With its perfectly preserved Georgian buildings, Bath is unquestionably one of Britain’s most elegant cities, and a World Heritage Site, too. It’s the ideal setting in which to indulge in that most English of pastimes, afternoon tea (The Pumphouse is stunning), but a burgeoning dining scene means there’s everything from gastropubs to fine dining to enjoy.
Where to eat in Bath
The Beckford Canteen: mid-range, no-nonsense dining room with focus on seasonality and some local South West suppliers.
Town + House: tiny pub with contemporary interiors, good cocktails and a brilliant kimchi chicken burger. Live music on Sunday nights.
Landrace: intimate and stripped back first-floor dining room serving local seasonal dishes with British and Italian influences. The ground-floor bakery and cafe is one of the best in the city.
The Chequers: a new chef and menu has reinvigorated this popular and stylish gastropub on a backstreet close to the Royal Crescent and The Circus that now boasts a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Book ahead for the highly rated Sunday roast.
The Elder: hunting lodge meets old fashioned London gentleman’s club at this elegant hotel restaurant from wild food expert Mike Robinson. Venison from local estates is a must order.
The Scallop Shell: a smart fish and chip restaurant serving day-boat fish and hand-cut chips, beloved of Marco Pierre White. The Oyster Shell takeaway is also under the same ownership.
The Dark Horse: sip modern inventive cocktails that incorporate locally sourced ingredients at this award winning and atmospheric basement bar.
Where to stay in Bath
The Queensbury: character-packed central hotel with excellent staff, high standards and Bath’s only Michelin star in its Olive Tree restaurant.
No. 15 by Guesthouse: quirky boutique hotel with small but perfectly-formed spa, cocktail bar and relaxed basement restaurant knocking out decent classics.
The Bird: a stylishly converted Victorian mansion a ten minute walk from the city centre with individually and boldly designed bedrooms. Enjoy modern comfort food in the Plates restaurant.
The Royal Crescent: stay in style and luxury at this landmark hotel in the middle of Bath’s famous Royal Crescent. Take afternoon tea in the beautiful private gardens or dine in the glamorous new Montagu Mews bar and restaurant.
Z Hotel: stay in comfort in the city centre without breaking the bank at this style-conscious budget hotel.
Best for small plates dining
Ten years ago, Brighton’s restaurant scene mainly catered to seaside daytrippers in search of a bargain lunch. While it still does that very well, it has now also evolved into one of the most dynamic and exciting cities for dining outside of London. Casual small plates are the preferred style, but there are plenty of options for fine dining, too.
Where to eat in Brighton
Palmito: the exciting menu of small plates is inspired by the culinary heritages of chefs and owners Kanthi Thamma and Diego Ricaurte at this intimate and casual restaurant.
Plateau: natural wines, creative cocktails and delicious, inventive small plates are on the menu at this perennially popular and always buzzy Lanes wine bar and restaurant.
Burnt Orange: glamorous destination for late-night cocktails and all-day dining on some of the best creative small plates in town. The skillet-baked potatoes are worth the visit alone.
Due South: ask for a seat on the beachside terrace to enjoy acclaimed chef Daniel Mertyl’s eclectic menu of wood-fired food that might include flamed monkfish with black lentil sauce.
Bincho Yakitori: you’ll need to book ahead for this hugely popular, authentic Japanese-style izakaya, although it’s worth checking online for same-day availability. Do not miss the meltingly tender pork belly.
The Set: chef Dan Kenny’s wildly inventive and original tasting menu that might include scallop tikka masala is a real thrill ride of bold flavours in a boho-chic room with a fun soundtrack of punk, pop and hip hop.
Furna: book a counter seat overlooking the open kitchen to watch chef Dave Mothersill and team create a sophisticated and highly detailed tasting menu at one of the city’s most luxe fine-dining restaurants.
Namo Eat @ The Eagle: authentically fiery and great value Thai food in comfortable pub surroundings. Yum mamuang goong (spicy mango and prawn salad) is a must order.
Burger Brothers: there’s usually a queue at this North Laine takeaway with counter seating for what many consider to be Brighton’s best burgers. Try the burger with goat’s cheese, peppers and cajun sauce.
