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…

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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 – The Malet Arms

OK, I know what you are thinking! “The Malet Arms” yes its a hostelry of the alcoholic kind and not a tearoom. With such wonderful weather we decided to have a beer and some lunch as an alternative. How did this come about? Well friends of ours have just packed up the two life and decided to move out in to the country. So today we thought we would going an be nosey and have a peek at this county life thing…

I (we) have never really ridden around the Wiltshire country side, so we thought it would be a good idea to day.  The problem with country side and an American made motorcycle, the built in Satnav will not find the small villages. had to rely on visual and a finger in the wind to get there. Consequently, we saw a lot of Wiltshire, but what lovely roads to ride, and little traffic.

The Malet Arms is a small public house in Newton Toney, and I mean small.. its what a village pub should be like. good beer and home grown food.

 

 

 

 

 

The menu was just right, enough to chose a decent lunch and a good selection of beers.  We had traditional scampi and smoked haddock fishcakes.  We were only looking for a sandwich initially, but unfortunately they do not have them on the menu. Anyway, to food selected was hot and very tasty, so no doubt we will be going back.

Overall the day was good, we have now seen our friends new home and met some locals in the pub, tried the food and drank a decent beer (NB: within the legal limits of riding).

I think pubs may be added to our tour on two wheels… but we will still endeavour to get the tearooms in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow we are heading for Sussex to see what we can find, probably a tea room tomorrow and maybe a pub later. Safe riding peps 🙂