10 best routes for coffee and cake

Our GetOutside champions share their tried and tested routes which all incorporate a well-deserved stop for coffee and cake. Here's their top 10 coffee-fuelled routes and recommended sweet treats.


Both walkers and cyclists are renowned for their love of coffee and cake and what better excuse to get outside than to visit your favourite café and support local businesses.

Wherever you are in Great Britain, you’ll be sure to find a walking or cycling route which includes a visit to your favourite café or tea room with the help of OS Maps.

rocky road


Biscoff Rocky Road enjoyed whilst cycling in Hampshire

If coffee and cake isn’t your thing, there’s usually plenty of other goodies on offer. Grab some fruit, a cold drink or something savoury, there’s fuel for everyone!

And remember, wherever you decide to re-fuel, make sure you check that sites, cafés and car parks are open and whether you need to book before travelling.


Wales

1: Coastal cake in Gower

Route in OS Maps OS EXPLORER MAP 164
  • Start/finish point: Llanmadoc
  • Distance: 5.9 miles (GPX can be downloaded from OS Maps)
  • Time taken: 2.5 hours
  • Difficulty rating: Moderate, with miles of soft sand proving hard on the legs!
  • Re-fuel: Cwm Ivy Cafe & Crafts
  • Parking: Llanmadoc car park (grassy field). Please note the honesty box by the entrance gate.
Whiteford Sands


Whiteford Sands


Cwm Ivy Marsh

Cwm Ivy Cafe


Cwm Ivy Cafe

On Gower’s north coast, Cwm Ivy is just a few miles from the honeypot of Rhossili, yet seemingly worlds away, with stretching sands empty of sunflower-seeking crowds. The tranquillity is due to a trek of more than half a mile from the car park to the beach; any day out that starts with a bit of a stroll is a bonus, in my book, but not everyone feels the same. To eek that stroll into nearly six miles, follow the Wales Coast Path alongside Cwm Ivy saltmarsh and past the old sea wall, which the National Trust is now letting return to nature. On reaching the estuary, loop around towards the last remaining iron lighthouse in Europe and return along the beach. Cwm Ivy Café & Crafts boasts more outdoor than indoor seating and with those far-reaching marsh views to settle down to, even the odd spot of Wales’ finest weather shouldn’t put you off your well-earned treat. But with paninis, huge slabs of homemade pie and Swansea’s renowned Joe’s Ice Cream on offer - as well as the delicious cakes - you might need to hike the circuit twice to burn off the calories.

Recommended sweet treat: Coffee and walnut cake - also now available as cupcakes!

Expert cake sampler: OS GetOutside Champion Rebecca Lees.


Scotland

2: Summits and scones in Pitlochry

ROUTE IN OS MAPS OS EXPLORER MAP OL49
  • Start/finish point: Car park behind Moulin or Pitlochry town centre.
  • Distance: 5.3 miles
  • Time taken: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Difficulty rating: Moderate
  • Re-fuel: Hettie's Tea Room in Pitlochry
  • Parking: There is a designated car park behind Moulin, or you can park in one of the public car parks in Pitlochry so you finish near the café.

Ben Vrackie


View from Ben Vrackie

Hettie's scone


Hettie's scone

Loch a' Choire


Loch a' Choire

This beautiful walk up Ben Vrackie will reward you with fantastic views over neighbouring Beinn A' Ghlo to the north. There’s a designated car park for this route just behind the small village of Moulin. Less than a mile south you’ll find the town of Pitlochry, home of Hettie's Tea Room, where you can also start and finish your walk from. I can definitely recommend a stop at Hettie’s Tea Room after walking up Ben Vrackie. Make sure you sample their huge range of loose leaf teas and one of their humongous scones - there's always plain, fruit and cheese but often an unusual flavour too like chocolate! They are massive and not to be missed!

Recommended sweet treat: A humongous scone with a cup of tea.

Expert cake sampler: OS GetOutside Champion Emily Thompson.


England: South East

3: Flapjack fuel in Midhurst

Route in OS Maps OS EXPLORER MAP OL33
  • Start/Finish point: Midhurst (close to the common)
  • Distance: 5.5 miles (GPX can be downloaded from OS Maps)
  • Time taken: 2 hours
  • Difficulty rating: Easy
  • Re-fuel: Comestibles Deli, Midhurst
  • Parking: Public car parks in Midhurst. Also, comprehensive bus service to and from Midhurst around West Sussex.

Midhurst Common


Helen along the route

Gooey flapjack


Gooey flapjack

Midhurst Common


Views over Midhurst Common

The beautiful South Downs are a great place to explore by foot or bike. This two-hour circular walk is suitable for all the family and passes through Midhurst Common where there’s a lovely viewpoint overlooking the South Downs National Park. Stop off at the pretty town of Midhurst for a bite to eat or start/end your walk here for ample parking. I recommend this incredible gooey flapjack from Comestibles, the local deli. They do an excellent flat white too, plus an array of freshly made savoury bakes, healthy lunches and fine local produce. Midhurst is easily accessible for keen cyclists also and just a three-hour (hilly!) cycle from the city of Portsmouth or even less from Chichester. Taking quieter county roads may increase the miles but it is certainly worth it for an enjoyable full days ride.

