Sticky Toffee Pudding

What is one dessert that you can associate with England? What dessert is found at many restaurants and pubs in England year round? One could say the answer to both of these questions is Sticky Toffee Pudding.

This is the Sticky Toffee Pudding they serve at the Cock and Bull, a British pub on 45th Street in New York City. This dessert includes chunks of hard almond toffee brittle on the side and a light cream on top. Although I love all the ones I tried in this post and my friends loved all the ones they tried, this is my personal favorite.
History

Although this dessert is associated with England it actually had its roots in Canada. The story behind it is during World War II two Canadian Air Force officers passed a recipe for sticky toffee pudding to a hotelier in Lancashire. The recipe was tweaked and the rest is history. It caught on in England and became popular. Many restaurants and pubs carry it.

This is from the Hole in the Wall pub in York, England.

It is a very rich, delicious dessert. Many people list this as their favorite. A few of my friends said they wanted to tour England and try the sticky toffee pudding at various pubs and restaurants along the way. They would call their tour the Sticky Toffee Pudding Tour.

This is from The Shakespeare, a high end pub on 39th Street in Manhattan, NYC. It came with ice cream.
Ingredients

What is it made of? It usually consists of date sponge cake drizzled in toffee sauce. Some people enjoy it with cream, while others enjoy it with ice cream. Some restaurants and pubs give you the option of accompanying it with cream, ice cream or whipped cream. It is rich and delicious.

Sticky Toffee Pudding at the Lillie Langtry in London

There are other options if you plan to make this at home. There are recipes for gluten-free versions online through different culinary websites. There are also websites carrying vegan recipes for this dessert.

This is the Sticky Toffee Pudding at the White Horse in Oxford, England. This was a personal favorite of a friend who joined me on my trip to Great Britain.

This is so popular that British pubs in the United States often have it as a regular item on their menus. The Shakespeare and the Cock and the Bull in Manhattan include it on their menu. Look up a recipe online or stop in to a British pub or restaurant. You will be happy you did.

Sunday Roast

When most people think of traditional British food the first thing that comes to mind is Fish and Chips. Fish and Chips is the most loved food, but what comes in second? The next most loved food in England is the Sunday Roast.

What is a Sunday Roast? It is a traditional main meal served on Sunday in pubs and restaurants. It usually consists of a roast meat, roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and roasted vegetables. Usually you have a choice roasted meat that could include beef, chicken, or lamb.

This is Sunday Roast at Lillie Langtry on Lillie Road in London. I choose roasted chicken. It came with roasted potatoes, roasted caramelized carrots, green beans, and Yorkshire pudding.
History

The tradition of the Sunday Roast seems to have started in the 1800s. During that time many average families did not have a large fireplace in their residence. They also may not have had enough money to cook a large amount of food. As a result, what they could afford to buy was dropped off at the bakers on the way to church. Bakers had ovens that could handle the job. It is thought that this is when most started following the tradition of the Sunday Roast.

If you want to enjoy this meal, check to see ahead of time which pubs or restaurants are serving it. You may need to make reservations in advance. It is a very delicious tradition to enjoy.

Haunted Pubs-The Hole in the Wall

There are many places that are said to be haunted in York, England. A few places that lay claim to this are pubs. One such pub is The Hole in the Wall.

Ghost Story

The story up on the wall of the pub is this pub was formerly named the Board Inn. A builder was said to have found a tunnel beneath the pub. Ghostly footsteps were heard echoing in the dark, so they quickly bricked it up. They say in 1816 excavation was done and a hole discovered that led to an eery dungeon where chains and manacles were hanging. We asked the bartenders about the story and they said both were working one night and they heard a voice talking, but no one was there.

The name of this beer goes well with the pub’s haunting story.
Location

The Hole in the Wall is on High Petergate in York not far from York Minster. It is in the older walled in section of town. You can get to York via train. If hiking is not a problem you can walk from the train station to the old walled in section.

Unique decor in one of their rooms.
Cute gargoyle, which fits in well with the area. This pub is in close proximity to York Minster.
Their sticky toffee pudding was pretty good. My friend can vouch for it.

There are several pubs and places in York with stories of ghost sightings or haunting tales. They even have tours covering some of these establishments. If you are into this sort of thing, check out The Hole in the Wall.

