How to… create a gallery wall

Don’t leave your photos languishing on your phone or laptop, create a fab focus wall of framed images and art that you can treasure – it only takes a couple of hours, perfect for a Bank Holiday weekend project!

Personal photos, favourite artwork and memorable treasures, from children’s drawings to concert tickets or a nostalgic football programme, can say so much about your personality and will breathe life into your home, when framed and hung on the walls.

A gallery wall of frames looks really effective and is easier to do than you might think. All you need is some paper and a pencil, a tape measure, hammer and spirit level, and an hour or two to get it right. 

One of the most common questions I get asked about gallery walls is ‘should all of my picture frames match?’,” says Kim Findlay, Frames and Wall Art Buyer for Habitat.

“Ultimately it is down to individual taste. Artwork in matching frames looks clean but for a more eclectic look, experimenting with mixing and matching styles and colours can be fun. If you’re unsure about which look to go for, consider the content of the frames. If the artwork or photography shares a similar style, matching frames work well. If you’re displaying different styles and mediums of artwork together, individual frames can be chosen based on what you’re putting inside them. This leads quite naturally to a mix-and-match style.”

The White Company: Fine memories frame, 15 aperture £150; Fine Wooden frames: 5x7 £25, 4x6 £20, 8x10 £35; Wide wooden frames: 6 aperture £75, 12 aperture £100
The White Company: Fine memories frame, 15 aperture £150; Fine Wooden frames: 5×7 £25, 4×6 £20, 8×10 £35; Wide wooden frames: 6 aperture £75, 12 aperture £100

 

How to create a picture wall 

1 – Don’t be afraid to mix things up: choose mismatching sizes and colours of frames for an eclectic feel, for instance, and don’t just create a geometric square pattern – a collage of frames can look much more interesting.

2 – Do think about making your pictures work as a group, still. Try theming the images – perhaps all family or holiday shots – or choosing all black and white shots to create a harmonious look. Or perhaps choose lots of shapes of frame but all in one colour.

3 – Don’t just start banging holes in the walls. Instead, lay the frames out on the floor in the arrangement that you are planning, spacing them around 10cm apart from one another. Keep moving things around until you are happy with the way it looks, then draw around each of the frames on paper and cut out paper templates, marking an “x” on each one where the nail should go.

4 – Do take time to get it right. Stick your paper templates on to the wall, following your design, making sure the centre of your arrangement sits at eye level. Use a spirit level and plumb line to check that they are all straight. Tweak your design if necessary. When you’re completely satisfied, nail into the crosses on the templates and then remove the paper. Hang your frames.

Ben de Lisi frame from Debenhams
Ben de Lisi frame from Debenhams

5 – Do cheat. If you’re really struggling, you can now buy frames that create an instant picture wall. Try the 10-frame arrangement by Ben de Lisi from Debenhams (£45), The White Company’s Fine Memories wooden frame (£150) that holds 15 photos or buy Habitat’s 20-aperture mount (£15) in black or white that fits into a 60x80cm frame.

 

TIP: Photographs and prints tend to wrinkle if directly in contact with glass, so place them behind a mount to prevent them touching it. Tape them to the top of the back of the mount (using masking tape) so that the print then ‘hangs’ in the frame and it can expand and contract with humidity.

 

TYPES OF ARRANGEMENTS

Ikea art and frames
Artwork and frames from Ikea

A gallery wall

Make a group of frames to create a focal point, above a sofa, fireplace or in a hallway. Choose a collage of mixed frames, a square or rectangle of equally-sized frames, or a row of frames – you can use different sizes here but keep them all centred so that there’s an imaginary equator running through the middle.

The White Company: Lacquer frame, 4 aperture 5x7 £50; Fine Wooden frames: 5x7 £25, 4x6 £20, 8x10 £35; Slim wooden photo frame, 9 aperture £70; Triple white wooden frame 5x7 £50
The White Company: Lacquer frame, 4 aperture 5×7 £50; Fine Wooden frames: 5×7 £25, 4×6 £20, 8×10 £35; Slim wooden photo frame, 9 aperture £70; Triple white wooden frame 5×7 £50

Table and picture rail groups

Here, all of your frames sit on the same base level, so it is really important to mix of up the sizes and shapes of the frames to keep things interesting. Layer them up in front of one another to create a textured, 3D, look, like this one above, from The White Company.

