Eating one’s way through Great Britain has never been more fun. Here’s a “menu” that will help your clients get through the food, wine, beer and cocktail feast Britain serves up.
WHET YOUR APPETITE
One would be remiss to visit the UK and not show their face in a traditional pub—the ambiance can’t be beat. Exploring some of the most historic pubs will take clients to Newcastle, where they can sip a Newcastle Brown Ale at The Crown Posada; to Manchester, where they can savor a unique whisky at Britons Protection; to Nottingham, where the Olde Trip to Jerusalem has been around since 1189; and to Oxford, home to Eagle and Child, once a favorite of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
When clients are done sampling traditional fare, they can dine at gastronomic winners such as The Clove Club, in East London’s Shoreditch Town Hall. It serves fine British cuisine within the hall’s grand Victorian interior. In Edinburgh, The Kitchen delights diners with its modern British seasonal cuisine influenced by French cooking techniques, while in Aberystwyth, Wales, Ultracomida cooks up tapas with a Welsh accent. For a unique dining experience, your clients can head to Bray, England, for a seat at The Fat Duck. Here, menu items include salmon poached in a licorice gel and snail porridge.
Travelers who want to soak up the local culinary culture can take part in a cooking class. In Wales, the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, located in Furnace Farm, in Conwy Valley, has a farm shop, tea room, restaurant and a cookery school where travelers can get in touch with their inner Jamie Oliver as they learn how to cook the perfect Welsh lamb. In Scotland, the Nick Nairn Cook School offers two locations—in Aberdeen and Port of Menteith—and if your clients have ever wanted to cook “a deliciously boozy Scottish Cranachan,” a traditional Scottish dessert, this is the place to do it. For seafood lovers, there’s the Padstow Seafood School, located in Padstow on the north coast of Cornwall, England. The school insists students will learn everything from “filleting a plaice to stir-frying squid, braising brill and steaming sea bass.”
FROM TEA TO COFFEE
Yes, afternoon tea is certainly de rigueur in Britain—from The Ritz in London and The Balmoral in Edinburgh to Liverpool’s “punk” Leaf tea bar—but coffee shops are giving tea a run for its money. The caffeine revolution has taken off in the last five years and there are many small roasters and baristas opening up in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester.
Must-visits include London’s uber-cool Prufrock; Relish Food and Drink in Cornwall, with brews sourced from artisan roasters across the UK; The Caffeine Kid in Cardiff, which has won several barista awards; and Artisan Roast in Glasgow, offering, locals say, one of the city’s best brews.
A PINT & SOME WHISKY
It’s truly a sin to visit Scotland and not have a nip of whisky. With five distinctive whisky-producing regions in the country, a distillery visit is a must to discover just how much variety of this amber-gold spirit Scotland produces. Best time to be in Scotland for whisky lovers is this May, during Homecoming Scotland’s Whisky Month. British wines are getting a round of applause, too. Some must-visits are Biddenden Vineyards, Kent’s oldest commercial vineyard; The Bolney Estate in Sussex; and Sharpham in Devon. Clients longing for a taste of British beer are in for a treat with over 800 breweries dotting the landscape. Recommend Batemans in Lincolnshire, England and Hook Norton Brewery in Oxfordshire, as well as the Rail Ale Tour, a train journey through Devon and Cornwall that takes in traditional real ales and fine pubs.
Any first-timer to Great Britain is going to want to try some fish ‘n chips, but they should also sample:
Arbroath smokies in Scotland
Only haddock smoked in the traditional manner within a 5-mile radius of Arbroath is the real deal
Gower salt marsh lamb in Wales’ Gower Peninsula
This marsh contains a natural abundance of samphire, sorrel, sea lavender and thrift, producing heavenly tasting meat
There are over 700 produced throughout the UK
Best pick is the Dickinson and Morris pie shop in Leicestershire, England
Scotland’s Lorne sausage
Sliced sausage is quite popular in Scottish breakfasts and is often eaten in a bread roll.
Did you know?
“Taste of London” in Regent’s Park brings together 40 of the city’s best restaurants as they serve their finest dishes for the ultimate alfresco dining experience.