oulton hall

13 Aug Where to stay and eat from Cairnryan to the Channel Tunnel

Travelling from Cairnryan to the Channel Tunnel but haven’t found anywhere to stop off yet? This year you may want to ensure your family is well taken care of, and with AA Hotels and Restaurants that’s guaranteed. The AA has been recommending and acknowledging Hotels for almost half a century, with a focus on hospitality and the ‘guest experience’ all being cornerstone’s of the property’s success.

Below are handpicked places to stay and eat at if you’re road tripping in the United Kingdom, allowing you to take in the scenery along your route without worrying about where to stay and what to eat mid-trip.

Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel
Corsewall Point, Kirkcolm, Stranraer, DG9 0QG
3 star rating
80%
1 rosette

Looking for something completely different? This is a unique hotel converted from buildings that adjoin a Grade A listed, 19th-century lighthouse set on a rocky coastline. Situated on the headland to the west of Loch Ryan, the lighthouse beam still functions to warn approaching ships. Bedrooms come in a variety of sizes, some reached by a spiral staircase, and like the public areas, are cosy and atmospheric. The cottage suites in the grounds offer greater space. The restaurant menus are based on Scottish produce such as venison and salmon.

Tel: 01776 853220

Facilities
Parking: 20 open
Children welcome
Wi-fi

Bedrooms
En-suite rooms: 11
Rooms for smokers: 3
Ground-floor rooms: 2
Family rooms: 4
Freeview TV available
Tea/coffee making
Direct dial from rooms
No dogs allowed except guide dogs

Source: Wikipedia

Glenapp Castle
Ballantrae, KA26 0NZ
5 star rating
3 rosettes

Friendly hospitality and attentive service prevail at this stunning Victorian castle, set in extensive private grounds to the south of the village. Impeccably furnished bedrooms are graced with antiques and period pieces, and include two master rooms and a ground-floor family suite.

Breathtaking views of Arran and Ailsa Craig can be enjoyed from the delightful, sumptuous day rooms and from many of the bedrooms. Guests should make a point of walking round the wonderful 36-acre grounds, and take a look at the azalea pond, walled vegetable gardens and restored Victorian greenhouses.

Tel: 01465 831212

Facilities
Parking: 20 open
Children welcome
Passenger lift
Night porter
Wi-fi

Leisure facilities
Croquet
Tennis
Woodland walks
Falconry
Archery
Photography
Stargazing

Bedrooms
En-suite rooms: 17
Rooms with four-poster beds: 2
Ground-floor rooms: 7
Family rooms: 2
Freeview TV available
Internet connection
Dogs allowed

Source: Wikimedia

The Cosmopolitan
2 Lower Briggate, LEEDS, LS1 4AE
3 star rating
80%

This smartly presented, Victorian building is located on the south side of the city. The well-equipped bedrooms offer a choice of standard or executive grades. Staff are friendly and helpful ensuring a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Discounted overnight parking is provided in the adjacent 24-hour car park.

Tel: 0113 243 6454

Facilities
Children welcome
Passenger lift
Night porter
Wi-fi

Bedrooms
En-suite rooms: 89
Rooms for smokers: 14
Family rooms: 5
Satellite and Freeview TV available
Tea/coffee making
Direct dial from rooms
Internet connection
Dogs allowed

Source: Oulton Hall

Oulton Hall
Rothwell Lane, Oulton, Leeds, LS26 8HN
4 star rating
80%

Surrounded by the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, yet only 15 minutes from the city centre, this elegant 19th-century house offers the best of both worlds. Impressive features include stylish, opulent day rooms and delightful formal gardens, which have been restored to their original design. The hotel boasts a choice of dining options, and extensive leisure facilities. Golfers can book preferential tee times at the adjacent golf club.

Tel: 0113 282 1000

Facilities
Parking: 260 open
Children welcome
Passenger lift
Night porter
Fully air conditioned
Wi-fi

Leisure facilities
Gym
Indoor swimming pool
Croquet
Putting green
Golf course
Beauty therapy
Aerobics

Bedrooms
En-suite rooms: 152
Rooms with four-poster beds: 2
Satellite and Freeview TV available
Tea/coffee making
Direct dial from rooms
No dogs allowed except guide dogs

Midsummer House Restaurant
Midsummer Common, Cambridge, CB4 1HA
5 rosettes

In a city used to topping league tables, Midsummer House does its bit to make Cambridge an essential stopover on any culinary tour of the country. Daniel Clifford took over this Victorian villa on common land by the river (where cows do actually freely roam as if they own the place) back in 1998 and set about creating the divertingly handsome, dynamic and high-powered restaurant we see today.

It is an exceedingly civilised series of spaces done out with good taste in fashionably neutral shades with a warmth that is enhanced by the service team who make a visit seamless, easy and fun. The place has been improved and upgraded year-on-year, which reflects Daniel’s single-minded approach to constant improvement. The conservatory looks over the pretty garden and there’s a small bar upstairs with a terrace looking out over the River Cam.