Stairs

A picture wall going up stairs can look really effective – the key to nailing the look is to start from the middle frame and work outwards, using the top and bottom of the central frame as a guide to work up/down the wall.

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 28 April 2015

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Go glamping this weekend

Make the most of spring’s arrival with a new season lodge, Shepherd’s hut or quirky cabin – it’s camping, but weather-proofed for fresh evenings.

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Swinton Bivouac, Yorkshire

Sitting in 20,000 acres, Swinton Bivouac is a cluster of handcrafted, gingerbread house-cute log cabins hidden on the edge of the woods, with incredible views.

Inside natural wooden floors, hand-made beds, antique rocking chairs and wood-burning stoves add to the up-cycled, eclectic vibe. As well as a small kitchenette, each shack comes with a flushing toilet and shower, and will sleep seven.

Bivouac Shack 1
There is a fab café, shop, and play area, and Bivouac guests can use the facilities at nearby Swinton Park – so you can combine a day walking in the dales with a massage in the spa or a posh meal.
Seven-night stays from £100 per person. 01765 535020, www.thebivouac.co.uk

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Ges the Horsebox, Surrey

Down a quiet country lane, in the middle of an idyllic woodland meadow, it’s hard to believe that Ges, a lovingly-restored and converted 1970s horse truck, is not much more than an hour’s drive from central London. Inside there’s a king-size cabin bed, a sofa bed and a bright retro interior. And if you need the bathroom, the neighbouring pony trailer, Baby Ges, houses a hot shower and compost loo. A basket and blankets are provided so that you can pack a picnic and explore the bluebell woods.

From £135 per night (sleeps four), www.canopyandstars.co.uk/ges 0117 204 7830

sherwood-hideaway-at

The Sherwood Hideaway at Thoresby, Nottinghamshire

These rustic-chic wooden lodges, that sleep four, are hidden deep in Sherwood Forest but are contemporary and sleekly designed – from Mulberry and Designer’s Guild soft furnishings, to the state-of-the-art TV, iPod dock and wifi, to the fully-stocked kitchen, to the private hot tub. Yes, you get your own forest-view hot tub. David, the on-site concierge back at the reception lodge, can arrange bikes and advise on cycling and walking trails in the forest – which looks stunning at this time of year as the trees burst into life and bluebells abound.

From £25 per person per night. 01623 824594, www.sherwoodhideaway.com

ardanaiseig_boathouse

The Boat Shed at Ardanaiseig, Argyll

On the shores of the appropriately-named Loch Awe, the Ardanaiseig Hotel’s new Boat Shed combines contemporary architecture with splendid isolation – the glass-walled front looks on to the islands in the middle of Loch Awe and the snow-capped Ben Cruachan beyond. In spring the lake mist clears to offer truly spectacular views of the woods and mountains, reflected in the water. The one-bedroom bolthole, perched on the water’s edge is modern, romantic, and has all of the hotel’s five-star trappings on tap, too.

From £330 per night. 01866 988450, www.ardanaiseig.com

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Bluebells Nest at The Dandelion Hideaway, Leiccestershire

Nestled on the edge of the National Forest in Leicestershire, The Dandelion Hideaway has six canvas cottages dotted around the 250-acre farm and its woodland, arable and grassland. This may be “glamping” but you get all the creature comforts you could hope for, including proper beds, en-suite bathrooms with roll-top baths, a living area with a sofa, and a farmhouse kitchen complete with a dining table and a wood-burning stove.

If you want isolation then opt for Bluebells Nest, a treehouse that sits by the wood and is perfect for two. Pre-order one of Sharon’s farmhouse suppers that will be bubbling on the stove when you arrive.

Canvas cottages sleep up to six, from £700 a week, www.coolrentalguide.com.

The Shepherd’s Hut Retreat, Somerset

Circling a lake and nestled among trees turning golden brown, you’ll find four secluded, romantic shepherd’s huts, each with a private deck and fire pit. Inside, they’re surprisingly spacious, fitting in a double bed, fully-equipped kitchen and a bathroom – they even have electric heating and are insulated against spring nights.

