Is there anything more lovely than relaxing in a tea garden, sharing a cream tea and watching the world go by? On a sunny day, having a cake destination in mind is surely the perfect incentive to get out walking and cycling in the great outdoors…but where to go?
To help you decide here are ten of our favourite tea and cake stops along the National Cycle Network.
In 1978 we started work on our very first dedicated route for walkers and cyclists between Bristol and Bath. In more recent years this popular route has had the very welcome addition of the Warmley Waiting Room, a lovely café based in what used to be, yes you guessed it, the Warmley railway station waiting room, complete with a platform.
Serving delicious cakes, cream teas and sandwiches, this friendly tea garden is well worth a pit stop. There is plenty of outdoor seating, a nearby bike pump for visiting cyclists and it's even got its very own Tardis toilet!
Established in 1933, this family run café used to be a malt house and brewery, and once upon a time in the sixties a live music venue. Nowadays, it is best known for its peaceful terrace, great cakes and stunning views over the Black Mountains.
This charming and eco-conscious café is a 5-minute cycle ride from the small town of Talgarth on National Route 8 and is certainly worth the short detour.
This friendly café near Regional Route 32 (a 5-mile cycle from National Route 42) is in sight of the Tintern Abbey ruins. The helpful owners keep a track pump and toolkit available for anyone to use for free and stock a small range of bike accessories ready for the passing cyclist in need.
The raised wooden terrace is a great perch from which to sit and watch the world go by before filling up your water bottles and continuing on your way down the valley.
A charming and relaxed organic café, farm shop and campsite, the Pillars is a one-stop rest shop for cycling tourers and day trippers visiting the Lomond Hills Regional Park. The small log cabin café serves a huge variety of vegetarian meals and cakes and has plenty of outdoor seating on its rustic veranda overlooking the working farm.
5. Camel Trail
The traditional home of the cream tea, both Cornwall and Devon have no shortage of tea gardens on the National Cycle Network to choose from. We’ve sampled a good few scones in the region, but the Camel Trail Tea Garden definitely tops our list of favourites for its location and fairy-tale location.
Situated halfway between Wadebridge and Bodmin, and directly on the popular Camel Trail, this friendly tea garden offers fantastic cream teas in a beautiful apple orchard setting. The tranquil outdoor terraced seating amongst the trees and flowers of the Camel Valley will leave only one concern for your cycling rest stop … cream then jam or jam then cream?
6. Monsal Trail
Excellent coffee, tea and delicious cakes make the Hassop Station an ideal pit stop on the stunning traffic-free Monsal Trail through the Peak District.
The old railway station has a large sun terrace on the former platform overlooking the busy cycle route, a children’s play area and large canopied seating area for all the family to enjoy. Bike hire is also available at Hassop Station.
In the heart of the Lake District and just a few minutes ride from National Route 6 lies the lovely town of Ambleside and the cosy Rattle Gill Café and courtyard.
The walls of the café are always filled with works from local artists and each day brings a selection of different freshly baked cakes to choose from. And if you can’t decide? Why not try their famous Cake Platter… five different slices of cake. Perfect for the discerning cake connoisseur.
The Booking Hall Café on the Flitch Way is another great refreshment stop based in an old railway station. You are reminded of the heritage of this aged Victorian building in the nearby former rail carriage which now houses a small museum remembering the bygone Steam Era.
There is plenty of outdoor seating on the platform and the cakes and generous lunch portions will be sure to please even the hungriest of visitors.
This popular café is situated right on the Port Dinorwic Marina directly on the Lon Las Cymru cycle route which in its entirety winds its way 175 miles from Holyhead to the Wye Valley.
There is a delicious range of cakes to choose from and enjoy while seated watching the boats glide past. The Swellies also has a great selection of takeaway sandwiches to help you keep energised for your onwards cycle or walk.
10. National Route 2
Only the very best local and seasonal produce is served at this award-winning Tea Room in the heart of the beautiful New Forest. Take a seat outside the Rosie Lea and soak up the atmosphere of the lovely and quaint village of Brockenhurst, only a few minutes detour from National Route 2. You may even spot a pony or two wandering by.