkers and surfers, but for one

of Cornwall’s best-loved and most visited coastlines it was

surprisingly uncrowded. We might have been lucky due to

the time of year (it was late April), but possibly it is the vast

natural wilderness and expansive coastline that helps keep

it so peaceful. We weren’t lucky enough, but you might

see dolphins in the waves here, and seals are frequently

spotted in the rocky shallows.

For lunch or light snacks there’s the Sunset Surf Cafe

adjacent to the Gwithian Beach car park, or if you fancy

a wild clifftop walk, head towards Godrevy on the South

West Coast Path in search of The Rockpool (20 to 25

minutes). Both beach cafes have a laid-back and rustic

vibe, catering for surfers, wild swimmers and dogs, while

the kitchens serve great, fresh Cornish food with both

indoor and outdoor seating, and incredible beach views.

For wild sea swimming you just can’t beat the glistening

waters of Carbis Bay, an absolutely gorgeous spot, with

golden sand surrounded by subtropical plants, just 15

minutes by foot or five minutes by car from the villas. In

complete contrast to The Towans beaches we had visited

earlier in the day, the coastline here rarely has big waves,

so, rather than attracting adrenaline-seeking surfers,

families and sunbathers come here in search of relaxation

– and we were happy to leave our bellyboards behind.

I urge all Una St Ives guests to feel the sand here

between their toes – it comes as no surprise that this

stunning beach is listed as one of the world’s best by

the Most Beautiful Bays in the World organisation. You

know you have arrived as you hear or see a train pulling

into the picturesque railway station, and you cross the

line over a pretty bridge to a convenient coastal path

taking you down onto the golden sands. It wasn't quite

yet summer and the water was cold, but knowing the hot

tub was bubbling away back at the ranch gave me the

encouragement to fully submerge, in true Wim Hof style.

At low tide you can walk across to Porthkidney Sands,

where you’ll find an RSPB bird sanctuary, an important

habitat for seabirds.

If an afternoon walk is more your scene than swimming

in the Atlantic Ocean, there are many excellent hikes from

Una St Ives too, including winding your way to Trencrom

Hill where you are rewarded for your effort by the farreaching

vistas across to St Ives Bay in one direction and St

Michaels Mount in the other. Or, another local favourite is

the path to Porthkidney Beach, the former home of artist

John Miller, famous for his series of beach landscapes.

Una St Ives certainly lived up to my expectation

and was the wellness break I had needed; memorable,

rejuvenating and life-affirming.

Prices to stay self-catering in a one-bedroom lodge at

Una St Ives from £180 per night for a three-night break,

including leisure club access; unastives.co.uk

BritishTravelJournal.com 73



With music, art, cars, yoga – and a goat, Britain is celebrating this

summer in glorious style. So pack shorts or tuxedos and join us on

our journey from Edinburgh to Cornwall to find the best festivals




This Summer Solstice at

the Birch, Hertfordshire

there's a brand new and

exciting three-day-long

summer festival with

live music and DJs,

incredible food feasts,

chefs, producers, pool

parties, restorative

wellness experiences

and a comfy bed to lay

your head on at the

end of the night.






Nursery exhibits, workshops

and talks, rare and wild world

plants and exotic living spaces.




Don a black tie and tux or slinky

maxi dress for this year's headliners,

including The Script and Tom Jones.




Celebrate the 150th anniversary of

the world’s oldest golf tournament

at The Open in St Andrews, Scotland.


74 BritishTravelJournal.com




Set in 5,000 acres, the wellness,

sporting, themes and food lineup

is as strong as the music.





There's surfing,

skateboarding and

BMX bike riding

on Fistral Beach

Beach along with

gigs up the coast

at Watergate Bay,

with shuttle buses

between the two.




Nestled in the picturesque

South Wales’ National Park.





