Two new books to kick-start your gardening year

While your garden lies dormant, this is the perfect time of year to bury your nose in a gardening book to pick up some skills, tips and inspiration for the year ahead. Here are two brand new releases to get you started…

101 Organic Gardening Hacks: Eco-friendly solutions to improve any garden – by Shawna Coronado

The word ‘hack’ may seem a little, well, hackneyed nowadays but in this context it hints at some easy, clever and smart ways to improve your garden, eco-style. Shawna Coronado, one of America’s most creative gardeners, has compiled a phlethora of her own ingenious tricks – from practical time-savers to clever ways to upcycle everyday items in your garden. All are completely organic and environmentally-friendly.

There are pages of easy-to-follow steps, illustrations and photos, all divided into a dozen different categories for easy reference. Find out how to replicate Shawna’s own hacks – creating a garden bench from leftover wood posts, or creating your own blend of organic soil. It’s full of sustainable ideas that you’ll be itching to try this year.

‘101 Organic Gardening Hacks’ is out now in paperback, priced £12.99 (pub. Cool Springs Press).

Buy it here 101 Organic Gardening Hacks: Eco-friendly Solutions to Improve Any Garden

Build a Better Vegetable Garden: 30 DIY projects to improve your harvest – by Joyce Russell, photographs by Ben Russell

Following up from their well-received ‘The Polytunnel Book’, this new tome is full of practical ideas to get the most out of your vegetable plot. Joyce has over thirty years of practical fruit and vegetable growing experience, as well as contributing to several magazines. Her easy-to-follow projects are accompanied by Ben’s clear photographs, plus lists of materials and a relative skills rating.

These DIY projects aims to help you either improve your yields, extend the season, or protect your crops from pests. All will transform your garden into somewhere more productive, attractive and secure.

‘Build a Better Vegetable Garden’ is out now in paperback, priced £16.99 (pub. Frances Lincoln).

Buy it here Build a Better Vegetable Garden: 30 DIY Projects to Improve your Harvest

We have a copy of ‘Build a Better Vegetable Garden’ to giveaway. To be in with a chance of winning, simply share this post on Twitter or Facebook tagging @Goodtrippers and using the #competition – before midnight on 21st February 2017. One winner will be chosen at random by 28th Feb.

Prepare to rejuvinate at new holistic yoga retreat, Mallorca

As we gear up for the season of excess, it might be a good idea to book in your New Year re-boot now…

The White Goddess Retreat, a new yoga start-up in Mallorca, Spain, promises to leave you rebalanced, refreshed and rejuvinated. Retreat organisers and the team behind The Yard (a lifestyle centre and cafe in Alderley Edge) have teamed up with yoga teacher Claire Farman (who’s clients include Gwenyth Paltrow and Sting) to create this brand new yoga experience.

yoga teacher Claire Farman at The White Goddess Retreat
yoga teacher Claire Farman at The White Goddess Retreat

Accommodation – scenery to inspire poetry

The retreat is set in the foothills of Deia, a pretty coastal village on the west coast of Mallorca, and gets its name from the well-known book penned by Robert Graves who was inspired by the surrounding countryside. Guests will stay in a stunning former 14th century monastery, Son Rullan, which boasts a tempting infinity pool with unbeatable views across the landscape.

Infinity pool
Infinity pool

Activities – yoga and mindfulness

Throughout the holiday, activites on offer include:

  • Daily 1.5-hour yoga and meditation class – healing Hatha yoga led by Claire Farman
  • 1 hour massage session
  • 1 hour personalised nutrition consultation
  • 30-minute astro-gemstone reading
  • Transformational breathwork
  • Reflective “Mindfulness” workshop
  • A trip to the beach with a picnic
  • Dance play and poetry
  • Art trips visiting David Templeton, a Mansfield-born artist and singer who has lived and worked in Deia since the 60s


Full board, of a delicious organic menu, is provided over the six days.

Prices for this six-day yoga experience range from £860 – £925 based on two people sharing, with single supplements also available. Check for further retreats in the future, as plans are already underway to host these gatherings across multiple locations over the course of 2015/2016 including, Wales, the Lake District, Marrakesh and France.

