“What’s this we hear about a new restaurant opening called The Brasserie?” We’ve been getting this quite a lot recently, so let’s deal with the (chocolate coated) elephant in the room before we explore local food provenance!
We’ve recently re-launched our restaurant as The Brasserie at the Carlton, complete with its own website. In addition there are some menu changes for the new season and a programme of food promotions which includes Foodie Friday events.
The Brasserie is particularly looking forward to a special February event (Friday 28th), which ties in with this year’s Exmoor Food Fest. Diners are invited to make the most of the best quality Exmoor steak & wine for £17.50, with the farmer thrown in for free. And yes, you did read that correctly!
Before the rumours begin to swirl, the farmer in question is Chris Lerwill, one of the Brasserie’s key local suppliers. Now, more than ever before, serious diners are seeking food provenance of the restaurant dishes they eat, and with good reason. Not only does locally sourced food hit sustainability and ethical notes, it also comes with greatly enhanced taste- the-difference flavour.
Grass Fed Exmoor Beef
So Chris will be in the Brasserie to talk about the Exmoor Park beef on the plates of those taking advantage of this excellent Friday Foodie deal. Local food provenance doesn’t get more local than Exmoor National Park and the traditional cattle breeds which graze it. These traditional breeds, such as the magnificent Devon (Ruby) Reds are far more hardy than ‘farm cows’, able to survive outside in all weathers and subsist on rougher grazing.
Grass fed beef is of course the best meat that you can have on your plate and, in the case of cattle grazed on Exmoor, the environmental impact is minimal too. Working with the herd and managing sustainable animal husbandry may be a foodie trend now, but in effect it is just a throwback to deep rooted farming traditions. In the case of the Lerwill family, these Exmoor farming traditions extend right the way back to the 12th century.
After enjoying a beautiful cut of tender, succulent, marbled steak, Chris will explain to Foodie Friday diners exactly where the meat has come from and how his family manage the farm and produce beef in line with sustainable principles.
Local Food Provenance at The Brasserie
Having the farmer along to give his account of local food provenance is an important aspect of what The Brasserie at The Carlton is setting out to do. Aside from this special Foodie Friday focus on Exmoor beef, local provenance runs right the way through The Brasserie menu.
The term ‘brasserie’ is tied intrinsically with France and in French the word also means ‘brewery’. A traditional brasserie combines a bar and casual restaurant space where meals and snacks are served throughout the day. The Brasserie at The Carlton embodies this take on dining and serves breakfast, lunch and dinners in a beautiful space which has been completely updated in line with a £1.7M makeover for the hotel in recent years.
Starting with breakfast, the menu features local free range eggs and British bacon, taken from high welfare stock. Lunch and dinners feature locally sourced vegetables (from the Great Field of nearby village, Braunton) and herbs, alongside local cheeses, meat and fish, caught by North Devon fishermen, in the bay. Reflecting the original French brasserie concept, the restaurant is complemented by a well stocked bar including local craft brews.
Dietary Requirements? Mais Oui!
Where The Brasserie at the Carlton differs dramatically from most of its French counterparts is in the welcome absence of the Gallic ‘non’ when diners ask if there are options for vegetarians, vegans or those with gluten free or other special dietary needs! Chef/patron Eliot cooks menus from scratch and the kitchen will always adjust a dish to ensure it fulfils diners’ requirements.
To book a table for the Foodie Friday steak & wine event or make a reservation to just sample the Brasserie experience, call 01271 862446 or email email@example.com.
This January the Love Ilfracombe Magazine features our nutrient-packed dish, based around tuna, credited for its omega-3 properties, vitamin D and antioxidants, along with essential oils. We’ve used raw tuna but canned tuna can be substituted.
Combining the fish with broccoli and peppers ensures a balance of vitamins and minerals, including a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin A, C, E, B6, and Folate. So you can enjoy a delicious light meal while knowing that it’s doing great things for your body and overall health.
