Extreme eating: remote restaurants worth the journey

You’ll have worked up an appetite by the time you find our selection of remote places to eat. Whether reached by foot, ferry or clever map-reading, they’re all well worth the trek.


Scarista House Hotel, Isle of Harris (01859 550 238; www.scaristahouse.com)
This whitewashed late Georgian manse overlooks the flower-strewn machair leading to one of Britain’s most beautiful beaches. It was made famous by Alison Johnson’s A House by the Shore, the story of how she and her husband rescued it from dereliction in the 1990s. Now in different ownership, it preserves its old-fashioned, comfortable atmosphere infused with the aroma of peat smoke. Bread, cakes, oatcakes, biscuits and ice creams are baked in the house or by neighbours and the menu features such delights as Minch langoustines with Dijon mayonnaise, garlic-and-herb butter, navarin of Lewis lamb or hazelnut meringue with Quidinish raspberries and blueberry, lime and elderflower sorbet. Open all year, except Christmas, New Year, January and February.

How to get there: Plane or ferry to Stornoway or ferry from Skye to Tarbert on Harris, from where it’s a 25-minute drive to the west side of the island
Remoteness rating: 9 (out of 10)

The Boathouse, Isle of Ulva, off Mull (01688 500264; www.isleofulva.com/the-boathouse)
In 1989, an old ferry shed was converted into a licensed tearoom, where you can have anything from a cup of tea to a three-course lunch. All seafood is locally caught by hand, line or creel. All produce is organic and outdoor-reared, the bread and cakes are home-baked and the coffee and teas are Fairtrade. Scottish Winner of the Market Garden Local Food Heroes competition 2009. Sit inside or out on the pier and enjoy bay oysters harvested on the island, prawns, brown crab, lobsters or dover sole and monkfish caught off Tobermory. Best from April to October, open 9am to 4.30pm.

How to get there: Short ferry crossing from Mull, which has to be summoned (closed Saturdays)
Remoteness rating: 10

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Corrour Station House, Corrour estate, by Fort William (01397 732236; www.corrour-station-house-restaurant.co.uk)
Britain’s highest railway halt, at 1,339ft above sea level, consists of this solitary building (more a cafe than a restaurant) beside a platform on the edge of Rannoch Moor. Step off the day train to or from Fort William or the overnight sleeper and tuck into a heartwarming breakfast, lunch or tea beside a roaring fire. Open from March to October, 8.30am–9pm.

How to get there: Accessible only by train—50 minutes from Fort William or three hours from Glasgow on the West Highland Line—or a 20-mile walk
Remoteness rating: 9

The Oystercatcher, Portmahomack, Easter Ross (01862 871560; www.the-oystercatcher.co.uk)
The picturesque fishing village of seafront houses and warehouses, some more than 300 years old, is situated on the eastern tip of the Fearn peninsula, yet, unusually, it faces west, so it enjoys watery sunsets across the Dornoch Firth. Overlooking Telford’s little harbour, The Oystercatcher is a seasonal restaurant (April to October, Wednesday to Saturday evenings plus Sunday lunch) that also does B&B. The owners make their own butter, keep ducks and quails and stock 300 malt whiskies. Try the three-course Auld Alliance Diner, punctuated by little appetisers, Monarch o’ the Glen Parfait or Oysters Carnegie.

How to get there: About a one-hour drive, up the A9, to Tain from Inverness, then across the Fearn peninsula to Portmahomack
Remoteness rating: 5

Monachyle Mhor, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Perthshire (01877 384622; http://mhor.net/monachyle-mhor-hotel)
A family-run hotel in an 18th-century lochside farmhouse ‘in the middle of nowhere’, offering ‘luxury boutique accommodation’ and a restaurant headed by the award-winning hunter-gatherer chef Tom Lewis, who works wonders with venison, blackface lamb and Scottish seafood. Closed for two weeks in January.