The Brick: this might just be Brighton’s perfect pub with a carefully curated selection of beers from Germany, the Czech Republic and the UK, Sri Lankan food by The Lankan, a cool soundtrack and stylish surroundings.
Flint Owl Bakery: this centrally located bakery and cafe bakes some of the best sourdough in the whole of Sussex, as well as delicious cakes, pasties and coffee.
Where to stay in Brighton
My Hotel: stay in style in idiosyncratically designed rooms in the heart of the North Laine. On-site dining includes modern Indian restaurant The Chilli Pickle.
Drakes: there’s views of the Palace Pier from this contemporary seafront boutique hotel. Book in for a stunning tasting menu of local produce in the recently opened Dilsk restaurant.
The Ginger Pig: there are spacious contemporary rooms and three recently opened, luxurious mews houses at this gastropub, close to Hove’s seafront.
The Ceramic House: affordable, one-of-a-kind boutique guest house and gallery space designed by architectural ceramicist Kay Alpin, located in Brighton’s peaceful Fiveways neighbourhood.
Best for casual dining
A friendly, culturally vibrant city neighbouring the Peak District, Sheffield offers a getaway where you can easily mix gigs and galleries with scenic walks in beautiful countryside. The opportunity to regularly refuel on great food includes everything from chilled brunch spots to award-winning cocktail bars, family-friendly food halls to gastronomically ambitious restaurants.
Where to eat in Sheffield
JÖRO: set in the Krynkl shipping container development, chef Luke French serves ultra-seasonal, globally influenced dishes to a soundtrack of hip-hop and house music.
Tamper at Sellers Wheel: antipodean-style all-day brunches such as spicy mince on ciabatta with poached eggs and herb hollandaise, as well as very good coffee, served in a former silversmiths.
Rutland Arms: quirky, boho city-centre craft beer pub with idiosyncratic menu with chip butties as well as smoked anchovies on toast. Head to the pub’s yard for alfresco drinking.
Piña: warehouse taqueria in Kelham Island serving tacos and margaritas delivering authentic flavours. Hand-pressed corn tortillas are topped with slow-cooked meats and vibrant vegan combinations.
V or V: much-praised progressive plant-based dining using seasonal, heritage ingredients, open-fire cookery and pickles and ferments.
The Depot Bakery: warehouse bakery-café renowned for its bread, cakes, coffee and great brunch/lunch options including “smashed” sardines on sourdough with lime and smoked and pickled chillies. There’s a second Depot café at Hillsborough Park.
Bench: relaxed, modern neighbourhood hang-out for good drinks and elevated sharing plates. Clever, eclectic dishes might include beef fat potatoes with watercress and smoked cod’s roe.
Where to stay in Sheffield
House of JÖRO: a luxurious and affordable four-bedroom boutique hotel operated by Luke French and Stacey Sherwood-French of the nearby Jöro restaurant.
Brocco on the Park: eight Scandi-style bedrooms in a converted Edwardian villa with casual Brocco Kitchen restaurant and bar.
Leopold Hotel: centrally located four-star hotel on Leopold Square in a converted 19th century grammar school, close to city centre bars and restaurants.
Best for classic European food
Bristol’s thriving food scene is full to bursting with restaurants, markets, breweries and bars, from the city centre to the harbourside. Whatever you are looking for, from classic French food to creative fine dining, traditional tapas to modern small plates, you will find a brilliant version of it in a city that really knows how to eat and drink in style.
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Where to eat in Bristol
Wilson’s: a gem in Bristol’s Redland neighbourhood is all you want from a local bistro. The deceptively simple food is based around ingredients the owners have grown, gathered or hunted themselves.
Casa: Michelin-starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias has re-imagined his flagship restaurant once more and now offers Italian sharing plates from a lively open kitchen served by youthful staff and to a great soundtrack. Next door, sister restaurant Paco Tapas offers top drawer classical Spanish tapas. In good weather, ask for a seat on the large, waterside terrace.