Are you looking for a group travel partner in a beautiful part of the world to team up with? Because The Carlton Hotel in Ilfracombe, North Devon is seeking to grow our travel partner network in 2020 and 2021. Why bring your group to us? Let’s save the pitch for a moment and start with some genuine travel insights…
The Mona Lisa is too small, Stonehenge is just a pile of rocks, the beach is too sandy and there is no beach in London. No, not fake news, just a handful of the ‘most ridiculous’ holiday complaints on a list compiled by loveexploring.com, serving as a great illustration of how difficult it is to please everybody all the time. Add a group travel dynamic into the mix and you’ve really got your work cut out!
One thing’s for certain, every travel group is different and within each, there is usually a divergence of interests and expectations. Keeping everybody happy can be a full-time job but thankfully The Carlton has the bases covered which is why we lead the way with customised group travel deals in North Devon. To make your experience a great one, we’ve taken some pointers from some bad ones!
“The room was bad.”
One of the most often made complaints made by UK group travel tourists involves the state of their accommodation. Scrimping on the room may shave some cash off the price of the trip but an experienced group travel organiser is aware that a bad night’s sleep in a poorly facilitated hotel only serves to make group members grouchy and resentful and eager to sow the seeds of rebellion within the group (every organiser’s worst nightmare!).
The Carlton Hotel does not do poor quality rooms. There is a stylish uniformity that runs throughout our 30 bespoke rooms, thanks to a £1.7 million pound refurbishment which ensures an impressively high standard throughout. Rooms with brand double glazed windows and casements containing, stylish fully tiled en suite bathrooms, comfortable beds dressed withhigh thread count cotton bedding, flat-screen TVs and free Wifi are universal features of our rooms.
Built into The Carlton’s ethos is a deep understanding of the word ‘hospitality’. The reputation of this Ilfracombe hotel owes a great deal to its emphasis on superb customer service and attending to the little details that make sure a visit runs smoothly and the experience remains memorable for all the right reasons.
“The area wasn’t great.”
Who hasn’t been to a coastal travel spot which consists of mass development wrapped around a thin slither of rather uninspiring beach? Well you won’t find that in North Devon!
This is England’s Adventure Coast, where lush green hills undulate and world beating glorious beaches lie around every corner. Within a stroll’s distance of The Carlton you can find a number of beaches and coves belonging to the town of Ilfracombe alone.
We are talking adventure in the loosest sense of the word here – yes you can set off on a surf safari or coasteering challenge, but you can also just as easily set off to a quiet bay for a picnic and poke around the rock pools.Away from the sea there are wonderful hiking opportunities courtesy of the coastal path and Exmoor national park as well as options for cycling adventures suitable for all levels of fitness.
“The activities/excursions weren’t great”
This is another complaint that comes high up the list. Frequently this is a problem that is rooted in the choice of the location. As every tour group organiser knows, the remedy to this malady is to do your research, or even better work with a partner with the local knowledge to bring to the itinerary.
The Carlton is working with local partners all the time to develop activities and packages thatwill engage guests and give them a great time. From discounted links with local gardens, golf and shooting clubs to therapeutic service providers (such as Tai Chi and massage), local guide and sea captain excursions and even workshops with awesome chocolateers, The Carlton has a whole host of experiential providers it can call on to help group travel organisers plan the ideal itinerary.
“The food was bad.”
This is a frequent bugbear and one that can cause even the most mild mannered group to mutiny. Who can blame them? Along with a bad night’s sleep, poor dining options – facilities and the contents of one’s plate – is the biggest cause for grumbles.
This is not the typical experience at the Carlton, where food plays a huge part in building the guest experience. We are proud to proclaim that we are a hotel with provenance where the food we serve is very much based around the ingredients we locally source. Being on the coast we have excellent seafood while from the North Devon countryside comes excellent meat, vegetables and dairy produce.
A UK group travel experience includes the full Carlton culinary experience – with a choice of breakfast, lunch and dinner options – served in the lovely surroundings of our in-house Brasserie or private dining room.
