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Tasty trails – our top ten British food trails

October 10, 2013
by Laura Canning | destinations | guides

Best Yorkshire chippy name ever? Something about autumn and winter makes us hungry. And thirsty.

Possibly because the onset of colder weather, and baring less flesh to an unforgiving public, means we can at last develop that indulgent autumn and winter spare tyre. Pass the cake.

Food trails, we find, are one of the best ways to do indulge our spare tyre growing, partly because everything is foodily laid on in one area to waddle around, and partly because there are simply loads of them, covering everything from curry to cream teas. Isn’t autumn marvellous?

We’ll be adding more autumn and winter food festivals anon, but in the meantime, and for any time of year, here are our top ten food trails in the UK:

Cake Walk Monsal Trail, the Peak District

There’s a Pedal and Eat trail in the Peak District National Park too, but we’ve picked cake as we’re writing this after lunch and craving sweetness. The cake walk guides sweet-toothed visitors along the cafés and tearooms of the popular Monsal Trail, pointing out sweet establishments specialising in locally produced cakes and bread. Naturally, Bakewell tart is included.

Our guide to the Peak District is here, including Peak District campsites to roll back to once full of cake.

Scottish Cheese Trail

‘Scottishcheesetrail will take you on a virtual gastronomic tour of these delicacies for you to savour all year round,’ says the blurb, to which we firstly say ‘Yum’, and secondly say ‘Virtual? Get out there and sample these award-winning Scottish cheeses in their natural habitat.’

The whiffy trail covers most of Scotland including the Orkney Islands, the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway; combine it with the Whisky Trail for maximum effect.

Campsites in Scotland

English Riviera Food and Drink Trail

I say. One can sample all sorts of Devon delights around this trail taking in Torquay, Brixham, Paignton and Torbay, including a night of ‘cocktails, canapés and chaos’ murder mystery evening in Dartmouth, which sounds delightfully Agatha. Seafood, chocolate, steak, fish and chips and even Thai food are here, although we’re heartened to see there’s also a separate hearty…

Devon cream tea: treat with respect. (Pic by Liyster via Wikimedia Commons.) Devon Cream Tea Trail

We speak from experience when we say Devon cream teas are indeed best had as ‘tea’ and not as ‘mid-afternoon snack’, particularly when said snack is sandwiched between a breakfast fry up and an evening steak (we were hungover).

Treat cream teas with respect on this Heart of Devon trail, categorised into countryside, coast and city: full trail details here .

Campsites in and around Torquay

Campsites in Devon

Curry Trail

Rather aptly for including curry in our tasty trails roundup, it’s currantly (arf) National Curry Week (from 7 – 13 October, since you asked). Those of you who have tasted The Best Curry Ever in a seaside town or somewhere on the Yorkshire Dales might splutter with indignation at VisitBritain’s city-based Curry Trail; if so, let us know your fiery faves.

Fish and chip trail, Yorkshire

As we know, fish and chips are the best thing to eat at the seaside (apart from mussels, but let’s not get distracted). Whoever came up with this greasy guide to the best Yorkshire coast chippies is a ruddy genius, especially as they’ve only gone and added a Yorkshire Tea Trail, Yorkshire Ale Trail and a Dairy to Deli Trail too. We’re almost weeping with gratitude.

Campsites in North Yorkshire

Ribble Valley Food Trail

Two market towns and 44 villages = lots of tasty food and drink around the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland. Yes, in Lancashire, the county home of 75 varieties at Cowman’s in Clitheroe, the seafood of Morecambe Bay and three cheese walks – creamy, crumbly and tasty. Munch your way around the trail for meat, milk, cheese, pies, pastries and more from 34 producers – be sure and sample at least one of each.

Campsites in Lancashire

Scottish Seafood Trail map Scottish Seafood Trail

We love this trail already because of its claim that it’s for ‘a true a(fishy)onado’, which makes us chortle. These types (all of us, then) are guided along eleven seafood establishments around the Argyll coast to sample such delicacies as pints of prawns, hand-picked Lismore oysters and wholemeal crab rolls followed by orange cake and a glass of wine. Those last two aren’t seafood, but we’ll skate over that…

Campsites in Argyll

Isle of Wight Taste Trail

Any place which has a Garlic Festival gets our whiffy thumbs up, but then we’re rather fond of the Isle of Wight anyway.

The Wight Taste Trail takes hungry holidaymakers around island delicacies like the biggest crop of tomatoes in the, wild Bembridge bass, Best British Cheese award winner Isle of Wight Blue – and twelve types of Isle of Wight garlic. Bring some up to Whitby when you’re having fish and chips in Yorkshire.

Campsites on the Isle of Wight

Beef and Ale Trail

Right. We love seafood, and cider, and cheese, and cake, and curry, and all the other mouth waterers listed above.

But special salivation shall always be reserved for beef and ale, especially combined together under a hot crispy crust – which is why our last entry is on the Beef and Ale Trail of the Flavours of Herefordshire Festival, even if we’re still waiting for this year’s details. Sniff.

In the meantime, here’s a map of last year’s trail. And a recipe for beef and ale pie. And stew.

Campsites in Herefordshire

Sneaky extra entry – la belle France

We’re just back from spreading the word in France (and are now off carbs for the next month), so had to extend the food trails from the UK to include our foodie friends across the water. Not surprisingly, France takes its food – and wine – quite seriously, and has trails for the expected like chocolate and cheese as well as the unexpected like salt and prunes.

Naturally we’ll have to return to France to fully research these – full blog coming soon.

Campsites in France

And finally…

We don’t actually have a specific mushroom trail, snail trail (heh) or seaweed trail, but for those who like to shamelessly eat from the wild, here’s our Hairy Bikers-inspired top ten foods to forage blog.