So anyways, I’ve been away on holiday for the past five or so weeks; in England and then on a cruise through the Norwegian fjords in search of the Northern lights (spoiler alert, we saw them), before finishing off with another few days in London.
We landed back in Australia at stupid o’clock on Saturday morning having missed Friday, and as I write this (early on Monday morning) my Fitbit is telling me I’ve had a total of just over 8 hours sleep since Thursday morning in London. Jet lag really is a killer. Plus, I now have a heavy cold.
Despite all the whinging and complaining, we had a fabulous time and I realise that it’s all just a part of the privilege that is international travel – and living on the other side of the world from, well, the other side of the world. And after the last couple of years, a little jetlag and a snotty nose (too much information?) are a small price to pay for the joy that is being able to travel again.
While I’ll tell you about our trip in more detail over the coming weeks, today is about what’s been on my plate, so here it is: the England foodie highlights post.
If you’re hungry look away now…
While we were in the English countryside, we’d booked multi-day stays at Air BNBs so we could get our own groceries in, have the occasional evening meal at home, and mostly keep it simple and light for brekky.
We did, however, indulge in brekky at Severn & Wye Smokery at Westbury-on-Severn just outside of Gloucester. Kedgeree for Grant (I had it last time we were there and he had food envy) and house-smoked kippers for me (which he had the last time we visited). For the useless book of knowledge, the kippers are so good that they serve Severn & Wye kippers at Fortnum & Mason.
Country pubs are a highlight of travelling through England – particularly in the country – and we tended to seek them out for lunches and evening meals.
In all but the gastro-style (or more upmarket) pubs, the portions tend to be huge – particularly in Yorkshire. We very quickly learnt that at lunchtime we needed to order a sandwich or the soup of the day.
A foodie must do when travelling in Britain is the Sunday roast, and we plan our Sundays around where we’ll be having it. This one (below) at Dick Hudson at Bingley Moor, West Yorkshire was the business. Amazing flavoured Yorkshire beef, excellent Yorkshire puddings, good veg and a refillable gravy jug – all washed down with a pint of the local brew. What’s not to like?
For some reason, the ice cream over here tastes different. Anyways, the best one we had was a scoop of damson ice cream at our old favourite Jolly Nice Farmshop at Frampton Mansell.
A close second was this bowl of vanilla, strawberry and pistachio which we shared to finish a fabulous Italian meal at Casa Cucina in Tetbury.
Morning tea at Betty’s, York
Betty’s began in Harrogate in 1919 and is a must-do when in York or Harrogate.
We shared a Fat Rascal (a cross between a rock cake and a fruit scone – you can learn more about them here), a Yorkshire pikelet (like a flat crumpet) and a Yorkshire Curd Tart. The curd tart is sort of like a cheesecake but made with fresh curd and currants – and is my new favourite at Betty’s.
Keep an eye out for future posts on BKD as I try to make my own.
Afternoon tea at The Pump Room, Bath
Sarah bought this experience as a present for Grant for Father’s Day and it was very elegant indeed.
While the sweet treats were a tad too sweet for my taste, the little sandwiches and savoury treats were perfect (my fave was the little pea tart – bottom left) and the scones were the best of the trip.
More belonging to Lancashire than Yorkshire, we found Eccles Cakes throughout Yorkshire and they very quickly became Grant’s favourite treat.
Almost like a fruit mince pie but encased in flaky puff pastry, the best ones we had were from Thomas the Baker at Helmsley, North Yorkshire.
No holiday to England would be complete without scones, although this time around my scone count was disappointingly low.
Other than the aforementioned perfect scones at The Pump Room, there were the (very disappointing) stilton scones in Bakewell served with a slice of cheese on the side and a little jar of onion relish.
And there were the scones at Fortnum & Mason which I’d had very high hopes for. The fruit scone, however, was stale. I suspect it’s because we weren’t in the tearoom, but rather the Parlour which was full of kids getting bowls of ice cream, but no matter.
The tea was, as Fortnum’s tea always is, excellent, so all was not lost.
