Do you plan a day out based on where you are going to eat? If so, this is the guide for you!
Before moving to North Devon we had a conventional hectic work based lifestyle and were used to dining out or eating takeaways in the evenings with the occasional pub lunch after a weekend walk in the Surrey hills.
Our eating patterns have changed dramatically now we ‘work at home’ at Robin Hill Farm. This is partly because we have more spare time to go out and explore North Devon but it is also because there is a thriving independent cafe and tearoom culture in the area. In six years we’ve sampled a few (!) …..
Firstly – it’s perfectly acceptable to eat a Cream Tea for lunch! At Tea on the Green the cream teas are legendary and you can even have a Savoury Cream Tea if you can’t bring yourself to lunch on sweet food. However, it would be a pity not to sample a slice of their enormous cakes (they do doggy bags for leftovers or takeouts!). Book Afternoon Tea but skip breakfast and lunch as this is a feast! This is a charming 50’s styled tea room at Westward Ho! (closes Mon and Tues, DF).
In the pretty waterside village of Appledore there are two great options. The Coffee Cabin is a brilliant little cafe and locals’ favourite. It is shoe-horned into a tiny space on Appledore Quay, serves top notch coffee, an excellent selection of savouries and good cakes. The team here are super friendly and you won’t have to wait too long for a table. (DF)
Further along the Quay is Johns Delicatessen and Cafe. Another charming and friendly team serve from breakfast through to afternoon tea. The menu features savoury and sweet products from the delicatessen so you can stock up on favourites to take home. Johns brownies are the best in North Devon. Look out for their ‘recipe of the month’ quiches too – delicious! Johns will be opening a cafe alongside their Instow delicatessen in summer 2016 – can’t wait! (DF tables outside)
Heading out for a bike ride? Base yourselves at Fremington Quay where there is a free car park and the extremely popular Fremington Quay Cafe. Inside the old station room with a small museum telling the story of the Quay and Railway through the ages, the cafe offers a selection of well filled baquettes, daily specials and yummy cakes. Not to mention Farmer Tom’s ice cream for cyclists in need of a bribe/reward! (DF)
The walk up to Baggy Point at the north end of Croyde is just stunning – not too long, dramatic cliffs and gorgeous views across Bideford Bay. Afterwards, stop off at Sandleigh Tea Room right by the carpark. Sit outside amongst the vegetable plots, scarecrows and gypsy wagon or squeeze indoors. Always busy this cafe serves tasty savouries including crab and the prettiest cream tea decorated with sliced strawberries. (DF)
Closer to home in Bideford Town are two quite different choices. If you’ve braved the steep climb up High Street on your way to look at the artists shops on Butchers Row in the Pannier Market, take a stop at Cafe Collective – the chilli hot chocolate is particularly enlivening! (DF)
Continue the art trail down at The Burton Art Gallery in Victoria Park at the far end of the Quay. Here you will find a small museum of Bideford, a rotating art exhibition and wonderful selection of local crafts. Fancy a bite? then stop at Cafe du Parc complete with Plat du Jour and exquisite Patisserie – mmmm Tarte au Citron anyone? (DF tables ouside)
After a brisk cliff top walk or wave watching session at Hartland Quay, stop off in Hartland Village where you’ll find The Old Bakery Coffee Shop right at the heart of the square. This new cafe is impressive – soups and the local pasties are extremely good (there will be a choice of fillings). Cakes are generous and addictive (I’m thinking of the Rocky Road). (DF)
A mile or so down the coast is the charming and very flexible Docton Mill Gardens and Tea room. If you’re just walking past and fancy something to eat there’s no need to tour the gardens as well which is perfect for ramblers. That said, the gardens are stunning and well worth paying to see. Walking in along the mill race you soon discover a fully functioning water wheel and sun soaked tea room. Crab sandwiches, cream teas and lemon cake are particular favourites. (DF)
Having walked up Baggy Point at one end of Bideford Bay, stop by at Hartland Point at the other end. This wind blasted point comes complete with lighthouse and is in the middle of the well named Wreckers Coast – in fact, a cargo ship was rescued from floundering on the rocks only last month. Accessed via a concession car park or along the South West Coast Path, The Point Kiosk with outdoor seating is rapidly getting a great reputation for the stunning location and their friendly service of excellent food – hot paninis, soups, ice cream and cakes are recommended. (DF)
Just over the Cornish border is Morwenstow. You might walk there along the South West Coast Path but you can drive too. The Rectory Tearooms are well worth the effort. Rambling old farm house rooms indoors and a sun trap of a garden for summertime. Food served on vintage china the savouries here are unusual (Wild Boar Sausages) and always tasty with a superb cream tea. Now, as we’re now in Cornwall, which goes on the top, the jam or the cream? (DF)
DF - denote a dog friendly cafe