Rock around the

installations at the

art-and-music festival

in Jupiter Artland, the

contemporary sculpture

park. Focusing on

emerging artists,

highlights include the

Durban duo, Destruction

Boyz, who bring their

Gqom music (electronic

dance with repetitive

sounds and heavy base

beats) to Scotland,

and don't miss Antony

Gormley’s 1019 steel

balls or Anish Kapoor’s

caged metal chute.


BritishTravelJournal.com 75


British Drinks

There are going to be big celebrations of the Queen’s Platinum

Jubilee during the weekend of 2 to 5 June, so here's a range of

delicious Great British drinks from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and

England for when you are raising your glass for a toast

Limited Edition


The world’s first premium nonalcoholic

fermented aperitif,

made with natural ingredients

from the surrounding Cornish

countryside, £19.99.




The limited-edition

Platinum Jubilee

Gin is bursting with

fruity notes of jammy

raspberry, strawberry

and fresh citrus, leaving

a delicious taste of

smooth vanilla ice

cream, £34.95.



Produced at the Isle of Wight

Distillery, the first and only

distillery on the island, a small

batch, beach-to-bottle London

Dry Gin with a hint of sea air, £38.



Created in honour of William

Gladstone, four-times Prime

Minister during the reign of

Queen Victoria. There are two

whiskies in the range, from £32.


76 BritishTravelJournal.com




Enjoy exclusive access in the gardens where the Tudor queen grew up

when you stay the night in the Tudor Village at Kent’s Hever Castle, and

spend an evening in the same room where she slept with Henry VIII at

Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire

Text by Jane Knight

night at Hever Castle get exclusive use of the grounds

before they open to the public and after everyone else

has gone home.

It’s a delicious feeling having all this history to

yourself, imagining Anne strolling along with Henry

VIII, the Tudor king she so enraptured that he broke

with Rome and set up the Church of England just so

he could marry her. The story might not have ended

It’s so quiet as I stroll along Anne Boleyn’s walk that

I fancy I can hear the swish of her skirt skimming

the grass. To my left is the fairy-tale castle where

she grew up and the formal Italian garden; ahead

lies the lake, with its pleasant hour-long circuit by the

water. The only person I meet on my early-morning

perambulations is a gardener; guests staying the

78 BritishTravelJournal.com

enamoured pair may have promenaded, two of the illfated

Queen’s prayer books, one exhorting the reader

to ‘remember me when you doth pray’, and the room

believed to have been slept in by the Tudor king.

I wouldn’t mind curling up in the four poster there,

but visitors to Hever can’t stay in the castle. Instead,

well – Anne was one of Henry’s two wives who were

beheaded – but it still never fails to entrance me.

At opening time, I’m first through the door of her

crenelated, moated home, where the door to the great

hall with its huge fireplace, wood ceiling and minstrels’

gallery still has the lock Henry brought with him to

ensure his safety. Upstairs is the long gallery where the

BritishTravelJournal.com 79





I’m just next door, in the Tudor Village

(now called the Astor Wing) created

for guests of its 20th-century owner

William Waldorf Astor. It’s a long way

from slumming it – Astor really did things

properly when he ploughed some of

his vast fortune into restoring Hever,

landscaping its gardens and creating the

lake. Insisting on only using materials and

methods current in 16th-century Britain,

his guest extension featured rooms with

half-timbered or elaborate plastered

ceilings that have welcomed everyone

from Winston Churchill and Arthur

Conan Doyle to Elizabeth Taylor and

Grace Kelly. Even the least expensive of

the 28 rooms are beautifully done out.

Henry VIII himself would have surely

felt at home in the Tudor Village’s dining

room with its enormous fireplace, brocade

curtains, oak panelling and ribbed wood

vaulted ceiling. While they don’t serve

dinner here (for that you need to stroll to

the Henry VIII pub through the grounds

or drive further afield), the breakfasts are

particularly impressive. After consuming

what feels like my body weight of fresh

fruit, yogurt with granola, cheese, pastries

and avocado on sourdough, I feel a bit

like bluff king Hal myself.

