Wild summer dining

Actually why wait until summer? After months of lockdown through the dark British winter, let’s make the most of the light and warmer temperatures as soon as we have the green light to move around more freely. And if that means wearing your thermals to sit outside, then layer them under a posh frock to keep warm. Get out and have some fun!

In anticipation that we’ll be able to travel further afield soon here’s a selection of some unique places to enjoy dining in the rural countryside, woodlands or overlooking the sea.

“Fresh air, magical locations and far from the madding crowd.” Wild dining isn’t so much an experience as a movement.

Dining al fresco

Fancy A Midsummer’s Night Dream experience? Wild dining is filling a need as people aim to live more authentically. Reconnect with what you put on your plate with real food, seasonal, foraged and prepared in a simple way over an open fire. There are a growing number of foraging, and wild cooking and dining events around the country. Learn about what’s safe to collect and eat in the wild, the best seasonal ingredients and how to cook with them to produce healthy and delicious meals. Food always taste better outdoors too so connecting with nature is an important bonus.

Nomadic Dining Experience

Nomadic Dining Experiences. L to R: a birch tree sharing table set up in the woodland; Chef Valentine Warner, food writer and broadcaster and known for his deep love of nature and travel.

Inspired by nature, Nomadic hosts feasts that take place at a location in a classified Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Chalfont St Giles. Events vary from an evening of candlelit dining to an overnight stay under canvas. Woodland Feasts take place once a month when guests forage for wild ingredients. Enjoy a cocktail while your food is cooked over an open fire by a guest chef. Dining takes place in a glade around a birch tree table in the midst of ancient forestry, wild flora and fauna, such as wild deer, rabbits and badgers. And maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of Puck! Pop-up Nomadic dinner dates from April to September from £99 pp. Valentine Warner & Sleep Under the Stars, with Chef Valentine Warner (Saturday 3 July), £498 (2 pax) includes reservation for one bell tent, foraging, dinner and a bubbly breakfast. www.experiencenomadic.com

Totally Wild

“If you were lucky enough to grow up surrounded by nature and wild spaces, you will know what it means to be able to roam freely…” Going (Totally) Wild and the art of foraging… more.

Forage all over the UK, from Scotland to Cornwall and London to Wales, with a professional forager. Dine on your finds for a new cooking experience. Read the full interview with founder and forager, James Wild.

The Salt Box

L to R: Woodland Feast; Breakfast in the Woods. Photos courtesy The Salt Box.

At The Salt Box, creative workshops, breakfast and dining events feature seasonal food (with the emphasis on artisan producers) and wild ingredients. The shared dining experiences take place at their woodland glen or barn on the Priory Farm Estate at South Nuffield, Surrey. Menus are inspired by a nose-to-tail and root-to-fruit ethos. Food is cooked beneath the trees with crackling open fires and served at long sharing tables, with a number of the dishes put in the centre of the tables for everyone to delve into.

Price guide. Woodland Feast Over Fire (6 August) £60 pp. Includes: Welcome Cocktail; four-course Feast Over Fire; After-Dinner Mint Tea / Surrey Hills Coffee. Corkage (Bring-Your-Own-Drinks). wearethesaltbox.co.uk

Fire + Wild

An off-grid, outdoor dining and foraging experience held once a month with ‘hyper-seasonal’ dishes of wild food, fish and game cooked over an open fire. Events are held monthly at the Fire + Wild woodland camp just outside Lewes, East Sussex. A guided foraging walk to gather seasonal wild ingredients is followed by time in the outdoor kitchen for game butchery and a fire skills workshop. Guests are rewarded with a multi course wood fired banquet with wines and wild cocktails. From £250 pp. Tables are for two to ensure distancing therefore single bookings are not currently available. So, if you’re dining solo you’ll need to find a friend to jon you (ahem, I’m available). www.fireandwild.co.uk

Beach vibes

It might be that we Brits are unable to travel internationally this summer. Nonetheless, we are very fortunate to be able to access the coast from just about any point on the compass. The coastline extends to a total 7,723 miles or 12,429 km and varies in character from dramatic cliffs to soft sandy beaches. The following offers ideas for outdoor dining at UK hotels to match more exotic worldwide locations any day. Stop fretting about about where and when we’ll be able to get away and make the most of the beautiful locations right under our noses.