Little French: tucked away from the city centre in residential Westbury Park, this family-run restaurant serves unpretentious flavour-packed food. Great for both casual and/or romantic dining.
Marmo: set in a gorgeous building with high ceilings and large windows, Marmo serves a short, modestly priced and largely Italian-influenced menu and a seriously good list of wines.
Bianchis: an elegant, romantic Italian restaurant located in the hip Montpelier area of Bristol serving pasta made on the premises and fantastic aperitif and antipasti.
Root: inventive veg-centric small plates that might include grilled hispi cabbage with honey mustard dressing and crispy hen’s egg served in a converted shipping container in the city’s waterside Wapping Wharf development.
Lido: this casual restaurant boasts a stunning location overlooking a Victorian lido and a menu with hints of the Moorish and the Mediterranean. Breakfast here is a real treat.
Flour & Ash: choose from about eight options of wood-fired pizza in this bare bones, small, intimate space for communal dining, complete with picnic benches running down the centre.
HMSS: tucked away in an unlikely location beside Clifton Down shopping centre, this is one of Bristol’s coolest bars serving classic and inventive cocktails.
Wiper and True: sit at trestle tables among the brewing tanks at this unique brewery tap room to enjoy freshly brewed pints and gyoza dumplings by Eatchu.
Where to stay in Bristol
Number 38: contemporary, characterful boutique accommodation in a refurbished Georgian merchant’s house overlooking Clifton Downs.
Brooks Guesthouse: stay in a luxurious Airstream-style ‘Retro Rocket’ caravan on the roof of this modern city centre guesthouse.
The Berkeley Square Hotel Bristol: stay in style in this ‘art hotel’ in a Grade II listed building set on an elegant Georgian square in Clifton.
Bristol Harbour Hotel: glamorous boutique hotel in two converted banks in the city centre close to St Nicholas Market complete with underground spa in the old vaults and a great cocktail bar.
Best for modern globally influenced dining
You can go to Edinburgh for the incredible history or the thriving cultural scene (especially during the festival) but we’d recommend you go for the dining opportunities. With restaurants and bars in every part of the city, it’s a great way to explore, too, from the Old Town and New Town, to Leith and neighbourhoods like Stockbridge and Southside.
Where to eat in Edinburgh
The Kitchin: Michelin-starred celebrity chef Tom Kitchin’s fine dining food is a celebration of Scottish produce from the pig’s head and langoustine starter to the shellfish rockpool main. You can also try Tom Kitchin’s food at the Scran and Scallie gastropub and the more casual Kora restaurant.
Saboteur: this modern Vietnamese restaurant is a sister of the hip Ting Thai Caravan and shares a stripped-back aesthetic. Try a bowl of addictively aromatic kuay tiaw tom yam soup noodles.
Ka Pao: lively, industrial chic, Southeast Asian-inspired brasserie in Edinburgh’s new shopping and dining St James Quarter. The fried chicken with fish sauce caramel is unforgettably addictive.
Cafe St Honore: beguilingly romantic French-bistro dining featuring the best Scottish ingredients and charming service. The set Cafe Classics menu is one of the city’s great bargains.
Timberyard: modern, cool yet unpretentious, family run Timberyard is set in a converted warehouse where there’s a menu of Scottish produce served with Scandinavian-inflected flair.
Palmerston: in a converted bank in Edinburgh’s Haymarket area, the daily changing menu of this smart but casual restaurant uses the best seasonal produce with dishes such as Borders venison and suet pie.
Origano: this bustling premises on Leith Walk may just be the best pizzeria in town, and is complete with a wood-burning oven. Sit in or take away.
Salt Horse: tucked away on a side street off the Royal Mile, this casual bar is a place of pilgrimage for lovers of craft beer with an ever-changing line-up of keg beers and hundreds of cans and bottles from around the globe.
Toast: they take their wine very seriously at this bright, stylish and relaxed café and bar overlooking Leith’s waterfront with bottles from Slovenia, Croatia and Greece among many other places.
Söderberg: if you want to indulge in a spot of ‘fika’ (Swedish coffee and cake culture), head for this stylish glass box overlooking the city’s modernist Lister Square where the gorgeous kanelbulle (cinnamon buns) are made in the upstairs bakery.