So much for eating like a king, but if

you want to truly live like one you need to

drive west for three hours to Thornbury

Castle in Gloucestershire, the only Tudor

castle that operates as a luxury hotel, and

is now a member of the prestigious Relais

& Châteaux group.

Here, I hit the jackpot and sleep in

the very room that Anne Boleyn shared

with Henry for ten days during their

royal progress in 1535. Up a spiral stone

staircase with steps worn deep by the

imprint of footsteps over the centuries,

the Henry VIII suite is magnificent,

80 BritishTravelJournal.com

Here, I hit the jackpot and sleep in the very room that Anne Boleyn

shared with Henry for ten days during their royal progress in 1535.

BritishTravelJournal.com 81

with an ornate ceiling, a four-poster bed and the

original garderobe toilet (thankfully now with

plumbing). When the royal couple visited, Henry was

already beginning to tire of his second wife – he had

her beheaded in 1536 and married Jane Seymour, who

didn’t stay at Thornbury but still has a room named

after her, just beneath this one in the octagonal stone


Right at the top of the tower, up a dizzying 77 steps,

lies the most opulent suite of all, named after Henry’s

first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The enormous tenfoot

by six-foot bed here is surely big enough for all of

Henry’s six wives beneath its canopy of 24-carat inlay,

while the capacious bathroom could have held all their

ladies in waiting too.

You don’t need to pay a king’s ransom to stay here

though; even the least expensive of the 26 rooms have

a regal feel, some with four posters or a seating area in

the oriel window area. Like the rest of the castle, they

are fresh from a multimillion-pound facelift after the

Emirati Khamas group bought it in 2019. Under the

watchful eye of English Heritage, it has been restored

sympathetically, adding contemporary comfort

to the Tudor trappings. Carpets have been peeled

back to reveal Tudor flagstones, Victorian tiling and

floorboards; furnishings were overhauled, plumbing

and electricity upgraded, and discreet modern frescoes


You certainly get a lot of history with your hotel

here. Thornbury was one of the last castles to be built

before firearms rendered them obsolete, so while it has

the traditional crenelated walls, turrets and arrow slits,

there is a distinct palatial side to it, with 12-foot red

brick chimneys and luxurious apartments.

The most lavish of all is the double-height drawing

room, its elaborate oriel windows framed by crimsonand-gold

curtains. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy

pre-dinner canapes and cocktails, and although its

twinkling chandeliers wouldn’t have been around in

Tudor times, they certainly add to the atmosphere.

Carved into the ornate arched doorway and the

enormous fireplace surrounds I can make out the Stafford

knot, the emblem of Edward Stafford, the third Duke of

Buckingham. It was Stafford’s pretensions to grandeur

and probably the throne (he was a descendant of Edward

III) that led to his downfall. Fearing for his throne, and

fancying the castle for himself, Henry effectively cried

“off with his head” by signing the duke’s death warrant

before nabbing Thornbury. After he visited with Anne, his

daughter, Mary Tudor, spent part of her childhood there.

Moving from the drawing room into the woodpanelled

restaurant, the arrow slit in the four-foot castle

walls by my table reminds me that I’m still in a castle,

albeit a palatial one. It’s a lovely place to savour the sixcourse

tasting menu, which becomes quite ceremonial

with a succession of perfectly cooked dishes along with

a matching flight of wines.

82 BritishTravelJournal.com





Daytime brings the chance to explore other Tudor

castles nearby. Berkeley Castle, which also belonged to

Henry, is just nine miles away. While the king and Anne

probably didn’t stay here, their daughter, Elizabeth I

did – and left behind her bedspread when she stormed

off after a row about hunting. An hour’s drive from

Thornbury takes you to Sudeley Castle, which Henry

and Anne visited, but which is better known as the

home and resting place of Henry’s last wife,

Catherine Parr, the Queen who outlived him.