From £90 a night (sleeps two). 07813 393164, www.theshepherdshutretreat.co.uk

Badger Gypsy Caravan, Mid Wales

What could be more nostalgic than a stay in a traditional bow-top gypsy wagon? It even comes with its own kitchen and bathroom, housed in the next-door shepherd’s hut. What’s more, it sits on a 200-acre, organic farm in the Upper Wye Valley, surrounded by walking trails, cycle routes, the river Wye and Cambrian mountains, making it the ultimate, escape-it-all, back-to-nature break.

£265 for two nights (sleeps two) – book for October and they are currently offering a 20 per cent discount. www.underthethatch.co.uk

IMG_2187_web

Lord Stones, North York Moors

Named after the Bronze-sage standing stones that top the hillside, Lord Stones is a gorgeous, glamorous campsite like no other. For starters, it sits in a stunning private country estate on the ruggedly-beautiful North York Moors. Then there’s the fact that there’s a fine-dining restaurant run by top chef Michael Chase, formerly of the Michelin-starred Star at Harome, which serves the estate’s own Belted Galloway beef on the menu, plus a lovely café and an artisan farm shop on site.

There are five, new bespoke “glamping pods”, which are stylish timber cabins that sleep four and come fully equipped with a double bed and a sofa bed, a bathroom, kitchenette and a wood-burning stove. There’s even an outdoor deck with a BBQ, lanterns and seats so that you can enjoy the best of the camping experience with the comfort of a proper night’s sleep and running water.

Glamping pods from £33.50 per person per night. 01642 778482, www.lordstones.com

 

High Cross Camping Coach, Dorset

If you can’t afford the Orient Express, try out the next best thing – this antique London Brighton & South Coast Railway carriage gleams as if it has just rolled out of the station for the first time. Climb aboard, and into another era – the rich mahogany panelling takes you back in time to the glory days of rail travel. All the original fittings remain – authentic luggage racks, rounded windows, leather straps and brasswork – although the carriage has been converted to house a fully-equipped kitchen and bathroom, while the long bench seat in the main saloon transforms into a double bed and an antique French stove keeps it cosy on chilly nights. The accompanying “living van” houses two single beds (great for kids or extra guests).

From £85 per night (sleeps four), www.canopyandstars.co.uk/campingcoach

 

Apple Tree Yurts, East Sussex

This newly-opened ash, chestnut, cotton and canvas yurt, sitting in a beautiful apple orchard, is furnished in rustic style – think soft sheepskins, a handmade double bed and wood-burner for warmth. The outside barbeque and fire pit make for a fabulous night under the stars – baked apples, anyone?

From £117.50 a night (sleeps five), www.pitchup.com

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 15.40.38

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 27 April 2015

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SUMMER MAKE & DO PROJECT: DIY TEEPEE

I spotted this lovely craft project on the Laura Ashley website that blogger Gathered Cheer created using their Bluebird fabric.

Teepee1Perfect for sunny spring days …

Follow the link here to learn how to make your own

SUMMER MAKE & DO PROJECT: DIY TEEPEE

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At home with chef Michael Caines

Double Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines has been the executive chef at Gidleigh Park in Devon for 21 years this year and also founded the Abode boutique hotel group. He has written books and regularly appears on TV. He lives in Devon with his wife Zoe and has three children, Joseph, 12, Hope, 9, and India, 3

Describe your kitchen…

It’s an amazing kitchen and it’s designed around the idea of integrated cooking and dining so it’s perfect for entertaining: it’s open-plan with a central island to cook on. I didn’t want it to feel like an industrial kitchen but it’s got clean lines and Miele stoves in both induction and gas and a wok burner. I’ve got a steamer and coffee machine built-in and two ovens so that I can cook things at different temperatures. It’s a great space for entertaining but also for relaxing and watching TV – I put a lot of thought into the design and I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out.

 

What’s your most used kitchen gadget?

I couldn’t do without my KitchenAid and blender, but I also rely on more low-tech gadgets like my pestle and mortar so that I can make my own spice mixes. My garlic press is probably one of the most-used gadgets in my kitchen – it’s just so easy.

 

What do you eat at home?

