With a heat wave forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend Emma Cullen goes on the hunt for a UK veggie break…
As we head into spring we find ourselves face to face with a glut of Bank Holidays: “finally,” I hear you sigh. If you’ve been dreaming of getting away from everyday life and soaking up the sun (there’s a heat wave on the way don’t you know) now is definitely the time to start planning your weekend and Bank Holiday staycations.
I’m all for holidaying in the UK. A staycation can be something planned or a spur-of-the-moment escape and we are utterly spoilt for choice here in Blighty. From yurts and tree houses to spa retreats and city breaks, in just a few hours you can be far away from the cares and worries of everyday life.
While I’m always conscious of what I eat wherever I am, it was not until a few weeks ago I discovered a whole world of vegetarian retreats. So I thought I would share the best of my findings to give you a head starter on your own holiday planning.
Sandy beaches, blue seas, fresh food – no we’re not in the Caribbean, we’re in Cornwall, in beautiful Carbis Bay. Even if we’re not seeing dizzying fahrenheits, Cornwall is a stunning part of the UK with plenty of surfing opportunities, cycle ways, long country walks and quaint little villages. If you’re after sea views and veggie cuisine you can’t go far wrong at Coast. Stay in a traditional 1930s wooden chalet in acres of grassland and overlooking the creamy sands of St Ives if you prefer self-catering, or the B&B accommodation includes a veggie breakfast and offers further food for the soul in the form of art exhibitions and on-site therapy. When it comes down to the food, you’re in good hands. Coast is home to Bean Inn Vegetarian Restaurant – a gourmet vegetarian experience with an outstanding reputation. I’d advise making the most of this restaurant on your stay, whether for evening dining or snaffling one of their takeaway meals to enjoy out and about. It can get a little packed down on the peninsula during Bank Holidays, so this is perhaps one to save for long weekends.
What a great idea: a cookery course complete with B&B accommodation, and located in the stunning Malvern Hills. Our Lizzy offers small group teaching to really inspire you in the kitchen. If you’ve found yourself cooking the same meals since January and feel a bit slumpy when it comes to cooking, this is the woman to shake you up. Even with my propensity to burn pans, it’s good to know I would still be welcomed with open opens. No matter how terrible or super you are in the kitchen, there’s a place for you here. It sounds to me like a great girly weekend away to me! However, if all you want to do is wander the landscape and wake up to a hot, hearty veggie breakfast every morning, you can book the accommodation on its own.
Northumberland’s first vegan B&B also happens to be located beside a long stretch of gloriously sandy beach. Breakfast really is something to behold at Loaf. Piled-high full English breakfasts, perfect pancakes and BreakfastBockerGlories are all on the menu. Smoked tofu, speciality breads, gluten-free options and everything geared towards your personal dietary needs; chances are you’re going to want to stay here for a while. In the absence of actually being able to live at Loaf, stay a while. They will happily feed you throughout the day by way of hampers, afternoon high teas, desserts and packed lunches. We’ve heard great things about their cakes and truffle balls too. Rooms are spacious, beautifully decorated and the guests’ lounge features a lovely open fire. Ah bliss!
Can you think of anything more dreamy than a WiFi free zone? Switch off and rejuvenate on a smallholding in Stafford. Trust me when I say you’ll feel like you’re in a different world. Not only is it a vegetarian’s dream but Beacon Bank Farm keep their own bees, animals and maintain the environment and wildlife around them – nature is of paramount importance here. Stay in the country farmhouse or, for real seclusion, make yourself at home in your very own yurt deep in the forest amongst the wildlife. So, what’s on the menu for breakfast? How do you fancy a full English with veggie sausage, eggs, beans, fresh fruit, coffee and much more? This little slice of paradise is located near the Peak District, so is perfectly located for a real retreat. You might see the owners bustling about in the distance as they continue to plant their edible wood and maintain their nursery and agroforest. Beacon Bank Farm is quiet, simple and wholesome to match the food – lovely.
Exceptional views are just a given at this country house in gorgeous Lakeland. Tucked away in the heart of the Lake District Mountains, visitors to this country hotel can literally open the door and head straight onto a walking trail. Clear air and fine food awaits. The Green Valley Vegetarian Restaurant serves up the likes of butternut squash and hazelnut pastry roulade, buckwheat pancakes with bean casserole, pizza, vegetarian fish and chips (you’ll have to explore the menu to find out more about that!) and a bevy of delightful desserts. This is just an example, the dishes of course change with the seasons and what’s available and everything is prepared to the highest, freshest standards. What could be better than that? How about an owner who is also a trained nutritional therapist and has worked in the food science industry? I thought that would get your attention. The well-balanced approach to food will have you feeling like a new person.
Dog walkers, cyclists, walkers delight in Westaways B&B in Cornwall. This quaint little cottage has got all the feel of a lovely country holiday cottage with the bonus of vegetarian cuisine to greet you in the morning. Eggs in the morning come from the resident chickens and you can enjoy a full slap-up veggie brekkieas well as cereals porridge, juices – the works really. You’ll need a hearty breakfast to set you up for a good old fashioned country walks. Riverside walks are an absolute must here as the cottage is located right on the River Tamar and you’ll be blown away by the pretty paths and winding routes.
If you’re looking for food to fuel your body, plenty of art to stimulate your mind, and views to calm the soul look no further. Art Anna Pola is a top-notch location for vegans, Anna Pola’s Arts Cafe refrains from using any eggs or dairy in any of their dishes, so not only are they super for vegetarians, but are mostly vegan too. The restaurant has bagged a few awards, which is not surprising given the quality of the food. Everything is organic, fresh and as local as possible and made with real care. We haven’t even mentioned the rooms yet. Luxury and en-suite, you’ll be in seventh heaven and there’s even a beauty salon to make use of.
I’m pretty new to the veggie staycation, so let me know if I’ve missed anyone off the list or if you’ve been anywhere that you’d like to share.
For more veggie friendly articles look no further:
Sian Griffiths talks to one of the most influential vegetarian chefs in the UK
A hearty, healthy, and downright scrummy veg-packed pie recipe
Ten of the best veggie restaurants