Our group travel offers begin at £35 per guest (minimum of 3 nights stay), to find out more about our offers and to get the best rate Email or call direct on 01271 862446. If you are organising a group travel in 2020, big or small, we’d love to hear from you.
to chat about how we can help you make the most of your group travel experience
Ok, we’ll admit it, at The Carton we’re rather excited about February! It’s not everyone’s favourite time of the year, but this month we have three reasons to be cheerful: Exmoor Food Fest!
As lovers of fine food, how can we not get excited about this event? The 2020 edition will be even more special of course because this year The Carlton is getting involved for the first time too through our Ilfracombe Brasserie restaurant!
Exmoor Food Fest Background
This most excellent of foodie festivals, right on the doorstep in North Devon, is celebrating something of a milestone in 2020 as this will be the fifth Exmoor Food Fest. The event has earned a reputation for turning the spotlight on some of the region’s finest eateries, while at the same time giving foodies in the area, and from beyond, an added incentive to get out there for a taste of Exmoor!
This incentive comes in the form of the Exmoor Food Fest discounts which run for the month and expose the palate to some of the more sublime tastes the area has to offer. The Carlton Hotel, Ilfracombe, is proud to be joining in this festival of food and will be bringing its own special menu components to the party, along with a selection of exclusive Exmoor Food Fest deals.
Exmoor Food Fest 2020: Deal
For the duration of the event, The Brasserie (at The Carlton Hotel) is offering:
* 20% off of all starters, mains and desserts.
* A special £17.50 dinner menu (1) featuring two courses– available Thursday, Friday & Saturday.
* 15% off accommodation at The Carlton when booked direct
Let’s take a look behind the menu to see what makes the Ilfracombe Brasserie one of your must-eat stops on the 2020 Exmoor Food Fest tour…
Exmoor Food Fest and the Taste of Exmoor event coincides with the unveiling of The Brasserie. Open to non-residents since The Carlton was extensively refurbished three years ago, the Brasserie has been gaining enough plaudits of its own that the time has come to emerge from the shadows of the hotel and deliver as a stand-alone dining destination in Ilfracombe.
What sets it apart? From the early days, The Carlton has stamped its own distinctive style on the food it serves in its restaurant. The dishes are simple but that simplicity is worn as a badge of honour in the Ilfracombe Brasserie, as it is the food that does all the talking.
The Carlton calls itself a ‘Hotel with Provenance’ and a gaze through the suppliers‘ list tells you just how important local ingredients are for the kitchen team. Free-range eggs, locally caught fish, locally reared meat, seasonal vegetables, and ingredients all feature heavily on the menu.
The fish you will eat at The Brasserie, in Ilfracombe, will have been caught in the bay and landed by local fishing boats or, in the case of the plump tidal mussels on the menu, plucked from the bed of the Torridge, one of two arterial rivers which flow into the Atlantic via the North Devon coast.
Much of the meat that makes the plate in the Brasserie will have been Exmoor farmed (such as the pork), or at the very least come from a southwest farm with high welfare standards (as is the case with the beef and the lamb).
Meanwhile, the kitchen’s supply of staple vegetables comes from The Great Field, located in the nearby village of Braunton, which has been providing sustenance from its nutritious soil since the ninth century.
With such quality and consistency, simplicity in the kitchen means celebrating the authentic tastes and full flavours of these basic ingredients. While the provenance and local sourcing behind the Brasserie menu ensures the food talks for itself, the stylish layout and pleasant surroundings of the restaurant itself is another enticement to enjoy a wonderful evening (or lunchtime).
Also worth a mention is The Carlton’s reputation for non-fussy adjustments to menu items in order to accommodate diners with specific diets and allergies. You know how in some places such requests are received with a with a snooty nose in the air? Well not at The Brasserie, where it is the pleasure of the restaurant to do all it can to ensure that all guests in the restaurant party enjoy their meal.