Back at Thornbury, there is falconry and archery on

offer by way of regal pursuits, or afternoon tea beneath

the minstrels’ gallery. Here, too, are gorgeous gardens,

with ancient yew hedges, sections for roses and herbs

and a particularly pretty walled garden. In Tudor times,

its creeper-clad walls were topped by a timber gallery,

allowing the duke to walk from his rooms to his pew in

the adjacent St Mary’s church without mixing with the

hoi polloi.

Now, as I walk at ground level around a flower bed

carefully planted in the shape of the Stafford knot, my

thoughts turn to Anne again. She too must have walked

here, probably aware that she was losing the king’s favour.

Her story doesn’t end at Thornbury, but at the Tower

of London, where she was taken by barge, passing

through the shudder-inducing Traitors Gate. It’s no

surprise that after she was executed on Tower Green and

buried in the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula that

people frequently report seeing her ghost there.

I prefer to think of it at Hever instead, running

around in the garden, happy and smiling outside her

childhood home.

Rooms at Hever Castle cost from £175, B&B,

including access to the castle and grounds during the

stay; hevercastle.co.uk. Thornbury Castle rooms start

from £249, B&B, with the Henry VIII suite from £559;


BritishTravelJournal.com 83






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Author Martin Dorey headed north in search of solitude

on a road trip to England’s least-populated county and

a coastline that’s beautiful and often overlooked.

Between the summer crowds he found just what he was

looking for and more. And that can only mean one thing:

a bracing dip in the North Sea

Text and Images by Martin Dorey

We parked the van at Beadnell

Bay, a long, sandy bay to the

south of Seahouses, in a little

car park behind the dunes.

We were looking for solitude, in a year when

solitude was hard to find; seeking out the

kind of places where most people don’t go.

I wanted to prove that it is still possible to

get ‘off the beaten track’ in England in 2021,

the year we all stayed at home. Happily, it is.

Northumberland, by many standards,

is one of those places where the majority of

people don’t go. It has the lowest population

density of any English county and remains

resolutely off the radar for many, despite a

coastline that’s sparsely populated, rugged,

diverse and often achingly beautiful. Between

the hotspots of Holy Island, Bamburgh,

Seahouses and Amble, there is still plenty

of space, especially when you compare it to

other places: Northumberland welcomed

10 million visitors in 2018 compared with 47

million for the Lake District (on the wetter,

western side of England). The county might

not have the lakes or the mountains but it

more than makes up for it with castles,

BritishTravelJournal.com 87

ancient sites, beaches, puffins and dark skies.

And did I mention the beaches? A drive up the

coast from Whitley Bay to Berwick will take

you to them all. Give yourself time and dawdle.

Lizzy took off her shoes to walk through the

dunes to the beach. It was a warm day, with

thin, wispy cloud and little wind.

When we emerged from the tall marram

grasses we looked out at a low-tide beach with

maybe three or four people on it. Most of them

were walking. Lizzy led me off to the south to

show me a beach she had wanted to explore.

We let the coast path take us around a

low headland of rocks, across cool, still-damp

sand, and through more marram, to another

small arc of beach with a rocky reef in the

middle and points on either side. Below the

tideline, and between the rocks, flat sand.

The beach was deserted, save for a few

gulls pecking at seaweed. A couple walked

along the coast path, away from us and

around to the next bay. A few small waves

broke on the sand in a small clean swell.

If ever there was a time to embrace the

North Sea this was it. The water, though chilly,

was bearable. I blew out as I submerged to

avoid the risk of cold-water shock – something

to remember – and allowed my breathing to

slow back to normal.

The beach was gently shelving so it took

us a while to get deep enough to dive in and

swim. My skin fizzed as I got used to the cold

and swam a few strokes out into the bay.

