Thursday, 28 August 2014

Yorkshire Near Whitby: Falling Foss Tea Garden

Our second review from our holiday in Yorkshire found us 5 miles from Whitby in search of a tearooms. Originally built as a gamekeepers cottage in the late 1780's, it was then opened as a tea garden in the 1900's. Becoming abandoned in the 1960's it was left empty and untouched for 50 years until it was bought by the current owners Steph and Jack Newman in 2008. 

Having undergone renovation works, they opened it up again as a tea garden in July 2008. Falling Foss Tea Garden is a small but enchanting tea garden set in the grounds of Midge Hall, a tiny cottage which nestles at the top of the magnificent Falling Foss Waterfall in the heart of Sneaton Forest. Being well off the beaten track there is no direct access here but you can park for free at Sneaton Forest and walk the footpath to the tea garden. 

It was a pretty warm on the day of our visit so we opted for cold drinks rather than the tea and coffee on offer. However it must be noted that the coffee served is our favourite from the area from the 'Bay Town Coffee Company' of which we have purchased a lot to bring home, one such purchase being from Fallen Foss. This gives it a big thumbs up from us already!

All the food is freshly prepared and homemade cakes and scones are baked on site daily. Only quality ingredients are used which are sourced locally wherever possible.

The tea garden has an almost outdoor, camping feel with a wooden lodge to serve tea and coffee and take food orders. Seating is of a similar style with a wooden lean to and tarp tents with seating under cover  providing both shade and rain cover when the weather turns. The seating is situated in the spacious garden alongside a creek and the waterfall which can be heard through the trees. 

Although not having hot drinks, we did sample the food. I went for a tuna melt quesadilla whilst he chose a BLT. The service was very friendly and again prompt, something they seem to be spot on with around here, especially as the place was heaving with couples, locals and families everywhere. The staff were rushed off their feet but no one appeared to be waiting at all. Back to the food, this was amazing value for money, simple yet delicious and the portions were huge. Each came with a small salad and a handful of kettle crisps. There were also many homemade cakes and locally made ice creams on offer but unfortunately we didn't have enough space after the huge portions for lunch, all looked temptingly delicious though!

We followed our lunch with one of the suggested walks and added to the adventure in search of the base of the waterfall. This was not easy, a lot of crossing the river over rocks, climbing steep banks and fallen trees but the waterfall is worth it. It feels like you are in a completely different part of the world, not the depths of the Yorkshire Moors!

Overall this place has something for everyone. If you are a family then you can relax with a coffee and cake  whilst the children go down to the creek to play on the swings and climbing frames or play pooh sticks in the stream. If alone or as a couple out exploring the woods or on a moorland walk then this is a definite must for a pit stop and refuel. Picturesque and unique in every way, if you are an outdoors type you will fall in love with the location as well as the tea gardens. The star feature is definitely the waterfall, a natural waterfall that can be heard when parking and you merely need to follow the flowing water to stumble upon the tea garden. 

The Verdict? Hidden Gem
A hidden gem of the Yorkshire moors and drowning in history this little tea room at the base of a waterfall is a must visit. Definitely for outdoor types it has so much to offer. Another reminder of the many hidden gems waiting to be found and the clever, inspired couple that have created an amazing tea garden for everyone to experience. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Marks Cross: The Gardeners Cafe

An extremely soggy Bank Holiday Monday found us in Sussex. Always up for a good tearooms, we called in at the Sussex Country Gardener nursery at Marks Cross for an afternoon cup of tea in the cafe. Recommended by my mum, as well as being a large plant nursery they also have a very popular and well stocked gift and garden shop so a good few hours could be spent here.

Heading to the cafe at the other side of the plants, we walked past the outside seating which would be tempting on a sunny day. Entering through the wooden doors into the wooden hut, we are met with a large but warm and homely cafe interior.

The serving counter displays all the daily cakes on offer such as banoffee, coffee, chocolate and various fruit cakes along with cheese and fruit scones. Order placed at the till, it is made up there and then and placed on a tray for you to take. We went to find somewhere to sit armed with our trays of goodies. Now there is a lot of seating here, both inside and out and although very busy we managed to plonk ourselves at a comfy table by a dresser displaying some wares for sale.

