Alastair Sawday Celebrates Italy and the Release of Special Places to Stay: Italy ed. 8

It is easy to forget how many countries Italy really is. She was a patchwork of states and statelets until 1861, so her survival as a whole is a gentle miracle. (This partly explains the bizarre survival of certain politicians.) Travelling from tip to toe, I recently learned quite how energisingly her regions differ, and how rich is the whole fabric of the country.

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TAG: Book , Italy , Alastair Sawday

Kate Humble on Special Places to Stay: Dog Friendly Breaks ed. 2

I could invent all sorts of excuses...

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TAG: Dogs , Kate Humble

Alastair Sawday on French tourism in 2014 - Excerpt from Special Places to Stay: French Hotels ed.8

I am just back from Paris, for the umpteenth time, where I spent two days being astonished by her beauty. How on earth has so much sheer urban loveliness survived the 20th century? It is one of life’s small miracles. In my view, the best way to see all this is by bicycle – which is now so easy with the Vélib hirebikes available on almost every corner. The street-scene is revealed at leisurely pace but with a special freedom and ease of movement.

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TAG: Tourism , Sawdays , France , Alastair Sawday

The Holiday Season in Rome by our lady in Italy, Nicole Franchini

Rome Christmas montage

The holiday season in Rome officially began on December 8, at 4 pm with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (National Holiday), celebrated by the Pope, who during the ceremony crowns the head of the Virgin Mary's statue in Piazza di Spagna,and it continues through the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6, celebrated with toys and gifts for the kids and, of course, a big 4-course meal.  

Each year the city has put increased efforts in lighting up the main commercial areas with festive new and traditional decorations.  This year’s theme is on environment protection, moderate energy consumption and sobriety.

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TAG: Rome , Christmas , Italy

Part Three Of Rachel Khoo's Tour De France - Provence

Credit to Joseph Seresin_4

©Joseph Seresin

Could there be a more fitting start to a Provencal excursion, than the blustering Mistral reaching 120km per hour whilst paired with a blindingly blue sky? Provence has long been a favourite of the British. Just the mention of it conjures up images of sun filled terraces, purple lavender fields, dusty green shutters on sand coloured bastides, and the summer hum of cigales in the bristly bushes. But of all the places on my visits around France, Provence is by far the most estranged from Britain, architecturally, mentality-wise and weatherwise.

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Tour De France Part Two – Brittany, By Rachel Khoo

Credit to Joseph Seresin_4

©Joseph Seresin

Lighthouses, timber framed buildings, green pastures, salt plains and tonnes of butter… while researching My Little French Kitchen, I headed to Brittany (and bits of Normandy) to scour out the most interesting produce and recipes of the region.

At a first glance, it is easy to see how Brittany acquired the nickname “Little Britain”, particularly as the rain didn’t let up on my first day of the trip, but also because it reminded me of the lush verdant British fields around where I grew up. There’s also drizzle. A lot of it.

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Rachel Khoo Takes Us On A Tour De France - Bordeaux, Arcachon & Cap Ferret

Credit to Joseph Seresin_4

©Joseph Seresin

It goes without saying that Bordeaux is mostly famous for one thing, wine. And oh my is it a grand thing to be famous for. To research my latest book, My Little French Kitchen, I headed to the most notorious of the world’s wine regions, one associated with some of the most revered and expensive wines ever to be made.

My visit kicked off in the city itself. Set along the Gironde river, it is proud to have undergone a massive clean up since their former Mayor (who managed to clock a mammoth 50 years of ‘service’ while allegedly not achieving a great deal) died, leaving room for some forward thinking. Since, a shiny new tram glides effortlessly through the streets, all the grubby blackened facades have been cleaned up and the city is bustling with students, beautiful fresh food markets and a handful of very good restaurants. It’s an easy city to like. But a visit to Bordeaux is hardly complete without visiting the ‘allentours’, where much of the most exciting gastronomic happenings are taking place. After all the sight seeing I was happy to put my feet up in the homely and cosy 83 rue de Patay.

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When Sawday's Came To Tea, By The Owners Of Little Comfort Farm

Little_Comfort_Farm_Welcomes_Alastair_Sawday

It was with great pleasure that Roger and I hosted an Alastair Sawday’s members’ gathering here at Little Comfort Farm last week. It was lovely to put faces to names of the people that Caroline and I email and talk to on the phone at Sawday’s HQ and to meet Alastair himself. It was also a great opportunity to meet fellow members – meeting other people working in the same business as us is something we really enjoy and we always learn so much.  As we chatted we all tucked in to homemade highlander biscuits, beetroot brownies and tea bread not to forget our scones, cream and jam – a bit of a Little Comfort Farm trade mark.

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Sawday’s New British Bed & Breakfast Guide On Sale And Inaugural B&B Awards Launched!

BBB Montage copy

Sawday’s new British “B&B bible” hit bookshelves this month. The latest edition brings together over 700 of Britain’s finest B&Bs, with over 90 new additions (even more online). In celebration of our wonderful British B&Bs we’ve launched the inaugural Sawday’s B&B Awards selecting twelve stand-out special places in four categories – Best Newcomers, Old Favourites, Most Praised Breakfast and One of a Kind. Read on to find out more about the winners.

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Hidden History With A Weekend Of Heritage Open Days

Cirencester_Amphitheatre_cauldron_c2_Calyx

England’s towns, villages and countryside are preparing to give up their secrets this weekend, as over 4,500 properties – from mansions to shepherd’s huts, wartime bunkers to water towers, factories, theatres and private homes – all open their doors to reveal their history.  Heritage Open Days (www.heritageopendays.org.uk) is the biggest heritage festival in the country, taking place from 12th-15th September, with every single event completely free.

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TAG: Heritage Open Days , History , Weekend , Open Days , Heritage Festival

Sawday's BLOG from The Old Farmyard

The Alastair Sawday's blog

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