The Celebration Dinners
Grant and I celebrated the release of Philly Barker Investigates at The Blacksmith’s Arms in Westow – the inspiration for Chipwell Arms in the novel.
Grant’s birthday fell on our last full day in London so a special dinner that night was a must.
We chose Boisdale in Belgravia, a Scottish restaurant with a rather clubby atmosphere (the wine list was huge, the whisky list even longer, and they even had a cigar room upstairs) befitting his Scottish heritage.
With offally things on the menu, he was in his element – although I steered clear of those…
Oh that does look like a yummy trip!!
It really was…
Your pictures of the food make my mouth water!
Thanks for dropping by.
Yummy! If I hadn’t seen your other pictures of your trip, I would have thought you only saw the inside of restaurants 🙂 Those fish & chips look just like they are suppose to (which, of course, I would expect in the UK).
Hi Jo, I’m booking a trip to England just to try all the food you have shown in your post! Betty’s and the Fat Rascals brought back lovely memories of our Book Club Baking I’m looking forward to our next baking session as I’m sure you have come home with lots of ideas. I’m so happy you had a great time. x
I could have put so much more in the post too! And then there was the cruise food… No wonder I put on weight!
I love Betty’s in York. We always make a visit every time we are there.
It’s an absolute must, right?
Hi, Jo – I am so sad that Creighton has moved from England (to Hong Kong). There goes my excuse to travel there INSTANTLY. Even though I purposely ate a full lunch before reading this post (yes, I’be become wiser), your post still made me very hungry. And I have always believed that Ice Cream is good for us so I was glad to see that confirmed! I hope you are feeling better soon. I look forward to catching up.
Aaaah but the food scene in Honkers is so great too.
Oh my! First I read Sue’s travel/food post and now yours!?! I thought I was still full from lunch but all these gorgeous photos are awakening my appetite again. Scones? Yes, please!!! Sounds like a wonderful trip was had, and all that great food too – delightful post, Jo.
There’s always room for scones too…
Oh! What wonderful spreads! I have loved following your trip on Instagram.
Jo, be still my heart! This is just too much for me to take in at one sitting and will PIN for future reference. I love that you seek out Pub food. We used to only eat in pubs when in the UK, but the food scene there has vastly improved in the past ten years, and there are now too many choices. Thanks for narrowing it down a bit.
It really has improved – we noticed the difference in 2019 from the trip before, but a lot of places are still recovering after covid & there are staff shortages everywhere…as they are here too.
Wow this had me salivating from start to finish Jo! It was so well photographed and put together, anyone would think you were a foodie :). Love the roast pork and accompaniments and seeing all the things we’ve made during our cooking sessions together!
I think my Pommie ancestory is calling me – all those carbs……. deep breathing and heavy sighs…….and nothing beats a good roast (except for fish and chips!)
I have never and will never forget your trip to London at Christmas and all of the lovely sites and delicious food you shared. Here we are again…beautiful photos of delicious and unfamiliar food. I enjoy reading the names of the food and the names of the establishments serving it. I have only had a couple of scones in my very culinarily sheltered life. And they were stale or at least very dry. When I lived in Panama, their cakes were a lot the same way. Heavy and dry. I would make cake mix cakes and take to family in the interior of the country and they were wowed by them!!
Looks like Grant had a proper birthday celebration dinner and tea, earlier. Hope your cold is better by now. We’ve been on vacation and my husband was sick the entire time. Still sick now and we’ve been home 4 days.
I’m so sorry you haven’t had a good scone! I good one should be light and layered. We had a lovely trip, but are still both recovering & yet to catch up blogging wise
. I do, however, feel for your hubby being sick on vacation – there’s nothing worse.
Wow Jo you guys put on a lot of miles (just like we do when in England) and managed a lot of great food. I can’t even decide which seems like the best spot there were so many highlights. We have found over the years that the food in GB has definitely improved in quality. I just read about Betty’s in York in The Rose Code so that’s cool you were there. Pub lunches are great. We have never done “tea time” at a fancy place. I think I will add that to my list for the next trip. Bernie
When you travel as far as we do to get there we sure like to make the most of it. As for the nice tea, book one in next time. It’s a lovely treat and well worth doing.
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