Robin Wylde Dining

Chef Harriet Mansell began Robin Wylde Dining as a pop-up in 2019. In 2020, Mansell moved her kitchen to a permanent home in a former pottery shop in Lyme Regis located on the stunning Jurassic Coast. The area has been the location for many films including The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981) with Meryl Streep. The restaurant has remained open for takeaways and, all being well, will re-open for dinner from 21 May 2021. The tasting menu is entirely seasonal and showcases West Country food and drink suppliers, as well as wild foods foraged from coast, hedgerows and fields. The autumn menu for instance featured dishes of: Mussel Butter, Chicken skin; Verbena, Crab Bisque, Sage Oil, Ash; and Hedgehog Mushrooms, Three Daughters Goat’s Cheese, Dorset Truffle. The drinks list offers local and natural wines, ‘interesting’ beers, ciders and meads. Food menu £55 and Wine pairing £45. www.robinwylde.com

How to enjoy heritage English wines… mead (or honey-wine) is probably the world’s oldest alcoholic drink. More…

Traditional Mead is sweet and full-flavoured with rich, deep honey flavours and a delicious honeycomb finish. A perfect accompaniment to strong cheeses and full-flavoured casseroles. Discover vintage recipes for dishes to pair with heritage English wines… more.

Carbis Bay Beach Club

L to R: Carbis Bay Beach Club; fresh scallops. Post header image Carbis Bay Beach Club umbrella and champagne with sea view.

There’s something very special about a backdrop soundtrack of the ocean and the energy of the tides. Cornwall is a magnificent part of the English coast and has been the home of artists over the centuries, and more recently to surfers due to its perfect beaches. The Beach Club Restaurant at Carbis Bay is located about a mile out from St. Ives (home to Tate St. Ives) and overlooks the expansive sands of the estate’s Blue Flag beach. Dining options include an outdoor terrace with uninterrupted ocean views and Mediterranean-style menu. Dine on hand-picked Cornish crab, mussels and baby squid, as well as other fresh fish sourced from the St Ives fishing boats. During the summer months choose from an additional tapas menu, or when the weather is kind, take a Cloudy Bay picnic onto the beach to enjoy. Occasional performances by local musicians. Accommodation at the Carbis Hotel from £250 B&B. www.carbisbayhotel.co.uk

” Stop fretting about about where and when we’ll be able to get away internationally and make the most of the beautiful locations right under our noses.”

The Samling, Lake District

Lake Windemere
The Samling. L to R: breakfast on the terrace overlooking Lake Windemere; the gardens in the Lake District.

Overlooking the stunning Lake Windermere, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the terrace at The Samling Hotel offers a breathtaking view. The 67-acres of gardens include a Kitchen Garden. A summer outdoor dining menu, under the new creative direction of Executive Head Chef Robby Jenks (previous roles include Amberley Castle, Gidleigh Park, and Whatley Manor), features Herdwick Lamb, Rabbit and Halibut with shellfish, leeks and Beurre Blanc. In the evenings, guests can dine under the stars, with soft candlelight and heaters to ward off the chill. A three-course Choice Menu, £70 pp and five-course Tasting Menu, £90 pp. Accommodation from £310 B&B www.thesamlinghotel.co.uk

As always please check the Foreign travel advice web site for the latest on domestic and international travel guidelines.

Unless otherwise stated, I have no affiliation with the brands mentioned but simply aim to share places and products that have caught my eye. I will always state if a post is sponsored or gifted.

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