We swam a little more and then, once back

in our dry clothes, walked back up the beach

hand in hand, feeling the warmth from the sun

on our backs. With the beach to ourselves it

was a good sign we were, truly, off the beaten

track, especially considering it was August.


















88 BritishTravelJournal.com

I loved the wildness and the fact that, with a little effort, we could find a

slice of heaven to ourselves. That’s a rare quality. And it made me feel truly

alive and happy at a time when so much was uncertain.

This experience was the

peak of my time exploring the

Northumberland coast: I loved

the wildness and the fact that,

with a little effort, we could find

a slice of heaven to ourselves.

That’s a rare quality. And it

made me feel truly alive and

happy at a time when so much

was uncertain.

I have been to

Northumberland in the depths

of winter and found it to be

beguiling even then. But in

summer it was truly lovely.

We surfed on a tiny beach

behind the railway lines near

Cocklawburn while a few

walkers trudged up the sands

and a woman played in the

waves with her children. We

bought kippers in Craster. We

strolled through Amble. We

got ‘that picture’ of Bamburgh

Castle reflected in the

shimmering shallows.

BritishTravelJournal.com 89

We strolled on empty sands and

swam in empty seas. We cycled in

Kielder Forest and got completely lost

in the vast nothing of the Otterburn

Ranges. What more could you ask of

a road trip?

When it came to visiting Holy

Island – the hugely popular island of

Lindisfarne – we employed a tactic

divulged to us by a fellow camper: he

waited for a day with a midday high

tide. This meant that any visitors to

the island would have been cut off all

day by the tidal causeway, unable to

return to the mainland until the water

receded in the evening. Waiting on

the mainland for the tide to ebb away,

he drove across to Lindisfarne when

everyone else was leaving. It worked

for us too. We arrived at about six

o’clock on a clear, sunny evening. Sure

enough, idling on the island side, we

found a queue of cars.

As they streamed off the island, we

cruised on, enjoying a quiet evening of

spiritual wandering as the sun set.

Our final stop, Berwick, was as

surprising as the rest of it. We found

the lovely beach at Spittal by accident

while trying to find the (brilliantly

located) Caravan and Motorhome

Club Site. It is a quiet, sandy beach,

backed by beautiful, elegant stone

houses and terraces of neat cottages.

Some had gardens that led onto the

promenade. Bound by the railway

and cliffs, Spittal is a dead end kept

quiet by a lack of through traffic. I

fell in love with its wide, quiet streets

90 BritishTravelJournal.com















straight away. There were probably no more than

20 people on the sand. It passed the ‘I could live

here’ test. And that’s a big ask: I live in Cornwall.

Sadly, Berwick was as far as we’d get on this

trip. It didn’t really matter that we’d stopped short

of Scotland.

Northumberland was wild enough without

heading for the NC500, the Trossachs or the

Outer Hebrides.

And with all the driving we’d save, there was

always time for one last cool swim. Breathe out as

you submerge.

Off the Beaten Track:

England and Wales

Off the Beaten Track:

England and Wales is a book

about getting away from it

all. Martin drove the length

and breadth of England and

Wales to find places that are

forgotten, overlooked or simply dropped off the

map. With sections on how to do it the hard way

or the easy way, Martin kayaked the Tweed, hiked

river valleys to the sea, cycled up mountains and

fished remote wilderness lakes in search of that

rarest of commodities: solitude. Did he find it? You

bet he did.

Martin Dorey is the author of Off the Beaten Track:

England and Wales and The Camper Van Bible: The

Glovebox Edition, published by Conway and out now.



The home of the Craster Kipper is a

must! Go early. Parking is easier – and

pick up a freshly smoked kipper from the

quayside. There's a great coastal walk to

Dunstanburgh Castle too.


There are many good reasons to amble

around the fishing town of Amble. The

harbour village prides itself on being

the ‘friendliest port in England’, and its

annual puffin festival, brightly coloured

beach huts and seafood shacks are just a

few of its quirks.

