As I prepare for my upcoming travels, the thought of all the exciting places I’ll visit has got me reflecting on some of the wonderful adventure opportunities we have here at home in the UK. It’s easy to neglect the wonderful sites of your home country in favour of jetting off somewhere new, but often a mini stay-cation can be just as special.
In celebration of my dad’s 65th birthday, this summer my family and I headed to the Peak District for a few days for some relaxing walks, hot tubbing and lots of delicious food. We stayed at Dovestone holiday park in a lovely log cabin situated right by Dovestone reservoir and within walking distance to the village of Uppermill.
Luckily for us, we hit the jackpot with the sunshine and were able to enjoy al fresco lunches and evening barbecues. As our lodge was self-catering, we all bought plenty of delicious food to share amongst ourselves – but what about when we didn’t fancy cooking? Given that Uppermill is a small countryside village, I assumed it would be optimistic to hope for anything more than a standard vegan option, like tomato pasta, in one or two of the eateries, but I’m oh so happy to report that I was mistaken. In fact, it seemed most restaurants in the village had clearly labelled vegan options on their menu, or a separate vegan menu; not only that, but the options were, on the whole, well thought out and packed with flavour.
Our first stop, The Annex, enthusiastically titled their vegan options as “VEGAN PIZZA” and “VEGAN SALAD”, whilst there wasn’t a huge abundance of choice, the food was delicious and fresh. The vegan pizza, was indeed a pizza with no cheese – which some may feel is a bit of a cop out, but I actually happen to love a cheeseless pizza every now and again; it really allows the flavours of those wonderful fresh veggies to sing. The salad, though perhaps a little on the oily side, was lovely and summery with roasted butternut squash and green beans.
In search of a special evening meal, my mum had booked us in for dinner at Dinnerstone. Whilst I must admit, the service here did leave a little to be desired, the vegan options had me smiling. To start, I enjoyed chickpea koftas on a homemade flatbread and for my main I chose a warm salad of lightly fried gnocchi with tender stem broccoli, pomegranate and sweet gem lettuce, topped with a hazelnut dukkah. If you know me, you will know I am a gnocchi fiend, and this dish did not disappoint; it was a beautiful combination of flavours and it seemed like a dish that had had some real thought put into it, rather than just a token vegan offering.
On our last day, we enjoyed a spot of lunch before our trains home at The Waggon Inn. The Wagon Inn had a small separate vegan menu on request, which included items such as creamy mushroom pasta and even a chocolate fudge cake! I enjoyed a lentil and sweet potato curry, served with curried cauliflower and basmati rice, whilst Alice veganified a veggie & basil hummus sandwich by omitting the halloumi and filled up with a side of chips.
Not to mention, back at the lodge we’d been feasting on toasted marshmallows, Iceland’s No Bull burgers, Tyne Chease, bacon, black pudding… you name it, we had the vegan version of it. It’s safe to say a truly delicious weekend was had by all; it was so pleasantly surprising to find so many vegan options available to us out and about in a countryside village and it made for an even more relaxing trip.
Let me know your favourite places for a trip away in the UK and if there’s any wonderful vegan food to be had!