For bookings or information on further dates please contact ask Alex or Sadie at The Yard on 01625 586962 or email

For more information visit

Recommended for… Anyone tired, stressed or suffering from overindulgence during the festive period

Be aware that… Although not all activities are compulsory, alternative therapies are on offer to those with an open mind (possibly not one for the cynics! Although, if it’s good enough for Gwenyth…)

How to eat your way through London’s food markets in a weekend

This post is sponsored by London Serviced Apartments

Food markets – street food, real food, slow food or farmers’ markets – are enjoying boom time right now.

The capital boasts dozens of food markets, from newbies to the well-established, meaning you can barely make it through a weekend without sipping a craft beer while wolfing down a grass-fed lamb burger with truffle coated fries ‘on the go’.

Urban Food Fest London
Urban Food Fest, Shoreditch, London

Here’s our pick of London’s food markets to try in one weekend:

Friday lunchtime

KERB – A favourite with office workers in its regular locations of Spitalfields and at The Gerkin in the City. But it’s at Cubbit Square, King’s Cross, where you can find KERB 12-3pm every weekday including Friday. From the regularly changing line-up of stallholders, you could be grabbing lunch from Spit & Roast, Fundi Pizza, Club Mexicana, Oli Baba’s, Moto Yogo, Original Fry-Up Material, Vinn Goute, Horn OK Please, and many, many more! An outdoor swimming pool is also promised to accompany KERB at this location….!

Friday evening

Summer Tales – The tropical pop-up from the Night Tales crew, Old’s Street’s Summer Tales runs throughout summer with street food, five bars and renowned DJs. Enjoy the jungle surroundings featuring hammocks, rope swings and a large sun terrace. Sample the cocktails at the Lazy Flamingo Bar before feasting on fare from Burger & Lobster, Forza Win, Bonnie Gull and Morty & Bob’s.

Saturday morning

Broadway Market – A favourite with London’s Field’s residents, this lively market can get crowded but it’s more than worth a visit. Buy organic fruit, veg, eggs, meat and more from local producers, take away delicious homemade cakes and pastries, and snap up one-offs from clothing and gift stalls. Artisan street food vendors cover everything from Scotch eggs to Persian tagines, and don’t miss ordering a Vietnamese coffee from Ca Phe VN. The market is also home to a host of cool indie shops, cafes and the infamous Cat & Mutton pub.

Saturday afternoon (from 5pm)

Street Feast – The mighty Street Feast is going from strength to strength. With ‘Feasts’ in Lewisham, Dalston, and the brand new 1,000 capacity Dinerama in Shoreditch, this is one hip street food happening you really need to experience! Depending on the market you plump for, you’ll have around 20-50 street food vendors to work your way around including Mother Clucker, Yum Bun, Up In My Grill, Crabbieshack, Meringue Girls, Killer Tomato, Som Saa, Luardos, Mama Wang’s Kitchen, and dozens more. The plentiful bars serving crafts beers and cocktails and the “vinyl gooves” keep up the good vibes.

Saturday evening

Urban Food Fest – If you’re not staying at Street Feast into the evening (and you can if you haven’t had your fill), hot foot it to Shoreditch for the Urban Food Fest until midnight. Described as “achingly cool” and an “amazing street food party” in the press, this Shoreditch night market boasts free entry and plenty of amazing global gastronomy to feast on. Chow down on Chinese jian bing crepes, pulled pork burgers, Austrian specknoedel, Mexican tacos, Portuguese desserts, fresh gyoza, Spanish tapas and much more… Live music and entertainment accompanies the feasting.

Sunday morning

It’s Sunday so let’s bring the pace down a bit…

Alexandra Palace Farmers’ Market – What better way to spend a lazy Sunday morning than by strolling along to your local farmers’ market for a great coffee and to pick up some local outdoor-bred pork sausages for brunch? This lovely market is full of local stallholders meaning you get to grab fresh veg, meat and fish to take home, or sample delicious treats from small artisan food producers – homemade granola and local honey anyone?

Most areas of London, particularly in the suburbs, will have a small farmers’ market so check your council website for details.