Warkworth Castle

Stunning castle on a bend in the river,

owned by the National Trust. View the

awe-inspiring keep as you wander around

the nearly intact circuit of towered wall.

Bamburgh Castle

Experience a different level of

Northumberland at England's finest

fortress, home of the real Last Kingdom of

Bebbanburg. Great views, overlooking a

beautiful, white sand beach.

BritishTravelJournal.com 91




Set on an exclusive clifftop overlooking the famous sands of

Fistral Beach, The Headland is, without doubt, one of the

grandest and finest hotels in the British Isles. Although you

don’t need a reason to stay here, the brand new £10 million

Aqua Club could be your motivation to check-in this summer

Text by Jessica Way

92 BritishTravelJournal.com

Dramatic, unapologetic and

authentic, The Headland Hotel &

Spa is an Victorian architectural

masterpiece, made famous by

Roald Dahl’s movie The Witches.

The striking red-brick façade and imposing

peninsula position on Fistral Bay’s rugged cliffs

simply demands attention.

It was in June 1900 when the first guests stayed

in this beautiful Duchy of Cornwall landmark,

when the hotel was at the height of luxury for its

time, with lavishly decorated rooms, hot and cold

running water and electric lights.

Fast forward 122 years with the opening of a

brand new state-of-the-art Aqua Club, and we

are seeing history repeating itself, as this awardwinning,

much-loved five-star hotel once again

raises the bar high.

It has been far from straightforward, however.

The Headland’s owners, John and Carolyn

Armstrong, have invested over £45 million since

taking on the hotel in 1979.

Despite joyful beginnings that lasted through

the fruitful twenties, the combination of postwar

rationing and owners unable to invest in the

property, left it neglected, creaky and dilapidated.

Despite its run-down state, peeling paint and

rotting wood, John and Carolyn were ready to take

on the challenge, which included a serious amount

of structural work and interior refurbishment.

BritishTravelJournal.com 93

The phenomenal husband-and-wife

team still own the hotel today, and

have stopped at nothing to reinvent

The Headland as a modern, luxurious

destination of distinction.

Their labour of love, making

improvements and restoring the hotel

might have taken four decades, but it

has now paid off. The Headland Hotel

& Spa is now a multi-award-winning,

five-star 88-bedroom property, with

a state-of-the-art gym, a five-bubble

spa, a six-pool wellness centre, three

restaurants and the best sea views in


If you want to impress your kids,

book hotel rooms 223, 227 or 205,

as these were used in the bedroom

scenes of The Witches. Or for a special

occasion, you might want to stay in

a Fistral suite, Ocean suite or Best

suite. We struck it lucky in room 210,

an absolutely beautiful suite with its

own private balcony, separate lounge

with electric fireplace, an exquisite

bathroom and spectacular sea views.

If you would prefer something more

private, in 2020 the hotel launched

their ultra-stylish exclusive guest village

with a selection of contempary one-,

94 BritishTravelJournal.com




two- and three-bedroom self-catering

cottages and apartments. Whether in

one of the cottages, apartments or the

hotel itself, all guests are welcome to

enjoy the hotel's new Aqua Club.

Three years in the making, the

eagerly anticipated Aqua Club is a

no-luxury-spared swimming and wellbeing

complex situated adjacent to the

hotel. The new facility has six stunning

pools (both indoor and outdoor), a

sun terrace overlooking the ocean, and

a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant

named The Deck.

Outside on the sun terrace, there

is a heated sunset spa encircled by

an infinity-edge pool. There is also a

heated outdoor vitality pool that has a

Cornish granite menhir at its centre –

the perfect spot to let go of the stresses

and strains of everyday life.

Don’t disregard The Headland’s

original spa sanctuary located inside

the heart of the hotel, however,

where there’s a sumptuous relaxation

suite and further treatment rooms, a

Rhassoul mud chamber, a Swedish

sauna, a Cornish salt steam room,

aromatherapy showers, hydrotherapy

pool and a state-of-the-art gym.

