Self-drive England tour (11 nights)
England is in the midst of a food renaissance. Great quality, local food is becoming ever more popular and England has some of the best produce to be found anywhere in the world as well as some of the finest restaurants.
Combining seeing the sights and exploring the country with hunting down England’s culinary delights makes a fantastic way to spend your holiday in England. Between the castles and stately homes, pop into a farmers’ market, try some local real ale, feast on crab or oysters straight from the boat or tuck into some hearty locally reared beef or lamb.
From fresh seafood and local wine in the south-east to quality game and famous puddings in the north-west, every area of England lays claim to its own quality local produce. This itinerary takes you to some of our favourite foodie hot-spots, which not only provide a great gastronomic experience but also offer some of England’s best attractions and landscapes.
Please get in touch if you are interested in this England itinerary or would like to discuss other options for your holiday in England. Suggested extensions and alternatives are included at the end of the itinerary.
Days 1 and 2: Kent - Fresh seafood and English wine in "the Garden of England”
For centuries Kent has provided Britain with everything from apples and strawberries to the freshest of seafood and Kentish hops, used for beer-making around the world.
To test out some of this excellent produce: stroll through the vines at one of Kent’s growing number of vineyards producing high quality English wine; head to the coast for seafood straight from boat to plate; or take a tour and try some samples of beer at Britain’s oldest brewery. In summer, stop at a local farm to ‘pick your own’ strawberries or raspberries from the brimming fruit fields.
If you can tear yourself away from the culinary treats on offer, try to squeeze in one or two of Kent’s historic sights – world-famous Canterbury Cathedral, romantic Leeds Castle or pretty Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
Accommodation: Stay in a beautiful Edwardian townhouse hotel set on the quayside of one of Kent’s prettiest historic towns, where the excellent restaurant focuses on the freshest local and seasonal ingredients.
Days 3 and 4: Somerset – Cider making and the world’s most popular cheese
While the rest of the country is busy brewing beer,the West Country has long been known for its cider and nowhere more so than in rural Somerset. A very different drink to the mass-produced stuff, the cider here, made from local apples, is delicious (and potent!) and can be sampled all over the county. Visit some of the many orchards and cider houses open to visitors to learn about cider making and, of course, call into a few local pubs to sample the result.
In Somerset you will also find the original home of the world’s most popular cheese: Cheddar. The small village of Cheddar, from where the cheese originated, is still home to the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company where you can watch cheese being made and try generous samples. Make time to visit the impressive (and popular) caves of nearby Cheddar Gorge.
Well-known sights in easy reach include world famous Stonehenge and the beautiful spa town of Bath, home to stunning Bath Abbey and the incredibly well preserved Roman Baths.
Accommodation: Stay in a traditional English inn in the heart of a pretty Somerset village offering excellent meals using seasonal food sourced from the local area.
Day 5: Ludlow – a feast for the eyes as well as the taste-buds
Sitting pretty on the top of a small hill on a bend in the River Teme, beautiful Ludlow has always been a lovely place to visit, with its atmospheric castle ruins, narrow streets winding down the hillside and fantastic mixture of buildings from across the centuries. Over recent years it has also been cementing its place on the foodie map.
The enchanting streets are now crammed full of butchers, bakers, cheese shops, grocers and delis as well as fantastic restaurants and plenty of traditional pubs serving local real ale and hearty food.
The surrounding countryside of the Shropshire Hills is a wonderful place to stretch your legs, with its many walking trails and pretty villages.
Accommodation: Stay in a stunning timber framed building in the heart of historic Ludlow, within touching distance of the many eating options the town has to offer.
Days 6 and 7: Cumbria – fine dining in perfect surroundings
Your base is a beautiful medieval village on the edge of the Lake District National Park. What must be one of the ‘foodiest’ villages in England, here you can eat in a Michelin starred restaurant; try local ale from the village’s own micro-brewery; test out a huge range of British cheese at the local cheese shop; sample the village’s famous pudding, or try the local produce on offer at one of several pubs and restaurants, including excellent game from the local estate. This is all without walking more than a few metres from your hotel.
If you do want to venture further afield, the stunning scenery of the Lake District awaits, which offers not only excellent walking country, scenic boat trips and pretty villages, but also many other opportunities for trying the excellent local food.
Accommodation: Stay in a boutique hotel in the heart of an unspoilt medieval village, moments from a wide range of foodie delights.
Days 8 and 9: Yorkshire - Real Ale rivalries and local delicacies
Yorkshire’s varied larder is as good as any in the country, ranging from fantastic game and rare-breed meat to fresh fish and seafood from the Yorkshire coast, world-famous cheese and some of Britain’s most well-known beer.
Visit the Wensleydale Creamery to sample Wallace and Gromit’s favourite crumbly, white cheese; tour the twin breweries of Masham, which give a fascinating insight into brewery techniques old and new (as well as family feuds!); or make the trip across the moors to the seaside town of Whitby, famed for its excellent crab, its delicious kippers (smoked herring), which you will see on breakfast menus across the region, and as the spiritual home of a British classic: Fish and Chips!
The number of top quality restaurants and pubs serving up fresh, local ingredients in Yorkshire is growing quickly and there is something for everyone here, from a pot of cockles on the quayside to the finest of dining.
Amongst all the eating and drinking, try to find time to visit some of Yorkshire’s many castle and abbey ruins or take a walk in the beautiful countryside.
Accommodation: Stay in a beautiful country house hotel on the edge of a pretty village in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.
Days 10 and 11: London – where variety is the spice of life
London is a haven for foodies and the range of choice available is hard to believe. Eat Burmese food in Westminster, Afghan in Angel or Nigerian in Euston. Eat in the dark, in bed or with acrobats swinging overhead. The options really are endless.
Local produce is also popular here and you will find that excellent British ingredients are available everywhere, from the highest quality fine dining restaurants to the excellent ‘gastropubs’, the quirky local cafes and delis and the impressive food markets.
Remember to take time out of eating and drinking to visit some of London’s must see attractions: The Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral to name a few.
Accommodation: Stay in a luxury Georgian townhouse in the heart of the West End or a ‘posh pub’, moments from Oxford Street, combining a great bar, quality food and beautiful rooms.
Extra time: With a few extra days, consider:
- Heading north of the border. Scotland has some of Britain’s best produce, from crabs, oysters and scallops served straight from the ocean, to wonderful game, such as venison and grouse, and the world famous Aberdeen Angus beef.
- Travelling to the far south west. The peninsula of Cornwall is most famous for its beautiful coastline and, as well as providing stunning beaches and coves and great opportunities for water sports, this means some of the best seafood in Britain.
If you have been inspired by this example itinerary, why not request your own tailor-made holiday itinerary.