Recommended sweet treat: Possibly the best flapjack in the world.

Expert cake sampler: Helen Newman from the OS team.


England: South West

4: Devonshire cream tea in Croyde Bay

Route in OS Maps Explore this walk OS EXPLORER MAP 139
  • Start/Finish point: Croyde Bay
  • Distance: 4.5 miles (GPX can be downloaded from OS Maps)
  • Time taken: 2 hours
  • Difficulty rating: Medium
  • Re-fuel: An award-winning cream tea at May Cottage Tea Rooms, Croyde Bay
  • Parking: Public car parks in Croyde Bay.
Baggy Point


Sea views from Baggy Point

Devonshire Cream Tea


Devonshire Cream Tea

Croyde Bay


Views over Croyde Bay

Both Devon and Cornwall are famous for their cream teas and there is much debate between the two counties on which goes first, the jam or the cream? Take in the fresh sea air on this circular 4.5 mile path around the fine headland of Baggy Point. This route offers panoramic views over Woolacombe Sands, Croyde Bay and the sweep of the North Devon coast to Hartland Point. Start and end your walk on the soft sands of Croyde Bay and reward yourself with a freshly baked scone topped with jam and cream from May Cottage Tea Rooms. Their award-winning scones ought to be topped with cream underneath the jam – you are in Devon after all!

Recommended sweet treat: Devonshire cream tea.

Expert cake sampler: Helen Newman from the OS team.


England: London

5: Fresh doughnuts at Borough Market

Route in OS Maps OS EXPLORER MAP 173
  • Start/finish point: Westminster or anywhere along this circular route
  • Distance: 4.3 miles
  • Time taken: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty rating: Easy
  • Re-fuel: Bread Ahead at Borough Market
  • Parking: Parking is a bit tricky in Central London so it's best to catch public transport in.

Doughnut


Bread Ahead Doughnut

London walking route


A section of the route

This 4-mile circular walk takes in the best of central London. Spot iconic landmarks on your way as you stroll along the River Thames. City streets make an interesting walk and there’s always something going on here. There are many great options for cake in London but a favourite of mine is Borough Market where you can find an array of delicious delicacies. Bread Ahead Bakery should be your first stop. Here they are famous for their filled doughnuts which are baked on the premises each morning. I’ve tried them all and classic vanilla custard is, in my eyes, the best.

Recommended sweet treat: Fresh vanilla custard doughnut.

Expert cake sampler: Helen Newman from the OS team.


England: Yorks and Humber

6: Fat Rascals and the Twelve Apostles

  • Start/Finish point: Ilkley Moor Car Park
  • Distance: 4.2 miles (GPX can be downloaded from OS Maps)
  • Time taken: 2 hours
  • Difficulty rating: Easy
  • Re-fuel: A Fat Rascal at Betty's Tea Rooms, Ilkley
  • Parking: Public Car Park at Ilkley Moor

Fat Rascal


Fat Rascal

Route in OS Maps OS EXPLORER MAP 297

Have you ever heard of a Fat Rascal? This Yorkshire delicacy has been fuelling walkers and cyclists since the 19th century. It’s closely related to the historical turf cake (a cross between a rock cake and scone) and can now be found across Yorkshire in Betty’s Tea Rooms and shops which sell more than 375,000 every year. There’s a branch in the town of Ilkley which boasts some enjoyable walks from its centre. Ilkley Moor is a long ridge of millstone grit, immediately to the south of Ilkley. This 4-mile circular route passes the Twelve Apostles, a ring of Bronze Age standing stones on the moor. Not quite Stonehenge but far less busy!

Recommended sweet treat: Warmed Fat Rascal with a slab of butter.

Expert cake sampler: Helen Newman from the OS team.


England: Midlands

7: Traditional puddings in Bakewell

  • Start point: Bakewell town centre
  • Distance: 8.2 miles (one way) for the full Monsal Trail, or 3.75 miles (one way) to Monsal Head. (GPX can be downloaded from OS Maps)
  • Time taken: 40 minute cycle for the entire Monsal Trail (one way), 1 hour 15 minute walk (one way) for the shorter route to Monsal Head.
  • Difficulty rating: Easy
  • Re-fuel: The Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, Bakewell
  • Parking: There is plenty of public parking in Bakewell
Bakewell Tart


Bakewell Tart

Monsal Trail


Views of the Monsal Trail

Bakewell Pudding


Bakewell Pudding

There’s an abundance of Bakewell tarts and puddings to be found in the charming town of Bakewell in the Peak District National Park. The nearby Monsal Trail is an 8.5 mile traffic-free route for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users through spectacular limestone dales. From Bakewell the route takes you 4 miles (one way) to Monsal Head. If you’re travelling by bike, or fancy a challenge on foot, why not cycle or walk the entire Monsal Trail from Bakwell to Chee Dale (17 miles return). Parking, toilets and refreshments can all be found at various points along the trail which enables you to choose a distance best suited to your needs. Whichever distance you choose, stop off at The Original Bakewell Pudding Shop in Bakewell for a warm pudding with custard.

