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Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Glorious food right here

Nicola, Pete, Lola and Nell want to travel the world with a difference. We hope to get a taste of many countries without adding to climate change (with needless emissions from aeroplanes) or having to waste hours of holiday time in airport terminals. We hope our adventures inspire you to take a Grand Tour of your neighbourhood whatever the weather. This post is from Nicola

Everywhere we’ve travelled we’ve tried to use independently owned shops and locally sourced food – as a result we’ve had some very delicious drinks and meals. But here in Devon local fine food moves into a new category. Everyone’s at it! Within walking distance of the village we are staying in is a 13th century pub, whimsically named The Journey’s End. Its menu is locally sourced, changes daily, has a veggie option and all adult portions can be served up for kids. The landlords, Jules and Paul, are super friendly – even to people with children – which turns out to be normal behaviour from all the shopkeepers I’ve bought stuff off so far. (This is something La Fromagerie owners in Highbury could learn a few things from, it makes spending so much more pleasurable!).

Then there’s Ringmore Stores/St Ann’s Chapel Post Office that is open 7 days a week, offers an internet service (something not a single shop in Hexham could manage!), takes cash and cards and stocks zillions of local produce including cheese, English wine, Westcountry meringues, South Devon chillies etc. Not surprisingly it won the Best Village Shop & Post Office in the South Hams 2006 – and then held a celebratory BBQ with 250 of its customers. Despite needing to queue when the daytrippers come past to pick up supplies for the beach the owners are calm, friendly and chatty. They make feel you are on holiday.

Up the road is a pick your own at Kitley, off the A379, tied to one of Riverford Farm’s farm shops. This is a brilliant find at 5.30pm on a Friday evening when you think that all there is to eat for the weekend are Pringles & a variety pack of cereal bought from a petrol station. The farm shop sells every imaginable luxury but also bread, milk and organic veg.

If you can tear yourself away from the stove then there’s also the Venus CafĂ© (see pic above of Nell choosing her favourite locally made ice cream & cone) at Bigbury-on-Sea which looks like a cheerful chips and tea kind of a place but offers a menu with gluten free choices, fair trade drinks, local ice cream, home made chips etc… And the takeaway mugs explain what’s going on:
“Drink in the view. It’s stunning isn’t it? We aim to keep it that way.
We use natural toxic free detergents and cleaning materials preventing damage to the beach, sea or any wildlife.”

If only every county was as eco-conscious as South Hams.

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