Staycation Restaurants, Cafes & Places | Melissa Hemsley
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UK Staycation Restaurants & Cafes


My Fave Staycation Restaurants & Cafes in the UK

Melissa Hemsley UK Staycations

Planning a holiday or long weekend? More so now than ever is the most wonderful time to explore and appreciate all that the UK has to offer with a Staycation. I want to shout out some of my fave places, restaurants, people & suppliers that are doing brilliant things for our plates & the planet.  Lots of these places have rooms too so you can stay over and enjoy them for longer!

Do let me know if you head to any of these stunning spots and if you’re London based or heading to London for a visit then here’s some of my fave London restaurants too.

Shell Bay, Sandbanks, Dorset
Shell Bay is a peaceful place to soak up a gorgeous view (epic sunsets) with a glass of local Bride Valley Wine (the UK’s answer to champagne). Fresh seafood galore from Dorset Blue lobsters to Poole Bay oysters, they are rightfully proud of their very locally sourced menu.

The Riverford Field Kitchen, Devon
I’ve been getting a veg box delivered from Riverford for over 10 years but love to pay them a visit when I can. Make sure you book ahead as the kitchen cooks per head and everyone eats the same menu so that nothing goes to waste. Also worth a wander around the  gardens, chatting to the growers & admiring the produce.

The Bull Inn, Totnes Devon
Run by Geetie Singh-Watson (who founded the first organic pub in UK), The Bull Inn has been lovingly restored and sustainability is right at the top of it’s agenda. From the food, the drink, the interiors, bedrooms and everything in between, there’s lots of love, care and thoughtfulness woven into everything at this gorgeous pub.

Hidden Hut, Porthcurnick beach, St Mawes, Cornwall
The Hidden Hut (run by husband and wife Simon and Jemma) is an outdoor cafe and kitchen, full of hearty, rustic food & led by local produce. Their sunset feast nights of long tables running down the beach are legendary and sell out in seconds.

River Cottage, Axminster, Dorset (Devon borders)
I’ve cooked at River Cottage summer festivals every year for the last 4 years. Sadly not on this year but you can head down for suppers, retreats, day courses, workshops and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to chat to the brilliant Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall too (thanks for the quote for my book, Hugh!)

The Gallivant, Camber sands, Sussex
On the stunning East Sussex coast, enjoy eating outside on The Gallivant decking overlooking the sandy dune beach.  About 95% of the ingredients come from within 15 miles of them and there is lots to explore and eat in Rye.

Thyme, Gloucestershire
Thyme is a family run beautiful restored manor and farm in the Cotswolds and the food at the Ox Barn restaurant is smashing and headed up by Charlie Hibbert where he lets the ingredients do the talking.  Sit outside if you can in the gardens and pop your head into their cookery school.

Heckfield Place, Hampshire
Get lost in the 400 acres of countryside, gardens and orchards of Heckfield Place. Beautiful biodynamic veg cooked up the legendary Skye Gyngell and a programme of events running all year from visiting authors, painters, chefs and poets. I’ll be speaking there twice this autumn, all sold out I’m afraid but do check it out.

Chesters by the River, The Lake District
A lovely spot to enjoy local produce at this vegan cafe & shop right by the river. Chesters is the best post or pre walk pit-stop. 

Margate, Kent – Angelas and Bottegha Caruso
Margate is only 1.5 hours on the train from me so I love to take regular day trips there. Get there in time for an early fish lunch at Angelas followed by icecream and a few hours at Turner Contemporary art gallery (book a slot in advance) then onto the family run Italian Bottegha Caruso.  I always stock up on their little jars of dried wild oregano and chilli (sent over from Italy by their relatives).  If you want to stay the night, I love The Well.

Isles of Scilly
The Isles of Scilly are my happy place, 25 miles off the south-west tip of Cornwall, it is fantastic to eat at family run cafes with fresh fish and veg grown right on the islands and lots of artisan small batch gins and ciders too.  If you can, spend a night on each of the main islands.

Dumfries House, Woodlands, Scotland
Woodlands celebrates seasonal &  local produce and is set in a beautiful forested area of the magnificent 2000-acre estate is breathtaking.  You can get married there (in case anyone is looking for a venue!) 

Jöro, Sheffield
Stacey and Luke are big on foraging which you can see poured into their exciting menu. Jöro is made from upcycled shipping containers & champions food waste. Their delightful macaroons, made from leftover coffee grinds, are genius.

Roth Bar & Grill, Somerset
Set in the Hauser & Wirth gallery,  Roth Bar & Grill is the perfect setting for a Summer feast outside or cosy meal inside when it’s cooler. I’ve had some lovely times cooking over the grill with them, wonderful people.

Poco, Bristol
Poco is founded by my friend Tom (who is also a fellow FairTrade ambassador) and who is such an inspiration when it comes to reducing food waste. Poco was also named the “most sustainable restaurant of the year”.

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