Recommended sweet treat: Traditional Bakewell pudding with custard.

Expert cake sampler: Helen Newman from the OS team.


England: North West

8. Gooey brownies on Ullswater Lake

  • Start point: Aira Force or Pattersdale
  • Distance: 2.9 miles for the Aira Force circular walk and 4 miles for the Pattersdale circular route.
  • Time taken: Just over 1 hour for each circular walk.
  • Difficulty rating: Easy
  • Re-fuel: Helvellyn Country Kitchen, Glenridding
  • Parking: Public parking in Glenridding, Aira Force and Patterdale

Ullswater lake


Views of the Pattersdale Walk from Glenridding

chocolate brownie


Double chocolate brownie

Ullswater walk


Looking over Ullswater on the path from Glenridding to Aira Force

The small village of Glenridding is a fantastic base for walking and cycling in the Lake District. It is also home to the Helvellyn Country Kitchen who do exceedingly good cakes! Avoid the crowds on Helvellyn itself and opt for a quieter walk along the shores of Ullswater. Head clockwise along the lake to National Trust’s Aira Force where you can visit the roaring falls (and another café if you wish!) Or, travel in the opposite direction towards the peaceful village of Patterdale. Parking is available in Aira Force and Pattersdale but you can walk to the start of each route from Glenridding itself - a small section is on a road so if you choose to do this, please take care.

Recommended sweet treat: Double chocolate brownie!

Expert cake sampler: Helen Newman from the OS team.


England: North East

9. Cottage and cakes in Ingram

Route in OS Maps OS EXPLORER MAP OL16

  • Start point: Ingram Bridge Car Park (NU018163)
  • End point: Ingram Café (NU019163) - very close to the start!
  • Distance: 6.5 miles circular walk
  • Time taken: Just over 2.5 hours in total
  • Difficulty rating: Moderate
  • Re-fuel: Ingram Café, Ingram
  • Parking: Small National Park car park with 20 spaces after Ingram Bridge. Free to park all day.
Reaveley Hill Cottage


View from Reaveley Hill Cottage towards Brough Law

Coconut cake


Coconut bar tray bake

Starting out from the small village of Ingram, which sits alongside the River Breamish in Northumberland National Park, this walk explores a landscape which has been inhabited and farmed since the Iron Age. After a brief climb, this walk takes you past Reaveley Hill and its old shepherds’ cottage, a medieval settlement sitting underneath the dramatic Cunyan Crags. Finally, you descend to the valley floor and walk along the River Breamish overlooked by hillforts and gorse-filled fells. Reward yourself at the Ingram Café where you should try the delicious coconut bar tray bake. It’s suitable for vegans and makes a great nutritious post-walk treat!

Recommended sweet treat: Coconut bar tray bake

Expert cake sampler: OS GetOutside Champion Dave Wilson.


East England

10: Cream (first!) Tea at Houghton Mill

ROUTE IN OS MAPS OS EXPLORER MAP 225
  • Start/finish point: Houghton Mill, PE28 2AZ
  • Distance: 2.3 miles circular walk
  • Time taken: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty rating: Easy
  • Re-fuel: Houghton Mill National Trust Tea Room
  • Parking: Car parking is available at the Houghton Mill National Trust (two hours max, charges apply)
Houghton Mill

Houghton Mill

Ouse Valley Way

Ouse Valley Way

River

Views over the river

Starting at Houghton Mill itself, a National Trust property, this walk can be completed by most people in less than an hour (so it's great for a lunchtime stroll or morning dog walk), but with so much to see it's hard not to stop, look, and watch.

The rivers are teeming with fish which are easily visible in the gin-clear waters of summer. When the waters rise after rain it's just as interesting to watch their bubbling, meandering, and racing through the streams and leats that feed in to and off of the River Great Ouse. Birds of all kinds line the banks and fill the fields and there's every chance that, as you follow along the river path, you'll disturb the odd fishing heron or see the neon flash of a kingfisher. If you're really lucky, you may just spot an otter. The route can easily be extended by following the network of paths in the area, or you could join the well-trodden 'Ouse Valley Way' at this point.

Don’t forget to refuel at the National Trust Houghton Mill Tearoom at the start/finish of this walk. The tearoom overlooks the back of the imposing mill building and the millpond, which is a popular destination for wild swimmers, paddleboarders, dinghy paddlers, and ducks. Their cream tea is a popular choice (with cream first!) and they also sell a wide range of sweet and savoury treats.

Recommended sweet treat: Cream tea with cream FIRST!

Expert cake sampler: OS GetOutside Champion Justin Miles.

Cream tea

Cream tea with cream FIRST!

Planning to take away? Pack a lightweight OS picnic blanket!

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Published 07/09/2020

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