Fabulous food, light lunches and enormous cakes! Right on the edge of the beautiful Ashdown Forest (Winnie the Pooh country.)
The "Hut" on the riverside at Rowhedge, near Colchester, is open for tea and cake, weekends and Bank Holidays throughout spring and summer. It is run by a charitable trust who are trying to raise funds for a permanent building. There is often a small exhibition going on in the hut but the tea, coffee and cake are to be recommended. Tea (builders or fancy), Coffee (instant or posh) are available along with delicious homemade cakes at very reasonable prices. Outside tables and chairs are laid out in a beautiful riverside setting - well worth a visit.
Rowhedge on the river Colne, just south of Colchester in Essex. Frequent buses from Colchester and if tide permits then a ferry runs from Wivenhoe across the river. Wivenhoe is on the main Clacton to London rail line.
Google map: bit.ly/LBeA74
The most delicious cake and welcome cup of tea on a cool and wet day at Annie's kitchen table will bring a smile to anyone's face. Set-up as cycle cafe (you can park in the village if you really need too), there is also a wonderful tea garden for those non-rainy Cumbrian days and Annie hosts a great range of 'Quirky Workshops' - we loved the spoon carving course, but it's the lunch that sticks in my mind. Whether you're doing the Coast-to-Coast cycle route or travelling up the M6 - you must drop in.
After a summer's morning walking the streets of Paris this cafe is a real find. Part of the Mosquee de Paris, it is tucked away in a tranquil, shaded courtyard. Waiters bring trays of perfect mint tea and sweet pastries and you can while away the time admiring the ripening figs overhead. Once refreshed you can take a stroll around the nearby Jardin de Plantes, Paris's beautitful old botanical gardens.
Step back in time at the picturesque tea rooms of Grantchester, a place now entrenched in Cambridge folklore. There are few finer ways to spend an afternoon than punting up the River Cam to enjoy afternoon tea and scones underneath the fruit trees here. The list of former visitors here reads like a historical who's who of English high society, and there may even have been a poem written about it ...
Wonderful easy 10-12 mile walk across the cliff tops, loads of little deserted coves to wander and sun bath in while enjoying a leisurely walk, you can fantastic little beach cafes serving syrupy strong coffee and the most delicious pastel de nata (custard tarts)
Stay at the Vila Gale de Praia, adults only with a great spa.
Juri's tea room is, in every sense of the word, a charmingly quintessential English tea room in the lovely Cotswold village of Winchcombe - almost. The beautiful scones, indulgent cakes and pots of loose leaf tea served up inside the wooden-beamed tea room, or in the conservatory with patio overlooking the Cotswold hills are in fact proudly provided by the Cordon Bleu-trained Japanese owner Juri Miyawaki. Go for a cream tea with a pot of Earl Grey for a truly mouthwatering experience.
Opened in 1914 the Tenth Hole Tearooms in Southsea is a wonderful place. All day breakfasts and a stunning and mouthwatering range of cakes large and small. High chairs for kids, biscuits and drinks for dogs, plenty of outdoor seating - they even provide blankets and hot water bottles for those sunny but chilly days - and great staff make the 10th Hole a unique Southsea institution.
Jumping Jenny's doesn't just claim to be the best but it is. As every cake mouthful melts you instantly HAVE to have more. Be it a cool or warm day, a cup of tea in proper china hones the taste buds for more delicious cake - oh if you insist. All supped and enjoyed while watching the vapor trails from National Trust's steam yacht Gondola which has just deposited you at the jetty below, dissipate to reveal the most fantastic view of Coniston and the Lake District mountains.
Where better to take tea in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year than this establishment that is decked out in Union Jack flags and bunting? The 1940s is brought to life by the waitresses dressed in delightful dresses and headscarves in the style of the times and in the beautiful kitchen dresser on which cakes and silver tea canisters are displayed. Lovely details include the 1940s green crockery and silver sugar tongs, newspapers and artefacts of the time. The menu is designed as a wartime ration book and any leftovers are packed into cardboard boxes that were originally designed to carry gasmasks.
Fortunately the food on offer reflects modern tastes - thick sliced ham has replaced the spam and carrot cake and iced cupcakes are the order of the day. The Ivor Novello Tea consists of sandwiches, scones and cakes, reasonably priced and prettily displayed. Tea lovers are spoiled for choice with 14 blends of loose leaf tea. We chose the Fourteas house blend which arrived in huge white Betty teapot along with a five minute timer so that it could steep perfectly.
The Fourteas is a little jewel that adds a theatrical touch to the pleasure of taking tea. Long may it reign.
Yummy sandwiches, cakes and scones up in a treehouse - what more do I need to say? Fanny's Farm Shop has several quirky teasheds and a delightful treehouse (which has to be booked) for birthday treats or a lazy Sunday afternoon. The surrounding pretty gardens are rather cluttered with signs but the huge slices of Victoria sponge and thrill of high dining between the branches make it worth the trip. At the shop, you can buy farmhouse treats, including marmalade sausages! Cream teas, packed in organic popcorn for the birds, can be ordered by post.