On a lovely day this outside area would be a very tranquil place to take tea, with views across the Sussex countryside. Another visit is in order for when the sun comes back. 

The interior is painted in a pale sage green with a cream wooden floor and matching comfy chairs and tables. All the staff are friendly and there is a cosy feel to the whole place. Everywhere was clean and tidy with tables being cleared away swiftly. It reminded me ever so slightly of the feel of the Macknade cafe at Faversham.

For our choices he had an Americano with cold milk and a big slab of chocolate cake. The coffee was reported to be good, with a deep full bodied flavour. The cake was extremely rich with an almost brownie texture but good, although it beat him!

I went for an Afternoon Tea with a pot of English Breakfast, fruit scone with raspberry jam and clotted cream. It was delicious, the lovely homemade scone was a lot bigger than it looks here and was very good - much better than Tiny Tim's Tearoom in Canterbury.

The Verdict?
A very pleasant and welcoming cafe with some great breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea options at reasonable prices. There is lots of seating and on a good day we would take advantage of the outside space.  The friendly staff don't make you feel rushed and overall it's a great little cafe to call in if passing.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Battle: Pilgrims Rest

On a recent jaunt to Battle to meet up with my Mum, we had a wander down the high street to search out a promising tearooms for a place to sit down and have a good natter. Battle is a town we don't normally visit but it has some lovely independent shops along with some fab little places to grab a tea or coffee. 

Towards the end of the high street, right next to Battle Abbey sits the Pilgrims Rest. Dating back to 1420, this magnificent Norman building is one of the oldest properties in Battle, said to be haunted by a Monk and with a secret passage under the fireplace to the Abbey. How could we resist!

Padding down a path fringed with luxuriously unruly lavender bushes giving off a delicious aroma, we entered through the enormous oak door. Once inside, the building is even more imposing as you walk into a huge hall. It's easy to imagine this place filled with pilgrims who had come to visit the Abbey and Battlefield, site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, which was the purpose of this building. 

I can imagine sitting in this great hall in mid Winter all cosy and warm with the log fire burning. This large but practical fireplace allegedly houses a secret passage under the iron hearth which leads to the Abbey gatehouse. They hope to investigate it soon, very Famous Five! 

Anyway, secret passages aside, we admired the cakes on offer - coffee and walnut, carrot, lemon drizzle, Victoria sponge along with plain and cheese and onion scones and meringues. All homemade on site in the kitchen just through the back and presented well. 

Although the great hall has seating we wanted to enjoy the sun and take in the view of the Abbey. Picking up some menus, we headed back out to the courtyard to find a table in the sun.

Spindly cream metal chairs with tables draped in vinyl green gingham pepper the courtyard area, surrounded by delicious lavender hedges alive with bumble bees. Studying the menus, we decided on our choices as a young waiter scribbled it down in his book.

Popular with holiday makers, even at 4.30 pm this tearooms was busy. Having such a great location smack bang next to the Abbey must help lure hungry passers by in. Our view of the Abbey behind the explosion of lavender was a highlight of our visit.

Our order arrived a while later, Assam tea for moi, English Breakfast for mum and an Orchard Pig Cider for him. I shared a toasted teacake with mum whilst he went for a plain scone. We had to go inside to retrieve some knives and I was disappointed that the butter was in tiny packets. The Cider apparently was very good as was the scone, which he just had with butter. Our toasted teacake was OK but nothing special and didn't taste very homemade. I really wished I had gone for a slice of the scrummy looking cake. 

Nevertheless we really enjoyed our afternoon out and I would recommend coming here for a a piece of cake and tea. There is plenty of seating both inside and out, a loo and a great view.

The Verdict?
A great spot to stop for a cup of tea and cake. It will be very touristy during the school holidays as Battle is such a famous place to visit but that is now nearly at an end. A lovely tearooms with plenty of seating for all weathers, great view of the Abbey Gatehouse and reasonable prices.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

York: Flax & Twine

So the recent lull in reviews is due to it being holiday time! A week in Yorkshire gave us the perfect excuse to indulge in some new tearooms, our first on a trip to the gorgeous city of York. Walking along The Shambles, Europe's most visited street,  we saw an inviting tea room attached to a quaint little vintage shop and decided to give it a try.