Where to stay in Edinburgh
Gleaneagles Townhouse: the luxurious city-centre sister of the legendary Gleneagles Hotel in rural Perthshire is set in an elegant Georgian townhouse overlooking St Andrew Square. There’s sophisticated all-day dining in The Spence restaurant and rooftop drinking in the Lamplighters terrace bar.
21212: there’s four spacious and beautifully decorated rooms in this converted townhouse in a grand Regency terrace, centrally located in the New Town.
Motel One: there’s modern chic urban style on a budget at these centrally located hotels, one each in the Old Town and New Town.
Best for sophisticated contemporary dining
As befits a modern, forward-looking city, Manchester’s food scene is at the leading edge of food trends. Places like Erst show how well contemporary small and sharing plates can be done, Bundobust is at the forefront of casual, communal street food-style dining, and Mana is the epitome of stylish British fine dining.
Where to eat in Manchester
Mana: Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant occupies a starkly beautiful space in the fashionable Ancoats neighbourhood where you can indulge in 14 courses of chef Simon Martin’s ‘fermentation and fire’ food.
The Refuge: globally influenced small plates in the stunning surroundings of the Grade II listed, Victorian era Refuge Assurance Building. A drink in the beautiful Winter Garden is a must.
Erst: a mix of on-point sharing plates including the terrific flatbreads and well-selected natural wines has won this minimalist Ancoats restaurant national recognition.
Adam Reid at The French: the elegant restaurant of the grande dame of Manchester hotels The Midland is home to acclaimed chef Adam Reid, whose 11-course tasting menu might include Scottish scallops with Cinderwood celtuce, celery and tarragon.
Kala: chef and restaurateur Gary Usher’s smart city centre bistro is simply styled with green banquettes and darkly varnished parquet tables where enthusiastic young staff deliver enjoyable dishes including the signature braised featherblade with truffled parmesan chips.
Bundobust: feast on boldly flavoured Gujarati dishes served street food-style in waxed-paper pots at communal tables at this big, popular basement restaurant.
10 Tib Lane: set over three floors of a Victorian townhouse near the town hall, this hip, casual restaurant and bar offers a modish mix of contemporary sharing small plates and natural wines.
Pollen: at two city-centre venues, in New Islington Marina and Kampus, this bakery-cafe serves exceptional bread, coffee and pastries as well as great brunch-lunch dishes.
Salut: popular wine shop, bar and, in summer, al fresco pavement drinking spot with a selection of over 400 bottles.
Where to stay in Manchester
The Lowry: contemporary five-star hotel overlooking the River Irwell in Salford, close to the bars and restaurants in Spinningfields. Named after the artist L.S. Lowry, the hotel is adorned with numerous works of art.
Motel One: part of a chain of stylish and comfortable budget hotels with three central locations in the city.
Stock Exchange: luxury hotel with sleek and elegant rooms in the converted Manchester Stock Exhange, a handsome Edwardian Baroque Grade II listed building that is also home to the Stock Market Grill restaurant.
Best for modern European food
Newcastle is renowned for having buzzing nightlife, but it’s also got some fantastic places to eat offering great examples of modern European dining. We’ve gathered the best restaurants in Newcastle, from hidden street food gems in the city centre to exciting fine-dining experiences.
Where to eat in Newcastle
Träkol: open-fire restaurant on the quayside set in a collection of double-height shipping containers beneath the Tyne Bridge. Expect sharing feasts of roasted pig’s head with pork chops and black pudding.
House of Tides: peerless ingredients are transformed with exceptional skill at Michelin-starred chef Kenny Atkinson’s Quayside gastrodome where the tasting menu might include cured, scorched and glazed sea trout with dill, radish and trout roe. Atkinson also runs the equally high-end Solstice, also Michelin-starred, a few minutes walk away.
The Broad Chare: polished gastropub from chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne who also runs restaurant 21, Cafe 21, Saltwater Fish Company, St. Vincent and Porterhouse. Expect fantastic snacks (Lindisfarne oysters, crispy pigs’ ears) and local ales in the bar, plus a gutsy dining menu including spicy black pudding and grilled liver and onions.