Restored to it's former Art Deco glory, The Midland Hotel is a stunning place to have a really special afternoon tea. Served in the original sun room which looks out over Morecambe Bay, there is a choice from scones with jam and cream right up to the extraordinary Champagne Afternoon Tea. This gives you a selection of freshly made finger sandwiches, such as cucumber, ham, and smoked salmon; a scone with jam and clotted cream, mini profiteroles, strawberries, cake and of course a glass of champagne along with the pot of high quality tea. All beautifully presented, and to be savoured along with the magnificent view. A real treat. £22.50 for the champagne tea, down to £8.50 for the Midland Cream Tea. Booking is advisable at the weekend.
Marine Road West Morecambe, Lancashire LA4 4BU
+44(0)845 850 1240
Google map: bit.ly/L7aC6M
Discovered this very good restaurant and winebar on the way back to Gare Du Nord. Its only 10 minutes on foot from checking in for the return Eurostar journey to London.
A godsend! Calm, pleasant environment with extremely tasty meals and wine. The serving staff were pleasant and helpful.
We will be back!
We never expected to find any refreshments on our circular walk from Stainforth. The map showed that Feizor was the largest settlement that we passed through: but it was just a hamlet, with a cluster of buildings quite literally at the end of the road. We weren’t surprised that there was no pub marked on the map: there was no church, chapel or even a telephone box. We were surprised when the footpath emerged opposite something like an oasis. Elaine’s Tearooms came as a complete surprise. A little more research on the web before the walk would have showed that Feizor sits across the Pennine Bridleway – a very well used route for cyclists – and the tearooms provide a very popular refreshment stop. But this is no “transport café” for cyclists. Yes it caters for mud-caked customers but the quality and choice of cakes on offer would do justice to the most upmarket establishment.
Home Barn, Feizor, North Yorkshire, LA2 8DF +44(0)1729 824114
Google map: bit.ly/KJBlXl
The genteel half-timbered town of Rye combines cobblestones and crumpets, but it's a lucky tourist who nabs one of the elegant tables at Fletcher's House. Fiercely guarded by present-day Mapps and Lucias, this local institution is always jammed with Rye's movers and shakers. While Pete attends every whim front of house, Lee has them stifling cries of ecstasy at the confections displayed on his tiered cake stands. The gossip flows as the floral frocked cognoscenti nibble home-made fruit flans and sip Lady Grey tea from fine bone china. But beware the glint of a filigree butter knife among the patterned polyester as it silently slips into an absent neighbour's back.
If, Withnail-like, you demand the finest wines available to humanity to wash down your fluffy scones, don't worry, they have a wine menu too.
Francis Tea Rooms are redolent of a more elegant era, when women wore lace gloves and indulged in afternoon fancies.
On a quiet back street behind Scarborough's Esplanade you will find 1930's wood-panelled booths (the tea room was once a barber's), vintage mismatched china, and embroidered lawn tablecloths.
A full range of Taylor's teas are served by the pot with lemon or milk, and there are a plethora of savoury dishes and home-baked cakes to tempt the tastebuds. The rarebit is particularly good, but my all time favourites have to be the lemon meringue and the cream teas.
7 South Street, Scarborough
Google map: bit.ly/JIbj4C
A lovely wine bar. Not being much of a connoisseur of wines, I can only say that there is an extensive list. For me the food is by far the most important! There is a vast choice of dishes and the menu interestingly (for this neck of the woods) indicates vegetarian options (the online one doesn't really do it justice). My favourite dish was marinated tuna on a bed of seaweed, with wasabi dressing. Tapas are a little more expensive than in bog-standard bars, but are quite generous portions. Some patience needed with waiters when bar is busy. I am eager to return to try more of their delicious food.
Paseo de Catalina de Ribera, 4 41004 Seville, Spain
+34 954 41 06 00
Google map: bit.ly/JrgVoY
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Everyone in Portugal eats cake - it's a national pastime!
I developed my passion or perhaps obsession with cakes when sailing the Algarve. Apparently there are 365 different types of cake in Portugal and I did my best to try as many as possible.
Broa castelar – Sweet potato cakes
Mini Cenoura – mini carrot cakes
Pastel de Nata A type of egg custard cake with a thin multi layered pastry sprinkled with cinnamon (best if warm)
Carrot cake gateau
Mini almond cup cakes
Mini orange and almond cup cakes
Heavy cake - a very heavy cake(My least favourite)
Lemon swiss roll cake (a sort of heavy cake)
Baked crusty fruit bread
Apple strudel pastry
Bolo de aroz (muffin type cake)
There's still a lot of tasting to do upon my return.
Shops, bars, cafes, markets, bakeries
Hugely popular with Reykjavikers seeking an affordable spot for lunch who come for its fresh baked bread, home made soups, and its fantastic fish of the day (fish cakes on the day I went), Ostabúðin doesn't seem to be on the radar of the tourist guidebooks.
Ostabúðin’s little hidden secret is its cosy restaurant on the bottom floor, open during lunch hours, (from 11:30 to 14:30). The small space only has a couple of seats and usually fills up quickly every day, but as the service is fast you don't have to wait long.
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