Forage and feast, Cornwall
The Godolphin Arms restaurant with rooms in Marazion combines views across St Michael’s Mount with a menu packed with Cornish produce (Newlyn crab mac’n’cheese with sriracha, say, or Cornish lamb steak with aubergine purée and pickled kohlrabi). Guests can also take a two-hour Forage & Feast tour, led by guide Emma Gunn, followed by a picnic prepared by Greg Mile of the nearby Sail Loft restaurant (perhaps hogweed frittata, fire-smoked pilaf and soft cheese with pickled wild greens).
• Doubles from £100 B&B, Forage & Feast tour £30pp including picnic lunch, next tours 15 and 29 September, godolphinarms.co.uk
Full-day feasting, Devon
It comes with a hefty price tag, but fans of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall can now stay at River Cottage HQ, the 17th-century farmhouse in Axminster that featured on the TV chef’s cooking programmes. There are three bedrooms overlooking the kitchen garden, a cosy lounge and generous breakfasts include homemade sausages and eggs from his own hens. The River Cottage Experience includes a tour of the organic farm and foraging and cooking lessons, from making bread to curing pork belly and filleting and steaming fish. It’s a busy day (10am to 8pm) with plenty of time for feasting at lunch and dinner – and the odd snack in between.
• Doubles from £150 B&B, River Cottage Experience from £195pp, next one 11 September, rivercottage.net
Fire and game, Somerset
Shed and Breakfast is a trio of shepherds’ huts rented out as a single property (one is a bedroom, one a shower room with a loo and one a living area) in the garden of a cottage near Bruton, where John Steinbeck once lived. The owners supply a cooked breakfast with seasonal fruit and yoghurt, and it’s on the doorstep of the Roth Bar & Grill at the Hauser & Wirth art gallery. The Roth runs expert-led, field-to-fork cooking courses, including cheese making, charcuterie, pies and “making the best-ever Christmas dinner from scratch”.
• Doubles from £125 B&B, book on airbnb.co.uk, courses at the Roth from £125pp including lunch, rothbarandgrill.co.uk
Make cider, Monmouthshire
A working farm run by TV presenter Kate Humble, just a few miles from her own smallholding, Humble By Nature offers a range of accommodation plus a cafe majoring in homemade burgers. Its real selling point, however, is its rural skills centre. Courses range from sheep shearing to beekeeping, but many are kitchen-based. Learn how to marinade biltong, make edible Christmas gifts or, in October, brew your own cider with local expert James McCrindle, who covers the whole process, from gathering apples to pressing and tasting.
• Studio for two from £160 for two nights, guests get 10% off courses, from £50pp for the half-day chocolate making workshop, cider making £115, humblebynature.com
Veg plot to plate, Cotswolds
On the fringes of Cirencester, organic Abbey Home Farm provides a taste of the good life with tours, trailer rides, a flexitarian cafe (mostly veggie but serves meat on Sundays) and a farm shop. Accommodation ranges from cottages to yurts and shepherds’ huts (plus camping in summer). Cooking courses led by tutors including Erin Baker of the Natural Cookery School and E5 Bakehouse chef Ruth Quinlan, take place in a large kitchen next to the veg garden with its 180 varieties, for ultimate plot-to-plate freshness. Students then feast on the fruits of their labours (the Middle Eastern Feast course includes carrot and harissa salad, falafel, kichree, and coconut and marmalade cake).
• Shepherd’s hut for two from £65 a night, cookery courses from £60 for 4½ hours, theorganicfarmshop.co.uk
Sweets and sourdough, North Yorkshire
Cawthorn House is a classic, four-bedroom Pickering townhouse B&B, recently taken over by Pascal and Sarah Watkins (formerly of the Angel at Hetton). As well as standout breakfasts, expect a raft of foodie treats: prosecco and warm-from-the-oven canapés on arrival – maybe chorizo and sun-dried tomato pinwheels or mini blue cheese soufflés – and homemade cookies are freshly baked for guests each day. From 14 October, wannabe bakers can join their new sourdough experiences, with demo, mini-afternoon tea and dough-making (leave it overnight and bake it next morning to take home).
• Doubles from £90 B&B, sourdough course £90, cawthornehouse.co.uk
Wild gin weekend, Pembrokeshire
Top of the Woods is a foodie glampsite (with safari tents and geodesic domes as well as tent pitches) that hosts pop-up pizza nights, stew nights and barbecue nights, while its cafe opens for breakfast and brunch at weekends. Between spring and autumn it also does themed culinary weekends: the last one of the season is a Wild Gin Weekend on 14-15 September (the one after that is 19-21 June 2020), with guided foraging for botanicals, lunch, a lesson in gin blending, Welsh gin tasting and the chance to create your own gin.
• Glamping from £70 a night for four, camping £13 adult/£6.50 child, wild gin experience £99pp, or £149pp with all weekend food included, topofthewoods.co.uk
Seafood special, Isle of Harris
Sound of Harris has two single-storey, timber-clad cottages in the south of the island, with panoramic coastal views. Guests can buy straight-off-the-boat seafood from nearby Sound of Harris Shellfish or fresh mackerel and pollock from the cottages’ owners, Rob and Carol. There are crustacean crackers and lobster forks in the cottages and Rob can talk guests through prepping and cooking fish, and share recipes, including Port Eisgein pollock curry (named after the bay where he caught a 10lb pollock it’s laced with mustard seeds, coconut milk, tamarind paste and a ‘secret’ Sri Lankan curry powder sourced from a supplier on Skye). In summer, Rob also takes guests on catch-and-cook fishing trips, and foraging for cockles, razor clams and mussels is offered in autumn and spring.
• Cottages for two from £325 for three nights, catch-and-cook fishing trips on request at no extra cost, hostunusual.com
Veggie comforts, Worcestershire
A former teacher and long-term vegan, Lizzy Hughes runs specialist vegetarian cooking school Our Lizzy from her home in Malvern. Her small-group, plant-based courses range from Middle-Eastern cookery to Christmas Baking, but the school is also known for its tofu, dairy-free and gluten-free courses, and for workshops such as “autumn harvest” or “cooking with wild garlic” that focus on seasonal ingredients. B&B accommodation is offered too (vegan pancakes with pear and banana feature alongside veggie cooked breakfasts). Comfort food dinners – red pepper and chestnut strudel or cashew and carrot roast – can be arranged in advance.
• B&B from £40 for a single room, £65 for a double, courses from £45pp for a half-day, ourlizzy.com
Grape harvest, East Sussex
Vineyard tours, wine tastings and a popular restaurant, Tasting Room, draw visitors to the Rathfinny winery. Chef Chris Bailey’s seasonal menus include dishes such as plaice with St George’s mushroom, hispi cabbage and apple, while at Flint Barns, the estate’s more informal 10-bedroom hotel, Sunday lunch is the big attraction (evening meals of, say, haddock and cheddar fishcakes and date and ginger pudding are served at weekends too). For a hands-on experience, stay during the grape harvest, from 7 October, and help gather the fruit. Accommodation for 31 pickers is available at Flint Barns.
• Doubles in hotel from £100 B&B. During the harvest, grape pickers can earn around £8.50 an hour and stay in shared rooms from £25.50 a night full-board (minimum four nights), rathfinnyestate.com
Rhiannon Batten is the travel editor of olive magazine
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