I cook lots of curries, stir-fries, roasts and pasta – things that the kids will eat too. And I bake a lot, it’s a great way to involve children in cooking. If they get involved with cooking it then they’re more inclined to eat it.

 

What’s your favourite cookbook?

I don’t buy cookbooks but I do get given a lot – I use them for ideas and inspiration. But the one that I do use at home is a really old book from the Seventies that used to be my mum’s called How to be a Good Housewife – it’s full of really patronising things like how to lay a table, but it’s got some really great cake recipes in it, including a Christmas pudding recipe that I love.

I use Asian cookbooks as I don’t cook Asian food in my work so I’ve learnt a lot from them

 

What are your store-cupboard staples?

Salt, garlic, Chinese five spices, olive oil and fresh herbs from the garden.

 

Do you have a favourite fast and easy meal that you could share with us?

I make a really easy seafood pasta dish – although I do also like to make my own pasta as I have a pasta maker at home. But I finish my pasta slightly differently, when it’s almost cooked I put some olive oil in a pan, sweat some garlic, and add some chilli, parsley and a little bit of the pasta cooking water and then I toss the pasta in the pan and finish the pasta in the pan to seal in the flavours. And then I serve the seafood separately, rather than mixing it all together.

 

What three things would you save from your kitchen in a fire?

Mum’s cookbook, my set of Robert Welch knives and my pestle & mortar.

 

Your favourite restaurant?

The Ledbury in London.

 

Last supper?

It would be seafood platter followed by roast chicken with all the trimmings, and then cheese and wonderful fruit to finish.

 

Your food hero?

I’m all about looking forward not back, so I don’t really spend time thinking about heroes or mentors. I’ve worked with some amazing chefs including Raymond Blanc and Joel Robuchon but my focus is on the future. 

Guilty food pleasure?
It’s go to be takeaways – I love a good Indian or Thai takeaway.

How did you get into cooking?
It started at home – I’d help mum baking cakes to start with and then we had a large kitchen garden so I’d help Dad grow things to cook and it just became a hobby and then a passion that turned into a career. There were no celebrity chefs back then so I never thought about it as a job, it was something I did for fun.

Is that why you focus on seasonal and local produce?
I focussed on regional food because 20-odd years ago you couldn’t get more exotic or unusual ingredients in rural Devon, so it made sense to concentrate on what was around me and available – especially as the natural larder in the south west is incredible. There was just one delivery a week coming from London at that time. And at the time, local and seasonal food wasn’t a big thing so it was something quite different to be doing. My food has evolved and I’ve grown more confident in my own style as I’ve progressed.

 

You overcame a personal tragedy when you joined Gidleigh Park and went on to win two Michelin stars there – how did losing your arm change your outlook?

It had a massive impact on me physically and psychologically but I was determined to overcome it as I had too much to lose. The first year was the hardest but when I got past it I could see how much I had achieved.

And what advice would you give to others in a similar situation or with obstacles to overcome?
My advice would be to take it one step at a time. The best way to persevere is to surround yourself with friends and family and create an atmosphere that gives you a positive mindset.

You’ve been at Gidleigh for 21 years this year – how has cooking and the food scene changed in that time?
So much has changed, fine dining has become less formal but there is still as huge place for it. I’m all about championing local and seasonal food and people are much more aware of that today. Food has become much more of a lifestyle choice – people are much more discerning about what and where they eat. I’m pleased that some of the gimmickry that has been around in recent years has passed – I don’t believe in de-constructing anything, ever.

Is fine-dining dead?
No. It’s still the highest form of cuisine and people want to go out and feel special and dress up. But people don’t want the pomp any more or to be made to feel uncomfortable. The premise is the same but the application is different, and that’s a good thing – fine dining is more accessible than ever. Food isn’t an elite sport, everyone deserves to eat good food.

And where do you get the best Devon scones?
I make them!

Michael Caines will be cooking in the On5 restaurant at Royal Ascot this June (0844 346 0346, www.ascot.co.uk).

ALISON TYLER

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This article first appeared in Metro on 14 April 2015.

