Catch of the day: five great hidden foodie destinations in the UK

Porthleven, Cornwall

Britain’s most southerly port, Porthleven has swapped its traditional products of tin and china clay for some of the best gelato, seafood tapas and freshly caught fish on the Cornish coast. The Harbour Inn (doubles from £109 B&B; harbourinnporthleven.co.uk) is the place to stay, a recently refurbished pub with rooms right by the sea, serving up fish caught in nearby Newlyn and a “Chip Shop Upgrade” – curry sauce, pickled egg and onion and bread and butter. Elsewhere, Amelies (ameliesporthleven.co.uk) overlooks the fishing boats and offers small plates of Cornish mackerel pâté and salt and pepper squid, crispy pizzas and fragrant bouillabaisse. Leave room to choose at least two of the 30 flavours of ice-cream at Nauti (nautibutice.co.uk) and then stock up on Cornish treats at Pengelly’s (pengellys-porthleven.co.uk) before finally heading back home.

Tisbury, Wiltshire

Beckford Arms exterior
Local hero: the Beckford Arms in Tisbur. Photograph: Jake Eastham

The largest village in Wiltshire’s bucolically beautiful Nadder Valley, Tisbury is surrounded by working farms and the 9,000-acre Fonthill Estate, all of which contribute to a thriving foodie scene, loved by locals and visitors, who come to stay at the charming Beckford Arms (doubles from £125 B&B; beckfordarms.com). A gloriously rambling pub with big flame-filled fireplaces, bushels of hops above the bar and a blackboard menu of shotgun cartridges as well as daily specials, it’s the perfect rural retreat. Enjoy candlelit dinners of meat and game from local producers, and vegetables from the Beckford’s kitchen garden.

The Beckford is an ideal base for exploring Tisbury and the surrounding area, dotted with farm shops and restaurants. Dip into Messums (messums.com) – an arts centre and gallery which also has an exhibition space in London – to see the latest display and tuck into coffee and artisan cakes, or a lunch of modern British dishes in the airy restaurant. You could also pop into Bird & Carter (birdandcarter.co.uk), in the neighbouring hamlet of Fonthill Bishop, a firelit eaterie that makes the perfect place in which to refuel after a ramble through the rolling Fonthill Estate.

Five minutes’ drive from the pub, Tisbury’s quiet high street offers a handful of foodie emporiums. Try the Tisbury Deli (tisburydeli.co.uk), filled with cheeses, charcuterie and hand-picked Mediterranean goodies. There’s also Provenance (provenanceonline.co.uk), which produces fresh salads, pastries and cakes each day, along with pantry goods, such as pickled wild garlic buds and relishes, and at-home meals to takeaway. All ingredients are locally sourced and every product is additive and preservative- free. Further up the street, the Beckford Bottle Shop (beckfordbottleshop.com, pictured above) has a 3,000-strong collection of wines and more than 2,000 spirits to peruse, with Beatons Tearooms (beatonstearooms.co.uk) the perfect place to warm up with hot chocolate and a slab of gooey cake (excellent GF options).

Deal, Kent

Bar ar the Rose Hotel in Deal
Pull up a chair: the Rose Hotel in Deal

One of Kent’s most charming coastal towns, Deal has picked up the baton from Margate with a burgeoning foodie culture, encompassing everything from unctuous French cheeses and tangy charcuterie at the No Name Shop deli (no-name-shop.co.uk) to fish straight off the boat at 81 Beach Street (excellent GF/vegan options, 81beachstreet.co.uk). Stay at The Rose (doubles from £100 B&B; therosedeal.com, pictured below) a former pub converted into a quirky eight-room boutique hotel with bold colours and an eclectic mix of retro and contemporary artworks and furniture, and Nuno Mendes, ex of the Chiltern Firehouse, as executive chef of the hotel’s excellent restaurant. Elsewhere in town, evenings begin with cocktails at The Lane, with supper at the Updown Farmhouse (updownfarmhouse.com) – a charming restaurant with rooms. Before heading home, pop into Arno & Co (94 High Street) to pick up small-batch wines, craft beers and tapas snacks, and Jenkins Fishmongers for great fish pâtés.

Orford, Suffolk

Crown & Castle exterior
Going coastal: the Crown & Castle hotel, Orford. Photograph: Derek Adams/Alamy

Oozing classic Suffolk charm, Orford is increasingly as well known for its food scene as its 12th-century castle and endless skies above the shingle spit of Orford Ness. It’s also famous for its oysters and the best place to try them is the Butley Orford Oysterage, where the Pinney family serve up the seafood and smoked fish they have been producing since 1959 (pinneysoforford.co.uk). For sweet treats, head to the Pump Street Bakery (pumpstreetchocolate.com) where artisan chocolate made on the premises shares shelf space with the flakiest pastries and fresh sourdough loaves. Stay at the Crown & Castle (doubles from £113 B&B; crownandcastle.co.uk), an award-winning restaurant with rooms, with a menu of upmarket dishes, using Orford-landed seafood and locally reared meats. Pick up some to take home at the Orford Meat Shed on Bakers Lane, which also does an excellent line in local cheeses.

Clitheroe, Lancashire

Interior of the Bowland food hall at Holmes Mill
Truck stop: Bowland food hall at Holmes Mill, which highlights Lancashire products and is a development on an old textile mill site. Photograph: Scott Hortop/Alamy

The culinary heart of the beautiful Ribble Valley, visit Clitheroe on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday to dip into one of the region’s best food markets, held since the 12th century. Pair local farm produce with a bottle or two of wine from the 4,000-strong selection at D Byrne & Co (dbyrne-finewines.co.uk), and pick up breakfast treats at the Cowmans Famous Sausage Shop (cowmans.co.uk), where the 70 different sausage flavours include curried beef and marmalade pork. For something more classic, book dinner at Tom’s Table (tomstable.co.uk), a French-inspired bistro that offers traditional Gallic dishes alongside locally sourced steaks. Stay at the Spinning Block Hotel – part of Holmes Mill – a restored textile mill dating back to the 1820s, with 39 chic bedrooms set cheek by jowl with the Bowland Food Hall (above) – part deli, part farm shop, part café, offering spectacular breakfasts, including crispy bacon butties and free-range eggs benedict (doubles from £75 room-only, jamesplaces.com).

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