South West Food & Drink Adventure

South West Food & Drink Adventure

5 Days

This five-day rail and self-drive itinerary gives a wonderful insight into the South West’s seafood, wine and even tea! Also included are some the region’s top visitor attractions, such as the world-famous Eden Project. Travelling from Devon’s south coast, to the wine country of North Cornwall this itinerary offers unforgettable experiences, including the chance to get out to sea and catch dinner, and also learn about wine production in idyllic countryside settings.

Getting To/From The South West

A BritRail South West Pass would be an ideal solution for your clients to take advantage of the Great Western Railway that runs from London, all the way to Penzance in Cornwall. The Night Riviera Sleeper service enables visitors to travel the route overnight. Daily flights also connect London and Manchester with Newquay in Cornwall.

Getting around

This itinerary is best enjoyed using a combination of rail and self-drive, however there are public transport solutions for many of the featured attractions if required.

Starting at London Paddington station, we recommend an evening departure by train from London to Plymouth (three hours 15 mins) to ensure a prompt start to the itinerary in Plymouth the following morning.

For those who wish to break up the train journey, Exeter is an excellent option (see the two-day South West Escape itinerary).

Day 1

Plymouth highlights, Catch and Cook fishing trips and historic Royal William Yard

Plymouth highlights

Plymouth, Britain’s ‘Ocean City’, has a rich maritime heritage and is a destination with a stunning waterfront and natural harbour. Its spectacular location between the bountiful sea, lush farmland and rolling moors provides the city, and its award-winning restaurants, with a wonderful natural larder of fine fresh food.

The city is home to several top restaurants – including the hugely popular Barbican Kitchen, run by locals Chris and James Tanner – and the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill at the Crowne Plaza on the Hoe, which provides spectacular views.

The many marinas, restaurants, alfresco pavement cafés and waterfront bars give the city a distinctly European feel, with each one offering up a mouth-watering array of choice. We have attached the Plymouth Food Guide (see attachment) to give you a flavour of what’s on offer

After breakfast, a stroll around the historic harbour in the Barbican area of the city is a great way to start the day. Sites include The Mayflower Steps, from which the Pilgrim Fathers are believed to have boarded the Mayflower vessel, before their crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to settle in North America on 6 September 1620. In 2020 the United Kingdom, USA and Holland will commemorate and celebrate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower with a series of events.

Also located in the harbour and well worth a visit is the National Marine Aquarium, the largest public aquarium in Britain. Group rates are available.

Plymouth Boat Trips – Catch and Cook Fishing Trips

After some lunch in one of The Barbican’s many restaurants, what better way to have fun and explore the high seas than with Plymouth Boat Trips on a 3.5-hour mackerel and deep-sea fishing trip? Fishing the local waters of Plymouth Sound, along with reefs and wrecks, searching for species such as mackerel, herring, cod, pollock, sea bass and the infamous conger eel, these trips are suitable for everyone, from expert fishermen to absolute beginners. All the necessary equipment and safety gear is provided, so all those on board can sit back and try and spot minke whales, basking sharks, dolphins or even leatherback turtles!

On returning to the harbour the “fishermen” can stop at The Boathouse Café on the quayside, where their catch will be prepared and cooked, to order, by the café’s expert chefs.

Tour details

Min-Max capacity: 6-18 for scheduled trips or private charters
Frequency of Service: June: 1pm Monday to Friday, 9.15am and 1pm at weekends
July and August 9.15am and 1pm daily
September: 1pm Monday to Friday, 9.15am and 1pm at weekends
October: 1pm daily
Nov – March: Saturday & Sunday 1pm
April-May: 1pm daily
Private charters: Please contact to request
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: Website available in Chinese, French and German

Website: Plymouth Boat Trips

Royal William Yard: historic grade 1 listed military buildings

Royal William Yard is a great spot to enjoy the evening in Plymouth. Steeped in history, this collection of Grade I-listed military buildings is the largest in Europe, as well as being a thriving arts and cultural hub with a cosmopolitan mix of bars, restaurants and boutiques.

Le Vignoble is an independent wine lounge and merchant and is a must-visit. Guests are welcome to sample a huge selection of wines by the glass, including those from local vineyards. Locally produced gin and craft beer are also available. Private tutored tastings can easily be arranged for groups of five or more, and accompanying continental food pairings, including items such as cured hams and cheeses, are always a fantastic addition to any tasting class.

Tour details

Min-Max capacity: 6-40 for private tasting sessions
Frequency of Service: Walk in tastings available during business hours
Monday – Thursday: 12:00 – 23:30
Friday & Saturday: 12:00 – 00:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 23:00
Private tasting sessions: Available during business hours, except evenings Friday-Sunday.
1hr30 with 4 wines – beginner level
2hr with 6 wines – beginner/intermediate level
Tapas style food available for additional cost per person
Please contact to arrange these experiences, more bespoke options available.
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: French

Overnight in Plymouth.