In celebration of the Queen’s

incredible 70 years of service this

summer, you might also enjoy

devouring a decadent Platinum

Jubilee afternoon tea. The Headland

chefs have created a menu of

quintessentially British treats and

light bites, including cucumber,

cream cheese and coronation

chicken sandwiches and The Queen's

Chocolate Cake.

BritishTravelJournal.com 95

There are not many hotels in the world that can claim this level of enchantment

for their guests, and this makes The Headland a very special hotel indeed...

With an old-fashioned charm and

attentive staff throughout the hotel's

restaurants, you are made to feel like

royality wherever you are, from double-

A-Rosette-awarded dining in The

Samphire restaurant to sampling the

Mediterranean-inspired menu in The

Deck and enjoying sundown cocktails

on The Terrace. Menus change with the

seasons, reflecting the best regional

produce with a selection of fresh local

seafood, chargrilled cuts of the finest

meats and irresistible daily specials,

along with expertly mixed cocktails.

The Headland is remarkable in

how it has maintained a traditional

service and charisma from the early

1900s, when royals King Edward VII

and Queen Alexandra stayed at the

hotel, and it is no surprise that the

current Prince of Wales and Princess

Royal have also enjoyed several visits

in recent years, along with celebrity

royalty George Clooney.

To really appreciate the history of

the place, take some time out to dwell

in the sitting room, where vintage

photos, hotel memorabilia and press

cuttings from days gone by adorn the

walls and antique furniture.

You acquire a sense of timeless

connection to those who have stepped

the same footprint before you at The

Headland, from standing on the

balcony sharing the same mesmerising

experience of losing yourself in the

96 BritishTravelJournal.com





sights and sounds of the perpetual

waves to the glamorous feeling of

gracefully winding your way down the

grand sweeping staircase.

You know that, while this is your

moment to enjoy the charm of the

hotel, it comes with the familiarity

of these ageless qualities, the

breathtaking views and preserved

architectural beauty, having been

enjoyed for over a century by others

before you.

There are not many hotels in the

world that can claim this level of

enchantment for their guests, and this

makes The Headland a very special

hotel indeed, especially when you

consider its remarkable achievement

of modernising the hotel with à la

mode luxuries without compromising

this exceptional quality. And if this

historical significance isn’t spinetingling

enough for you, the hotel's

unrivalled location just a stone’s throw

from the golden sands of Fistral Beach,

offers every reason to brace the sea

and enjoy the waves.

Head down to the Surf Sanctuary

to get kitted out – introductory surf

classes, equipment hire and private

lessons, as well as all you need for

coasteering, kite surfing and standup

paddleboarding; it's all available

here. And, Fistral, although positively

popular with the surf professionals,

is extremely welcoming to everyone,

no matter your level of experience or

confidence in the water.

We picked up one of Dick Pearce's

environment-friendly wooden

bellyboards, loaned to hotel guests on

a complimentary basis. Founder and

World Bellyboard Champion, Jamie

Johnstone and his team make the ecoconscious

handmade boards at their

workshop just a short stroll from the

hotel in Hope’s Yard. Take some time

to visit the two-storey studio and surf

shop to see the sanding, smoothing,

varnishing and painting, and to treat

yourself to a gift or two. As well as

selling the surfboards, at the shop

you'll find fashionable artwork prints,

t-shirts, blankets, books and more.

(Read all about Jamie’s Surf Wood

for Good campaign in our Travel

News, page 20.)

If surfing and wave-riding has left

you feeling hungry on the sand dunes,

a delicious Cornish pasty from the

Fistral Beach Pasty Shack should hit

the spot, or for Rick Stein’s famous fish

& chips there’s a laid-back restaurant

with the option to take-away.

