When you’ve filled yourself on seafood, Margate’s eco spa Haeckels is a chic place to unwind between meals, offering algae plump facials and a hut for sea bathing. Or take a bracing dip in the retro lido or Walpole tidal pool a little further along the coast.
Come evening, book an early supper at Barletta, nestled into Turner Contemporary gallery, and ask for a window seat to swoon over landmark views, from the harbour to the higgledy-piggledy old town and seaside-kitsch Dreamland sign, while the sun sets over the sandy bay, bathing the restaurant in a balmy golden glow. Kentish produce shines – dip homemade focaccia into pools of vibrant green rapeseed oil and burrata is dressed with bright and citrussy pickled radicchio. A little further along the iconic pier Harbour Arm, Sargasso’s menu rotates between the likes of lobster spaghetti and Catalan salt cod salad with a glass of wine from Europe’s boutique vineyards.
Experience a food festival in Trondheim, Norway
Trondheim is Norway’s third-largest city, although it’s still small enough to explore on foot. Head to the centre between 3-5 August and you’ll find it brimming with foragers, baristas, local producers and beer-brewing experts for Matriket Midt. Get stuck in and try dishes from the 200 food stands, learn about traditional Norwegian fare and expand your culinary horizons with modern creations. It’s a fantastic way to get to know this gastronomic country, which is home to 14 Michelin-starred restaurants. Be inspired and take a class in cooking, baking, foraging or pickling.
Outside the festival dates, Trondheim is still a must-visit. Wander across the pretty ‘Bridge of Happiness,’ admire the colourful buildings and find a coffee shop in Bakklandet, one of Trondheim’s prettiest cobbled neighbourhoods. Be sure to order a cardamom bun for pure Norwegian joy.
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Surrounded by breath-taking mountains and fjords, chefs use local ingredients to showcase Norway’s bounty and make exceptional food that’s worth writing home about. While high-end dining is definitely something to experience if you have the budget, you can find equally good food in most of Trondheim’s restaurants. To drink, make sure you head to the world-famous Britannia Bar for cocktails made using foraged ingredients, such as meadowsweet.
There are direct flights from London and Manchester using Norwegian, or you can book your journey via upnorway.com.
Al fresco canalside dining in The Netherlands
Temperatures remain pleasant in northern Europe in August, making its pretty canal-based cities ideal for the height of summer. In Amsterdam, tables spill out onto every terrace, patio and pavement. Linger over the chef’s tasting menu at Daalder or mooch down Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk, both long foodie streets with sustainable shops, organic delis and a farmers’ market on the Haarlemmerplein each Wednesday. Visit vegan-friendly salad bar SLA for a green pea and mint falafel bowl, or hop aboard the free ferry to the Noord for lunch at Pllek, a beach bar housed in an old shipping container with panoramic views of the IJ river.
Vibrant and ethnically diverse, the Oost (East) area of Amsterdam is home to leafy Oosterpark, the Dappermarkt street market – pick up inexpensive Surinamese, Moroccan and Turkish specialties – and countless cafés and restaurants. Relax over plant-to-plate dishes in the herb garden of De Kas, Amsterdam’s answer to Petersham Nurseries. Stay at Hotel Casa and bag a spot at the rooftop bar for a local Brouwerij ’t IJ craft beer.
Take the train through the lush green countryside to Utrecht. This compact little city is one of the oldest in the Netherlands, built along two tree-lined canals. The canal-side buildings that once served as warehouses now house cafés, bars, boutique shops and tiny restaurants, many set up by creative graduates from the university, who sit out on every terrace, patio or pavement in summer. Perched above the canal, Talud9, is a coffee spot that morphs into a wine bar in the evenings, while the terrace of old-school Café Springhaver is a great venue for people watching over a portion of creamy bitterballen and local ales. BLAUW specialises in spectacular Indonesian rijsttafel (rice tables), an array of 15-20 ramekins filled with satay skewers, fragrant coconut vegetables, sweet soy pork and more.
Lobster on Maine’s Atlantic coast
Maine’s coast is dotted with charming towns that live up to a tourist’s American dream, strung together by coastal roads with uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean. From Boston, head up to Kennebunkport with its placid dock, iconic colonial weatherboard houses (some on stilts) and lobster restaurants. Further up in Portland, the Old Port’s red-brick houses are home to cosy coffee shops and superb seafood restaurants, including the must-visit institution Eventide Oyster Co. Tuck into platters of oysters, crab claws and lobster rolls on the waterfront with preppy locals before mooching along the Eastern Promenade Trail.
Drive further up the coast, stopping at family-run McLoons Lobster Shack for lobster rolls with Atlantic views, before celebrating the crustacean in all its glory at Maine Lobster Festival at Rockland’s Harbor Park. Fresh hot Maine lobster and corn on the cob in pools of butter is served alongside the likes of lobster rolls, lobster mac ’n’ cheese and even lobster wontons. Pair with local wines and craft beers then explore the festival for seafood cooking competitions, vibrant parades and live folk and jazz music.
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