University Rooms York

York can be an expensive city to visit. One alternative that is less expensive, but still within the old city walls is the Student Castle York University. I booked it through University Rooms website.

I have stayed at York University before booking through University Rooms. However, previously I stayed on their main campus, which was about a 20 minute bus ride from the walled in area of York. It was cheaper two years ago and worked out well as I stayed in York for a week. They had regular bus service from the main campus to the old section of York.

This time however, when I booked well in advance, the only dorm that came up in December- January was the more expensive apartment dorms that are Student Castle. It was more expensive much much closer to where I wanted to be.

Accommodations
Small kitchen with TV

The Student Castle is a group of of dorm apartments buildings. It is modern inside. It includes a small kitchen, shower/toilet room, double bed, TV, table, desk and plenty of outlets. They appear to have parking spots in the quad area. There is access to free wifi.

Room at Student Castle York
Private toilet/shower with towel warmer

I was told this facility rents out rooms throughout the year. There are grad students and some undergrads staying in the dorm, but the first floor is reserved for people visiting.

I found this was a nice alternative to hotel rooms in the area that can be quite expensive. The location is optimal. If you would like to stop by a grocery, you may be able to cook your own meals. If visiting York I highly recommend Student Castle York.

For more information go to: https://www.universityrooms.com .

University Rooms Oxford

Are you looking for a cheaper option when traveling? Do you want to have your money stretch farther? Would you rather spend money on day tours and entry into museums than on the hotel you only sleep in? Other than hostels, there is another option during the summer- University Rooms.

University Rooms is a website that allows you book rooms at various universities around the world. Not all universities and colleges have joined this network, but some have in key places. I found out about them through an archivist at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada. She recommended I stay at the university while doing research up there. Once I stayed I started getting emails from University Rooms on occasion.

Besides staying at Memorial University in Newfoundland, I have also stayed at York University and the University of Bath in England. This time I stayed at Oxford University in England. All locations have felt safe. I would have to say so far Oxford has surpassed the rest on accommodations.

Location

I stayed at the Keble College Oxford. Oxford University is an umbrella for over 30 college campuses spread throughout the town. It is not that far of a walk to the High Street and shops. It is also close to the museums on campus.

Accommodations

The dorm I stayed was large for one person. It had a single twin size bed, chair, desk and a private shower/toilet room. In a closet there was a refrigerator. They provided soap, lotion, shampoo, and even a toothbrush if needed. There were plenty of electrical outlets for your devices. Wifi is included. They also allow access to a laundry room.

Room at Keble College
View looking in the opposite direction. Toilet/shower is behind the wall the desk sits in front of.
Private toilet/shower
Dining Hall

The dining hall was fabulous. I am told by a friend who traveled with me that it is just like the one in Harry Potter. Some scenes from Harry Potter were filmed around Oxford including on some the university grounds. On our first day we felt privileged as they let us sit at the head tables up front.

View from the head tables. This is the dining hall within Keble College Oxford University.
Transportation

I went to Oxford by train. Taxis know where to drop you off at different colleges within Oxford. You usually do not have long to wait at the Oxford Train Station to get a taxi. When checking out of the dorm, Keble College had a button to directly reach the taxi company. On the screen it gave the time expected for arrival to pick up up, the make and model of the taxi and the license plate.

There are buses within Oxford that take you to other nearby locations.

I love Oxford. This dorm was a good location in respect to most of what you would want to see at Oxford. The accommodations were impressive for a university dorm. If you are traveling to Oxford during the summer months and want to save money this is a good option.

University Rooms Website

You can go to the University Rooms website at: https://www.universityrooms.com

Choose which area of the world you are interested in and see what is available.

Godrevy Lighthouse

Sometimes I like to tick off two boxes at once when I travel. When viewing wildlife it is also nice if the area you go to has a lovely view. If you are like me you may want to visit the area near Godrevy Lighthouse. Not only can you view seals, but you also have gorgeous views as well.

Godrevy Lighthouse is on Godrevy Island in the Atlantic Ocean off Cornwall, England, a stone reef stretches from Godrevy Island towards St. Ives. Many vessels shipwrecked it that area prior to the lighthouse being constructed in the 1850s.

