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Blog 09/07/2020

July Edit: Staycations and Igniting Wanderlust

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This is a curious summer and with different parts of the world slowly unfurling and opening up but at different times, thoughts inevitably turn to travel – be it near or far. We are seeing several trends and our aim below is to focus on some of these and inspire you. At Quintessentially Travel’s HQ in London, England we are seeing a huge boom in English staycations (Scotland and Wales are still on pause (at the time of writing!) for now) whilst the recent government announcement has seen a rise in interest for France, Spain and Italy. Further afield it seems as though people are keen to explore their homelands in greater detail and they are seeking out privacy and solitude, but in secure solitude. Explore the below and we hope this sates your wanderlust.

Grantley Hall, Yorkshire, England

Located in the heart of the rolling Yorkshire Dales with its own English Heritage-listed Japanese garden with 47 rooms, three restaurants and extensive spa and wellness facilities, this property has recently launched their week long staycation package. The package includes; Seven night bed and breakfast stay in a Deluxe room, complimentary upgrade to the next available room type (subject to availability), one complimentary couple's spa treatment during your stay, a Grantley Hall picnic on a day of your choice; a Yorkshire gift bag which includes: a bottle of wine and box of chocolates in your room, a local map, tickets to Fountains Abbey, a £25 voucher to use in Bettys Café Tea Rooms and a guidebook to the best walks in North Yorkshire.

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La Bastide De Gordes, Gordes, Airelles, France

The prestigious palace-classified property is introducing a number of exciting new initiatives for the summer including complimentary e-bike rental, stargazing sessions with the hotel’s resident astronomer, rooftop yoga at the Sisley spa, open-air cinema evenings and a new “Le Petit Voyageur” challenge for all younger guests. New for this season, enjoy exclusive wine and olive oil tasting experiences at sister property, the exquisite Château d’Estoublon estate just an hours’ drive away. A 200-hectare working estate since 1489, Château d’Estoublon produces its own organic award-winning wines and olive oil which La Bastide guests can discover through a tour of the estate, a wine and olive oil tasting masterclass and a delicious lunch at the new La Table d’Estoublon restaurant from the highly-acclaimed Dutch chef, Wim Van Gorp.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy

Grand Hotel Tremezzo is preparing a warm welcome for its much-missed guessed this season with a selection of new offers. Highlights include a fresh selection of packages highlighting adventures around the lake, complimentary daily “woga” sessions, incorporating muscle awakening exercises, sun salutation rituals and mindfulness techniques held every morning beside the hotel’s “water on the water” swimming pool. The hotel will also be launching its new T Beach club, complete with sandy beach, chic sun-loungers and cocktail bar, welcoming both hotel guests and day visitors. To start this season, Grand Hotel Tremezzo will make 30 of its 90 individually designed rooms available and will exercise a reduced capacity across its five restaurants and sumptuous T Spa. All guests will also be gifted their own exclusively designed Como silk face mask and refreshing pocket-sized hand sanitiser.

A Quinta Da Auga, Galicia, Spain

Housed in an 18th century paper factory just 5 minutes’ drive from the historic centre of Santiago and surrounded by breath-taking, rolling green scenery, A Quinta da Auga Hotel Relais&Châteaux is truly the most idyllic place to unwind and embrace the essence of slow travel, while its stunning floral grounds, elegant events space and stylish interiors that seamlessly blend old and new have made it a particular sweet spot for a picture-perfect Spanish wedding.


Splash: 10,000 years of Swimming by Howard Means

This is the perfect book for those that have missed their swimming fix during these past few months of lockdown. This definitive guide to swimming combines sporting anecdotes with social history and how it spans many different sectors in everyday life including fashion, architecture and public health.

          Barcelona Days by Daniel Riley                               

At the mercy of a volcano eruption in Spain; an American couple find themselves stranded in spain. This novel investigates the notion of identities far away from home and delves beneath the surface of a relationship prior to impending nuptials.


We love this recipe for hand cut tagliatelle with nettles courtesy of resident chef at Heckfield Place, Skye Gyngell. Firstly learn how to gather them here 

Serves 4

  • 2 x kilos of young nettles
  • Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 350g fine semolina flour
  • 300g 00 pasta flour plus a little for dusting
  • 3 x large organic eggs
  • 10 x large organic egg yolks

To serve

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • Freshly grated ricotta salata


  1. Wash the nettles carefully in cold water using gloves to prevent getting stung. Blanch them in boiling, well salted water until soft and just beginning to break up, approx 1 minute. Drain and press gently between your hands to squeeze out excess water. Shape 3/4s into small balls roughly the same size as an egg. Put the rest of the nettles aside and allow to cool.
  2. Serve both the flours into the bowl of the food processor and add the eggs, egg yolks and the balls of nettle. Using a dough hook, knead slowly allowing the dough to come together until the dough is consistently bright green and smooth. If it feels a little sticky add a little more 00 flour. Dust your work surface, halve the dough and knead each half by hand for about 3-4 mins - it should be completely pliable and smooth. Wrap each ball in wax paper and chill for an hour in fridge.
  3. Prepare the pasta machine, setting it on the widest setting. Scatter the work surface with flour and put each piece of pasta dough through the rollers 10 times, folding the sheet into three each time to return it to a short strip, then turn it by a quarter and push it through the rollers again. This process introduces air into the dough and stretches it to develop the texture. The pasta should feel silky. Only then reduce the setting gradually down to thin - finishing on the number one. You should have long sheets. Cut in half if you find them to long to handle. Dust the sheets with flour and while still pliable fold each sheet loosely over and over again on itself. Using a wide bladed knife cut the roll across into 1 cm wide strips. Carefully unfold the strips using both hands to lift and separate. Keep on a tray dusted with 00 flour until ready to cook.
  4. Place a large pot of generously salted water on to boil. Cook the tagliatelle for 1 minute, then add the remaining nettle leaves. Drain keeping 3-4 tablespoons of the pasta water. Place the retained water into a warm bowl, add the butter and salt and pepper, then add the cooked tagliatelle and nettles. Toss gently and serve immediately. Grating the ricotta salata over the top just before serving.


Alright, Still by Lily Allen

This 2006 debut album from Lily Allen is a classic London summer album. This breezy pop album has undercurrents of ska and reggae and is rooted in the characters, late night activities and sunshine of England’s capital in the sunshine.

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