The Patricia: you’ll find a dark, contemporary French bistro-style interior and an ingredients-led menu of rustic dishes with minimum components at this neighbourhood restaurant from chef-owner Nick Grieves, formerly of The River Café.
Cook House: having relocated from its original shipping container home, chef Anna Hedworth’s renowned restaurant in trendy, creative Ouseburn now boasts two floors, a dining terrace, shop and garden. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, expect creative dishes such as roast hake with a hazelnut dukkah crust.
Chilli Padi: friendly Malaysian café with an expansive menu full of big flavours including a salted vegetable and fried fish head soup and Szechuan beef.
Fat Hippo Underground: under the vaulted ceilings of this subterranean lair, pig out on Newcastle’s best burgers while sipping craft beers from regional and UK brewing greats.
Grainger Market: this grade I listed Regency period covered market in the city centre is home to more than 100 traders including over a dozen food stalls, such as Snackwallah serving vegan Indian street food.
Where to stay in Newcastle
INNSiDE Newcastle: smart quayside hotel with minimalist rooms and River Tyne views.
The Vermont Hotel: landmark hotel in a grand 1930s building with opulent rooms.
Grey Street Hotel: centrally located affordable boutique hotel with modern stylings.
Staybridge Suites Newcastle: self-catering aparthotel with affordable and modern studios and suites.
Best for fine dining
Everyone knows about Birmingham’s Indian food heritage and the ‘Balti Triangle’ that lies south of the city centre. But the city also has a parallel heritage of fine dining that can be traced back at least 30 years to the opening of Simpsons restaurant. Birmingham now boasts five Michelin-starred restaurants with many more waiting in the wings.
Where to eat in Birmingham
Harborne Kitchen: there’s creative small plates at the bar or a full on tasting menu at this handsomely designed but relaxed contemporary neighbourhood restaurant with open kitchen.
Opheem: Michelin-starred TV chef Aktar Islam’s glamorous city centre restaurant offers a 10-course menu of creative, modern food inspired by regional cuisines from across India including ‘korma-Lucknow’ that incorporates chicken wing, pearl barley, shimeji mushrooms and black truffle.
Adams: Adam Stokes brings huge flair and skill to modern dishes that look and taste spectacular at this Michelin-starred restaurant. The seven-course tasting menu is a blow-the-budget meal, with spot-on dishes such as wagyu brisket and sirloin.
Simpsons: there’s an airy, contemporary Nordic look to this long-established Michelin-starred gem in Edgbaston where dishes like scallops with coriander, cauliflower and seaweed beurre blanc are on-trend.
Purnell’s: Glynn Purnell might be cheeky enough to appoint himself ‘Prince of Birmingham’ but he’s serious when it comes to his food in a multi-course menu that draws on Birmingham’s varied cultural heritage. He has also recently opened Plates by Purnell, a modern tapas restaurant.
Carters of Moseley: chef-owner Brad Carter has won a Michelin star for his technically accomplished, imaginative, modern seasonal tasting menus at this small, relaxed and welcoming place in the fashionable suburb of Moseley.
The Indian Streatery: the centrepiece of this family-run restaurant is a mocked-up food cart where where staff serve eat-in/takeaway lunch curries and chaats. A full menu is served in the evening.
Min Min Noodle Bar: a family-run cafe with funky decor and freshly prepared, great value food. Try the Vietnamese rolls stuffed with prawns, fish and seaweed or a fragrant bowl of noodles.
Bonehead: dimly lit and loud, Bonehead is an unusually convincing homage to the kind of boozy, late-night dive-bars you might find in Amsterdam or Berlin. Don’t miss the fried chicken.
Faculty: located in the Edwardian Piccadilly Arcade by New Street station, this hip brew bar not only dispenses supremely silky flat whites and perfect pour-over coffees, but also incredible baking.
Where to stay in Birmingham
The Grand Hotel: this landmark Victorian hotel has recently re-opened after 20 years, having undergone a £50 million restoration. Expect opulence and luxury at every turn.
