My Trip to Great Britain

My Trip to Great Britain

I had the pleasure of joining the Visit Britain team along with a group of awesome girls on a trip around Great Britain. To be quite honest, I didn’t realize that Great Britain was made up of 3 countries: England, Scotland, and Wales. I just assumed all of it was England. Totally ignorant but hey, I learned through the best way possible: by visiting. Below is a list of everything you need to know while visiting these countries (well, not everything.. but some really good stuff).

YORK, ENGLAND

WHERE TO STAY

The Principal York: This is where we stayed in York! Its a beautiful hotel walking distance from the main city area (roughly 12 minutes). The hotel looks like a castle from the exterior all the way to the design of each room. The hotel restaurant, Refectory, is great for breakfast and dinner. Can’t visit England without having a proper English breakfast!

WHERE TO EAT (and drink)

Roots ($$): Sharing-plate restaurant. Based around 3 different seasons (meaning 3 different menus) during different times of the year. We had the “Hunger Gap” menu (55 pounds per person). Highlights were the Salt Beef, Mustard, Gherkins & Winchester and the Kale Dressed in Sheep’s Yoghurt, Pickled Walnuts & Cured Egg Yolk.

The Rattle Owl ($$): Serving Yorkshire/English dishes using local produce. Try dishes like Chicken & tarragon tortellini or the Venison Wellington!

Arras ($$$): Modern British style food. Michelin recommended. Try dishes like Roasted Quail or Beef Sirloin, Oxtail Faggot, Celeriac, Ox Tongue and Greens.

Le Cochon Aveugle ($$$$): Serves up a frequently changing European tasting menu. Dishes change so frequently that my recommendations might not even be served. Lunch tasting is 45 pounds, with an addition 35 if you’d like a wine pairing.  Dinner is 75 with an additional  55 for wine pairing. They also have a wine bar called Cave du Cochon which is run by chef Overington’s wife, Victoria, who is also a sommelier.

Mannion and Co. ($$): Relaxed cafe serving up French and Italian style cuisine. You cant really go wrong with anything on the menu, but grab one of their charcuterie or cheese boards! They also have freshly baked bread!

Star Inn The City ($$$): Serving up modern British dishes. Located in an old engine house, Star Inn The City sits right on the side of the river. Try dishes like the Salt-aged Yorkshire Short Horn Beef Tartare or the Mushroom & Lovage Tagliatelle.

Los Moros ($$): Situated right in the city centre, Los Morros serves up Modern North African cuisine. This is the right place to get a bunch of dishes to share. Try dishes like Cacik, Whipped Feta, and Shakshouka. If you’re on the go, try their original street food stall in the Shambles Market. Try the chicken wrap!

Melton’s Restaurant ($$$$): Serving Modern British food in a relaxed atmosphere. Try dishes like Whiskey Cured Salmon and Venison with bitter chocolate.

Partisan ($$): Fun and laid back coffee shop serving up delicious dishes. Everything is cooked from scratch here! Try their Persian Eggs made with dates and spices if you’re joining them for breakfast. For dinner, get the Merguez Spiced Jackfruit Stuffed Parsnip or the Herb Gnocchi.

Cafe No.8 ($$): Fun bistro serving up traditional dishes. Try dishes like Fried breaded goats cheese and Slow cooked beef feather blade. The staff is very friendly as well!

Skosh ($$$): Another great Contemporary British restaurant! Dishes are small and meant for sharing (get a bunch!!). Dishes include salt-aged beef rump tartare, pork loin ‘hoi sin’, and lamb belly fritters.

Where To Drink

The House of Trembling Madness

The Black Swan Inn

Guy Fawkes Inn

Brew York

The Golden Fleece

Valhalla

Lendall Cellars

Micklegate Social

Evil Eye

WHAT TO DO

Take a Cooking Class at the Cookery School in the Grand York Hotel: This was one of the most fun activities of the whole trip. The class was about 4 hours and was not only easy and fun, but done very well. There were no judgements or rushing. They were helpful with all cooking tasks and walked you through every step. We got to make Fish & Chips from scratch. And by scratch everything from the thrice cooked chips to the tartar sauce. It was one of the best meals of the trip! The dish was paired with wine and finished off with a panna cotta made by the chef. We were able to take the recipes home too! I highly recommend this activity if you visit York. Prices start at $55pp for a 2 hour class, and go up to a full day from $159pp.

Walk around the Shambles: If you’re a Harry Potter fan, this is your dream come true. Diagon Alley in Harry Potter was inspired by the Shambles in York. The streets are narrow and dreary with crooked and dark architecture. It is filled with restaurants, shops, bakeries and bars. You can even find a few Harry Potter shops! This is the most touristy area of York, so if you want to see it without all of the people, visit early in the morning.

