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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Cornish hideaway

There are there are few better places to be on a cold November day than the Beach Hut café in Watergate Bay with a mug of hot chocolate, watching the surfers do battle against the epic swells. And great surf is not all Cornwall has going for it at this time of year. The Hotel at Watergate Bay (watergatebay.co.uk) is currently offering a "Taste of the Bay" package, with three nights' B&B and three meals (at the hotel's Brasserie, the Beach Hut and Jamie Oliver's Fifteen) from £160pp – rooms in high season go for £295 a night. and if that isn't enough to tempt you, Fifteen (fifteencornwall.co.uk) has a three-course lunch special for £19.95 on weekdays until 16 December.

The dilemma My husband's a foodie and I'd like to take him somewhere special for his 60th birthday. He won't fly, so it must be reachable by car, ferry or train. Alison, Crawley

Jo replies You don't need to travel much beyond the French ferry ports for a memorable and authentic dining experience. Though the ports and hypermarkets of Calais may look uninspiring, within a half-hour drive you can be in a beautiful country auberge, tucking into Michelin-standard food. The Ferme des Chartroux (ferme-des-chartroux.com), on a 13th-century working farm just 44 miles from Calais, features in Inntravel's new programme of special getaway breaks (inntravel.co.uk) – a collection of properties in Picardy, Normandy and Bruges hand-picked for their ease of access and great food. Book a celebration package for £338pp including two nights at the auberge, a bottle of champagne on arrival and an eight-course "menu dégustation" at the acclaimed La Grenouillère (lagrenouillere.fr) – travel is not included. Alternatively, travel by rail to Bruges and enjoy a slap-up meal at the Kardinaalshof restaurant (kardinaalshof.be) and two nights at the intimate Hotel Prinsenhof (prinsenhof.com) from £388pp.

Tar for the tip … flaming tar barrels in Ottery St Mary, Devon. Photograph: Rupert Rivett/Alamy

Remember, remember, there's more than one way to mark the fifth of November. Here are three exciting ways to celebrate Bonfire Night – with a twist

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