Staying Cool: contemporary aparthotel with serviced apartment accommodation housed in a stylish 1960s building.
The High Field Town House: boutique hotel in a listed Victorian villa in Edgbaston with 12 individually styled rooms.
Best for local produce-driven dining
In addition to tourist attractions like the Titanic exhibition, Belfast can supply everything you’d want from a food-focussed city break. A top-notch market, great cafes, bars and pubs (of course) and lots of excellent and affordable dining opportunities are all accessible within a concentrated city centre area.
Where to eat in Belfast
Eipic: local legend chef Michael Deane’s Belfast empire includes the smart but relaxed restaurants Meat Locker, Love Fish, Deanes at Queens and Deane and Decano, but Eipic is his fine-dining Michelin-starred flagship. Chef Alex Greene leads the creative, modern menu including the Incredible Edible Book dessert as cooked on Great British Menu.
Ox: there’s Michelin-starred brilliance from chef Stephen Toman, aided by the warmth and hospitality of manager and partner Alain Kerloc’h at this smart restaurant overlooking the River Lagan. The highly seasonal tasting menu focuses on fresh vegetables, fish and the finer cuts of venison and beef.
James St.: the best of Irish produce, including high quality steaks and stunningly fresh fish are on offer at his perennially popular, relaxed and clubby city centre restaurant.
The Muddlers Club: hunt out this modern, industrial chic restaurant that’s hidden away on a back street in the Cathedral Quarter, for some of the most exciting, and Michelin-starred, food in the city from chef Gareth McCaughey. The produce driven tasting menu might include cod with chicken skin and beurre blanc.
Noble: take a short taxi ride to Holywood to this charming, buzzy restaurant for the irresistible menu of local produce simply cooked. Dishes might include Portavogie prawns in garlic butter.
Stock Kitchen: overlooking St George’s Market (which is well worth a visit from a foodie perspective) in a beautiful glass-roofed space is acclaimed chef Danny Millar’s restaurant, where he creates a seasonal menu of robust, classical dishes from the best local produce, some from the market below.
Yardbird: set above the Dirty Onion, a former whiskey warehouse in the heart of the old city, Yardbird serves up juicy, dry-rubbed rotisserie chicken, but the highlight for those in the know is the avocado salad spiced with chilli vinaigrette.
John Long’s Fish & Chips: going strong since 1914, John Long’s is a Belfast institution. Arrive before 12.30pm to bag one of the 1970s formica booths for some of the best traditional battered fish in the city.
Established Coffee: this minimalist, stripped out Cathedral Quarter cafe serves some of the best coffee in Belfast, along with a wholesome and inexpensive menu of dishes, traybakes and health-conscious lunches.
Where to stay in Belfast
The Merchant Hotel: wildly opulent hotel with luxurious rooms and grand public spaces in the former Ulster Bank HQ. Don’t miss the breathtaking Grand Room restaurant or atmospheric cocktail bar.
Europa Hotel: once famous as the most bombed hotel in Europe, the Europa is now simply one of the most famous hotels in Belfast with modern, stylish rooms.
The Harrison Chambers of Distinction: characterful and chic boutique townhouse hotel in the leafy Malone Road near the city’s University Quarter.
Bullitt Hotel: themed after the famous 1960s Steve McQueen film, Bullitt offers quirky but cool styling and plenty of comfort in the city’s Cathedral Quarter.
Best for neighbourhood dining
With its cobbled lanes and ancient Romanesque cathedral, Norwich is one of the most charming and characterful cities in the UK. It’s also home to some fabulous restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs, not to mention one of the best markets in the country. While it’s an eminently walkable city, it’s worth taking a short trip out to the surrounding neighbourhoods where you’ll find local gems like Woolf and Social hidden away.
Where to eat in Norwich
Benedicts: TV chef Richard Bainbridge combines comfort food and haute cuisine at his elegant neighbourhood restaurant that celebrates Norfolk produce in dishes like aged Norfolk lamb loin scrumpet, yogurt and black garlic.