Heading inside, the downstairs is laid out as a shop with lovely gifts and nik naks displayed on vintage apple crates and in old worn dressers. They is no seating down here for the tearoom, that is all upstairs and so went to investigate.  

Ambling up to the first floor, we took a seat right next to the window and pondered what to have. A young lass came to take our order a short while later and whilst waiting for it to arrive we people watched out of the window at the street below. 

We found it fascinating having a view from above seeing all the features as they would have been originally when the street was rebuilt in the 1400's, imagining it as it could have been with butchers airing their meat! 

Being a little hidden away meant that the tearooms weren't that busy inside and it made for a lovely relaxing pit stop.

All the tables were well worn and wooden, some with pretty table clothes, all with comfy solid chairs. The white painted floor boards brightened up the space and along with the quirky features inside gave it a vintage feel which was pleasant. 

However the atmosphere was a bit lack lustre, not like the bustling tearooms of Miss Mollet's. We did love the feature wall and landing at the top of the stairs where the delicious looking cakes were displayed along with the homemade chutneys, jams and breads.

The service was welcoming and prompt. Our choice of a caffetiere for two with a chocolate brownie with clotted cream arrived and we promptly tucked in. The coffee was a good standard but nothing to write home about but the brownie was the star feature, warmed perfectly, gooey and not too sweet - on par with the brownies from Loaf.

The Verdict?
We did not stay to sample the tea but these seemed pretty standard, we got the impression that it was the homemade cakes and foods that were the selling feature rather than a speciality in teas & coffee. However, that aside, it was a pleasant experience, good value for money & definitely worth a trip to sample the cakes. If it's just for a tea or coffee then there is a lot of competition near by that may step it up in that department. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Sandhurst: Sandhurst Tearooms

It was on a lovely sunny Saturday that we decided to venture to an establishment we had heard very good things about, Sandhurst Tearooms. Situated in Kent but right near the boarder to East Sussex, it's quite close to Bodium but a lot less touristy due there not being much here.

Arriving around 3 pm and parking on the road as the car park was full, we sauntered to the front door of this Grade II listed 1700's white weathered boarded house expecting it to be full up with hungry folk. As we entered we were given a warm welcome by a chap tending to a table near the window, who told us to sit were we liked.

Formally the village butchers shop, the front room of the tearooms is laid out with large tables set with bright red place mats and mis matched bone china cups. Soft cream leather upholstered chairs line the tables with a side board along the back wall displaying the cakes of the day under glass domes. It's quaint no way as cluttered as Miss Mollet's Tea Rooms and almost feels like you are in a private house having tea.

Not as busy as we thought, we headed into the next room which felt a bit cosier with three tables along with comfy chairs in this small space. We took a table for two and admired the surroundings whilst a friendly lady came out with some plastic folder menus. Having not eaten all day, I was up for a feast. Contemplating the really great menu selection of sandwiches, paninis, cakes and scones I decided on An Afternoon Tea for £12.50 whilst he went for egg mayo sandwiches.

Whilst we waited for our order to arrive, we had a good peek around. It's obvious the building is extremely old with beamed ceilings and walls and a random crooked window in the cosy room. Behind us was a wall displaying an array of vintage items for sale, some great looking gilded bone china tea sets that I struggled not to buy!

Back out in the front room was a table set up with a tempting selection of vintage sweets for sale along with some greeting cards. The whole feel of this tearooms is lovely and calming with an unhurried pace. The garden offers more seating in a tranquil setting and is accessed through a door from the cosy room. The loo is also just outside which is handy, not like at Tiny Tim's Tearoom where you have to ascend  stairs to the roof to use the loo. 

The wait for our food was rather long but not being in a hurry we didn't mind. We could hear the eggs being cracked for our egg mayo which was reassuring that everything is freshly made in the kitchen. When the friendly lady bought it all through we were extremely impressed. Presented on a 3 tier cake stand, we started with the still warm stuffed full egg mayo sandwiches on brown bread. I can still taste them now, they were super. Washed down with Assam tea for me and Earl Grey for him, there wasn't much talking going on. Whilst he then munched his way through a bowl of salted crisps, I had the huge ginger scone smothered with raspberry jam and topped with heaps of clotted cream. It was a taste sensation with pieces of zingy ginger. I will never be able to eat a plain scone again, I'm hooked! Feeling fairly full by now Ollie polished off the Lemon Drizzle which was equally as delicious as my scone. Feeling full up we paid the bill, left a tip and headed off.

