Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Shambles Kitchen - York

I’ve probably said this before, but trying to find lunch in York can be a minefield. There are so many chains and tourist traps that can easily lure you in. Trying to find the gems can be quite difficult if you haven’t been given any tips.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Cameron's Tea Room and Farm Shop (Foyers, Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands)

Everything in The Highlands seems so far spread out compared to life in Leeds, or Yorkshire in fact. When something is ‘only’ an hour away it doesn’t seem too bad a drive. After a rather exhausting day travelling around the Isle of Skye we wanted to do a little less travelling, we had visited the local waterfall, visited the neighbouring town and then found ourselves a little stuck with what else we could do. With it only being around 1pm we decided that an hour’s drive from our location in Drumndrochit to The Falls of Foyer wasn’t too bad.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Taste Of India - Isle of Skye (Scottish Highlands, Inner Hebrides)

Dining out at an Indian Restaurant in Scotland, or more specifically the Isle of Skye, doesn’t sound like the most typical of meals to be had whilst touring The Highlands, I admit. However, after a day of driving around the island, getting engaged, wild water swimming (read: putting our swimming suits on and freezing our t*ts off in the fairy pools) we were knackered. It was pushing 6pm by the time we had left the fairy pools and we needed to eat and embark on the two hour drive back to our log cabin. When we arrived on Skye, just after we had made it across the Skye Bridge, I had noticed an Indian restaurant and joked to the chap that we should stop and go for dinner. This became a reality when it fast became the easiest option with it being on the route back.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Dakota Deluxe - Leeds

When it comes to hotels Leeds isn’t short of them, however, in the city centre the chains dominate. You’ll find hotels that you will find in larger cities in the UK, such as The Hilton, The Radisson, The Marriot, Travelodge and Etap for those on a smaller budget. The city was lacking in boutique, luxury hotels, until Dakota Deluxe arrived spring 2017.

Dakota Deluxe is a brand of hotels that comes from the same company that brought Malmaison to the UK, which at the time was the first hotel brand in the UK for 30 years. Dakota is relatively small in their offering so far, with only three other branches, one in Edinburgh and two in Glasgow.

The ‘Deluxe’, which is what we have in Leeds, is a more refined version than its airport counterparts. The brand hopes to open more Deluxe hotels in city centres throughout the UK, I feel proud that they chose Leeds as one of their first.

Skye Pie Cafe - Isle of Skye (Scottish Highlands and Inner Hebrides)

The Isle of Skye is possibly one of the most picturesque places I have ever been to in my life. It makes me swell with pride that this beautiful isle is a part of our country and my Scottish heritage. Skye, in recent years, has also become a very popular place to live in the Highlands and Hebrides. The Skye bridge has brought ease of access to the mainland and gives its occupants that feeling of being remote, but not too remote. With such beautiful scenery, a growing population and access to fresh fish of the surrounding seas, Skye has also scene an influx of fine dining restaurants.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Fiddlers - Drumnadrochit (Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands)

The Fiddlers in Drumnadrochit, just by Loch Ness, is a popular option for tourists. It’s on the main street, next to a farm shop, opposite the post office and just down the road from one of the Nessy Exhibitions. During the day they have a street food van outside and this stays open until the evening in case you didn’t book ahead and find yourself with no where to eat… great if the weather is nice, not so great if it’s raining.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Pizza Fella - Vicar Lane, Leeds

In a part of the city that I was sure was due to demolished to make way for ‘phase two’ of Victoria Gate, I see new restaurants and bars popping up. Perhaps temporary leases or best laid plans now falling through, I’m not sure.