Farmyard: you can’t miss Farmyard’s neon-pink sign and striking blue-green frontage. The interior is just as arresting with a huge psychedelic mural and an open kitchen. The menu highlights local produce, skillfully prepared in dishes such as crab crumpet with spring cabbage, chimichurri bisque and coriander.
Roger Hickman: this intimate and elegant fine-dining restaurant is the quintessential special occasion destination. Ask for a table on the ground floor of the split-level dining room for a culinary tour de force that might include cauliflower panna cotta with spiced cauliflower, shallot purée and roast hazelnut.
Woolf and Social: there’s seasonal small plates to share and a great wine list at this convivial and comfortable neighbourhood restaurant, a short walk from the city centre.
The Assembly House: take afternoon tea in a stunning Grade I listed Georgian building that’s overseen by local celebrity chef Richard Hughes. The themed teas change throughout the year and might include sweet shop or Alice in Wonderland.
Hawthorn: in the know drinkers head upstairs from the Makers House tapas bar to this stylish yet cosy first-floor bar for the list of original, complex (and strong) creations such as Hamilton’s Gimlet made with pisco, manzanilla, apple aperitif and Braeburn syrup. Open Friday and Saturday nights only.
Shiki: for some of the best Japanese food in the country, head to this contemporary izakaya-style restaurant opposite the cathedral where you can watch the chefs preparing sushi and sashimi.
Wild Thyme: this vegan and vegetarian café in the city centre is rustic yet refined, with lots of bare brick, artfully distressed period furniture and a row of arched leaded windows. The evening à la carte draws on global influences for dishes such as Moroccan-spiced pulled jackfruit with hummus.
Kofra: this group of three hip coffee shops is serious about caffeine, serving single-origin brews with expertise and care. They also stock natural wines and deli items.
Jarrold: browse the aisles of the food hall in Norwich’s iconic department store then eat and drink at one of the store’s six restaurants and bars.
Norwich Market: Norwich’s 900-year-old city centre market is the city’s go-to place for street food; try Cocina Mia’s Chilean empanadas filled with chicken, chorizo and sweet peppers.
Where to stay in Norwich
3 Princes: elegant B&B accommodation in a Grade II listed Georgian townhouse in a quiet but central location.
The Assembly House: stay in spacious and comfortable rooms in an elegant and historic, Grade I listed mansion in the heart of the city.
The Maids Head Hotel: claimed to be the oldest hotel in the country, The Maids Head offers traditional and affordable rooms in a great city centre location. The award winning WinePress restaurant has bags of character.
With Cardiff Arms Park, the Principality Stadium, Cardiff International Arena and the Millenium Centre, you’d be forgiven for associating Cardiff with sport and cultural events. But then you’d be overlooking the city’s fast-evolving food scene. There’s a plethora of tasting menu restaurants from high-profile chefs, but also plenty of depth and variety to explore with things like great Indian and vegan options, too.
What to eat in Cardiff
Heaneys: head to Heaneys in Pontcanna for a casual yet refined dining experience in a contemporary urban space from Great British Menu finalist Tommy Heaney. The daily-rotating menu features a selection of sharing plates using innovative, expertly combined ingredients.
Home by James Sommerin: this fine-dining restaurant in Penarth, just outside Cardiff, is truly a family affair with elegant and inventive Michelin-starred tasting menus from father-and-daughter team James and Georgia Sommerin, and other Sommerin family members running the restaurant.
Cora: chef Lee Skeet worked in some of the best restaurants in Europe including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay before opening this intimate 10-seater dining room with open kitchen where he serves a seafood-led tasting menu that also includes meat and game.
Thomas by Tom Simmons: acclaimed chef Tom Simmons creates French-inspired dishes out of the finest Welsh produce such as Pembrokeshire lamb loin with confit breast, courgette and basil at this smart, fine-dining restaurant and bar.
Anna Loka: this 100 per cent vegan restaurant was crowdfunded by former Hare Krishna monk Adam El Tagoury. Try the specialty burgers made from seitan (wheat gluten) – it’s vegan comfort food.
Chai St: Indian street food, small plates and curries from the owners of the highly rated Mint and Mustard in Penarth and Chai Social just outside the city centre.
