So summer holidays are almost upon us and with the world slowly opening up again means one thing, and one thing only. You can finally enjoy going to restaurants and exploring local delicacies again! First of all, before we look at some highlights to hit on your foodie road trip; we only recommend visiting restaurants or campsites while following the government guidelines on social distancing. Make sure to check restaurants, shops, farms and accommodation ahead of time and plan accordingly. Some places may require booking or work on revised hours so book ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
South Devon is one of the highlights of the popular Southwest. This part of the country is packed with fresh farm produce, cute coffee shops, and stunning local restaurants waiting to be discovered. The natural landscape ranges from sandy beaches to fossil cliffs, estuaries and rivers to moorland, all providing visitors with a cornucopia of different cuisines and specialities to try.
Devon farms are renowned for their meat and dairy products with beef, lamb, clotted cream, and Devon cheese (Blue, Sharpham, Vulscombe, and Curworthy) popular on local menus. These farms use regional breeds and techniques to cultivate delicious products that you won’t find anywhere else.
If you’re planning a trip to Devon try to book a farm visit or stop by a local farm, cafe or restaurant and experience the incredible tastes Devon’s farms have to offer. Some places to look out for include the Royal Oak Farm, The River Cottage Store and Canteen, and Aune Valley Meat Butchers and Farm Shop.
If you’re looking for something more coastal then you’re in luck. The Winking Prawn in Salcombe, is a family-run bar, cafe and grill that is hugely popular among locals. It is also a hit on various foodie blogs so why not stop by for their catch of the day, Devon crab, or even a tasty Salcombe Dairy ice cream.
The Boathouse Cafe in Plymouth is another highlight. This award-winning seafood cafe and bar is situated on Plymouth’s waterfront and specialises in offering sustainably caught fish by its very own day boats.
If you’re a big fan of the deliciously sweet taste of crab then The Millbrook Inn is a pilgrimage. This little pub near Kingsbridge has been featured in The Guardian is situated well off the beaten track offering crab sandwiches, potted crab, spider crab and more.
These are just a few of the places on offer so make sure you plan for a trip to Devon and plan your road trip around some truly incredible dining experiences.
The South Downs is a majestic range of chalk hills ranging from Hampshire all the way to Sussex. This area has become a hotspot for wineries with the likes of the Bolney Wine Estate, Hambledon Vineyard, Nutbourne Vineyard, and Jenkyn Place hotspots to aim for. It also happens to be a great place for sampling wine and good food.
Hambledon is a great example of this burgeoning British viticulture. Hambledon Chardonnay vines grow in the very same chalky Paris basin that can be found in areas like Champagne in France making this vineyard a must for anyone fond of refreshing white wines. This farm allows visits by appointments only and is well worth adding to an itinerary of restaurants, sights, and lazy days in the sun.
Jenkyn Place and Nutbourne Vineyard are similarly renowned for their sparkling wines, a great little tipple in summer, and are situated in the villages of Bentley and Pullborough respectively. Nutbourne is open to the public making it easier to drop while Jenkyn’s Place on the northern edge of the chalk border has open days in July for tastings and visits. Either of these vineyards features stunning wines and are a great part of any wine-tasting vacation.
With many vineyards and wineries to visit, it’s integral that you designate drivers or use taxis to get you from your campsite to your vineyard. There are loads of campsites to book so plan your accommodation first and you’ll find your winery adventure is one everyone can enjoy.
Along with this rich viticulture comes a wonderful local cuisine. Restaurant Interlude is a contemporary gem set in the woodland gardens of Leonardslee Estate and boasts a Michelin Star. Botanica is committed to sourcing local ingredients from the South Downs with a special focus on Mediterranean dishes and plant-based dishes. The Royal Oak Inn in West Sussex is a dining destination boasting two AA Rosettes and a menu that changes with the seasons.
These restaurants are just a sample of the quality on offer in the South Downs, so if you’re looking for a truly memorable foodie road trip, the South Downs is the place for you.
Moving from the south to the north, we’re moving to a famous Scottish flavour, the Arbroath Smokie. This succulent smoked haddock dish has been granted protected geographical status under European Law meaning that you can only find a genuine smokie within a 5-mile radius of Arbroath. While the likes of Scottish whisky or beef get a lot of attention, why not make the humble smokie the centrepiece for a Scottish trip.
Whether you want to go straight to the source at a smokehouse or see what Arbroath’s restaurants and fishmongers have to offer, you’ll find a feast of smokies to sample. Straight from the barrel fillets, pâtés, Cullen Skink, pies, risottos, and more can be found on the Arbroath Smokie Trail. Take a look at https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/food-drink/ to see where to go and what to aim for.
Why not check out a few more hotspots on the way to Arbroath? Visit a few distilleries, grab some great whisky, and plan a campsite feast for the culmination of your road trip on the Arbroath Smokie Trail.
This is the first part of our two-part foodie road trip special. Stay tuned to see part 2 for some more mouthwatering ideas.
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