Check out the York Minster: The York Minster Church is hard to miss, but is absolutely beautiful from the outside. It won’t take long for you to see it, so it is definitely something to check out!

Grab Tea at Bettys: If you’re in England and you don’t drink tea, you’re doing something wrong. One of the most famous Tea rooms in York is Betty’s Tea Room. Situated right in the city centre, Betty’s always has a queue out of the door. However, it is worth the wait! Grab a few scones, cups of tea, and maybe a glass of champagne or two and enjoy the bustle of afternoon tea at Bettys.

Try Cheeses at Love Cheese: If you love cheese as much as I do, check out the cheese tasting at Love Cheese! A lot of people have tried cheese and wine, but have you paired cheese with tea? This little cheese shop pairs a bunch of delicious cheeses from comté to machengo with teas from around the world. This is definitely a fun activity for a couple or family!

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

WHERE TO STAY

Radisson Red Hotel: This is where we stayed during our trip. The Radisson Red was clean, accommodating, and in a great area! It was walking distance from almost all of the bars and restaurants we wanted to go to. They had a great restaurant downstairs, and a rooftop bar that overlooked the city!

Other hotels that were recommended to me were the Blythswood Square and the Hotel Dakota Hotel!

WHERE TO EAT (and drink)

*As far as food goes, this city was the best for it. We definitely out-did ourselves here!

Alchemilla ($$): Favorite restaurant of the trip. Serving up seasonal Mediterranean plates with an extensive wine list (natural wines included!), Alchemilla is a great spot for lunch and/or dinner in Glasgow (we actually went twice lol). We did get one of everything on the menu, and some dishes we ordered twice, but there were a few that stood out. The menu also changes daily, so some dishes might not be available. We loved the Yellow beetroot salad, chickpeas with sage a lemon yogurt, and the Rhubarb Merengue.

The Gannet ($$$): Serving up a European tasting menu. Dishes change daily, so some might not be available. Try dishes like Cairngorm Red Deer and Shorthorn Beef. They also have a vegetarian menu! Michelin recommended.

Ox and Finch ($$): Contemporary tapas style dishes. The menu is large, which means the more, the merrier! Try dishes like Green Harissa Hummus, Skate Wing, and Tequila Cured Sea Trout.

The Ubiquitous Chip ($$$): Serving up country style food drawn from the love for regional Scottish dishes. The space is airy, with string lights on the ceiling and plants covering the walls. Try dishes like Venison Haggis and Guinea Fowl Breast!

The Hanoi Bike Shop ($$): Serving up street-food style Vietnamese dishes. With bikes hanging from the ceiling, the Hanoi Bike Shop has been a local favorite for some time now. Try dishes like Chili Glazed Sesame Rice Cakes, Sticky Chicken, and even a “Build-Your-Own” Pho menu!

Mother India ($$): Serving up delicious Indian Food. Try dishes like Slow Cooked Chicken Curry, Smoked Lamb, and Ginger Crab and Prawn Dosa. You can also check out their cafe!

Paesanos ($): Best pizza in Glasgow! Paesanos was the first to bring traditional Neapolitan style pizza to Glasgow. Cooked in wood fired ovens sent straight from Naples, this places only serves pizza. No need for appetizers or entrees… just pizza. Try pies with fresh Tuscan fennel sausage, prosciutto di parma, and spicy salami from Calabria.

Crabshakk ($$): The freshest of Scottish seafood! If you want great fish and shellfish, this is the place for you. Try dishes like OYSTERS (cant forget some oysters), whole brown crab, and their Fish Club Sandwich.

El Perro Negro ($$): The burgers here are great! We only tried one, but I think it could speak for the rest of them. They’re famous for the Top Dog: Bone marrow and roquefort butter, double bacon, caramelised onions and black truffle mayo. I mean..come on now.

Other Great Spots: Cottonrake Bakery (for the scone!), Kaf Cafe, Potluck, Two Fat Ladies, Hutchesons

Where to Drink:

Swing

The Parlour

Brel

Kelvingrove Cafe

WHAT TO DO

Honestly, the best thing to do in Glasgow is to eat and drink! Take in the sights and stumble upon the vast number of delicious cafes, bars, and restaurants. We seemed to be eating all day every day and loved every minute of it! West end is filled with a number of the best spots, so take a stroll in that area and get a little lost.

CARDIFF, WALES

WHERE TO STAY

St. Davids Hotel: This is where we stayed during our visit. Located in Cardiff Bay, just a 6 minute train ride from the city centre. It is a very modern hotel, with a great view of the bay and wonderful amenities for you to enjoy. The gym is very nice and is located inside the spa, which offers a full list of treatments. The hotel also have an extensive breakfast buffet, which makes it easy to grab a meal before heading out. From the hotel, you can visit the many restaurants, bars, and shops which line the boardwalk along the bay.