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A stay in SoCo

Somewhere in the northern wilds of Wiltshire and Somerset a hot new area is emerging, SoCo, or South of Cotswolds is, whisper it, beginning to outshine its chic northern neighbour…

The green arc around Bath’s eastern side, where the West Country ends and the Wolds begin has long been neglected by travellers who zip through heading south for Devon, north to the Cotswolds, or straight through to Bath, Bristol and beyond.

But not anymore. This lush green, properly rural corner of the country has had a noticeable influx of not-so-muddy boots hot-footing it out of the city and into this bucolic, arty no-mans-land.

The tiny towns of Bruton, Frome (which boasts swanky private members club and hotel Babington House on its doorstep) and Bradford on Avon, all have a historic grandness about them, while also remaining just the right side of quaint to be thriving, interesting towns to live in and not just visit.

A wave of galleries, hotels, foodie producers, restaurants and cultural outposts has been putting this hot spot on the map.

6317279-large
Hauser and Wirth Somerset

 

Most recent, and notable, is contemporary art space Hauser and Wirth (www.hauserwirthsomerset.com), on the edge of Bruton in Somerset, which is home to Pearl Lowe and Danny Goffey. Drive out of the town and you’ll easily miss this farmhouse and its barns that have been converted into a world-class gallery. Outside, Subodh Gupta’s giant gleaming milking pail bucket, a Louise Bourgeois spider and the gently swaying Piet Oudolf-designed gardens (he of New York’s Highline fame) give away the fact that something altogether new is happening here.

Piet Oudolf meadow
Piet Oudolf meadow at Hauser and Wirth Somerset

 

It’s a cultural version of Daylesford in Gloucestershire, a daring and brave mix that includes a shop, four galleries, landscaped sculpture gardens for outdoor walks; and a truly fantastic restaurant and bar – the Roth Bar and Grill. The simple but brilliant, unpretentious food is a sort of Ottolenghi meets gastropub hybrid. The pulled pork and coleslaw ciabatta was lip-smackingly moreish; chicken with rosemary roast new potatoes kept the children happy; and the salad of butternut squash, kale and roasted tomato with spelt and goats cheese, that was meant to be the side dish, stole the show.

HW spider
A Louise Bourgeois spider looms over Hauser and Wirth in Bruton

 

The bar, meanwhile, is an oasis for cocktails, with a dizzying installation built out of local reclaimed materials by Dieter Roth’s son and grandson, Björn and Odder Roth. On Friday nights, locals take over – Reef drummer Dominic Greensmith and Goffey, now drummer for Babyshambles, are in charge of the music. Daisy Lowe has been known to DJ to a crowd that might include locals such as theatre director Cameron Mackintosh, fashion designers Pheobe Philo and Alice Temperley, film director Sam Taylor-Wood or property expert Kevin McCloud.

church

You can sleep here, too – Dursdale farmhouse, emblazoned with Martin Creed’s neon words “Everything is going to be alright” – can be rented by the week and sleeps 12.

At the Chapel in Bruton
At the Chapel in Bruton

Don’t miss Bruton itself either. This quiet town makes a big noise: stop for food, wine and a night at At The Chapel on the high street (www.atthechapel.co.uk). Owned by ex-Notting Hill restauranteur Catherine Butler, this bakery, wine bar, restaurant and micro hotel kick-started Bruton’s regeneration more than ten years ago. Stop for a morning cappuccino and you might spot Mariella Frostrup working on her laptop in a corner. Book in at Matt’s Kitchen, a supperclub in Matt’s house on the high street that operates three nights a week, or try Truffles French brasserie. There’s a natural, rustic florist, a rare-breed butcher, and organic grocers and a smattering of galleries and antiques shops – no wonder it’s been alikened to “Notting Hill back in the early days”.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

To the west of Bruton and south of Bristol, The Ethicurean perfectly sums up the mood of the area – it’s a very hip eatery housed in the ramshackle glasshouse of a walled garden, where almost all of the produce is grown. Here country meets cutting edge – they make their own vermouth to go in their Negronis (which come served with a rhubarb swizzle stick), and pickle vegetables to sustain the kitchen the lean winter months. Bohemian, cool, and yet very low-key, it captures the confidence of the region – there can be very few parts of the country where you could open such a venture and succeed financially, to such acclaim. Inside there’s a mixture of yummy mummies, Bristolian hipsters, older artistic types and a few welly-booted walkers. We polished off a sticky toffee apple pudding washed down by a pint of the local Gorge Best beer before heading on to Frome.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

Nearby Frome is a thriving indy town, packed with quirky boutiques, arty spaces and a bit of new age dream catcher thrown in for good measure (well we are a stone’s throw from Stonehenge and Glastonbury after all). The Archangel makes a great pit-stop, and if you want to swoon about in luxury, nowhere does it better than Babington House – the original country outpost of private members club Soho House and the brand’s first hotel.

