In the August print issue, we celebrate the very British tradition of afternoon tea, an increasingly popular pastime that sees thousands of us search out cafés, hotels and tearooms on our camping holidays – in town and country. Here, the Magazine team share their own personal favourites…
David Guest, Club Reporter
For me, the perfect cup of tea is brewed strong, no sugar, a splash of milk and accompanied by a good book. That’s why one of my favourite tea rooms is the Astley Book Farm near Nuneaton in Warwickshire. As the largest second-hand bookshop in the Midlands, there is a near endless supply of gripping novels, enlightening classics and informative non-fiction to browse and buy while enjoying a perfect cuppa (and possibly a slice of homemade cake) in this warm, friendly and cosy barn conversion in rural Warwickshire. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m halfway through a chapter…
Nearest Club Site: Kingsbury Water Park (12.5 miles away)
Simon McGrath, Editor-in-Chief
Each year I have a dads and lads camping trip and if we get our timing right, it’s a few days before Christmas. And that means it’s cold.
We’ve enjoyed this annual tent camping trip in several different locations but have consistently ended up at the Club’s
site, not just because it’s a lovely campsite but it’s within striking distance of the Malvern Hills
. And that means a great winter walk followed by a visit to a favourite tea room in Malvern itself – the Bluebird Tea Rooms
The eatery is above a shop on Church Street and, for me, is a classic English tearoom. The dining rooms are upstairs and may well have been bedrooms when first built. It’s also a place that welcomes walkers – an ideal retreat after a blustery winter walk along the ridgeline of the Malverns. Surprisingly for teenage boys, my sons Tom and Elliot love it too.
The Bluebird offers lunch and snacks but importantly does a mouth-watering selection of cakes. That said, I can never resist the urge of the cream teas. The staff serve lovely fruit scones with local jam and cream. It’s such a rare and enjoyable treat these days that the cream tea will always win hands down over a cake. And it has to be accompanied by a pot of tea – never a coffee. It just wouldn’t be the same.
Nearest Club Site: Blackmore (approx. five miles away)
Candy Evans, Test Editor
I have a soft spot for Cherry Trees Coffee House
in Padstow, Cornwall. The town has become a magnet for food lovers in recent years and its prices tend to reflect this so we’ve been a little wary of eating there, but Cherry Trees manages to buck the trend. It’s perfectly situated right on the harbour and alongside the obligatory cups of tea and – as its name suggests – coffee, its cakes are to die for.
Last summer our visit coincided with a film shoot by a German television company so we decided not to ‘eat in’ but lingered by the harbour wall and watched the filming going on below us. Perfect!
Nearest Club Site: Tregurrian (12 miles away)
Vicky Sartain, Features Editor
The Rectory Tearooms
in Morwenstow, North Cornwall (as detailed in the August print magazine) are just a half hour drive from Bude Club Site
Housed within a 13th
-century farmhouse in the tiny village of Morwenstow, this traditional café is a firm favourite of mine – and a very welcome sight after a long walk along the area’s challenging coast path.
Despite its hidden location the tearoom is often busy but opening times are seasonal – so prepare to be disappointed if you’ve arrived in March or October anticipating homemade scones, gorgeous cakes, and tea served in china cups!
Try a cup of the house blend, Smugglers Choice, the leaves of which hail from Tregothnan, Cornwall’s first tea plantation (click here
for more on this).
The menu offers soups, quiche, local cheese and pasties, as well as homemade scones and cakes. Much of the fruit and veg is grown on site in the kitchen garden, and dietary requirements are well catered for. Many a pot of local jam and chutney has also been purchased here for those who want a little reminder of their visit.
In my opinion the best tables are outside in the sunny walled garden, ideally with an ice cream in hand. And when you can eventually tear yourself away, dramatic walks are moments away from the clinking of cups and saucers, wending through National Trust
-managed countryside. There are many points of interest along the way starting with St Morwenna and St John the Baptist’s Church, which houses a local shipwrecks’s figurehead in the graveyard.
Ali Ray, Club food writer
The Rectory is also a favourite of our own foodie writer, Ali Ray. She said: “They serve loose leaf teas, including their own blend called Smugglers Choice, supplied by Tregothnan
, Cornwall's first tea plantation. The homemade lunches are wonderful too; soups, pies and fish dishes are made with local produce – many from the Rectory’s organic farm. It’s like sitting in a favourite old Auntie’s front room.”
Nearest Club Site: Bude (16 miles away)