Sunday afternoon

Slow Food & Living Market – This new market in the serine courtyard of the Rosewood Hotel is an absolute gem. The organisers aim to recreate the sense of community that a local market brings by featuring local producers and artisans selling top quality, fresh produce that is in-season, free from GMOs, responsibly farmed or caught, and grown to high environmental standards. Sustainable gifts are also on sale, and a children’s area keeps little ones entertained. Shop from stalls including Oliver’s Bakery, Moonroast Coffee, Seaforth Chocolate Co., Greedy Goat, Chef & Butcher, Petersham Cellar, Wild Country Organics and Being Sophie.

If you eat like a local, why not live like a local? If you’re visiting London book yourself a stay at an apartment through London Serviced Apartments and really make a weekend of it. With access to over 1,400 luxury private homes, serviced like a hotel, you can rest any full stomachs in real comfort!

Go glamping on Rocket Farm, Cornwall

Fancy a few days in a luxury bell tent in your own organic meadow? You could be living the good life in this secluded Cornish beauty spot…

Your relaxing break begins the moment you set foot on Rocket Farm, with a luxury five metre bell tent ready and waiting for you in your own secluded acre of private organic meadow. Get ready to breathe in the freshest air, throw some logs on the camp fire and enjoy a magical camping experience.

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There’s no need for you to buy or own any camping kit at all, as your large bell tent boasts a real double bed, two single beds, bed linen, duvets and comfy quilts. Other luxurious touches include a private hot shower and eco composting toilet.


Rocket Farm has great green credentials so during your stay you’ll benefit from solar lighting and a private eco (warm) shower and eco toilet for your exclusive use.

It’s also a foodie’s paradise, with your very own friendly free-range chickens to look after during your stay, laying fresh eggs for you to enjoy alongside a salad and veg patch bursting with tasty treats. Fire up your wood-burning stove and use the pots, pans, plates and cutlery supplied to eat delicious fresh food under the stars.

What’s nearby in South Cornwall?

Located near the pretty village of Gweek, at the top of the beautiful Helford River, this low impact boutique campsite is a stone’s throw from some of South Cornwall’s most breath-taking views. Whether you fancy rock pooling, swimming, sunbathing, surfing or sailing, you’ll be spoilt for choice. There are beautiful beaches galore a short drive away, from wide stretches of white sand to tiny coves you can have all to yourself.

Recommended for… Rocket Farm is perfect for families with children of any age, as there is plenty of space to explore and play. With an acre of private meadow for boutique campers, it’s also perfect for adults looking to switch off from work for a few days.

Be aware that… Livestock including sheep, cattle and chickens live on the farm and neighbouring fields, therefore guests are not permitted to bring pets.

Price and availability: Rocket Farm Boutique Camping prices start from £300 for long weekends and short breaks. The campsite is open from the beginning of June until the end of September. Visit to find out more about holidays from Rocket Farm, home to Rocket Gardens.

Say ‘Cheers!’ at the RAW Artisan Wine Fair

Tired of supermarket ‘plonk’? Hanker for something more natural than your usual tipple? Time to tantalise your tastebuds at the RAW Artisan Wine Fair…

RAW, the UK’s largest organic and biodynamic wine fair, is returning to London’s Truman Brewery from 17th to 18th May. Get ahead of the regular Pinot and Melot crowd by discovering some of the natural artisan wines making a bid for the top restaurants and retailers this year.

RAW wine fair (3)

Open to both trade and public, amateurs and experts, you’ll be able to sample wines lovingly created by 160 producers from around the world. Organiser and natural wine expert Isabelle Legeron is passionate about organic and biodynamic wines, and wants to bring natural artisan wine to the masses. She is an award-winning wine taster and consults for top restaurants including a Michelin-starred Mayfair eaterie and an eco-luxury tourism initiative in St Kitts.

RAW wine fair (1)

Chat to the producers themselves, all of whom are passionate about their craft and their product. These are wines that are shaped by their natural terrain, not chemicals. They are purer, kinder to the planet, better for your health (as much as wine can be!), but most of all, they are delicious!

And just so you don’t drink on an empty stomach, you can grab a bite to eat at the artisan food stalls also exhibiting.

Where: Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London

Date/Time: Sunday 17 May (10am – 6pm), Monday 18 May (10am – 6pm)

Tickets: £30 (1 day access), £50 (2 day access); Trade go free (register on website). All tickets are £10 more on the door.