So that’s the background, now it’s time to jump in and enjoy the Exmoor Food Fest! For more information about Carlton food menus or to book a table for the restaurant email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The North Devon coastline has a reputation for being spectacular enough, with its sweeping views across the Bristol Channel, but for a select number of visitors heading to the region, it is the small island that lies off its coast which marks the spot on their holiday map. Lundy is three miles (5km) long and just over half a mile wide (1km) and is a mere 23.5 miles from land (the town of Ilfracombe) and yet it could be another world…
While there are only 28 inhabitants on the island, around 20,000 visitors make the trip to Lundy Island each year between the months of April and October. The crossing, with MS Oldenburg tickets, takes approximately two hours. The Carlton Hotel in Ilfracombe has been approved as an official ticketing agent ahead of the 2020 season which means that residents (and non-guests) can purchase MS Oldenburg tickets. This Landmark Trust owned ship is something of a North Devon institution and has been carrying visitors out to Lundy and back for the past 35 years.
With a capacity of 267 passengers, she sails four times a week in the summer, from the port towns of Bideford and Ilfracombe. Most visitors to Lundy opt for the day trip – there on the tide in the morning and back on the tide in the afternoon (due to the tide times are not fixed so make sure to listen when the skipper announces when MS Oldenburg will leave for its return journey!).
However, the Landmark Trust, which manages Lundy Island, also has a number of holiday properties and an increasingly popular North Devon holiday choice is to combine a couple of days exploring the island with a couple of days on the mainland. The Carlton’s central location makes the hotel an ideal place to set up base camp as the Oldenburg leaves from Ilfracombe harbour, which is just a 10 minute stroll away.
Explore Lundy Island
So what can you expect to discover on Lundy? Well, let’s start with the joy of simplicity. There are no roads on Lundy, no shops, no major housing developments. This means there’s no traffic, no pollution and no stress (unless you neglected to listen to the skipper…). You are effectively escaping from the world when you set foot on Lundy Island and even your fellow passengers will begin to melt away by the time you’ve traced your way from the landing jetty to the centre of Lundy civilisation (ie the shop and the Marisco Tavern which are both run by the Landmark Trust).
The island has many nooks and crannies to explore and the 360 degree aspect provides amazing diversity in terrain despite the relatively small surface area. In the west, imposing cliffs jut from the exposed Atlantic side while the sheltered east of the island is home to wildflowers and a gentler coastline. This diversity of the natural environment is a big attraction for wildlife spotters.
Lundy comes from the Norse word for ‘puffin’ and the distinctive black and white bird with the colourful beak lives on the island, one of 317 species of bird which is known to frequent this Atlantic outcrop. This makes Lundy a popular destination for bird watchers who know their stuff, but also for casual visitors who are chasing a glimpse of what the Northern Scots refer to as ‘sea parrots’.
Marine Conservation Area
This beautiful little island also became the first Marine Conservation Zone in Britain in 2010. The waters around Lundy Island have long been popular with divers due to the clarity of the water and the diversity of marine wildlife it encompasses, including branching sponges and cup corals. You don’t have to be a diver to catch sight of the island’s seal population either and it’s very rare to visit the island without seeing at least a couple of pinnipeds bobbing up and down in the sea. There are also basking sharks, porpoises, dolphins and the occasional Minke whale to be spotted in the waters around Lundy. Seal watching, in particular, is a popular pastime amongst visitors.
Pirates and Brigands in Lundy’s History!
While nature rightly gets most of the attention on Lundy, it is worth reading up a little about the rich history of this island. Anyone travelling with kids can score some easy wow points by painting a picture of an island that for many years was the seat of some tumult; over time it has played base to Norse invaders, Knights Templar and various brigand groups including bands of pirates from England, France, the Basque country and even Barbary pirates from the North coast of Africa!
Definitely a trip to jot down in the memory book, Lundy Island may be not more than 20 miles off the North Devon coast but once you’re there, looking back at the mainland, it really does feel like you’ve travelled to a destination both exotic and unfamiliar. You can book your MS Oldenburg tickets to Lundy through The Carlton Hotel, which also offers the perfect pre and post-visit dock to shore up in, replenish stores and stretch your land legs!
We’ve just about finished the refresh of this old dame. We always have a little giggle when we get out our old brochures from The Carlton. Heres a glimpse of some of our favourites.