Pizza Fella has opened up in what was some time ago a very seedy looking sex shop. They have immigrated from their street food van, an old Citroën van, to somewhere a little more stationery. They’ve gone for the ‘stripped back’ look inside, with exposed ceilings and pipes, a sign that this is only a temporary lease? Or are they just following interior fashions? The small details they have added make it feel a little more homely, such as the hanging planters, candles and freshly cut flowers on each table.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Coach House Cafe - Tomich (Scottish Highlands) and Plodda Falls

The Coach House Café, as its name suggests, is an old coach house turned café in the Victorian Conservation Village of Tomich in the Highlands of Scotland. We happened upon this quaint little village out of luck as we passed through when going to see Plodda Falls.

The village was created by the Tweedmouth family, who built a large manor house (now in a ruined stated), and was to serve the Guisachan Estate. The estate covered around 1600 acres and much of the forna and flowers that were planted by the estate still remain.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The Village Inn - Arrochar (Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, Scottish Highlands)

To say that I love Scotland would be an understatement, and I didn’t actually take a trip north of the border until I was 23. I had just returned from New Zealand after an unsuccessful working holiday (it was the recession and all I could get in the way of work was working for accommodation, unfortunately my savings only stretched so far before I had to come home), it was mid-winter when I took the trip and there was snow on the ground as well as the mountains. We took a short car ride from where I was staying near Glasgow (Kilmarnock on the West Coast) to the lower parts of the highlands, Loch Lomond and the Trussachs. I remember exclaiming at this time that I had travelled all the way to New Zealand to see sights, that in fact, were on my doorstep.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Baltzersen's - Harrogate

Ever since visiting Copenhagen in January this year I have been eager to find a ‘real’ Danish cinnamon bun in England. The types you find in Tesco, Sainsbury’s etc. are flat and a bit too flaky pastry to be anything like the real deal, the types you get in cans that you roll out don’t really meet expectations either. There seem to be a few in more Southern areas of the country but up North I was really struggling, that was until I started following Baltzersen’s Instagram account.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Afternoon Tea at Creams British Luxury - Leeds

The Core in Leeds City Centre is an odd shopping centre, it underwent a refurb some years ago chucking out most of their tenants with exception to HMV. Since then I’m told it pushed up rates and it appears to be struggling to fill units. I can recall the days when the glass lift used to go up through the centre, with a small café at the bottom and an overpriced food hall at the top. With Trinity Leeds opening and it seemingly being a more attractive option for stores The Core has slowly been generating another food hall (the previous food hall pre-refurb was the top of the building and was overpriced and a little bit lacklustre), forgive me if I’m wrong, but it seemed to start with the opening of Burger King. Then one by one some more chains have entered the ring and started to open in the once redundant units.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Richard III Hotel - Middleham

Those who know me (or follow me on Instagram) will know that I love a good castle, thankfully I live in Yorkshire and there are a plethora of castles around to visit. I have a Pinterest board set up just for the castles that I want to visit. Middleham Castle had been on my list for some time, so when the chap needed to dust of his car and stretch it’s legs a little I suggested that we take a drive up to Middleham.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Doubletree Hotel (by Hilton) - Leeds City Centre

Despite visiting a Hilton hotel many times I have never actually stayed the night. From what I can gather, the Doubletree brand of the Hilton is a more upmarket, less corporate and more personal (warm) than the run of the mill Hilton hotels. They focus on comfort over convenience and try to make their hotels look attractive and high end.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Lock Kitchen and Bar - Doubletree Hilton - Leeds

Hotel restaurants can be hit and miss, some do it very well, some do it very badly and some play it safe. The Lock at The Hilton Doubletree in Leeds is, in my opinion, the latter.

The Doubletree in Leeds benefits from a very advantageous spot in the city, it has great views over the city from its rooms and it is situated beside the canal. It is fair to say it’s in one of the quieter parts of the city, if you stay at Park Plaza or The Marriott you won’t find a setting quite as tranquil. Don’t get me wrong in the evenings The Granary Wharf area livens up, and with lots of bars and restaurants around it can make for a rather good night, with slightly less of the crowds. The Lock has a relatively big outdoor area (for the city centre) which is nestled next to, you guessed it, the canal locks. This attracts guests of the hotel and locals alike.