For more information visit

RAW wine fair (2)


Greening the city – Southbank’s Festival of Neighbourhood

This month, Goodtrippers took a trip to London’s Southbank – usually a carpet of 1960s industrial concrete – to find a decidedly ‘allotmenty’ feel to the place…

The Southbank Festival of Neighbourhood, this year’s backdrop to the usual comedy, performance, music and drama that takes place over summer, aims to be London’s friendliest neighbourhood. Artists, designers, architects and community groups were invited to bring the joy and warmth of the village green, allotment and street party to the Southbank. And it’s refreshing to see the grey concrete area housing giant topiary, arty wheel barrow installations, an orchard and window boxes crammed with vegetables and herbs.

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First up as you approach from Hungerford Bridge, is ‘The Greenhouse’ full of herbs growing in 600 hessian sacks ready to be harvested and used in dishes in the nearby Riverside Terrace Cafe. It was originally designed by Andrew Lock in collaboration with local schoolchildren. Now you can smell the heavenly mint, lavender, sage and basil whilst reading the labels for recipes of the dishes they’re destined for.

Behind ‘The Greenhouse’ is ‘Octavia’s Orchard’ – 30 three metre high fruit trees housed in galvanised, steel street bins (prettier than it sounds!) dotted along the busy walk-way opposite the cafes and bars of the strip. Named after National Trust founder Octavia Hill, the orchard, by What If:projects, takes inspiration from Hill’s idea that “tenants and all urban workers should have access to open spaces… Places to sit in, places to play in, places to stroll in, and places to spend a day in.”London Housing estates are invited to ‘adopt’ part of the orchard and seating for their grounds at the end of the Festival’s season.

Turning back to the river, you’ll find Queen’s Walk Window Gardens, a large-scale allotment designed by Wayward Plants using reclaimed windows. Growing typical allotment produce such as courgettes, onions and tomatoes, the space is tended to by volunteers and aims to grow 500 meals as part of Capital Growth’s ‘Growing a Million Meals for London’ campaign.

Round near the Hayward Gallery you can’t fail to spot ‘The Sweepers’ – two gigantic pieces of topiary-style art by Shipshape Arts, inspired by Londoners who swept up the mess created by the riots in 2011. As part of the series, ‘Neighbours’ is another two-character supersize topiary installation behind the Royal Festival Hall.

Also near the Hayward Gallery is ‘Roll Out the Barrows’ – a ‘rollercoaster’ shaped installation of small wheel barrows planted-up with real plants. Part of the Edible Bus Stops initiative, the creators are inviting community groups to come forward and ‘adopt’ a barrow to tend to throughout the summer, then roll back to their community in September.

We didn’t get a chance to sample Luke’s Cafe (British food served from a humble garden shed) or have a drink on the Queen Elizabeth Hall roof garden and woodland garden, and there are plenty of other children’s activity spaces, murals and more dotted around the area.

Certainly a breath of fresh village air this summer!

For more information, including details of all the features and how to get involved, visit

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Promoting urban gardening and allotments
  • Growing fresh produce for local cafes and ‘Growing a Million Meals for London’ campaign
  • Volunteers involved
  • Sustainable and lasting impact with Octavia’s Orchard trees being replanted in London’s housing estates



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Brunch at The Toucan Cafe, Minehead, Somerset

Before heading back home from a lovely week in a rural farmhouse in Somerset, a quick pit-stop at nearby Minehead uncovered this Toucan mural, The Toucan Cafegem – The Toucan Cafe, the perfect place for a healthy and hearty brunch.

Located on the main high street and upstairs from the accompanying Toucan Wholefoods health store, The Toucan Cafe serves an entirely vegetarian menu. The bright, colourful (handpainted bird murals are everywhere) cafe is spread over three small, but very light and airy, rooms so you should be able to grab a seat (if not, they are good at takeaways). When Goodtrippers visited on a Friday morning, the place was buzzing with locals, many of whom appeared to be regulars.