The Headland Hotel & Spa really

does have it all: the spas, the sea,

and the incredible hospitality. But

transcending its glitz and glamour, for

me, it has become more than just a

hotel. It's a place that makes you feel

so special during your stay, giving you

such a sense of place in all its alluring

history that your memories become

even more magical. In a similar way

to cherishing an heirloom, you feel a

desire to savour these moments and to

enjoy The Headland with your family,

who will hopefully continue to pass the

tradition down, perhaps even sharing

their family holiday memories with

their own children – from generation to

generation – in the same spot, and with

the same ocean view as you.

Jessica Way was hosted by The

Headland Hotel, a member of Pride

of Britain Hotels, a very fine collection

of hotels dotted around the British

Isles. The carefully curated collection

includes privately owned properties,

each one unique and characterful.

Prices for an overnight stay start from

£210 per night based on two people

sharing, including breakfast. Contact

Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089

3929. prideofbritainhotels.com

BritishTravelJournal.com 97


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8


9 10

11 12

13 14 15

16 17

18 19

20 21 22 23

24 25 26

27 28











We're reading...


9 --- East, Suffolk escape and

spa (7)

10 Shannon town distils ethanol


11 Tricked (5)

12 Grouped together for a private

conversation, perhaps (2,1,6)

13 Picturesque region of middle

England (9)

15 Faint (5)

16 The part that matters (8,3)

20 Fabulous writer (5)

22 Wine steward (9)

24 Skin (9)

26 Anne Boleyn's family castle (5)

27 --- Manor, hotel and spa in 13

Across (7)

28 Disruptive Pacific currents



1 Isle of Arran fortress, which

became a family seat (7)

2 Words to a naughty child (4,2)

3 Disappointments (3-5)

4 Youths (10)

5 Accumulation of information (4)

6 Shoulder signals (6)

7 Festival of Speed location (8)

8 Belittles (7)

14 Hamburger bun feature (6,4)

16 Lulworth camp and musical

event (8)

17 Large pachydermatous quadruped


18 Early in the story (4,3)

19 19th-century castle near

Inverness (7)

21 Rice dish made with saffron (6)

23 Cook up (6)

25 Noss ---, South Devon beauty

spot (4)

THE PIG: 500 Miles of Food, Friends and Local Legends, THE PIG’s

second book is a celebration of the counties we call home, £30,

thepighotel.com | The Responsible Traveller: This book is your ticket to

positive, guilt-free, sustainable and ethical travel, £7.99, summersdale.com

| The South West Coast Path: 1,000 Mini Adventures Along Britain's

Longest Waymarked Path: An inspiring guidebook highlighting the

adventures to enjoy along its entire 630-mile route, £20, bloomsbury.com

| 100 Piers: Paintings at the Water's Edge: In this collection of 100

beautiful paintings it is clear that every pier, from the grandest to the

most modest, has its own story, £35, unicornpublishing.org

Answers will be printed in the Autumn/Winter 2022 Issue


ACROSS: 9 A gogo 10 On a budget 11 Rat-a-tat 12 Katrine

13 Artisan 14 Hidcote 15 Coach houses 19 Long arm 21 Ammonia

23 Yeotown 25 Dare say 26 Carbis Bay 27 Ebbor

DOWN: 1 Hadrian 2 Lost it 3 Southsea 4 Nottingham 5 Sark

6 Gutted 7 Ignitors 8 Uttered 14 Hook and eye 15 Contours

16 Somerset 17 Play-act 18 Halyard 20 Atomic 22 Naseby 24 Nabs

98 BritishTravelJournal.com

An opportunity to acquire a

stunning lakeside home in what

is likely to be the last development

of its kind in the Cotswolds.

Over the past 15 years, The Lakes by Yoo has firmly established

itself as the most exclusive lakeside estate in England.

Just 90 minutes from London, The Lakes at Cotswolds Waters sits

in a rural luxury estate comprising of stunning lakeside homes and

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To book an estate tour or

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