A little further north in Bradford on Avon there’s a great mixture of shops, galleries and places to run about. The kids will love the country park; we played pooh sticks on the footbridge over the river, and the wandered up to Fat Fowl – a great all-day bistro with jazz on a Sunday and an upstairs play area to occupy the kids.

Old Manor

Just outside the town is the Moonraker (doubles from £135 B&B, www.moonrakerhotel.com), a laidback manor house that feels more like a friend’s rambling house party than a hotel, with higgledy rooms and a restaurant that’s headed up by Matthew Briddon who champions a home-grown farmhouse approach to fine-dining. The pea guacamole with Bath cheese and pancetta served with parsnip crisps and home-made pork scratchings made from the hotel’s own pigs set the tone for a delicious evening followed by the best night’s sleep. Rooms are relaxed and homely and furnished with antique furniture, home-made flapjacks, and local scented candles from Bradford-on-Avon. “When we came here a couple of years ago it was a real gamble,” says owner Tudor Hopkins. “But in that time we’ve seen it change so much, things are just exploding and there’s a real buzz about the area – and we’re getting busier and busier.”

Chef Matthew Briddon in Moonraker's walled garden
Chef Matthew Briddon in Moonraker’s walled garden

For now, thanks to it’s unique location off the beaten tracks of the Cotswolds to the north and the West Country to the south and west, SoCo has managed to retain an authentic, cool vibe, unaffected by tourist coaches and corporate chains. And that’s just the way the locals – and the cognoscenti who do visit – like it.

soco

This article appeared in METRO on 13 April 2015

ALISON TYLER

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Easter egg hunting with the National Trust 

What better way to enjoy the first days of spring than on an Easter trail at a National Trust property – best of all, little ones get a Cadbury’s egg at the end

Over the past two years we’ve done several of the National Trust Easter trails – it’s a lovely way to enjoy a walk and keep the children interested, plus it gives them something to do in order to get their chocolate treat, which I quite like. Here are just a few of the events happening this Easter at the National Trust…

-y2KMTxdEjcw29RkVUl29hBGY170dKIs3ZK_XimdTbs,IFyi8N6Uv91zmv6PY1yRlKjv5UAQlKuQk5ofOjCDkyw

Sheringham Park, Norfolk

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10am – 4.15pm*

Wander through Sheringham Park this Easter and discover a woodland garden with miles of stunning coastal views. Follow the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail amongst the early flowering rhododendrons and camellias and look for signs of spring. Once you’ve eggsplored the park and solved all the clues you can collect your yummy Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £2.30

For more information, please call 01263 820550

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheringham-park/

 

Studland Beach, Dorset

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Celebrate Easter at Studland with a Cadbury Easter Egg Trail along the beach and through the nature reserve. Studland village was the inspiration for Toytown in Enid Blyton’s Noddy books, while the sandy beach, heathland and dunes are home to many fantastic creatures, including rare reptiles, deer and seabirds. This year the Easter bunny has also paid a visit, so why not follow the bunny footprints and solve the clues to find your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize? Have fun with all the family this Easter on the sheltered, sandy and safe four miles of unspoilt beaches which are ideal for making sandcastles and enjoying some watersports.

Price: £2.50

For more information, please call 01929 450500

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/studland-beach/

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Enchanting forests and wild woodlands

 

Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10am – 4pm

Ancient woods, rolling hills and wiggly footpaths make Ashridge Estate the perfect place for exploring this Easter. Follow the clues on the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail and see if you can answer the questions to earn yourself a yummy Cadbury chocolate Egghead reward. Exercise your eggsplorer skills and don’t forget to look out for lots of exciting wildlife along the way.

