Wanderer June 2015
YHA The Wanderer
YHA The Wanderer
 

 

 
The Wanderer, Issue 30, June 2015
 
 
Food Edition
 
Feast your eyes on four tantalizingly tasty trip ideas this month as we travel around some of the UK’s best food festivals, street food fairs and farmers’ markets. Discover our top picks of places to eat plus where to go to find the best watering holes with this smorgasbord of suggestions for summer and beyond.
 
If you’d like to look back over previous editions of The Wanderer, you’ll find them all in the archive.
 
Map  
 
 
YHA Oxford
 
 
YHA Oxford
 
  Clever cooks and fine fare  
 
 
If you’re looking for an epicurean adventure this August, look no further. There are food festivals aplenty in late summer and into autumn so take a trip to this wonderful city to tickle your taste buds with the very best produce served in the south east.
 
 
 
YHA Oxford
 
YHA Oxford
 
For starters, the UK’s largest celebration of food and drink, the Foodies Festival, comes to South Park over the August bank holiday weekend. Expect top chefs demonstrating the latest big flavour trends and mixologists concocting thirst-quenching blends. From feasting tents to kids’ cookery lessons, champagne bars to craft beer stands, there’s something for every palate.
 
If you favour free festivals, Thame Food Festival will take place on Saturday 26th September. It’s a 35-minute drive from the hostel but well worth a look. The centre of this historic South Oxfordshire market town becomes a hive of activity as Raymond Blanc and friends deliver demos and showcase local produce. Plus there’s sausage making, apple pressing and plenty of stalls.
 
Oxford is fantastic for food markets. As well as the seven or so farmers’ markets that take place in and around the city, on at least a monthly basis, the famous Covered Market is open daily. And on the first Saturday of every month (Mar-Oct) Oxford’s street food collective, Bitten Street, takes over the Castle Quarter to offer dishes from around the world; you’ll find all sorts here, from wood fired pizzas to Tibetan momos and Spanish tapas.
 
Still peckish? The hostel’s café-bar is open 24 hours – perfect for a midnight snack.
 
  book now  
 
 
 
 
 
Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Nick:
 
  1  
For a great afternoon tea, try the café at St Mary’s Church on Cornmarket Street in the city centre. First, work up an appetite and get fantastic views of the city’s dreaming spires by climbing the church’s 13th century tower.
 
 
  2  
From the hostel, walk north along the riverside path and pass through Port Meadow – a pretty and popular spot in the summer. Handily, the route passes two pubs: the Perch Inn, a historic rural pub with a large garden, and the riverside Trout Inn at Wolvercote.
 
 
  3  
Who can visit Oxford without trying their hand at punting? Whether you pick it up instantly and glide effortlessly down the river, or wobble precariously whilst going round in circles, it is lots of fun.
 
 
 
 
 
YHA Bristol
 
 
YHA Bristol
 
  The best of the West  
 
 
Whether you’re a gourmand or a gourmet, this city’s gargantuan food festival offering means you’ll find ample opportunity to try tasty treats at any time of year. We’ll focus our attention on the months ahead here though and give you a run-down of Bristol’s summer specials, all easily accessible from this top quality quayside hostel.
 
 
 
YHA Bristol
 
YHA Bristol
 
The aforementioned Foodies Festival has a Bristol leg which begins a week tomorrow, bringing all of the above to Clifton Downs between 26th and 28th June. In July, refined dining makes way for mighty, meaty mayhem as Grillstock BBQ and Music Festival sets Harbourside alight on 11th and 12th with smoking-hot headline acts, lip-smacking soul food and fiery chilli-eating competitions.
 
The very next weekend sees the Bristol Harbour Festival showcase local and international performers in a varied arts programme alongside a celebration of the city’s rich maritime heritage with boats and nautical capers aplenty, all accompanied by fantastic food and drink. Bristol Thai Festival follows closely in its wake, bringing Thai food, produce, dancing and demonstrations to Queens Square over 24-29 July.
 
Dine in Bristol’s permanent eateries, particularly around Stokes Croft, to encounter the eclectic, the unconventional and the quirky. This area has the most independent shops of any street in the country and a culinary offering to match. Try The Canteen for affordable home-cooked food served against a soundtrack of live music every night, or the Pieminister for handmade pies filled with the finest West Country ingredients.
 
  book now  
 
 
 
 
 
Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Richard:
 
  1  
Combine a competitive spirit with a sense of fun, add a couple of pints of continental beer and you’ve the recipe for a fantastic evening at Kongs of King Street, a laid back bar full of retro arcade games, ping pong and more.
 
 
  2  
Offering super views over the Floating Harbour, The Apple is a brilliant bar on a beautifully converted Dutch barge and by far the best place in Bristol to sample a selection of ciders and perries.
 
 
  3  
You’re in for a royally good time at the Prince of Wales on Gloucester Road. Expect a friendly atmosphere, great pub grub and a variety of well-kept cask ales. How to find it? Look for the giant blue octopus graffitied on the outside.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cotswold Outdoors
 
 
Our famous nationwide tent shows
 
The crackle and spit of breakfast cooking on the stove, the smell of fresh coffee in the air; it’s the little added luxuries which really brings camping to life. At Cotswold Outdoor, not only do we have a vast range of camping equipment suitable for all types of trips, but we also have a whole heap of products great for eating in the outdoors. From glamping to wild camping, we have everything you’ll need! Shop now.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
YHA Conwy
 
 
YHA Conwy
 
  Feast in the foothills  
 
 
Welsh Black beef, mountain-reared Welsh lamb, Conwy mussels… North Wales boasts one heck of a natural larder. And owing to its proximity to first-rate festivals, farmers’ markets and food centres, Conwy makes an excellent base for a terrific taste-bud-tickling trip.
 