Explore England’s Adventure Coast! Read our Group Travel World feature to discover why The Carlton, Ilfracombe is the perfect base camp to explore North Devon’s coast and the countryside of Exmoor National Park.
North Devon is the Adventure Coast, an unspoiled corner of England where green rolling hills extend to the sea. The region’s natural beauty, with its glorious beaches and stunning countryside make it a destination for adventures big and small! Read the full feature below.[/vc_column][/vc_row]
Golf has always had something of a reputation as a holiday sport – golf courses in the Algarve and on the Med paving the way for tourist development in Portugal and Spain in the 1970s and 80s. However, the UK golfing holiday has been a feature of popular tourist spots for far longer and North Devon is no exception.
New figures from Sport England suggest that golf is on the upswing again! Statistics point to a modest rise in the number of people playing golf in the UK after almost a decade of decline and North Devon golf breaks are also seeing a rise in popularity. The Carlton Hotel, situated in the pretty seaside town of Ilfracombe is within striking distance of some excellent courses and some real golfing history.
Play and Stay the Carlton Way!
To set the tone for a great North Devon golfing break, the Carlton offers a Play and Stay package (starting at £67.50 per person, per night) which includes, three course dinner, stay, breakfast and a hefty discount off green fees at nearby Ilfracombe Golf Club.
Three of the Best: North Devon Golf Courses!
What commends the Ilfracombe Golf Club course? For a start, the location is hard to beat – you can literally “See the sea from every tee”. Its 18 holes progress along the cliff top, overlooking the rugged North Devon coastline, with views that extend out over the Bristol Channel and beyond, to the Welsh Hills in the distance (the club’s hole by hole video gives the ultimate visual guide).
The course is open year roundthanks to a little help from Ilfracombe’s contributing microclimate and impeccable grounds keeping. The club house has a reputation for its convivial bar and good food (available all day), although be advised that the club, like most, does have a dress code that needs to be respected.
The Carlton’s Play and Stay package is ideal for a quick getaway, but there is also the option to extend your North Devon golfing break and complete a tour of North Devon golf courses. The Carlton serves as an excellent base to return to at the end of each day, where comfortable en suite rooms invite comfort and relaxation while the great foodand locally sourced drinks of the hotel Brasserie provide the opportunity to reflect and revive, ready for the next round.
Of North Devon’s golf courses, two in particular have interesting histories. Let’s start with the Royal North Devon Golf Club at Westward Ho! which made the Golf World list of ‘Top 100 golf courses in the world a golfer must play’. Its claim to be the ‘cradle of English golf’ comes with the provenance of being founded in 1864 and mirroring the development of the newly created seaside town of Westward Ho! (named after the novel by author Charles Kingsley). It has a reputation as ‘the St Andrews of the South’ and the links are some of the most challenging in the country, making this a very desirable stop on a UK golfing holiday.
Since its establishment in 1897, the Saunton Golf Club has gone through various incarnations, expanding from an initial 9 hole to its present day 36 hole status. Located on the fringes of the UNESCO biosphere reserve of Braunton Burrows, the holes are divided between the West and the East courses. Saunton enjoys a healthy bit of competition with its older North Devon rival and gleefully trumpets its own credentials too, with its two courses ranked 32 and 67 in the Golf World Top 100 (while claiming “there is only one Club with 2 better links courses in the whole country and that is St Andrews!”).
If the former heavyweight courses sound a little too daunting, the region offers less testing alternatives that come with their own charmsand also a few challenges. These include nearby Woolacombe and Morthoe, Portmore Golf Park on the fringes of Barnstaple (9 and 18 hole options), the picturesque Torrington Golf Club (9 holes) and Libbaton (18 hole parkland course).
There are also numerous courses en route to North Devon, should one want to turn a break into a grand tour! The Carlton has a deal with Minehead Golf Course, to name one, which ensures arriving or departing golfers from Devon can ensure they maximise their time away on the greens.
