Skipton Park Guest O’tel, September 2017

On our previous visit to Skipton, we stayed at Fawlty Towers. This was due to the late nature of our booking, so we didn’t have a lot of choice.

This time, we had choice. We booked Skipton Park Guest O’tel (their abuse of English, not mine), back in October 2016 whilst we were in Southwold. It looked quirky, but in a good way.

We arrived not long after lunch on Friday afternoon, and were met by Jenny, one of the owners, who gave us an effusive welcome and explained everything about the hotel in forensic detail.

We were out for most of the day, and then up for breakfast on Saturday morning. Hazel & Mrs MOFAD needed fuel for their Yarndale exploits, Matt & I needed fuel for our walking tour of Skipton. This was a decent hotel fry up (a bit more colour on that sausage wouldn’t have gone amiss, but nothing to complain about).

Fast forward a day, and you get something very similar, just with some lightly toastesd toast on the side. All cooked by Ken, who is heard but seldom seen throughout your stay. Lots of very flavoursome ingredients make a cracking hotel breakfast.

After the craziness of Fawlty Towers in 2015, this was an enormous improvement. Lovely breakfasts, perfectly located for Skipton town centre (just  a short walk away, but far enough to be quiet at night) and friendly owners make for a lovely stay. I think we’ll be back next time we come to Skipton for a walking tour.

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The Tudor Arms #4, Slimbridge, September 2017

Oh dear. It had all been going so well. After 2 good dinners and a decent breakfast, the wheels came off today. The normal chef had a family matter to deal with, and the relief chef hadn’t turned up to take over. This left a pub full of diners waiting for breakfasts. However, we didn’t find out about this until later on in proceedings. We ordered, we got teas and coffees. No mention of any problems.

An hour later, no sign of breakfast. We were informed that they were prioritising their residential guests first. Shame you didn’t tell us that earlier on. We managed to twist their arms into giving us some more tea and coffee. It shouldn’t have taken arm twisting, and the feeling of “other customers are more important than you” did rather put a dampener on our lovely weekend.

A much sadder offering today, the sign of a kitchen out of their depth and desperate to get plates out. Eventually. A shame things had to end like this, and a shame that they weren’t really interested in trying to treat all of their customers equally.

Triple Pork Nirvana 2017 #3, #tpn2017

It’s been a while since we had a triple pork nirvana. Well, six weeks, but it’s been a lean year for porky triples, for no particular reason, although we’ve been having a lot more salmon and eggs for breakfasts before walks which is often the starting point for any triple.

A good fry up at the pub next to the campsite this morning got the day off to a great start.

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We were exploring Stroud farmer’s market in the morning and grabbed some ham and cheese sandwiches from a nearby deli. And in the evening it was back down the pub for chicken with bacon, mushrooms and a creamy garlic sauce.

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Never mind the quantity, feel the quality.

The Tudor Arms, Slimbridge #2, September 2017

Yes, as promised yesterday, we’re back again. It’s breakfast time, and as it’s only a short walk from camping pitch to pub (and as we’d already booked ourselves in the previous night) it seems right that we should have some breakfast here.

A decent full English, with bonus egg. The good thing about camping with our usual crew and having breakfast together in a pub or cafe is that there’s a healthy market for trading breakfast items. I’m always ready to trade black pudding (filth) and there are always willing egg traders. It makes for a good value breakfast all round.

We’ll be back for dinner.

Triple Pork Nirvana 2017 #2

A very hard earned TPN today, and only the second one of the year. A full English at The Brotherswater Inn:-

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Followed by ham and cheese rolls on the way up to The Knott, one of four Wainwrights that we conquered today (the others being High Street, Thornthwaite Crag and Gray Crag). After we finished our descent, back to The Brotherswater Inn for a nice plate of gammon:-

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Tasty and rewarding!

Breakfast at The Brotherswater Inn, Sykeside, Cumbria, August 2017

The best way to start the day, particularly a day on which you are about to attempt 4 Wainwrights, is with a cooked breakfast. We had breakfast here when we last stayed, and it was good, so we had no qualms about coming in this morning. They had just had a load of people in before we arrived, so were a little flustered, but we sat down and ordered at the bar after a few minutes. A steaming pot of tea arrived, along with some toast, and then soon afterwards 2 plates of full English breakfast.

A well proportioned breakfast. Two pieces of bacon, two sausages, mushrooms, beans, a fried egg, a grilled tomato and two pieces of fried bread. It’s not often you see fried bread nowadays, but it’s a nice occasional treat. The bacon was really nice, the sausages were good, the mushrooms were nicely cooked as was the egg.

A champion breakfast to start the day.

Jury’s Inn, Hinckley Island, May 2017

Going away at this time of year usually means a camping trip, but something a bit different here. A hotel stay for a friend’s wedding, just for one night, and just down the road off the A5 in Hinckley.

The place name “Hinckley Island” may confuse you, particularly if you know that Hinckley is in Leicestershire, famed for not being a county where islands are generally found. I think the island is a reference to the shape of the hotel, which is a five pointed palm shape (in the style of the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, but on a much smaller scale).

Our room was right at the back of the hotel, and there was an unpleasant smell upon arrival, which was soon dealt with by the use of the flushing mechanism. How do these things not get spotted by cleaners?

We booked this trip ages ago, and there was a special deal which included bed and breakfast and a free bottle of prosecco. It did take us 10 minutes to convince the hotel to give us our free bottle, eventually they relented. They even found us an ice bucket, as they hadn’t managed to chill enough bottles, forgetting perhaps that multple wedding guests might want to claim the offer that they had paid for…

It was just as well they did, otherwise it would have been Pedigree all night. A rebrand can’t hide what’s inside, unbalanced bitterness and a beer that has had its time.

The final thing to report on in any hotel, is the breakfast. Your usual self service buffet affair here, the bacon was a bit insipid and watery, the sausages were good, and the hash browns were crispy. A decent runny fried egg too.

Not the most amazing hotel stay in the world, functional and competent, but not much more. At least it only took 25 minutes to get home.