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Discover the great British breakfast

Eggs and bacon? Laverbread? What makes up your best start to the day?

Most of us agree that breakfast is an essential part of the day. In the UK, breakfast in a B&B is usually a choice between a traditional fry-up, cereal, or something in the shape of bread; toast or a croissant. Let's explore the UK B&B's approach to the most important meal of the day.

The Full English

Most hotels, B&Bs or cafes offer a ‘Full English’, typically of eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms and fried bread. Thankfully, there is no British Standard, so any item can be added or subtracted, so regional and personal preferences can all be catered for. Some insist that a Full English isn't complete without baked beans, while others protest the absence of fried potatoes or black pudding. The combinations aren’t, but there certainly are plenty. 

38 St Giles in Norwich is a good example of somewhere that offers the Full English with its own twist: “Our menu incorporates aspects of the traditional British breakfast menu whilst offering some slightly different options for the more adventurous foodies.”

Cross-border breakfasts

Regional or national differences soon become apparent. Black pudding, for example, although associated more with the north of England, could quite easily appear on your plate in Truro, Chelmsford or even Ramsey House in St David’s, Pembrokeshire. Traditionally, Welsh breakfasts include laverbread, a seaweed puree mixed with oatmeal, formed into patties and fried in bacon fat, but it can be hard to find on B&B menus. Slebech Park in Haverfordwest serves it though, with sautéed cockles, fried bread, and bacon.

Scotland and Ireland

North of the Border, a ‘Full Scottish’ might include a lorne slice – a kind of flat sausage, Ayrshire (sweet-cured) bacon, or even haggis. Porridge is strongly associated with Scotland, but is popular throughout Britain, especially in winter. 

In Northern Ireland, there’s the ‘Ulster Fry’ – cooked breakfasts served in the seaside hotels and B&Bs of Antrim and Down. In many ways another Full English, with perhaps the addition of farls, potato scones cooked on a hot plate.

Doing 'the Continental'

Of course, not everyone wants a large, cooked breakfast first thing. At home, most have toast or cereal for breakfast, and B&Bs offer the same, in the shape of the Continental breakfast; so named because of the idea that in Europe, people would rather eat bread and cheese for breakfast than bacon and eggs. Generally on offer are different breads, which can be toasted; sliced cheeses; cold meats; cereals; yoghurts; hard boiled eggs and so on.

Whatever you choose for breakfast, there’s no doubting that a decent one will set you up for the day and that’s really the point of the exercise, after all.

The 2019 winners of the AA Breakfast of the Year

Craigmhor Lodge & Courtyard, Pitlochcry, Perth and Kinross – Scotland winner of the AA Breakfast of the Year

The AA Inspector said: "A fantastic selection with a wide and varied offering from the fresh baked breads to the local cured, cooked meats, and also a fine Scottish cheeses selection. Refreshing smoothies and creamy and tantalising yoghurt pots, with local soft berries, are a delight. Notable is the quality smoked fish from distinguished smoke houses around Scotland."

The Old House, Chale, Isle of Wight – England winner of the AA Breakfast of the Year

The AA Inspector said: "Breakfast here offers guests a choice of dishes to suit all diets and tastes and is made from local and organic produce. High quality homemade compote, yogurt, smoothies, fresh fruit, choice of milks and muesli. Scrambled eggs and a generous portion of smoked salmon and tomato accurately cooked and seasoned. Fresh rustic loaves of breads, seeded, sourdough and pastries. There are also plentiful pots of quality tea and coffee."

Ramsey House, St David's, Pembrokeshire

The AA Inspector said: "One major aspect of a stay at Ramsey House is to indulge in the quality breakfast prepared by Shaun, a professional trained chef. Full Welsh breakfast offers you a unique start to your day. Shaun offers homemade bread, preserves and marmalade. Also there's the local speciality of homemade cockle and laverbread oatcakes served with crispy bacon – almost all items travelling from within ten miles to your plate."

Search for many more rated bed and breakfasts on Rated Trips (look for the breakfast awards under 'Awards and accolades') – bon appetit!