Purple Poppadom: when it comes to Indian food, the name Anand George is whispered with sacred reverence in Cardiff. The clean, bright, modern presentation – the room as well as the plate – allows many varied flavours to breathe and bedazzle.
Lab 22: they take their cocktails seriously at this smart city centre bar on the pedestrianised Caroline Street. The seasonally changing line of creative drinks might include ‘Wildflower Sour’ made with vodka infused with foraged wildflowers and mixed with apple eau de vie and Welsh vermouth.
Cardiff Market: you can buy nuts and bolts or have your fortune told at this impressive, sprawling Victorian market, but it’s also home to lots of great street food including Tukka Tuk’s Kerala-fried chicken with Bombay fries.
Where to stay in Cardiff
Parador 44: Spanish-inspired city centre boutique hotel with rooftop terrace that’s also home to the acclaimed Asador 44 restaurant.
Voco St Davids: luxury hotel housed in an iconic modernist building overlooking Cardiff Bay.
The Parkgate Hotel: chic luxury hotel housed in two elegant Victorian-era civic buildings in the city centre.
Sleeperz: clean and comfortable budget hotel in a convenient location close to the station and the city centre.
Best for eclectic dining
Bermondsey is a microcosm of London all wrapped up in an easily navigable neighbourhood that’s perfect for a city break. There’s world-class art and theatre on your hotel’s doorstep, as well as some of the best food markets in the city and so many fantastic restaurants that you’d could stay a week and only scratch the surface of what’s on offer.
Where to eat in Bermondsey
Trivet: chef Jonny Lake and sommelier Isa Bal (both formerly of The Fat Duck) offer a true gastronomic experience in refined surroundings. Don’t miss the baked potato mille-feuille dessert with saké and white chocolate mousse.
Sollip: a refined tasting menu that fuses European and Korean influences in a beautiful minimalist dining room. Chefs and owners Bomee Ki and Woongchul Park have won a Michelin star for original and elegant dishes such as daikon tarte tatin with toasted barley, roasted potato and burnt hay.
Casse Croute: charming French bistro that will transport you to the streets of Paris with classic dishes such as feuilleté d’escargots l’aneth (snails in puff pastry with dill).
Santo Remedio: there’s authentic regional Mexican cuisine on offer at this vibrant, friendly restaurant. The menu of tacos, tostados and regional dishes includes guacamole with grasshoppers.
José Tapas Bar and Pizarro: there are two options in Bermondsey if you want to try Spanish chef José Pizarro’s food. José Tapas Bar is tiny, walk-in only and always crowded with people ordering from the daily blackboard menu. Pizarro is more roomy and comfortable and features a full à la carte menu.
Cafe Murano: the Bermondsey outpost of Michelin starred TV chef Angela Hartnett’s approachable and affordable group of Italian restaurants is buzzy and smart. The pasta dishes are a particular highlight.
Borough Market: London’s most famous market is not only home to some excellent produce stalls, but has numerous dining options, too, including pasta at Padella, Spanish food at Tapas Brindisa, Mexican cuisine at El Pastor and modern fine dining and small plates menus at Turnips.
Spa Terminus: formed from a section of railway arches, Spa Terminus is home to a wide range of food and drink producers including Monmouth Coffee Company, Neal’s Yard Dairy and The Kernel Brewery and Taproom.
St John Bakery: it’s no exaggeration to say that the doughnuts made at the bakery of the famous St John restaurant group, set within a railway arch, are worth a trip to Bermondsey all by themselves. The sourdough is also excellent.
Where to stay in Bermondsey
Shangri-La at The Shard: there’s luxurious rooms and spectacular city views from this five-star hotel that occupies 18 floors of The Shard.
The Lalit: elegant boutique hotel housed in a stunning Grade II listed brick building close to Tower Bridge.
Locke Living: stylish and comfortable self-catering aparthotel rooms and suites close to London Bridge with chef Robin Gill’s Bermondsey Larder restaurant on site.
The Bermondsey Square Hotel: stylish and contemporary boutique hotel rooms that won’t bust the budget in the heart of Bermondsey.