Organic and healthy food

We ate a delicious (and incredibly filling!) falafel sandwich with hummous and chilli sauce, served with a much more interesting salad than your average obligatory garnish (mixed leaves and homemade dressing came to life with the addition of sprouting seeds and pumpkin seeds). Also on the table, a ‘full English’ breakfast vegetarian style served with wholesome chunks of their lovely granary bread. This is filling stuff (in a good way!) which rather put paid to our plans to buy lots of foodie goodies from the nearby farmers’ market to eat on the way home (we did that anyway, just not eating it until the next day!).

Parrot mural, The Toucan CafeThe rest of the lengthy menu includes a range of organic veggie snacks and treats – homemade soup of the day, gluten-free savoury muffins, mezze plates, superfood salads, toasted paninis and sandwiches called things like ‘The Bugs Bunny’ (grated carrot, alfalfa sprouts and more if you’re wondering), and their own McToucan Burger (vegetarian, of course). Drinks include a good range of coffees (including flat whites), herbal teas, fresh smoothies and other soft drinks. There is also an extensive range of homemade cakes and other sweet treats – it would make a lovely afternoon tea spot.

If you’ve already stocked up on health foods and natural skin care products downstairs in the shop, there’s always the Toucan therapy rooms on the second floor ready to take your bookings for massage, Reiki and reflexology (although perhaps not immediately after brunch….!).

The Toucan Cafe is open 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. Tel: 01643 706101, E:

‘Good’ credentials:

  • 100% vegetarian menu
  • Organic, wholefoods
  • Fairtrade coffee
  • Health food shop downstairs
  • Complementary therapy rooms upstairs

Toucan Wholefoods outside

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Rainbo street food van at Kerb, Kings Cross

One sunny lunchtime this week, Goodtrippers took a walk up to London King’s Cross’ street food market Kerb – this collection of organic, homemade, foodie vans is always a good bet for lunch, and this trip introduced us to Rainbo for the first time.

Kerb, Kings Cross, London
A sunny day at Kerb, King’s Cross, London

Through selling their own delicious homemade gyoza, Rainbo are also funding a child worker rescue initiative in Nepal to help put an end to child labour. Organic food and charity – this is right up our street at Goodtrippers!

Food:Rainbo Foods, Kerb

The centerpiece of their Spring/Summer 2013 menu is the homemade gyoza – choose from Chicken & Coriander; Tofu & Shitake; or Pork & Pickled Ginger (we plumped for a mix of the chicken and the tofu – 5 for £4, or 8 for £6 – which were fresh, flavoursome and light with none of the chewy or undercooked texture you sometimes get when gyoza isn’t done well. We meant to take a picture to share but had scoffed the lot before remembering!). Gyoza can also be bought in a Rainbo box which comes with crunchy Asian ‘slaw with caramelised peanuts and edamame beans (unfortunately sold out by the time we’d got there!). Fresh miso soup and a selection of Yogi teas are also on offer.

All ingredients are fresh and sourced as locally as possible: meat is free range, veg is picked daily from Rainbo’s local market, and the organic tofu is made by Clean Bean in Brick Lane, London. All their compostable and recycled packing is by London Bio Packaging and Biopac.



You can find Rainbo at Kerb in King’s Cross on Tuesday lunchtimes throughout June (and hopefully longer)Food for Freedom_Rainbo, Kerb; Street Feast in Hackney on Friday nights; and at various other foodie markets and summer events. Best to check their website for and Twitter feed (@rainbofood) for updates on their whereabouts.

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Locally sourced, free range, homemade, organic food
  • Compostable, recycled packaging used
  • 20p from every meal sold goes directly to the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of child labourers in Nepal. Through their Food for Freedom initiative, Rainbo have partnered with charity Base, and already rescued hundreds of Nepalese children from child labour, but with an estimated 2 million still forced to work in the tourism industry, there’s still a lot to do. Read more about their initiative here.


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The Duke of Cambridge, London

The Duke of Cambridge

30 St Peter’s Street, Islington, London N1

T: +44 (0)20 7359 3066

The Duke of Cambridge organic pubThis wonderful pub is tucked away from the busy thoroughfare of Islington’s Upper Street and Essex Road, located on a quiet corner, quietly getting on with being the UK’s first (and still only) officially certified organic pub. But don’t let the quietness deceive you – this is an incredibly popular gastropub thanks to its fantastic menu created around seasonal, local and organic produce.And with a bar full of organic drinks on offer, there’s less chance of any ‘morning after’ feelings if you overdo it (what’s not to love?)!

