Sixty Tearooms on Two Wheels – The saga continues

Well, it seems a lifetime since I wrote the last tearooms blog… Anyway, Spring has sprung, and the sun has come out for a weekend and we had some time on our hands. What better than to clean the bike for my lady, (can’t have her sat on a dirty bike 😉) and then hit the road.

We didn’t want to go far today so we kept it within 25 miles and being members of the National Trust, we decided to go to Mottisfont House and Gardens near Romsey in Hampshire. It had been a long time since we had been there, but never on the motorbike. The route to and from is very good with nice cornering roads and scenery. On arrival we were surprised to see how much it had changed; it was a little hut on the last visit, now it’s a large building and shop for the entrance with decking walkways to the main bridge leading to the gardens and house.

Additionally, we also found out that they now have three beverage establishments within the grounds, two restaurants and a small tea and sandwich shop in the walled gardens. Wow, potentially three eating houses in one hit 😊.

Apart from the amazing scenery around the grounds and gardens, the main point of this blog is the eating. National Trust have never let us down, the assorted sandwiches, hot food and cakes is perfect and reasonably priced. They have even gone down the environmental route for cutlery, plates and cups of which are all compostable… of which I believe they do themselves, having seen a sign stating they wish to make 150 tons of compost this year… Impressive.

Last time we went to Mottisfont, the restaurant was only in the main house, now they have an additional one in the old stables with seating inside and outside in the stable yard, be warned on a warm day, it’s a bit of a sun trap. They also have a small teashop in the walled garden with one end of the garden laid to gravel and tables and they have also now included some grass areas for picnicking that overlooks the Rose garden. The main house restaurant has seating outside that overlooks a large lawn and fields, with willows hanging down over the chalk stream with an abundance of Brown Trout, small to very big. I am sure if you went on a weekday, it would be so peaceful, a little nap under the shade of a tree would be welcoming.

We spent about two hours in Mottisfont and then made our way back, as we had another spot in mind for lunch. A small establishment called “The Water Garden Café” in the grounds of Romsey World of Water garden centre. This is another little one that has expanded since the last time we visited. The food is good, the cakes and other goodies look homemade and they certainly taste good. A good selection of teas, but no Red Bush, we won’t hold it against them, I am sure they will have some next time we pass 😉. We ordered jacket potatoes, one with Tuna Mayo and the other with Beans and Cheese. A good helping and with side salad and coleslaw.

The café has plenty of seating in and out and once again a bit of a sun trap, but they do provide parasols for a little bit of shade. If you like water gardens and feature, the garden and aquatic centre have some fantastic displays. Additionally, they have a bit of newsworthy history for a couple of there fish. Several years ago, when the river flooded it was that bad that the grounds where flooded as well and a number of these fish escaped. But they were able to retrieve some of them, mainly Koi Carp and a Sturgeon. I understand that they were found near the local petrol station floundering, they were retrieved and are now happily back in the aquatic centre, living it up.

Well, hopefully that’s the first of many this year, as we continue our sixty tearooms on two wheels. Thanks for reading and if you are in Hampshire, go and sample some of Hampshire’s history, food and scenery.

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Sixty Tea Rooms and Two Wheels – update

Last year (2018) we set ourselves a challenge, it was my sixtieth birthday in November and at the beginning of the year we looked at trying to get 60 tea rooms in from the start of April up to my actual birthday, and to do so it would have to be on my motorbike.

Alas, we didn’t make it by my birthday, but we have taken a chunk out of the sixty. The weather and other circumstances paid towards the lack of tea rooms, yet we are not short of them around Hampshire, Sussex and Dorset. We have made a conscious decision to carry on with the challenge, with a hope to meet it before I am 61..

Thank you to all who have been following me to date, I will endeavour to keep you updated as we progress in to 2019.

Sixty Tea Rooms and these are the Wheels

Happy New Year 🙂

Gran Canaria Holiday 2018

Having not had a proper holiday this year, we decided to chance a late booking with Thomas Cook Holidays. We wanted guaranteed sun, so we looked at the Canaries.  We had been to Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria with our children 7 years ago. That was a bit of nightmare, in a hotel in the valley and right opposite the main club area and town centre. Good for insomniacs, but not if you wanted to sleep. It had multiple beats of music bouncing of the valley sides and hotels until 4.00am every day.

We wanted to go south because the wind is generally north easterly and you are well protected from it on the South West side of the island. we didn’t want to stay in Puerto, because of the last experience, so we looked just a little bit further along the coast, but wanted to be in a position to go in to Puerto if needed for food and beverages. We found a hotel in the cliffs around the next headland call the Altamar it is built down the cliff wall over 6 floors with the entrance at the top of the Hotel.

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The Hotel is both self catering and various levels of board including “all inclusive”. The location of the hotel was in between Puerto and Amadores Bay, a beautiful beach with multiple restaurants and shops. Both were accessible by road only from the hotel, no cliff paths or lifts, so easy to get down, but very step to walk up.

The hotel met our needs for self catering, as we wanted to fend for ourselves and not be tied to the hotel for food. as said earlier the beach had plenty of restaurants and we found two that we regularly used, serving various Mediterranean foods, so you had a good choice and it was generally freshly made.  These restaurants required a down hill walk (20 minutes) and a taxi back (average cost €3.50 for the ride). as the hotel entrance was at the top of the cliff, there was a small shopping centre about 500 metres up the road, called the Europa Centre with bars, restaurants and shops.  Well, let me put it this way, it was definitely built for the Brits, English Breakfast, Sunday Roast, Kebab, fast food etc.  Every bar had multiple TV screens and all they showed was football. Everyone was wearing football shirts or some form of sports attire… The bars were even serving canned English beer, when the local beers are actually very refreshing. We could have been in Blackpool, Skegness or even Minehead, but in the Sun…

We eventually found a very good Spanish restaurant call “Picasso” as small family run restaurant with excellent Spanish and European cuisine opposite the Europe Centre. The menu provided various courses but affordable, we had a three course meal one night with drinks and it was less than €75, and the meals included both Duck and Steak. The family, father and two sons, were polite with a great sense of humour.  I could honestly say, if our budget was a little more for the holiday, we would have eaten there every night. However, if we had, I probably would have increased in size around my midriff.

We ventured in to Puerto Rico once, walking down to Amadores and then along the cliff path to Puerto. We didn’t stay long, nothing had changed or improved from the last visit 7 years ago, if anything it was worse.

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We also took the ferry to Mogan a small port further west along the coast from Puerto Rico. A very picturesque village and know as Little Venice, with its waterways and Spanish cottages around the harbour and water ways. All around the harbour and side streets, there are plenty of restaurants and small shops. We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant and ordered mixed Tapas for two with a couple of cold beers. We had been sat there for 5 or 10 minutes, when I remembered that this was the restaurant we ate at 7 years ago with the children. Its sometime strange how you are drawn back to places. So a shout out for Restaurant Balero who’s food was also really good.

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Overall we had a relaxing holiday, the average temperature was around 28C, Although I do not like Puerto Rico itself, just around the corner is very pleasant if you can get away from those who like football and everything English.  If you go to Spain and or any other, don’t abuse the culture and expect everything English.

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To Finish off, I have created a small video of the holiday, this can be found on my Youtube site: