Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

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Wednesday 20 August 2014

Pilgrims Progress. (Nortons Cafe, Lt Walsingham)

Nortons Café bar,
Little Walsingham,
Opening times Mon-Sun 9:00-4:30 (longer in Pilgrim season)
Just before I was struck down with my troublesome tummy in March (see sometimes need a plan b) I had been asked if I could advise on a suitable bike route from Norwich Cathedral to Little Walsingham for some people looking to set up a Pilgrims way for bikes. Apparently lots of people make the pilgrimage to Little Walsingham and so if any of them want to go by bike then this will be the route for them. Anyway I promised I would check the proposed route out from a cyclists rather then pilgrims view but the week before I was planning to do it I ended up in hospital and incapacitated. Yesterday was a good opportunity to try out the 75 mile loop and as an added bonus I took Big George as the guest so we could do some training for next weeks ride to Paris as I suspected he hadn't done much.

The route needed to go past a number of churches, which are apparently a must when you are on a pilgrimage, so we winded our way through a number of Norfolk villages. I found it to be one of the best cycle routes I had done for a long time so would recommend it even if you are not pilgriming.
A Norfolk church like the ones you will ride past on the Pilgrams way.
After struggling into a head wind all the way we finally arrived at Little Walsingham. I didn't know why it was that Little Walsingham attracted pilgrims but assumed that some sort of miracle was probably involved. To find out more we headed straight for the Our Lady of Walsingham tourist centre where there were information leaflets plus Norton's cafe for where we could do a quick cafe cycle review.
Outside Nortons cafe at Our Lady of Walsingham centre
Nortons Cafe was a bit dark inside and the outside seating area only offered a view of a wall or Little Walsingham high street but given the choice we decided to sit outside. With seating sorted and bikes secured it was time to return back inside where we found a very good looking cake selection and so I awarded a high effective cake selection (ECS) rating.
A good cake selection on offer
I ordered Honey cake and Big George Banana cake. Our drinks (hot chocolate and cappuccino) were then supplied from a push button vending type machine behind the counter. I didn't think this was going to provide a top notch beverage and sadly I was correct although they were still ok..

Big George claimed he had a lot of banana cake experience and that his piece was of a decent standard. My Honey cake, of which I had little experience, was rather dry and lacked enough of the honey flavour I was expecting. Although Norton's cafe was a reasonable offering for a tourist centre it was not an exceptional Norfolk cafe or tearoom.
Cake and drinks on the outside seating area table
I still wanted to know more about why people came to Walsingham (as it didn't seem to be for the cake) but despite reading two leaflets I was unable to discover exactly what our lady of Walsingham actually did to attract all this attention as I was only informed what a great place it was to come on a retreat or for some meditation based activity. After reading two leaflets I felt I had done enough research for one day and that a more fact and less spiritually based leaflet could be a useful addition to the Our Lady of Walsingham centre information set.

My mind turned back to the return trip. Due to the slow progress on the way up I was now in a hurry to get back home as I had urgent golf arranged for the evening. With wind behind and having done several long rides recently I felt the 35 mile ride would easily be accomplished in time. However I didn't account for Big George first getting an achy knee and then a series of cramp attacks.

After about 20 miles he ended up sitting on the side of the road massaging his legs and I knew that if I stayed with him to make sure he got home safely then I would miss my tee time. I must have been affected by my trip as I immediately thought of the story of the good Samaritan. However I don't think the good Samaritan played golf as if he did, and had had an urgent tee time, then the story may have turned out very differently as I seemed to have no problem in leaving Big George stranded on the side of the road and set off by myself.
Big George stranded on the side of the road with a dodgy knee and cramp
Fortunately I got home just in time to get to the first tee. Assuming Big George got back from this ride then I am a bit worried that if he blows up after only 50 miles then the 300 mile trip to Paris next week may have just become an even bigger challenge. However if we are in danger of missing the train home I'll be quite happy to leave him on the side of the road as he says he can speak French.

Ratings for Nortons cafe based on 2 visits
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
Click to down load 35 mile Pilgrams way gpx file for your GPS
Click to down load 34 mile little Walsingham to Norwich gpx file for your GPS

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