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

Available on Amazon


Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Where's the sea? (Stiffkey Stores, Stiffkey)

Stiffkey Stores,
Stiffkey,
Opening times 08:30-17:00
(except Wed and Sun when closes at 13:00),
Highly Recommended 
For the last week or so regular cycling guest Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) has been laid low with a so called 'virus' and apparently has had to spend most of this time tucked up in his bed reading magazines rather than being out on his bike like he should have been. Fortunately the amount of wind and rainy weather we have had recently made cycling pretty unpleasant so he hadn't missed much.

However yesterday was the first time for a while that the winds had dropped and when I contacted Andrew about a ride he declared himself fit enough to be my cycling guest, as long as we could start the ride from Hard to Please House. Which we did.

Andrew would be in charge of our destination and route. I was hopeful that Andrew had done some quality research and planning after having nothing better to do whilst lying in bed all week. So I was pleased when he reported that when reading Coast magazine (yes it really is a thing) he had come across an article entitled the top ten cafes by the sea. One of the selected cafes was Stiffkey stores which was only 20 miles away. Inspired by the article he had chosen this as our venue. That was as far as the planning had gone and our route, and his map, unfolded organically as we went.

On the way Andrew demonstrated his bird watching skills as he spotted 2 kestrels, a buzzard and an owl (which he made me photograph). I didn't spot any birds as I was focused on cycling like he should have been.
Unnecessary time lost while photographing an owl.
Despite the unnecessary delays getting as one with nature we successfully arrived at Stiffkey were we found the stores on the main road. I was a little surprised by the location as we had come here based on Coast magazine claiming it was one of the top cafes by the sea but there was no sign of any sea in the immediate vicinity. In fact, once I had finished researching on Google maps where the nearest sea was, I found it to be nearly 2 miles away. If I told my friends I was going to spend the day by the sea I think they would imagine me in a deck chair a few paces from the shore line and not in a field a couple of miles away needing a decent pair of binoculars to have any chance of a glimpsing a wave. I will not now be able to rely on anything else in Coast magazine (not that I have ever read it). However this is between me and Coast magazine and would not detract from my review of today's cafe.
Outside Stiffkey store with no sea in sight
As we locked up our bikes in the Stiffkey courtyard I liked the look of what I saw as it was the second ride in a row when I had come across a shed based out door seating area after my visit to the HenHouse at Wymondham on Saturday which also provides this type of facility. However Andrew pointed out that as we were in North Norfolk and only 2 miles from the sea they were actually not sheds but beach huts. All we needed now was a beach.
Apparently these were not sheds but beach huts
We went inside to find that Stiffkey Stores was another popular post office/stores/cafe combination of which I have now come across many. This one had a a nice old fashioned wooden interior giving a cosy feel on a cold day. There was a big indoor table and bench seating area which combined with the excellent out door space and warm welcome meant I awarded a very high atmosphere and ambiance (AAA) score. As always I first checked out the cake selection which wasn't the biggest and had no big sponge cakes but I was glad to see flapjack available which I could include in my search for flapjack of the year 2016. 
Fairly small cake selection
I ordered some peanut butter blonde and we both had flapjack. As it wasn't really beach weather we decided to stay inside rather than make use of the beach huts so took our drinks and slices over to the indoor large table seating area.
Drinks and slices
Both my hot chocolate and Andrew's cappuccino were very good with plenty of flavour, they could have been a bit hotter but both good high hot drinks marks. The Peanut butter blonde and flapjack were of a good size and both went down very well with excellent energy giving properties for the return ride. 

Despite Coast magazines inaccurate location description we both thought the Stiffkey Stores was an excellent stop with good cakes, drinks and AAA. I recommend a visit but leave your bucket and spade at home.

Despite his recent 'virus' Andrew performed well on the way back once again demonstrating the recovery powers of cycling and flapjack. Maybe he should have tried them sooner. 

Cycling Guest cycling top tip No 43. For a quicker recovery from a so called virus don't waste time resting but try going for a bike ride and eating flapjack

For those in other parts of the country here is the link to the full list of Coast magazines top 10 cafes 'by the sea' but I can't be held responsible if you don't get to actually see any water. (coast magazine top 10 cafe by the sea)

Ratings
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating
7.50
8.00
5.00
7.50
8.50
7.30
Route

Click here to download 45 mile Alysham Stiffkey loop GPX file for your GPS

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