The Verdict? Thumbs Up!
The food here is honestly fantastic, great quality, well presented and reasonably priced. Along with the friendly owners, a clean and uncluttered layout and plenty of seating options this has gone straight in as our favourite tearooms ever. We had such a lovely time here and we will certainly be back. 

Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday
6 Queen Street
TN18 5HY

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Our Pick: Top 8 Classic Campers For Sale August

Seeing as it's summer and every man and his dog seems to be on holiday, we decided to find some cool vintage campers for sale. Here are our favorites.

1. Volkswagen T2 Camper

This is an original Dutch VW Karmann Gypsy camper on Car and Classic for £12500. It does look like it's reversed into a caravan! She comes complete with loo and sink, kitchen area and seating which turns into a double bed.

Volkswagen T2 Camper, Volkswagen Karmann Gypsy For Sale (1979)

Volkswagen T2 Camper, Volkswagen Karmann Gypsy For Sale (1979)

Volkswagen T2 Camper, Volkswagen Karmann Gypsy For Sale (1979)

Volkswagen T2 Camper, Volkswagen Karmann Gypsy For Sale (1979)

This beauty sleeps 6 people, 4 in the roof and 2 downstairs on the rock and roll bed. A lovely compact camper van with sink, cooker, fridge, sockets and lighting. For sale through Car and Classic for £7495.

Sleeps 6! All Living Equipment! 10,000 Mile VW Eng For Sale (1979)

Sleeps 6! All Living Equipment! 10,000 Mile VW Eng For Sale (1979)

Sleeps 6! All Living Equipment! 10,000 Mile VW Eng For Sale (1979)

Sleeps 6! All Living Equipment! 10,000 Mile VW Eng For Sale (1979)

Sleeps 6! All Living Equipment! 10,000 Mile VW Eng For Sale (1979)

Sleeps 6! All Living Equipment! 10,000 Mile VW Eng For Sale (1979)

Look at this bizarre thing! An American Dodge camper for sale in the USA for $3500 (around £2080) through Car and Classic. She has a full stand up shower compartment, loo and sink, sleeps 4 with a  3 burner range cooker with range hood, full size dining area and runs and drives well. It would certainly get you noticed!

1972 Plymouth Dodge Pace Arrow Motor Home  Drives  $3.5k For Sale

1972 Plymouth Dodge Pace Arrow Motor Home  Drives  $3.5k For Sale

1972 Plymouth Dodge Pace Arrow Motor Home  Drives  $3.5k For Sale

1972 Plymouth Dodge Pace Arrow Motor Home  Drives  $3.5k For Sale

1972 Plymouth Dodge Pace Arrow Motor Home  Drives  $3.5k For Sale

A solid camper fitted out with hardwood units, built in shower, huge bed which can be left made up as there is so much space inside. A 2.3 diesel engine gives 40 mpg and she was for sale on Car and Classic but sold.

mercedes.206d,,better,than,vw SOLD (1975)

mercedes.206d,,better,than,vw SOLD (1975)

mercedes.206d,,better,than,vw SOLD (1975)

mercedes.206d,,better,than,vw SOLD (1975)

mercedes.206d,,better,than,vw SOLD (1975)

Gorgeous retro 1969 Bedford camper with room for 4 people to sleep along with a sink, cooker and storage cupboards. On eBay for £11000 it would sure make a holiday a major event. 

No post of ours can be complete without a Citroen H Van! Here is one fitted out as a camper with dining table for 4 which converts in a double bed along with a tiny kitchen area with fridge, sink and hobs. In true original condition with no new shiny paint job, this petrol 1978 Dutch import is for sale on eBay with a starting bid of £4000. 

This is a great looking vintage van. She's a Renault Low Top Estafette 1973 in great condition. Advertised as a camper, she does not however come equipped as a camper. On eBay for £5250 she comes with 11 months MOT and 5 months tax. 

A clean camper on eBay for £3995, this 1989 Renault sleeps 4 and comes with everything you need to hit the road. Understated in a putty grey colour, she's a great entry level retro camper.