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/

Cake Crusader Book

There is now a Cake Crusader book available where you can follow my journey from humble local trips to world record attempts and near-death experiences. How did a simple method of keeping track of decent cycling café pit stops turn my life upside down? Track my adventures into Europe, up mountains and right across Great Britain as I become a 'rising star' on social media. Will I prove my critics wrong? Should cheese scones be served hot or cold? Do I really have nothing better to do with his time? A must read for lovers of cycling and cake or anyone wanting to make it big in the virtual world

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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Pink Footed Geese. (Cley Marshes visitors centre, Cley)

Cley Marshes Visitors Centre Cafe,
Cley next the Sea,
Open Mon-Sun 10 - 3.30 (4.30 in summer),
Highly Recommended
I have spent each day this week on my indoor cycle turbo trainer doing a cycle training video and taking part in the tour of Sufferlandria (the greatest tour of a mythical country you can do). I was therefore very keen to get out on a real bike ride. Unfortunately the weather forecast was poor with biting winds, sleet and snow on the cards. However I was delighted when Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) agreed to host a ride from his house and promised not to take us to Holt for the 4th time running.

Andrew has recently become interested in birds (the feathered variety) which he claims is because he is old and all old people become interested in birds. I'm hoping to be old one day so I thought it was about time I found out more on the subject. Therefore we decided to take a ride to Cley Marshes visitors centre where I could see birds and rate a cafe.

You may remember that a recent cycling guest top cycling tip suggest that: When you set off on a ride you should start off feeling cold or you will get too hot later on.  Being scared of today's forecast I had foolishly not followed this tip and had over layered and was toasty warm when we set off. This meant I was soon boiling hot on the ride. It just proves what a useful feature the cycling guest cycling top tip is and that they should be followed at all times.

The way up to Cley was a real treat for all ford crossing fans with several to enjoy such as the one below which was the deepest.
Deepest of many fords crossed during the ride.
Still boiling hot we arrived at Cley Marshes visitors centre where Andrew passed on his cycling guest top cycling tip for the day.

Cycling guest top cycling tip no 12. If you are boiling hot when you arrive at your cafe destination make sure you delayer when inside or you won't appreciate your cycling jacket when you leave.
Outside visitors centre where there is currently much lottery funded building work
There is an outdoor hexagonal bench seating picnic area available overlooking the Marshes but it was far too cold for even the most hardy bird fan to be picnicking at so we opted to go inside.
Outdoor hexagonal bench seating area overlooking Cley Marshes
Inside there is a very modern building which has a huge window indoor seating area overlooking the marshes. This area was full with actual bird watchers. There where also a number of tables for the lesser dedicated observer which we opted to sit at.
Huge window indoor seating area occupied by bird watchers
While Andrew engaged in bird related chat I  went to check out the cake selection and was very pleased to see a large number of cakes, slices and scones available. I therefore awarded a high effective cake selection (ECS) rating.
Good selection of cakes, slices and scones
I ordered chocolate sponge cake and a cheese scone (as part of my cheese scone serving temperature research) to have with my hot chocolate. Andrew had a cappuccino and millionaire shortbread.

Before we tried the cakes and drinks Andrew taught me a few basic bird spotting facts. I quickly got the hang of it and as things flew past the window and I was able to identify them as birds. To make it more exciting I pointed and shouted "bird" to make sure all my fellow twitchers didn't miss out on one I had spotted.

With one eye on the bird action going on outside we tasted our drinks. Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) thought his coffee had excellent flavour but was not hot enough. My hot chocolate, on the other hand was very hot but very weak so only got an average score. Andrew's millionaire shortbread was performing well so hopes were high for a good cake taste quality (CTQ) score.
Cakes and drinks ready for tasting
Just then a particularly good bird flew past, I knew it must have been a good one as some of the people in the prime bird watching seats actually stood up. I was very pleased to have seen such a good bird although I have no idea what it was.

When the excitement had died down I went back to cake tasting. Sadly the scone was served cold and it is becoming clear my cheese scone hot campaign has not yet reached North Norfolk so more work to do there. It was, however, a nice enough scone. The chocolate cake was also a good bit of cake but neither had lived up to the high standard set by the millionaire shortbread.

Overall the Cley Marshes visitors centre was a very good stop and performed well in all categories. It has the added bonus that you can play bird spotting at the same time.

By the end of our visit I had spotted 23 birds fly past. I thought this was very good so I asked at the information desk if this was likely to be a winning score for the day. I was told it didn't work like that, apparently bird watching isn't a sport it's just a thing. I didn't understand that concept but the other people at the visitors centre seemed to be enjoying themselves. I did notice that the best watchers did get to write on the bird leader board if they spotted something good so maybe I'll have another try one day.
Bird spotting leader board showing what has been seen on the Marshes recently.
I wasn't allowed to put that I had seen 23 birds
On way home Andrew said he was glad we had not reacted to the poor forecast and had come out on the ride. After such a foolish remark there was only one thing that could possibly happen and within a few minutes we were being bombarded with stinging hail followed by sleet and snow. Andrew may be old and know about birds but he still has a lot to learnt about commenting on weather conditions while out on a cycle ride.

Scores
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.5
8.0
7.50
Route 


Click here to download 40 mile Alysham Cley loop GPX file to your GPS

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