Website: Le Vignoble

Day 2

Eden Project and Knightor Winery

Eden Project and Knightor winery

St. Austell, in Cornwall, is the destination for day two – best reached by car or train. Having checked into one of many accommodation choices – perhaps in pretty Charlestown Harbour or stunning Carlyon Bay – visitors are well placed to explore some of the best attractions in Britain.

Often called the eighth wonder of the world, the Eden Project is a series of bubble-like ‘Biomes’ nestled in a crater, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Home to the largest indoor rainforest in the world, and featuring mangrove swamps and treetop gardens, it also lays claim to England’s longest and fastest zipline experience, which provides a bird’s eye view of the site. The food served at the Eden Project cafés is worth a look too, as it’s all made with responsibly sourced, organic, seasonal produce.

The no. 101 bus runs from St Austell station to the Eden Project. Please check latest schedules.

Knightor Winery

Just north of the Eden Project is Knightor Winery. On Thursdays and Sundays between April and October they run scheduled tours, discussing the varieties grown in Britain as well as those from other regions around the world, along with tips on how to grow your own. This is followed by a peek into the winery for a brief introduction to how wine is made, and finally a tasting of their wines, which include a delicious vermouth. On Sundays it is possible to combine a tour with a traditional roast lunch. Private group experiences are available year round on request.

Tour details

Min-Max capacity: Scheduled tours:  Minimum: 1
Private tours: 15-80
Frequency of Service: Scheduled tours – April-October: Thursdays & Sundays 3pm
Winemakers Tour – Select Fridays throughout year (see website for dates)
Private tours: On request, available every day throughout the year. Food options available.
Closed January.
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: Not available

Website: Knightor Wine Tours and Tastings

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Also close by is one of Cornwall’s most magical gardens, The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Rediscovered after decades under a tangle of weeds, they remain one of the most loved and romantic gardens in the UK, appreciated for their year-round beauty, mystery and ground-breaking restoration.

Comprised of 200 acres of estate and winding paths laid over two centuries ago, exploring the gardens reveals a secret world of traditional and rare breeds, wildlife and ancient woodlands. The famous ‘Jungle’ takes visitors on a sub-tropical journey through bamboo tunnels and under majestic tree ferns, giant rhubarb and bananas.

The no. 471 bus runs from St Austell station to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Please check latest schedules.

For dinner, lovers of great seafood should head to the picturesque Charlestown harbour or the fishing village of Mevagissey.

Overnight St Austell.

Day 3

Padstow highlights, Camel Valley vineyard and Rick Stein’s Cookery School

Padstow highlights

The charming fishing port of Padstow is synonymous with great seafood. This is thanks, at least in part, to celebrity chefs Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth, who have opened several wonderful restaurants in the town such as The Seafood Restaurant and Paul Ainsworth at Number 6. The Padstow Christmas Festival is a major date in the British foodie calendar, but there is great cuisine here all year round.

Padstow has some beautiful beaches less than a five-minute drive away and is a perfect base from which to explore the South West Coast Path. It is also the start and end point of the Camel Trail Cycle Route and is close to some of Cornwall’s best wine country.

For those who would prefer not to drive,  it is possible to get from St Austell to Padstow on public transport – the no. 11A bus runs regularly to Padstow from Bodmin Parkway station (16 mins on train from St Austell station). Please check here for latest timetables.

After checking into accommodation, hiring bikes in Padstow and sampling the famous Camel Trail Cycle Route is a great way to explore. One of the most popular recreational bike paths in the country, the Camel Trail, runs from Padstow to Wenford Bridge, via Wadebridge and Bodmin. The largely traffic-free trail follows the route of an old railway line once used by the London and South West Railway. The trail is fairly flat all the way and offers wonderful views of moorland, woodland and estuary.

Camel Valley Vineyard

Conveniently situated along the trail is Camel Valley Vineyard.

Camel Valley is a family run vineyard established in 1989. Today the vineyard produces internationally award-winning wines and offers a ‘Grand Tour and Tasting’, where a wine maker personally guides visitors through the vineyard and explains the wine-making process. After the tour, there is a fun tasting session, beginning with Camel’s most famous wine: Cornwall Brut.

Tour details

Min-Max capacity: 1-50
Frequency of Service: Grand Tour & Tasting
April-October: Wednesday 5pm
August: Wednesday & Thursday 5pm
Guided Tour: April-September: Monday-Friday 2.30pm
Private tours and tastings: Available year-round on request. Minimum cost applies.
Wine Sales (inc by the glass tastings): Year Round: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm
Saturdays from 1st April to the last weekend in September
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: No

Website: Camel Valley Vineyard

Rick Stein’s Cookery School

Rick Stein’s Cookery School, in Padstow, is one of Britain’s best cookery schools.  It is the place to learn how to cook great dishes with the freshest seafood and also runs classes on Indian curries, street food and Spanish tapas to name a few, plus some wonderful patisserie and bakery sessions.

On the Catch and Cook class, the day starts with a trip out to sea with a local Padstow fisherman, before heading back to the kitchen with the catch to learn how to prepare and cook it.