A window gives a view into the kitchen without allowing the action to distract too much. The menus are of the tasting variety – five-, seven- and ten-course options – with the shorter version offered at lunch in the week and in the private dining room (it’s worth mentioning at this point that there’s a rather glam first-floor private dining room). Whichever of the menus you go for, whether your decision is made by appetite or budget, rest assured that the kitchen has done everything to ensure there are plenty of thrills along the way.

With a background at the top end of classical dining, combined with a creative mind and astounding technical abilities, Clifford delivers flavour combinations that hit the mark again and again, with outstanding ingredients and everything looking gorgeous on the plate. First up might be smoked haddock with pickled onion and grilled cheese in a clever partnership that brings the best out of the immaculate produce, followed by beetroot baked over hot coals and matched with quinoa and goats’ cheese.

Braised pork cheeks arrive tender and packed with flavour, and roasted scallops with an accompanying tartare, Jerusalem artichokes and some black truffle. If pot roasted chicken, leeks and mushrooms sounds humble, rest assured it is not. There’s a lot of ground to cover if you’ve gone for the ten-courses, but it is so well judged that you don’t want it to end. Adding a cheese course from the trolley before dessert is one way of keeping things going.

The sweet courses (two of them) might include a stunning chocolate dome or an exotic poached kumquat number with tamarind yogurt sorbet, carrot and cardamom. The wine list, like everything here, is a class act.

Tel: 01223 369299

Open/closed
Days closed: Sun-Mon
Dates closed: 2 wks Xmas
Days closed for lunch: Tue

Restaurant information
Cooking type: Modern British
Chef: Daniel Clifford
Number of seats: 45
Accessible for wheelchairs
Vegetarian meals available
Children welcome
Children’s portions

Restaurant Alimentum
152-154 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PB
3 rosettes

If your Latin’s a bit rusty, the name of this operation in a modern building near the city’s leisure park, means ‘food’, and the place comes with bags of contemporary swagger. It has seats upholstered in red at black-lacquered tables, scarlet padded walls and smoked glass, plus an open-to-view kitchen giving a window onto chef-proprietor Mark Poynton and his brigade at work. Poynton puts ethics and sustainability at the top of the agenda when it comes to sourcing his ingredients, while the kitchen follows a broadly modern European path of diverting originality.

The set-price lunch and early-evening menu offers storming value, and trading upwards, there’s a carte, a seven-course ‘Taste of Alimentum’ and a ten-course ‘Surprise’ menu, all keeping step with the seasons. This produces starters such as duck foie gras mousse with passionfruit, walnut and spring onion to leaven its richness, or a dish of grilled plaice with langoustine, fennel, cucumber and seaweed that armchair gourmets might recognise from the chef’s appearance on the Great British Menu.

Tight-lipped menu descriptions belie the complexity and multi-layered flavours in dishes: a straightforward-sounding main course of beef fillet with snails and red wine, for instance, is a tried-and-true marriage of complementary flavours. Fish is treated inventively, with butternut squash, chorizo, apple and samphire bringing explosions of distinct flavours to roast halibut fillet cooked with pinpoint accuracy. It’s all beautifully presented, too, through to show-stealing puddings that might unite apple caramel and vanilla with an Arctic roll theme, or a thought-provoking combo of barbecue orange parfait with mojito and liquorice.

The judiciously curated wine list covers the principal French regions before moving on to the rest of Europe and the New World.

Tel: 01223 413000

Open/closed
Dates closed: 24-30 Dec, BHs
Sunday lunch available.
Days closed for lunch: 31 Dec

Restaurant information
Cooking type: Modern European
Chef: Mark Poynton
Number of seats: 62
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Disabled toilets
Children welcome
Children’s portions

The Hole in the Wall
2 High Street, Little Wilbraham, Cambridge, CB21 5JY

The name of this 16th-century village pub and restaurant between Cambridge and Newmarket comes from the days when farm workers used to collect their jugs of beer through a hole in the wall so as not to upset the gentry in the bar. Customers nowadays can enjoy ales from the Milton Brewery and the Indian Summer Brewing Company.

The heavily-timbered pub is owned by former BBC MasterChef finalist Alex Rushmer, and first-class modern British cooking is prepared from fresh local produce. You could explore the five or seven course tasting menus, or stick to the set menu, with choices like game terrine with carrot and pear chutney and sourdough; Suffolk pork belly, roasted cauliflower, curried granola and raisin agrodolce; or fillet of hake, chorizo hash, red pepper sauce and wild rocket. Finish with Cambridge burnt cream, mango compôte and black pepper shortbread.

Tel: 01223 812282

Principal beers
Milton Brewery, Indian Summer Brewing Co

Open
11.30-3 6.30-11

Closed
2wks Jan, 25 Dec, Mon, Tue L, Sun eve

Facilities
Children welcome
Garden
No coach parties catered

If you’re driving in the UK, don’t forget that with AA Ireland you’re automatically covered.

If you happen to breakdown, all the benefits you have on your package here in Ireland applies in the UK. If you have AA Roadside Rescue, we will tow you locally and if you have Rescue Plus, we can arrange to recover your vehicle back to Ireland if it’s beyond repair.

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Orla O'Callaghan
orla.o'callaghan@theaa.ie