Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 649

5 25 MAY 2023 News&Views Photographs: Getty Images 1 BAG A NATIONAL TRUST BARGAIN For a rustic approach, there are bothies and bunkhouses available to hire at nationaltrust.org.uk. “Staying in a bothy is often called ‘camping with walls’ as there is no electricity or running water,” says Guardian travel writer Rachel Dixon. A bunkhouse is a step up, and perfect for a group, with water, showers, electricity and heating. Up to 17 people can stay at the Penrose bunkhouse on the SouthWest Coast Path in Devon, with prices starting at £608 per night. Nearby Foreland bothy costs from£30 a night for four people. 2 SWAP OR HOUSESIT Home swappingmeans you can visit places for aminimum to no accommodation fee. Leading the field 5 WAYS TO BOOK A BARGAIN BREAK Travel association Abta says 22% of us hope to save on holiday accommodation this year. Anna Shepard offers some tips is homeexchange.comand homestay.com, operating inmore than 150 countries, and overseeing agreements between the two parties. If you don’t fancy having strangers in your home, and are happy to care for pets, try housesittersuk.co.uk (£29 for annual membership). 3 STAY IN STUDENT DIGS A night in a hotel in a historic city such as Oxford or Cambridge can be expensive, but if you’re happy with a no-frills approach, check out universityrooms.com, which o ers student accommodation. “Oxbridge colleges book up quickly, but there is still good availability at themoment,” says Rachel. “It’s a unique chance to sleep amid the dreaming spires.” An ensuite single room in Christ Church College, Oxford, starts at £76. 4 HEAD TO A HOSTEL The YouthHostel Association (YHA) has more than 150 hostels in England andWales, from camping barns to glamping cabins and private rooms to cheaper dorm-style accommodation. Some have ensuite rooms from£30 per night, although youmust bring a towel. “You can exclusively hire a hostel, with prices starting at around £200 a night,” says Rachel. YHAHelmsley, inNorth Yorkshire, costs £349 for hire and sleeps 40. 5 TRY A MONASTERY “There are 36monasteries and religious centres in Britain that host guests at monasteries. com, andmanymore across Europe, fromaround £35 per night,” says Rachel. Meals are often included, but you could be expected to eat with themonks. The Friars, in Kent, is a 80-bedroommedieval Priory house and a single room costs £60 a night. Whether hot and bubbling on toast or partnered with pickle in a sandwich, Cheddar answers the need for last-minutemeals. Now the kitchen staple has trounced its rivals to be named Supreme Champion at the Virtual Cheese Awards two years in a row. This year’s winner, crowned after a live eight-hour final, isMontgomery’sMature Traditional Cheddar, whichwowed judges with its sweet, nutty caramel flavour, depth and crumbly texture. Made by the third generation of theMontgomery family, whose cows graze the Cadbury, Somerset pastures, it nowhas the chance to pitch for aWaitrose listing. Last year’s winner, Keen’s Cheddar, is already available in stores, along with around 250 other British cheeses. It’s not been an easy time for the nation’s cheesemakers, with energy and price rises hitting hard on the back of Covid-19, says Sarah deWit, who cofounded the awards in 2020 to help support the industry. “We’ve had 250 cheeses entered in our 2023 awards from85 British dairies, which even in a tough economic environment, shows that cheesemakers want to celebrate and showcase their expertise,” she says. Waitrose Partner and cheese buyer Sarah Miness joined 10 other cheese experts on the judging panel, sharing thoughts on 41 shortlisted cheeses live with an online audience on 17May. “The online format is great,” says Sarah. “It brings the judging out frombehind closed doors, allowing cheesemakers to see and hear how their cheese fares.” Highland cheese Connage Aged Gouda came second, while third place was awared toMrs Kirkham’s Tasty Lancashire, the last remaining rawmilk producer in the county. It is stocked byWaitrose along withWelsh regional winner Rock Star, from the Snowdonia Cheese Company. Anna-Marie Julyan Cheddar claims top honour at cheese awards JUST CHAMPION Montgomery’s Mature Traditional Cheddar RIGHT PRICE Cheap places to stay can be found, like this bothy in Scotland From cherry to plum and vine to heirloom, more than 25 types of tomatoes can be found at Waitrose throughout the year. With the homegrown season in full swing and British Tomato Fortnight (29 May-11 June) on the horizon, why not experiment? Try Jack Hawkins beef tomatoes, as big as your hand and ripened on the Isle of Wight; plump San Marzano from Yorkshire in sandwiches; Humberside simmered into a sauce or sweet UK-grown cherry varieties baked into focaccia. See waitrose.com/recipes for more inspiration. 25