WHERE TO EAT (and drink)

The Clink ($$$):  Delicious Welsh food served up prison inmates in training. Try dishes like Ox cheek raviolo and Charred king oyster mushroom with truffle fondant potatoes.

Bar 44 ($$): Great Spanish tapas. Try their various meats and cheeses from the “La Despensa” menu or get the Patatas Bravas and Cerdo from the “De La Cocina” menu.

Park House ($$$): Michelin Recommended restaurant set in an elegant 19th century mansion. This old house has 2 different floors: one for the dining experience and one for the bar. There is a tasting menu set for different amount of courses. Try dishes like Black Truffle Risotto and 70 day Salt Aged Beef. The menu does change frequently, so some dishes might not be available upon arrival.

Bully’s ($$): French cuisine. Very quaint and low key. They have different menus on different days of the week, so choices many vary. If you are there Friday or Saturday night, try the Pan Fried For Gras or the Marinated Garlic and Rosemary Lamb Rump.

Chapel 1877 ($$): Swiss Welsh food served in a resorted 3-story chapel. The first floor is an a la carte menu, but they also have a gastro bar for casual meals and a suite for private fine dining experiences. Try dishes like Saffron Cured Mackerel or Confit and Roasted Pork Belly.

Spice Quarter ($$): Serving up contemporary Indian cuisine using local Welsh produce. Try dishes like Welsh Lamb Chops marinated in Mustard oil and their Butter Chicken. At this place, its best to order a bunch of dishes to share so you can try everything.

Pieminister ($): Known as the best pies in Cardiff. And when I say pies…I don’t mean pizza. I mean actual meat pies. This late-night food joint is the perfect spot for a quick, hardy meal. They even serve up vegan and vegetarian pies! Try pies like British chicken and dry cured bacon with tarragon or a Mushroom, tomato and red wine pie with baby onions and thyme.

The Classroom ($$$): Serving up modern European food. Menus do change seasonally, but try the Slow Cooked Rabbit Thigh or Hickory Smoked Loin of Venison.

Casanova ($$): Serving up Italian food. This two story Italian restaurant serves up inventive Italian food with local Welsh ingredients and direct imports of the finest Italian ingredients. Try dishes like Beef and Red Wine Ravioli or Traditional Calabrian Ragu of Goat.

Felin Fach Griffin ($$): One of my favorite meals on the trip. This spot is right outside of Cardiff, so it might be a bit of a drive (but totally worth it). Try dishes like their Wild Mushroom Risotto or their cod and chorizo.. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Other Welsh Foods to Try:

Bara Brith: a type of fruit cake

Laverbread: bread made using crushed seaweed. Other spices and ingredients can be added to the bread. It is usually served with butter and tea

Welsh Cakes: These are found everywhere in the city. Fresh Welsh cakes can be smelled from down the street. These cakes are traditionally cooked on a griddle and are made from flour, butter, currants, eggs, and spices. We tried lemon flavored ones which were delicious. The best ones we tried were from Fabulous Cakes.

Bars to Try in Cardiff:

The Dead Canary

Ten Mill Lane

Soda

Buffalo: beer garden

Curado: spanish wines

Dirty Martini

Clwb Ifor Bach: Local bands

Tiger Tiger

The Mocka Lounge

Missoula

WHAT TO DO

Loving Welsh Food Tour: This was about a 4-5 hour tour with 7 stops to local restaurants, pubs, and tea rooms. This tour is perfect If you’re interested in trying very local foods like Bara Brith, Laverbread, faggots, cockles, and welsh cakes. The tour is walking, which allows you to digest (and exercise) while eating.

Visit the City Centre: The city centre is filled with many shops, restaurants, and bars for you to explore. There are also local markets selling artisanal products so make sure to walk slowly so you don’t miss anything! There are also a bunch of pubs selling local beers, and shops selling local cheeses.

Walk through the Castle: The castle is situated right in the city centre, so you cant miss it! Take a tour of the castle and grab a photo or two. Don’t forget to check out the animal wall which was created for the queen who wanted a zoo, but was unable to build one.

Head into the countryside and visit smaller towns: Our last day in Cardiff, we took a car into the outskirts and visited small towns like Hay-on-Wye and Abergavenny. Hay-on-Wye is known as the largest second hand book town in the world. It is filled with book shops!

Abergavenny is another small town in which we spent the night. We didn’t get much time to explore the town, but we did come across a quaint natural wine shop, Chester’s Wine Merchants, where we spent most of our night. We also went to The Hardwick for dinner which was delicious. I got the Chicken with yogurt and hummus and it was AMAZING! The also have homemade ice creams like chocolate and honeycomb. We spent the night at the Angel Hotel, which was a beautifully done older hotel that made you feel right at home.

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