Sixty Tea Rooms and Two Wheels – Hinton Ampner & Wickham Square

The last summer UK Bank holiday has now passed, the weather this summer has been extremely good, but, unfortunately lacking in riding days at the weekends. Where have they all gone, in fact where has the year gone? I started this challenge with the easy intention of visiting 60 tea rooms by my 60th Birthday, in November. That so far has proven to be a challenge, not because of lack of tea rooms, but everything else that goes on in life. Anyway, the challenge continues, and we are aiming to complete, even if it means rainy day riding, but please don’t tell my wife.

We recently joined the National Trust again to take in a few more stately homes and English family history and tea rooms. Today we ventured into Mid-Hampshire, to Hinton Ampner House.

The house was owned by the Dutton Family and was left to the national Trust in 1985 when the last member of the family, Ralph Dutton 8th Baron Sherborne passed away at the age of 87. The house was refurbished after a major fire in 1960 and back to the Georgian style that it originally was and has remained in full since the Ralph Dutton passed away.

The house has full access to all rooms, however, at present the first floor had the floor boards up for wiring and other electrical work. So, we will be going back for another look. The house is in 1600 acres of land and the gardens are beautiful to walk around. The tea room was the standard food fayre for a National Trust site and they also had Judy’s Ice Cream. The team room has plenty of seating both in an outside and in quiet surroundings.

Note for riders, the carpark is effectively a field on a hill and difficult to park. There is a flat gravel car park at the top of the hill by the entrance and it would be worth asking if you can park in there for ease (especially if you have a heavy bike like mine).

The ride out was a familiar one, A32 and A272, so nice ride all the way and back to Wickham.

Our second visit for the day was back to Wickham Square and Lilly’s Tea and Coffee House. We have been before and always enjoyed it. Generally, it is very busy, we didn’t arrive until about 1.45pm, so it had quietened down, so we managed to get a table outside overlooking the square. The menu is great and lots to choose from, Salad, sandwiches, afternoon tea and cake etc. Prices are reasonable across all offerings and food tastes great. Today we both went for Baked Camembert Ploughman’s, effectively a baguette with salad, pickle and a full baked cheese ring, delicious.

Well that’s was todays ride out, back to work tomorrow, three days, then it’s the weekend again, hopefully for another ride out.

Safe riding people…

Advertisements

Sixty Tea Rooms and Two Wheels – Cornwall Day 2

We woke up to another beautiful day, the sun was shining, and the sky was clear, an excellent day for riding. Plans for the day was to ride down to south Cornwall and visit the Lost Gardens and then on into Mevagissey, memories of past times as a child. We decided to take the long route, by going west first to the A39 then south west back down to the A30 across to St Dennis, then St Austell and then down to The Lost Gardens of Heligan. The ride was good, lots of scenery, wind farms, coastal views, through small valleys and over hills.

On arrival at the lost gardens, the motorcycle bay was taken up by cars, so we had to find another parking area. By the time we arrived it was lunch time, all we could smell was good old Cornish Pasties. So, two steak and one cheese with tea and coffee was ordered. The gardens have a great selection of food outlets in and outside the gardens, quick snack to restaurant food and all reasonably priced. The gardens are on a hill, so be prepared to walk some very step paths (alternatives routes available). There is plenty to see and do for all the family, so children would have just a good time as the adults. The gardens consist of many plant forms from natural habitat to tropical plants and trees. The trails have various sculptures made from mud, rocks, plants and metal. There are various view points around the gardens that provide good panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and views of the sea.  As you walk around the gardens there are various refreshment points including BBQ, ice cream, drinks and a tea shop.  Having stopped ice cream (a must have) we made our way back to the bike ready for the next part of the trip.

We proceeded from the Lost Gardens to Mevagissey, a small fishing port that has lots of memories as we used to holiday just up the road at Pentewan Sands. We parked up on the outskirts and walked down in to town. Lots of little quirky shops and was surprised to see shops such a Fatface and other similar brands. Anyway, time to find a tea shop for the lucrative cream tea and making sure you get it right with the cream and the jam, especially while in Cornwall.  (Cream first with Jam on top). We arrived at the Harbour front, a quick look and saw a tea shop and head for it. We were lucky really, we arrived about 45 minutes before they were about to close. The tea shop we visit was “Tea on the Quay”, cream teas ordered with Earl Grey and we were in out element. Both plain and fruit scones order and the size of a fist, pure indulgence, but delicious… if you are in Mevagissey, try it out, there are others, but as usual spoilt for choice.

 

We left Mevagissey and rode towards St Austell, Bodmin then back on the A30 towards Launceston for an even BBQ at our friends, relaxing ready for the next day.

Sixty Tea Rooms and Two Wheels – Cornwall Day One

A recent short break took us to the West Country of the UK and glorious Cornwall. We stayed with a friend (fellow rider) who lives in North Cornwall close to the Devon boarder. As this trip was taken over three days, I will be writing this in three parts, so please keep an eye out for the remaining trip and the sites we saw while in Cornwall.

Lets Go

So here we are ready to go, our route took us along the south coast from Hampshire for a first stop just out side Ringwood for a coffee. We had only been on the bike 45 minutes, but needs must and all that.  I heard a little voice in the intercom and she who speaks must be obeyed.  Following decent coffee break, we proceeded towards West Bay in Dorset for a spot of lunch.  I had heard that the Station Kitchen near the main carpark was good for cream teas, so that was the first on the list for the trip.

On arrival at West Bay we parked up directly opposite the restaurant. As you can imagine by the name “Station Kitchen” it was the old West Bay railway station with a carriage as well.  Both the station and the carriage were dining areas and very well laid out. The weather was hot, and we needed some shade, so we opted to eat in the carriage. Although nice, it was a little warm even with the doors open, unfortunately there was no breeze, but the surroundings were fantastic and quirky.  Although we were looking for a cream tea initially, we looked at the menu and decided to have something from the main menu. While the food was prepared we were offered fresh bread and an olive oil and balsamic dip. The bread was fresh and two different types and delicious.

IMG_0329

The food took about 20 minutes, but we were in no hurry, just thankful for a little shade. We both had a freshly made flatbread one with local crab and the other with goats’ cheese and both drizzled with olive oil. once again delicious. I have since found out that the restaurant is one of the best in West Bay, I am amazed we manged to get a seat. The staff and service were friendly and attentive, and I would highly recommend them. We will be going back to try something else when we go out for a Sunday ride.

From West Bay we proceeded west along the coast road through Lyme Regis towards Exeter. We briefly hit the M5 and then turned on to the A30 towards Okehampton and Launceston. We needed a break, so we stopped at a service station just off the A30 called the Hog and Hedge at Whiddon Down. For a service station it was surprising comfortable and clean, and the food served was good. Having stopped for 30 minutes we made a way to our destination, arriving at around 5.30.

We had left at around 10.30 and mainly followed the coast road, making it a pleasant and scenic journey.