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.

Advertisements

Sixty Tearooms and Two Wheels – Arundel

Spring, summer what ever you want to call it, has finally arrived, its Bank Holiday and the weather according to forecasters is likely to be hottest on record for the UK May Bank Holiday.

So what do you do, you catch up with the tearoom challenge. Today’s trip took us to West Sussex and the town of Arundel where a magnificent Castle sits and a lot of Tearooms.

Having a pleasant ride in warm weather along the A27, we parked up in the main car park, and head for the first tea shop.

Lulamae’s

Located on the Arundel High Street, this “little” cafe yes little seemed a little sparse on arrival. However, we where taken aback with the choice on the menu and that all the cakes where homemade… I believe I heard the owner say that the only thing they don’t make is the Teacakes.

For eleven o’clockers we had coffee each and an amazing chocolate cake between us, well I had a third…

If you are in Arundel, try this lovely little tea shop out.

Arundel Castle Restaurant and coffee shop

Next stop was the Castle, having lived in Hampshire for a number of years, we have driven past Arundel, many times, but never made it to the Castle and Grounds, mainly because it is a seasonal visit establishment.

After viewing the Castle and its Keep, we needed refreshment, so not needing a full meal we decided to try the Coffee shop. Coffee was good and they had a good selection of sandwiches and cakes. It is limited in seating, but comfortable. Ideal for a quick and refreshing drink.

From there we walked around the grounds to view the gardens and abbey. Arundel Caste is steeped in History and was built initially in 1067 and has been added to over the years right through to the 18th and 19th Century. The grounds and garden are beautiful and there is plenty of them, so lots of walking.

On completion of the Castle and Grounds, we strolled down the road to Swanbourne Lake and Tearoom, probably a 20 minute walk from the Castle gates.

Swanbourne Lodge Tea Room

After walking around the Castle and grounds and the 20 minute walk to the Lodge, we were a bit peckish. We had been advised that the Lodge was really good, so we were looking forward to having something nice. Well, someone’s else’s good, can and is definitely different from our likings. On arrival at 2.45pm we went to order and was greeted with, sorry we have stopped serving food, we only have tea, coffee and cake now… not even a cream tea. Disappointed and hungry, we opted for tea and cake, well what was left… and I must say, nothing to write home about…

We started walking back to the car park and by the time we got there, we hadn’t felt fulfilled and decided to try one last place as we wanted something savoury. There it was right in front of us and next to the river.

Waterside Cafe

This is another cafe that doesn’t look much, a bit shabby around the edges and is outside seating with veranda cover and parasols. Be warned it is cash only, no technology here… but, there is a cash machine near by. Anyway we both had water, a sausage roll and a bacon, Brie and cranberry sandwich on Brown. Well what a surprise, the sausage roll was nothing special, but tasty. However, the sandwich was delicious, freshly cooked back bacon a good helping of Brie and cranberry and a side salad and the bread was nice thick granary.

What a way to end your day.. A nice waterside cafe in the sunshine, some would call it greasy spoon, but it delivered the best sandwich of the day. I think they need to get technology as well, cash never hits my pockets these days, I always use a card….

So this trip we were out for seven hours, took in a Castle, its grounds and chapel and four tea rooms. Happy Days.

The next instalment will be Bank Holiday Monday, I wonder how many tea rooms we can get in…

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

Back in February I was wondering what can we do for the Bank Holiday weekend and it occurred to me that the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is normaly around that time, so I had a look. Ten minutes later, I had ordered two tickets for the Thursday and booked two days leave to make it a nice long weekend.

Thursday 22nd May 2014

The forecast was sun with spells of heavy rain and thunder storms in the London Area, so rather than get the train to Victoria and then walk to the show grounds, we decided to go via Waterloo and used the underground, having a 5 minute walk rather than a 20 minute walk, Less chance of getting wet we thinks… Anyway, we ended up having to walk during the tube ride, because Embankment was closed, and yes when we arrived at Sloane Square, the heavens opened.

 

The walk to the grounds was a little damp, but we made it and the sun came out as we arrived at the gates. The remainder of the day was mainly sunny with one very large thunder storm towards the middle of the afternoon; rain coats, umbrella and tree shelter were required, as the majority of visitors made a mad dash to the main under cover floral arena.

 

 

 

 

We went to the show a number of years ago, and once again we were not dissappointed, the work that had gone in to the exibits was fantastic, the floral displays as well as the show gardens. This is the third RHS show we have been to, Chelsea, twice and Hampton Court once; but each time we come across side exibits that absolutely amaze me. There are a number of sculpturs that exibit at the show and this one just blew my mind and could be yours for a mere £30,000, but what a sculpture to have in your garden….

 

The day was great, a bit pricey for drinks and food (£13 for two regular glasses), but if you are willing to barge through the crowds with your ruck sack and picnic the £50 tickets are worth it.. If you are a celebrity spotter its worth a visit as well as there is plenty of them, there. My celeb spot this year was Holly Valance, I was talking and walking and as I turned around, I just about walked in to here…

So, if you like flowers, expensive food an drink and a bit of celebrity spotting, try the Chelsea Flower show, details can normally be found on the RHS web site

Here are some images from the show.