North Devon Golf – An Attractive Proposition
North Devon golf courses have been providing challenging conditions in beautiful locations for many years. For this reason the area has always been popular with golfers looking to get away from it all for a few days – not only from within the UK but also from parts of Europe where the sport is significantly more expensive to practice.
With North Devon serviced by two provincial airports (Bristol is two hours away and Exeter is one hour away), visiting golfers from northern European countries have been making the most of a favorable Euro to Pound exchange rate and discovering the delights of North Devon golf breaks. As well as great golfing, the region also has so much more to offer with opportunities to enjoy wonderful beaches, beautiful countryside, adventure and an abundance of native wildlife.
On the golf course meanwhile, golfers will have their sights set on specific targets and be hoping to capture a satisfying birdie, congratulatory eagle, memorable albatross or legendary condor! If you’re looking for a rewarding UK golf holiday head to the West Country! Contact us on email@example.com and book a Play and Stay North Devon golfing break with the Carlton.
Before we start to talk about doggy breaks in North Devon, let’s take a moment to paws (sorry!) for thought…
It’s great being thefamily dog! You get treated like one of the kids (‘better than one of the kids’a few guys will now be mumbling under their breath!), get fed good grub, get taken for a walk to your favourite spot, and generally get lavished with love and attention.
Yet every now and again, that loving family seems to desert you for no reason, sending you off to some strange institution inhabited by numerous noisy canines – some of whom you’re not too sure about. So why don’t they take you with them? (*insert sad face emoticon here).
Popular Doggy Breaks
Once upon a time, not so long ago, taking your dog on holiday was a problem. You would spend a lot of time researching holiday spots and types of accommodation, scanning descriptionsto find those magic wordsDog friendly.
Thankfully, those days are gone and the Carlton Hotel in Ilfracombe, is one of the new breed of pet friendly hotels which openly embraces guests of the shaggy (and short) haired kind. Pet friendly doggy breaks in North Devon have been booming in recent years, and for good reason. The North Devon region is a paradise for all dogswho enjoy feeling the wind through their hair, the sand between their paws and their lovely wet noses being consumed by all manner of exciting new scents!.
Your Dog Wants a North Devon Doggy Break!
3 reasons we know this!
1) Dogs Love the Great Outdoors!
OK, so this a no brainer but, for a dog, hitting the great outdoors with their favourite human to explore new territory is as good as it gets – especially for those young whippersnappers that still have the breeze in their sails. We see it time and again with urban dogs that hit the beach and literally cannot believe their luck!
If you want sandy beaches, North Devon has them in spades. If you want coastal walks, we have some of the finest in the country (starting right from the Carlton’s doorstep). If you want country walks, we have fields, woods and long flat stretches of riverside to choose from. On your arrival at the Carlton, we will give you a book of dog walks and to get more ideas of great North Devon doggy break destinations during your stay, take a look at our blog.
One of our favourite hounds is a certain Ragamuffin Lewis, local canine star, and he and his “mum” have worked with us to test some local walks around Ilfracombe. You can find out more HERE
2) Dogs Love Consistency!
As every owner knows, dogs are sensitive things. We know when they’re not comfortable and they know when they’re not welcome. So to turn up in a strange place to find their own bed, a bowl laid out so there’s no break in the meal routine and a nice spot to laze in the restaurant while the humans take an age to eat their own food is a big plus. Dog owners don’t miss out either – they enjoy all the benefits of first class rooms – sumptuous beds, stylish bathrooms and breakfast included.
3) Dogs Love Pampering Too!
As if things couldn’t get any better, all dogs arriving as guests at the Carlton receive their own special complimentary doggy hamper! The hotel also provides pampering services on request. Need a bit of a trim? No problem, we can sort out a dog groomer to have them looking their holiday best (although we can’t guarantee that lovely hair job will survive the beach the next day…).
At the Carlton, we’re dog lovers ourselves, so we know what dogs (and owners) are looking for to make the most of a doggy break stay. Please do get in touch, tell us about the dog in your life and how we can do those little things that will make your dog’s stay as enjoyable as yours and book your doggy break in North Devon this Autumn. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org call on 01271 862446.