Seal on Godrevy Island taken from the tour boat Little Mermaid.
Seals and Other Wildlife

There are a variety of animals to view in the area. Grey seals are around in the summer, however, the numbers increase in fall, and in winter you may see close to one hundred. The island and area boasts a variety of seabirds including pipits, oystercatchers, gulls, and cormorants. Occasionally a dolphin or basking shark may be viewed.

Seals swimming onto the rock. We were told the darker ones were young ones and the lighter ones were older ones.
Enjoying the sun
Godrevy Island and Lighthouse taken from the Little Mermaid tour boat.
Viewing

There is more than one way you can view the lighthouse. Godrevy Beach is run by the National Trust and they provide parking areas. Another way way you can view it is to board a tour boat from St. Ives. More than one company presently takes people around the island. I took the Little Mermaid from St. Ives and I also viewed the lighthouse from the National Trust property.

Close-up of the lighthouse from the tour boat.
A third way to get to Godrevy? We saw some paddle boarders make their way over to Godrevy. This paddle boarder took his dog. You can see a seal popping his head out of the water on the right. With the rocks around the island I am not sure I would recommend this.
Literary Ties
View of Godrevy Island and Lighthouse from St. Ives

It is said Godrevy Lighthouse was the inspiration for “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf. Woolf spent many summers in St. Ives. You can see Godrevy Lighthouse from there.

Filming Location

Godrevy appears to have been used as a filming location or backdrop for TV and film. Blue Juice, a 1995 British surfer film staring Catherine Zeta Jones and Ewan McGregor was shot there. It also appears the lighthouse may have been used as a location for the TV show Doc Martin in series 9. Pictures of a boat in the Hayle area with the characters Doc and PC Penhale aboard appeared online in April 2019. My tour guide, a local, said the rumor was Martin Clunes was flown out by helicopter to the lighthouse island to shoot scenes.

The coast of Cornwall is stunning and you really can’t go wrong visiting its many seaside villages and hotspots. By boat or by land this area is worth a stop.

North Buckham Farm

Have you ever wanted to escape to some rural or remote area? Have you wanted to take in the sights and sounds of nature? During part of my stay in England I did just that and it was glorious.

I stayed at North Buckham Farm on the outskirts of Beaminster in Dorset. It is a working sheep farm with over 400 breeding ewes. They currently have two border collies, Scott and Naila. Scott works to move sheep between grazing areas and they are training Naila, still a pup, to do the same. They also have a few horses.

The accommodations were in a shepherd’s hut. This could have slept 2, but I was staying by myself. You have lovely views of the farm from the huts. The huts have electrical outlets, so I was able to work on my computer and charge my devices. You only hear the sounds of wildlife, horses, and occasional sheep from the shepherd’s huts. If you are a city clicker, no worries, most of the animals go silent after dark. Nearby is a building with a water closet, bath, and kitchen.

Shepherd’s Hut
Inside of shepherd’s hut
Inside of a shepherd’s hut looking at the other end.
Breakfast

You have the option of including breakfast during your stay. I decided to do just that and it set me up well for the day. Trish, the host, asks you what you prefer. I had eggs and smoked salmon the first day as well as yogurt with fresh berries. Trish even provided gluten-free bread upon request.

A badger as taken on my camera after dark from the hide.
Wildlife

Also on the property is a glass-fronted animal viewing hide. I arranged with Trish to venture out to the hide one night at eight. I waited quietly and my patience paid off. I saw two badgers one by one slowly peak out of their holes and return several times before they came out and foraged around on the grass in front of me. I also saw a fox run the perimeter waiting for the badgers to finish. I contemplated staying in the hide all night in order to catch the fox on my camera, but ended up heading back to my hut between 11:30 and midnight. If I return, I am determined to catch that fox. While waiting in the hide I believe I may also have heard an owl.

Nearby

There are two walking paths, that one can start not far from the end of North Buckham Farm’s driveway that lead you into Beaminster. This town has two pubs, a Co-Op grocery, and a few other restaurants. There are also other walking paths nearby that lead to other villages farther away.

Do you fancy a simple more rustic stay away from crowds? Do you want to get away from it all, but still have access to civilization? Then consider a stay at North Buckham Farm in Dorset. It may be the location you need to unplug and unwind.

You can look at North Buckham Farm’s website at: http://www.northbuckhamfarm.co.uk