Slight disclaimer… I haven’t had tea with the Queen, despite two failed attempts to visit her at Buckingham Palace last year… But that’s a whole other story…
The boyf and I spent some time eating our way around England last year. We started in London then hired a car and drove around the South of England visiting sights like Stonehenge, the Eden Project, St Michael’s Mount and both university towns of Oxford and Cambridge. It was a great adventure navigating ourselves out of London peak hour traffic and then around the tiny, winding country lanes. We came out of the experience with only one minor scratch from a parking attempt in Bath and about a 2.5kg weight gain EACH!!
English fare is known to be quite stodgy and we were ready for the challenge. In London we went to town on the full English breakfasts – some only five pounds a pop, went crazy on Mark’s and Spencer’s sandwiches and salads, and ate an amazing curry meal at Tayyabs on Brick Lane. So far so good…
When passing through Lyme Regis one day we stopped off for some fish and chips by the beach. Even though it was summer the temperature was only about 14 degrees yet there were people sunbathing and swimming. Meanwhile I was rugged up in a winter coat and woollen scarf! We found a spot to lean on and set up our fish and chip feast. The fish was so thick and cooked perfectly, the chips hand cut and well salted, and the view was amazing.
I’m a huge fan of scones with jam and cream, so naturally trying Devonshire tea was high on my agenda. Unfortunately we drove too far and before we knew it we were in St Augustine in Cornwall having Cornish cream tea instead. Same concept, different name. Lovely strong tea, fresh scones, sweet jam and whipped cream. A truly delightful afternoon tea.
When in Cornwall one must also partake in a Cornish Pasty… We may have had more than one… more than two even, but our most memorable one was in the stunning seaside town of St Ives. We went to St Ive’s number one pasty shop, got one each and walked to the beach near by. They were piping hot and so meaty and filling. Again, the temperature was mid teens, I was rugged up but there were still people swimming. The English are CRAY!
I’d never had a Yorkshire pudding before, in fact I’d thought they were a sweet pudding before I went to England. Instead they are a lovely pastry casing filled with gravy and served with a roast dinner. We couldn’t pass up a proper English Sunday roast when we were staying in Bath. The roast of the day was beef and it was cooked rare and served with gravy and horseradish. There were plenty of vegetables on offer too – roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnip, pumpkin, creamed leaks and minted peas. It was an absolute feast and a great way to end our stay in Bath.
While escaping a downpour in Oxford (yea, I know – it was meant to be summer!!) we stumbled into the oldest coffee shop in England. It had been open since 1650 and seemed quite posh. Us tourists in our active wear with cameras around our necks stood out like sore thumbs! We ordered tea cake, cream tea and a pot of earl grey tea to share… Phew, that’s a lot of ‘tea’. The cream tea was fancy speak for scones with jam and cream and the tea cake was a bready cake with raisins and a slight lemon flavour. The cream tea was the winner on the day.
Our road trip around the South of England was unforgettable and only gave us more desire to return to see the North. English fare is a delicious mix of different cultures and cuisines. The food was great and we’ll be sure to return.
Have you spent time road tripping around England? Got tips for our next trip? Email me here or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from your ideas!