Similarly, the Field to Fork workshop teaches not only how to cook, but also how to grow produce, picking, preparing and cooking a meal sourced from the Padstow Kitchen Garden.

There are also some exclusive cook & stay breaks, combining an overnight stay and breakfast in one of the beautiful guest rooms and a one day course at Rick Stein’s Cookery School.

Tour details

Min-Max capacity: 1-16
Frequency of Service: Regular schedule of cookery courses (please check online calendar)
Catch & Cook Experiences: Available year-round on request. Minimum cost applies.
Foraging Experiences: Available during the summer on request. Minimum cost applies.
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: Not available

Overnight in Padstow.

Website: Rick Stein
Website: Rick Stein – Kitchen Garden Workshop
Website: Rick Stein – Catch and Cook

 

Please contact: Elizabeth Wemyss
cookeryschool@rickstein.com
01841 533466

Day 4

Tintagel Castle, Port Isaac, Trevibban Mill vineyard and Appletons winery

Tintagel Castle

The spectacular Tintagel Castle sits 45 minutes’ drive up the coast from Padstow. Built half on the mainland and half on a jagged headland jutting precariously into the Cornish sea, Tintagel has long been associated with legends relating to King Arthur.

A dramatic new bridge spanning the gap between the two parts of the stronghold is scheduled to open in 2019. The original land bridge collapsed in the 15th century.

Port Isaac

For lunch why not head south to the traditional fishing village of Port Isaac? Narrow winding streets, lined with whitewashed cottages, lead down to the harbour, where local fishermen land their daily catch of fish, crab and lobsters. Celebrity chef Nathan Outlaw has two restaurants that make a trip here more than worthwhile: Restaurant Nathan Outlaw and Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen. Advance booking is highly recommended for both eateries.

Trevibban Mill Vineyard & Orchards

Thirty minutes’ drive away is Trevibban Mill Vineyard & Orchards. Situated in the scenic St Issey Valley, Trevibban Mill has an organic farming ethos which helps produce fantastic grapes, but also benefits local wildlife and encourages healthy biodiversity. For example, the hedgerows which surround the farm are full of edible fruits like blackberries and sloes, and Trevibban uses the flowers from the elder trees to make cordial for Champagne cocktails or delicious ‘mocktails’.

Appletons at the Vineyard

A new purpose-built winery and cellar also houses a stylish tasting room, and the on-site restaurant, Appleton’s at the Vineyard, is a regular in the Michelin Guide.

It is possible to drop in at any time during opening hours for a tasting, or join a scheduled tour of the vineyard and winery, followed by a tasting of three of Trevibban’s best wines. On Sunday mornings there is a very popular ‘Grand Walking Tour’. Guests are guided around the vineyard, orchard and lakeside, learning about organic viticulture and grape growing in England, before finishing the tour in the winery where they learn exactly how the wine and cider is made. Afterwards guests can taste seven of the wines and have lunch at Appleton’s at the Vineyard, while enjoying beautiful views across the valley.

Tour details

Min-Max capacity: Scheduled tours: no min/max
Private tours and tastings May-October: min 10
Private tours and tastings Nov-April: min 20
Frequency of Service: Guided Tour
April-October: Wednesday 4pm (approx. 1 hour)
Grand Walking Tour
April-October: Sunday 10.30am (approx 2-3 hours)
Tastings
Wed – Sun 12:00 – 17:00
Fri – Sat 12:00 – 22:00
Booking recommended for groups of 6+
Private tours and tastings: Available year round on enquiry (inc food options). Please see above for min/max capacity.
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: German, French, Spanish, Turkish

Website: Trevibban Mill Wine Tours Tasting

Day 5

Tregothnan estate

Tregothnan Estate

The beautiful Tregothnan Estate is located just 40km south of Padstow.

Formed in 1334, Tregothnan is a family business and the seat of the Viscount Falmouth. They have pioneered botanical firsts for centuries within the private walls of the Estate’s vast botanical garden, nurturing rare plants, shrubs and Camellia sinensis (tea plants). This unique environment and unusual set of climatic conditions means they can grow and produce Britain’s first ever home-grown tea.

Tregothnan welcomes the opportunity to host groups visiting the Estate and can tailor-make a truly immersive British tea experience. Visitors can choose from a combination of tea blending and tasting, plucking their own fresh tea, touring the Estate’s magical garden, the history of the Estate and tea in the UK, bee keeping, horticulture and garden lessons and bespoke British floristry workshops. Depending on how much time they can dedicate to visiting the home of British tea, there is also luxury self-catering accommodation at the Wild Escapes cottages at nearby Coombe.

Tour details

Min-Max capacity: Min 1
Frequency of Service: 2 hour Estate Tour followed by cream tea: Monday-Friday 10am or 2pm
Bespoke tours and tea experiences/tastings: Available year round on enquiry
FIT or Groups: FIT or groups.
Translation: Translator guides welcome

Website: Tregothnan Estate Experiences