How to get there: About 1½-hour’s drive from Perth along the A85, then the A84, you’ll find it four miles down a single-track lane on the wooded banks of Loch Voil
Remoteness rating: 7


The Whitehouse Restaurant, Lochaline, Argyll (01967 421777; http://thewhitehouserestaurant.co.uk)
Sarah Jones and Jane Stuart-Smith, who are supporters of the Slow Food Movement, created this restaurant in 2003—and it’s just been voted Scotland’s favourite local restaurant in The Good Food Guide awards. Everything that’s served at The Whitehouse is locally sourced, including freshly baked bread plus vegetables from a garden behind the restaurant. Specialities include Lochaline langoustines and Morvern stag’s liver with Tobermory whisky (in season). Open Easter to October, Tuesday to Saturday.

How to get there: By seaplane, yacht, Cal Mac Ferry (20 minutes from Mull) or, from the mainland, it’s a long drive over the bleakly beautiful Morvern peninsula from Fort William via the Corran Ferry across Loch Linnhe
Remoteness rating: 8

Gille Brighde Café and Restaurant, The Old Schoolhouse, Lower Diabaig, by Torridon, Wester Ross (01445 790245; www.gille-brighde.com)
Situated on the shore of Loch Torridon in Wester Ross, it was voted Highlands and Islands’ Best Eatery in 2015. Best dishes include wild steak venison with sweet-root mash and roast line-caught fish, plus it has a fantastic range of ales and ciders—and an excellent malt-whisky shelf. Open Wednesdays to Sundays, but closed from August 22–30 this year.

How to get there: A two-hour drive north-west from Inverness, via Achnasheen and Kinlochewe, from where you take the exhilarating 10-mile road to Diabaig
Remoteness rating: 8


Knockinaam Lodge, Portpatrick, Wigtownshire (01776 810471; www.knockinaamlodge.com)
A former shooting lodge that inspired Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps as well as being used by Churchill and Eisenhower for secret D-Day planning during the Second World War, Knockinaam offers luxury accommodation, as well as a restaurant with three AA stars and three AA rosettes. Recommended dishes include slow-roast fillets of Speyside Angus beef rolled in onion ash with a trio of garden shallots and rosewater ice cream with Scottish strawberries.

remote restaurants

Knockinaam Lodge, Wigtownshire

How to get there: A seven-mile drive from Stranraer, at the end of a single-track lane beside a wood near the fishing village of Portpatrick
Remoteness rating: 6


The Blacksmiths Arms, Broughton Mills, Cumbria
(01229 716 824; www.theblacksmithsarms.com
A traditional Cumbrian farmhouse pub with old oak furniture in a small valley in the Furness fells. It has a wonderful feeling of remoteness, even though you’re only five miles from the small town of Broughton on Furness.

How to get there: The Blacksmiths is one mile off the A593 Broughton in Furness to Coniston road in the Lickle Valley
Remoteness rating: 6

Tan Hill Inn, Reeth, Richmond, Swaledale, North Yorkshire(01833 628246; http://tanhillinn.com)
Dating back to the 17th century, this is Britain’s highest pub, standing at 1,732ft atop the Pennine Way. Isolated amid beautiful scenery, it generates its own electricity and is famous for hearty dishes, but it can be cut off by bad winter weather.

How to get there: 45 minutes from Richmond, less than 30 minutes from Hawes in Wensleydale and 30 minutes from the A66 between Cumbria and Co Durham
Remoteness rating: 7

Marsden Grotto, Marsden, South Shields, Tyne and Wear (0191–455 6060)
Bar/restaurant in an old cave, with an extension (with heated terrace) built out onto the beach. The cave was enlarged in 1782 by a lead miner, Jack Bates, who turned it into a home and became a smuggler, offer- ing refreshments to other smugglers. It was extended and turned into an inn in the 19th century and almost destroyed by a cliff fall in 1865. It has changed hands and been refurbished many times since and is reputed to be haunted by a murdered smuggler, John the Jibber.