Food: 80% of their ingredients(all organic)  come from the Home Counties, their fish is Marine Stewardship Council certified wherever possible, their meat comes from small farms with the highest animal welfare standards, and everything is seasonal so if it’s not in season, you won’t see it on the menu which changes regularly. A sample of summer dishes that could be on offer when you visit, include starters such as pan-fried cuttlefish with gremolata, beef carpacio with radish or house pickled herring with potato caper. Mains may include asparagus and confit summer garlic risotto with ewe’s cheese, sardines with lentils and braised radicchio, or hearty rack of lamb with jersey royals and salsa verde. Puddings include lavendar creme brulee, apricot cheesecake or a mouth-watering British cheese board.

Drink: When the Duke first opened in 1998, there were no organic brewers in London – so they persuaded two brewers to make them some! Freedom and Pitfield Breweries have been supplying them ever since and the pub now has four real ales, two lagers and one cider on tap with plenty of bottled drinks to choose from (all organic, of course). The wine list includes organic and biodynamic wines from both Europe and the New Worlds – with bottles from South Africa and New Zealand being shipped over (never air freighted) to reduce the carbon footprint. Organic spirits and liqueurs are also on offer.Lamb & green bean casserole

Recommended for… A relaxed lunch on a Sunday afternoon for delicious food and local beers

Be aware that… A Sunday can also be very busy – try and visit on a weekday afternoon for a quieter time

‘Good’ credentials:

  • UK’s first (and only) organic pub (officially certified by the Soil Association)
  • Organic, seasonal and local food and drink
  • Beers brewed by small, independent, artisan brewers in or close to London
  • Fish buying policy approved by the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council)
  • Meat from small farms maintaining high animal welfare standards
  • Nothing is ever air-freighted
  • Re-use and recycle wherever possible
  • Electricity generated by wind and solar power


Date of visit: June 2012

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Real Food Market, Southbank, London

Real Food Market

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

Free and weekly at Southbank (Fri 12-8pm, Sat 11am – 8pm, Sun 12-6pm)

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I’m so pleased that this food market is now on every weekend over summer! This little collection of some of the best independent, artisan food and drink producers offers the tastiest fast and affordable food on the Southbank – no need for a visit to the chain restaurants of Giraffe, Wagamama’s et al if you just want to grab a bite to eat, and want a little more choice than the (albeit very nice) English fare at nearby Canteen.

The Real Food Market features food from all corners of the globe (English, Spanish, Polish, Thai, North African, South American…) with a bias towards locally and sustainably produced food – think saltmarsh lamb burgers, fresh mussels and artisan cheeses. Stall holders can vary slightly week to week but you’ll probably find producers such as Jamon Jamon (with their huge dishes of paella), The Borough Cheese Company (selling French Mountain cheese), On Patisserie (with their pretty and innovative macaroons), The Polish Deli (selling smoked sausages and grilled chicken), The Thoroughly Wild Meat Company (serving delicious saltmarsh lamb and mutton), and Meantime Brewery (try their fab London Pale Ale). A previous trip over Jubilee weekend also found cream teas, crepes and Camden Town Brewery in action.

On this visit, we tried the North African lamb wraps from the Community Kitchen which were so tasty and filling (and only £6 each) that we didn’t have room for dinner later that evening!

Several stalls sell packaged or bottled food and drink to take home (they can make great gifts – a good opportunity to buy direct from the producer instead of seeking out a stockist). I find it best for grabbing a bite to eat then sitting near the Hayward Gallery (preferably in the sun!) overlooking the river. Tip: Go when you’re hungry and persuade whoever you’re with to order from a different stall to you – you’ll want to try as many different offerings as possible!

Recommended for… A more original alternative to the chain restaurants of Southbank

Be aware that… Stall holders can change each week so don’t rely on your favourite always being there!

‘Good’ credentials:

  • Promoting sustainable, environmentally and socially-responsible and ethically-produced food (e.g. organically-reared meats, handmade products, traditional beers, ales and cider)
  • Emphasis on locally produced, sourced and artisanal food
  • Supporting independent producers directly


Date of visit: June 2012


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