Price: £3

For more information, please call 01442 851227

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate/

Gibside, Tyne & Wear

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 11am – 3pm*

Gibside is so close to Tyneside but a million miles from city life, and this Easter there’s plenty planned for all the family.  A real wildlife haven, the estate is home to some very rare animals, including red kites and red squirrels. Who knows, you might even spot these incredible creatures and their friends whilst exploring on the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail. With big open gardens and parklands to explore, you might also find some Cadbury chocolate Eggheads at the end of the trail.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01207 541820

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gibside

 

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Hidden historic houses

 

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 4pm*

From Iron Age forts, to colourful heathland, water meadows and even a Roman road, there’s a lot to see on the Kingston Lacy estate. With acres of beautiful gardens and parkland to explore including a kitchen garden with resident pigs, you can have a great family day out. See if you can solve the riddles and clues on the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail and claim your very own Cadbury chocolate Egghead. Don’t forget to pop by the restaurant to try out the home-made cake and prize-winning scones to feed the little eggsplorers at the end of the day.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01202 883402

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy/

 

Attingham Park
Attingham Park

Attingham Park, Shropshire          

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10am – 4pm

Set alongside the rivers Severn and Tern and surrounded by stunning views of the Shropshire Hills, Attingham’s Easter egg trail takes families on an exciting adventure through the grounds. The Deer Park, walled garden and acres of wooded parks around Attingham House are home to loads of exciting wildlife. Come and meet them all this weekend on a wild and wonderful Cadbury Easter Egg Trail with eggscellent family activities and solve the clues to win your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01743 708162 

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park/

 

Nymans
Nymans

Glorious gardens to explore

 

Mount Stewart, County Down

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 12pm – 4pm

As one of the Trust’s the most inspiring and unusual gardens, there’s a surprise around every corner at Mount Stewart. This Easter, the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail takes families on a huntthrough the beautiful woodland areas and Lake Walk. Find out more about Edith, Lady Londonderry who created the garden and discover more about her passion for the outdoors as you journey through the different worlds she designed. Along the way uncover the secrets of Mount Stewart Gardens before collecting your yummy Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £1 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 028 4278 8387

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart/

Nymans, West Sussex

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 3.30pm*

There’s no better way to explore this romantic house, garden and ruins, with beautiful woodland set in High Weald than taking part in the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail. Discover hidden corners and secret paths of the beautiful spring garden; just don’t forget to claim your Cadbury chocolate Egghead at the end of the trail.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01444 405250

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nymans

 

Wray Castle
Wray Castle

Characterful castles

 

Chirk Castle, Wrexham

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 11am – 4pm*

Step back in time and discover 700 years of mystery and intrigue whilst following the Cadbury Easter Egg Trail at Chirk Castle. Crammed with surprises along the way, the trail will lead families down into the dungeons and everyone will need to have their wits about them to avoid being put in the stocks before claiming their Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £2.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01691 777701

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chirk-castle

 

Wray Castle
Wray Castle

Wray Castle, Cumbria

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10.30am – 4pm

This Easter make a splash and visit Wray Castle nestled on the shores of Lake Windermere and discover turrets and towers fit for a knight in shining armour. Have fun exploring this quirky building, solving clues along the way in order to claim your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize. Or for the really adventurous, head out into grounds and track down the clues hidden around the estate.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01539 433250

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wray-castle/

Wimpole Hall
Wimpole Hall

A little out of the ordinary

 

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 10:30am – 4.15pm*

Wimpolena, the Wimpole goose, heard that there were some Cadbury chocolate Eggheads to discover around Wimpole Home Farm. She was in such a hurry to find them that she lost some of her feathers in the gardens. Help her find her feathers to spell out the magic word, and she might let you have some of the Cadbury chocolate Eggheads she’s looking after.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01223 206000

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole 

 

Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum and Village, Wiltshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 5 – 6 April, 10.30am – 4pm

Lacock Abbey, with its cloisters and woodland grounds is an ideal place to explore and at this year’s Cadbury Easter Egg Trail you can explore the stars too. Famous resident Fox Talbot, who is best known as the inventor of the photographic negative, loved gazing at the planets. You will be following in his footsteps as you hunt for egg shaped planets and discover fascinating facts about other worlds before collecting your Cadbury chocolate Egghead prize.

