Cunard has a long-held reputation for serving some of the finest food at sea, so it makes perfect sense that the luxury cruise line should celebrate its proud British heritage with a culinary discovery tour of great British Isles. Departing from Southampton on 23 June 2016, the 12-night cruise will sample the gastronomical delights and regional specialities of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Joined on board by leading names from the world of gastronomy, plus expert chefs and sommeliers, foodies will find their days filled with cookery demonstrations, exclusive dinners, whisky sampling, gin cocktail making, and delicious afternoon teas and overnight stays in some of the UK’s best boutique country house hotels.
Here’s our guide to the eight shore-side experiences of Cunard’s British Isles Culinary Discovery Tour; which ones have whet your appetite?
Cookery Course and Stay at Lime Wood House Hotel
Lime Wood House Hotel is the only five-star luxury house hotel in Hampshire’s stunning New Forest National Park. The Regency country house once served as a hunting lodge, but now it is tasked with slipping its guests into a state of total relaxation. Bay tree lined walkways welcome you to the fore, a rooftop herb garden provides the backdrop for morning yoga sessions and the lingering scent of English lavender, rosemary and sage fills the air.
Your day will begin with a cookery course in the kitchens of the hotel’s Hartnett Holder & Co restaurant, where you will learn the signature techniques of acclaimed chefs Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder; the names behind the restaurant. With delicious dishes prepped and eaten, you’ll be suitably stuffed by the time you retire to one of Lime Wood House Hotel’s indulgent rooms, all of which come complete with views of the grounds and surrounding forest. Bliss!
Bombay Sapphire Distillery Store and Winchester Stay
Sir Winston Churchill once said “The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the empire” and who are we to argue with a great?
The Bombay Sapphire Distillery is the home of gin, instantly recognisable thanks to its twin Mediterranean glass houses, each accommodating some of the ten exotic botanicals that go into Bombay Sapphire’s distinctive blend. Take a tour of the 300 year old former paper mill where one of the world’s most popular gins is created, before trying your hand as a master mixologist with a Gin Cocktail Masterclass.
Feeling suitably merry and with a new found appreciation for the prophecies of Sir Churchill, you’ll spend the evening in England’s ancient capital of Winchester, a medieval city surrounded by the rolling countryside of South Downs National Park.
Glenmorangie Whisky Distillery Tour
You’ll receive a warm Highland welcome when you arrive at the Glenmorangie Whisky Distillery, which sits on the scenic shores of Dornoch Firth in Invergordon. Learn everything you need to know about the whisky making process, with a sip or two of the good stuff thrown in to keep you warm.
Orkney’s Local Delicacies Tour
Over 5,000 years of history surrounds the 70 islands of Orkney, so it’s hardly surprising that the picturesque region has accumulated countless local delicacies across the years.
Enjoy the live fiddle, banjo and accordion soundtrack of an Orcadian folk music performance, as you sample delicacies including bere bannocks with Orkney farmhouse cheese, Orkney herring with Orkney oatcakes, freshly caught crab claws and Orkney steak and ale casserole. It’s a foodie paradise!
Stornoway Black Pudding Tour
Black pudding is back on the menu after experiencing something of a resurgence in the last 18 months, so it’s only fair that the Cunard Culinary Discovery Tour takes you to the delicacy’s rightful home. Learn all about this Scottish staple and let a local chef show you new ways of getting it back on your own menu once home.
Photo Credit: Alan Jamieson
Glengoyne Distillery and Loch Lomond Shore Tour
Enjoy a ‘wee dram’ at Glengoyne Distillery; one of the world’s leading whisky producers since 1833. Often awarded the attribute of most beautiful distillery in Scotland, Glengoyne sits nestled into Dumgoyne Hill, the mountains of Loch Lomond peaking in the distance.
Photo Credit: Greener Scotland
Belfast Food Tour
Skip breakfast and bring your appetite; you’re going to need all the space you can for the Belfast Food Tour.
Led by a local who is full to the brim of expert knowledge on what and where to eat and drink in Belfast, your tour will see you taste your way from St George’s Market to the Cathedral Quarter, sampling 20 different foods and drinks along the way. You’ll end the tour well fed and watered, having enjoyed a good old ‘craic’ as you discover a new side to the city.
Town Walk and Traditional Guernsey Afternoon Tea Tour
Spend a day touring the greenery lined streets and cobbled alleyways of St Peters Port, one of Europe’s prettiest harbour towns. Walk along the picturesque waterfront marina, visiting the 13th century Castle Cornet and the Victorian Candie Gardens, before arriving at the Old Government House Hotel – the only five-star hotel in Guernsey. Having once hosted Her Majesty the Queen, the experience promises exacting standards when serving your traditional Afternoon Tea, complete with Guernsey clotted cream and views across St Peter’s Port.
Are you tempted by the ultimate foodie voyage? Find out more here.