How to get there: By lift, housed in a brick shaft rising from the front of the building, down the cliff from the car park or via a zig-zag staircase on the cliff at the side of the building
Remoteness rating: 5

The Inn at Whitewell, near Clitheroe, Forest of Bowland, Lancashire (01200 448 222; www.innatwhitewell.com)
This 14th-century manor house in the Forest of Bowland has four rods available for residents on a seven-mile stretch of the River Hodder and 23 rooms filled with antiques and old prints. Bar and lunch menus are available, but the evening à la carte menu is the best for chef Jamie Cadman’s ‘top-notch North Country’ cooking, which includes local beef and lamb and salmon smoked with a blend of oak and alder chippings.

remote restaurants

The Inn at Whitewell, Lancashire

How to get there: About 15 miles from junction 33 of the M6
Remoteness rating: 4


Berney Arms, Church Road, Barton Bendish, Norfolk (01366 347995; http://theberneyarms.co.uk)
Open throughout the day and recently voted best pub in the Norfolk Food & Drink Awards, the isolated hostelry on the River Yare offers great food such as pan-seared pigeon breast, poached halibut pavé and roast rack of Nor- folk lamb in a convivial, comfortable setting.

How to get there: About a 20-minute drive from Great Yarmouth, via the A47, or, more excitingly via boat or on a train from Great Yarmouth to the settlement of Berney Arms (about 30 minutes), followed by a five-mile walk across the marshes to the pub
Remoteness rating: 8


The Sportsman, Seasalter, Whitstable, Kent (01227 273370; thesportsmanseasalter.co.uk)
An inn mentioned in 1642 on land that belonged to the kitchens of Canterbury Cathedral in the 11th century, this place was farmed by medieval monks and visited by pilgrims. Meat and game still come from the surrounding woods and marshland and fruit and veg from the kitchen garden. Tom Parker Bowles says this ‘charmingly ramshackle place with its back to the Thames Estuary is no ordinary pub’ and it won the National Restaurant Award 2016.

How to get there: Take the old coast road between Whitstable and Faversham and, as you approach the sea wall, turn left after a row of huts
Remoteness rating: 4


Warren House Inn, Postbridge, Devon (01822 880208; www.warrenhouseinn.co.uk)
Dartmoor’s most famous inn and, at 1,425ft, the highest in the south of England. Owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, it’s totally self-sufficient (no mains facilities) and is warmed by a peat/wood fire that’s been burning continuously since 1845. Breathtaking views, stirring myths and legends and homemade warren’s pie.

How to get there: Located on the B3212, in between Lettaford and Postbridge, about half an hour from Bovey Tracey
Remoteness rating: 6

Hell Bay Hotel, Bryher, Isles of Scilly (01720 422947; www.hellbay.co.uk)
Secluded, rugged island location with rare plant life and SSSIs. The restaurant has four AA stars and three AA rosettes. The hotel has a spa, outside pool and tennis court. Try cauliflower, Brie and nutmeg gratin; prune and Armagnac soufflé; Earl Grey ice cream; and walnut and cranberry biscotti. Open March to mid October.

How to get there: Via direct plane from Land’s End, Newquay or Exeter airports or a boat service between the mainland and the Isles of Scilly. All flights land on St Mary’s and there’s a short boat transfer to Bryher
Remoteness rating: 9

Rockford Inn, Brendon, near Lynton, Exmoor, north Devon (01598 741 214; www.therockfordinn.co.uk)
Secreted in a deep, wooded valley near Lynton and Lynmouth, this inn—with seven rooms, one of the cosiest B&Bs in north Devon—offers tasty, home-cooked fare.

How to get there: From Taunton (on the M5) follow the A358 towards Minehead and the A39 at Williton, towards Lynton. Rockford is about a mile on from the village of Brendon
Remoteness rating: 7


The Whitebrook, Whitebrook, near Monmouth, Monmouthshire (01600 860254; www.crownatwhitebrook.co.uk)
Restaurant with rooms run by Le Manoir-trained, Michelin-starred chef Chris Harrod and his wife, Kirsty. Food enhanced by locally foraged herbs and plants. Three AA rosettes. Try squab pigeon with cauliflower, Huntsham farm suckling pig with violet artichokes, Jersey Royals, blackened onions and damsons; and aerated raspberry mousse.

How to get there: Two miles from White- brook, down winding lanes in the Wye valley
Remoteness rating: 5

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