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 – 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…

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.