 
 
YHA Conwy
 
YHA Conwy
 
A 15-minute drive away, the £6.5 million Bodnant Welsh Food Centre is an absolute must visit for any foodie. Inside this gorgeous stone-built farm in the foothills of Snowdonia you’ll find the finest foodstuffs to try and buy. As well as a shop, there’s a bakery, butchers and cookery school, meaning you can watch and learn from artisans at work. And if you want to get the children into cooking, attend the free Kids Foodfest here between 17-19 August.
 
Another place to pick up a diverse range of produce is at Conwy Farmers’ Market on the last Wednesday of every month. It’s held at the beautifully situated RSPB reserve, on the banks of the Conwy estuary, which is a mere five-minute drive away.
 
In terms of dates for your diary, the highlight of Conwy’s culinary calendar is Gwledd Conwy Feast on 24 and 25 October. The medieval walled town, 13th century castle and gorgeous quayside will play host to a spectacular weekend celebration of food, drink, art and music. There’ll be dozens of street food sellers as well as demos and displays.
 
When the feasting is finished, a 10-minute stroll brings you back to your hostel home-from-home and a comfortable night’s rest. In the morning, enjoy a hearty breakfast and panoramic views of the town below.
 
  book now  
 
 
 
 
 
Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Eric:
 
  1  
Treat your sweet tooth in September at Conwy’s Honey Fair. Buzz around the stalls to pick up honeycomb, cloudy Welsh honey and beeswax products.
 
 
  2  
Enjoy the amazing flavours of Parisella’s award winning ice cream, made right here in Conwy. Visit the factory shop in Lancaster Square or the kiosk at Conwy Quay and plump for signature sensations such as Amaretto and Black Cherry or Blue Banana.
 
 
  3  
Albion Ale House on Uppergate Street is an absolute gem. Recalling a simpler time, the traditional 1920s public house offers no music, no television and no meals – just fantastic beer and bar snacks in a unique setting.
 
 
 
 
 
YHA Leominster
 
 
YHA Leominster
 
  The land of cheese and cider  
 
 
Specialising in the small scale, the authentic and the artisan, Herefordshire is justifiably proud of its produce. As well as regular farmers’ markets selling field-fresh seasonal output such as spring asparagus or winter root veg, this part of the Marches also yields two well-known annual food festivals and is most famous as the country’s cider capital. The cheese is champion too, especially from Monkland Dairy, just up the road.
 
 
 
YHA Leominster
 
YHA Leominster
 
Visit over the weekend of 27 - 28 June and add a dash of aeronautics to your gastronomic getaway with a day out at Shobdon Food and Flying Festival. This unique event dishes up meats, cheeses, breads, confectionary and cakes from 70 Herefordshire producers and offers an opportunity to take a light aircraft or helicopter for a trial flight!
 
Later in the year, Ludlow Food Festival returns to take over town and castle. There’ll be in excess of 180 independent producers here as well as oodles of food-related events and entertainment including demonstrations, pudding tastings, sausage and ale trails, markets and more.
 
If you’re eager to find out about Herefordshire’s long tradition of cider production, you’d be best advised to ditch the car in favour of a bicycle and take to the Cider Route. Begin at the Cider Museum Hereford before wheeling your way between brewers to indulge in an authentic tipple or two.
 
When you’re all tuckered out from the scenic sights and culinary delights of this beautiful county, it’s back to the former Benedictine Monastery of YHA Leominster for peaceful rest and relaxation.
 
  book now  
 
 
 
 
 
Insider tips from Hostel Manager, Ben:
 
  1  
Leominster boasts the best selection of antiques shops in the Marches. A superb spot for a scone and a browse is The Merchant’s House, a really pretty building in the famous black and white style with an oak beamed café and antiques centre inside.
 
 
  2  
Enjoy a little dose of history laid out in an absorbing way, and visit Grange Court. The Grade II listed timber-framed market hall was built in 1633. Today it is a community and heritage hub housing a social enterprise-run café serving up delicious homemade cakes.
 
 
  3  
A short drive away, Westonbury Mill Water Garden is the product of 15 years of loving care and attention. Described as ‘different’ and ‘unusual’, there’s something beautiful and fun around every corner. The perfect place to stop and smell the flowers.
 
 
 
 
 
Kids eat free
 
  Kids eat free  
 
 
Catering costs can quickly creep up when you go away as a family so make sure you take advantage of our Kids-under-10-eat-free offer when you stay with us. Buy an adult main meal at selected hostels and get a child’s meal for free! Just be sure to order both at the same time. For more information, please see our website.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Next month:
   
 
  The Food Edition  
 
 
Next time we’ll be taking a deep breath where the air is fresh and preparing for National Parks Week (27 July – 2 August) with a look at four properties that perfectly demonstrate why we can be so proud of this green and pleasant land. Expect lush scenery, sweeping panoramas, places to play and ways to wind down.
 
 
 
Next month
 
 
  Find out how were changing the lives one stay at a time
 
Find out how were changing the lives one stay at a time
 
Because YHA is a charity, when you stay with us you’re helping keep prices affordable, hostels beautiful and you’re even enriching the lives of young people. Find out more.
 
 
 
 
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