Price: £1.50 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01249 730459

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock/

Fountains Abbey
Fountains Abbey

Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April 2015, 11am – 5pm

Run around a garden full of exotic plants collected from around the world, hunting high and low, under rocks and in trees for the hidden eggs. This year’s Cadbury Easter Egg Trail will take you on a global journey from Italy to the pyramids of Egypt, a Victorian vision of China and a re-creation of a Himalayan glen. Discover them all and you can find the Easter bunny who will be waiting with your delicious Cadbury chocolate Egghead as a prize.

Price: £2 (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01782 375 533

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/biddulph-grange-garden/

 

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Trails, 3 – 6 April, 11am – 4pm

Families will have to work together and leave no stone unturned in the search for giant eggs at this Yorkshire World Heritage Site. Hunting for giant eggs around the magnificent ruins, getting your face painted then eating a chocolatey Cadbury Egghead prize is all in a day’s work for a busy Eggsplorer on this exciting adventure.

Price: £2, with a shorter route for little legs this year (normal admission fee applies)

For more information, please call 01765 608888

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey/

 

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Restaurant review: The Ethicurean

We were driving down to Wiltshire on Friday, minus the children, with an hour or three to spare. We were hungry. “Is there anywhere that we could stop about an hour from here,” asked my husband optimistically somewhere between Worcester and Gloucester trundling down the M5.

I scoured the map. We didn’t really want to drive in to Bristol as we were heading south-east of there, to explore the Somerset/Wiltshire borders. And then I remembered I’d been wanting to try The Ethicurean for a while. But where was it? Not quite in Bristol.

A Google search and phone call later we were booked in to this ethical, hyper-local, sustainable restaurant that sits in a walled garden south of Bristol. I say restaurant, but  The Ethicurean is really a ramshackle greenhouse and shed, stuck to one corner of the Barley Wood Walled Garden. If that makes it sound scruffy, then you shouldn’t go. But if you love the romantic notion of sitting in the orangery of the very garden that the produce on your plate was grown in, and to hell with a bit of damp on the walls, or the wonky mis-matched tables and chairs, then this is the place for you.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

As a gardener, an interiors addict and a greedy appetite for food, I was in heaven! Looking out, sipping cider from apples grown in the orchard, you could imagine Peter Rabbit might pop up at any moment and steal an organic carrot.

But, romance aside, the aims of this place are in credible. Virtually all of the food comes from the garden or is foraged locally, so menus are created each day according to what’s on offer. I was worried that we were visiting at possibly the worst time of the year – the winter season over, nothing would be growing for spring yet, apart from the earliest wild garlic and maybe some nettles and rhubarb.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

I needn’t have been. They pickle and preserve what they can, so the beetroot starter with strained goats cheese was divine. They also make their own cider from the apples and even their own vermouth to go in the Negronis. Our other starter – cider and cheddar Welsh rarebit – did not disappoint. The cider and cheese had been cooked and turned in to a thick fondue, then spread on the doorstep slab of home-baked bread and grilled into submission. A sharp salad of winter leaves and pickled carrot in place of tomatoes, cut through the rich rarebit to clean the palette.

Our mains were even better – considering the chefs were cooking in a shed the size of, well, a shed, this was a miracle. My pork belly was pressed to squeeze out some of the fat and served with chipotle crackling, more beetroot, pickled apple slices and deep, forest green kale. The husband’s bavette was succulent and stylishly presented. We may have been in a garden but there was no heavy-handed presentation, the finesse of the food and it’s delectable flavours were matched by the delicate presentation.

The Ethicurean
The Ethicurean

Pudding? Sticky toffee apple pudding! It could have had more sauce – as the husband pointed out, it isn’t hard to whip up – but it was moist and treacly without being stodgy or heavy. All in all, we were bowled over.

The only thing we couldn’t understand on this sunny, blustery spring Friday lunchtime, was why it wasn’t packed out? People of Bristol, what are you doing?! Perhaps you’re already too spoiled for choice by great, ethical, locally-sourced eateries…

The Ethicurean cookbook
The Ethicurean cookbook

ALISON TYLER