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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Sunday 31 October 2021

October Cafes visited for Cake Crusader Audit

Café Audit October 2021

I have been doing this blog for nearly 10 years and have done over 400 reviews with over 250 cafes currently reviewed on my locations map (well done me). However despite trying to keep things up to date lots of cafes come and go. Therefore I’m undertaking a full audit to remove closed cafes from the map and update the scores of as many venues as possible as I go on my regular café cycle trips. Each month I’ll give a quick update on the cafes I have revisited. So here is October’s list, which are some of my all time favourites.

1. Peppers in East Harling (see Love it or hate it for original review, route and current rating)

Excellent cafe located in what appears to be someone’s large back garden. 

As you can see it has some of the finest cakes around.

There is lots of outdoor space plus a few tables inside

Well worth a visit.

2. Old Hall Farm near Woodton (see Layering for original review, route and current rating)

Café at farm shop off the Norwich Bungay. Has a good selection of cakes and plenty of indoor and out door space.

There is a full menu or you can get things like sausages rolls from Farm shop.

There is also a mini animal farm by the car park including an Emu and who doesn’t love an Emu in a car park.
Always a reliable stop for a cafe bike ride and I go there a lot (especially on a Monday)

3. Stiffkey Stores, Stiffkey on North Norfolk coast road (see Wheres the Sea? for original review, route and current rating)

Café is at stores and over the years has got busier with a wider selection of excellent cakes.

Cakes and pastries are very good backed up by decent hot drinks all served in paper cups and paper (literally) papers.
All seating is in outside courtyard area but there are some sheds as well that you can sit in on colder or wetter days. 

Its more of a coffee and cake stop rather than a lunch venue but if that's what you are after then I recommend you check it out.

4. Ravenous café near Raveningham (see Annoying Squeak for original review, route and current rating)

Nice rustic café the East side of Loddon near Raveningham. 

Excellent sausage rolls and cakes although not a huge selection.  Drinks are good too.

Plenty of outdoor seating plus some inside. We had a very enjoyable stop there on this occasion.

5. Chestnuts Coffee Fundenhall (see Back to Business for original review, route and current rating)

Always a favourite destination and you are guaranteed a warm welcome. Lovely setting with plenty of room for bikes.

As well as great drinks, especially the hot chocolate that comes in 3 strengths, there is now one of the best traybake selections anywhere making choosing a difficult task.
At weekends the pizza oven is fired up if you want something savoury to accompany your cake.
A must visit café for all local cyclists.

6. Terrace Cafe, Loddon (see Damn Knees for original review, route and current rating)

Lovely views of the church from the round the back outdoor seating area where I encourage all cyclists to go although there is a smaller terrace area overlooking central Loddon at the front.

The cakes and scones are very good 
The hot chocolate is excellent although I'm told by my cycling guests that the coffee is fairly standard fair. 
Defiantly worth checking out.

7. Tea Post, North Elmham (see Lull before the Storm for original review, route and current rating)

Small cafe and post office in North Elmham. Very friendly. No outdoor seating space so hard to keep eye on your bikes.

Cakes are excellent, hot chocolate good and good range of teas that come in a fancy pot. 
Have always had enjoyable time on several visits here so a definitely worth a trip.

8. Earsham Street Cafe (see Second Opinion for original review, route and current rating)

Has been my Cake Crusader number 1 rated cafe since records begun. Situated on Earsham Street in Bungay you can wheel your bikes through the cafe to some bike racks out the back.

The cakes and scones are some of the best I have ever had and I've never been disappointed

There is plenty indoor seating or a lovely courtyard area at the back.

The coffee and hot chocolate are some of the best too.

Its a must visit for all cafe cyclists.

9. Pennoyer Center (see A Long Way Round for original review, route and current rating)
Its a community cafe with all the cakes baked by people in the village and they are always fantastic.

Today was no exception with the fruit cake to die for.

Records show that it is my most visited cafe as it never disappoints.

So that's Octobers audit complete only another 241cafes to go. Let’s see how I get on in November.

Thursday 28 October 2021

Rivers and Broads. (Dunes River Cafe, Acle)

Dunes River Cafe,


Most days (weather dependent) 09:00-5:00

It was a very bleak and windy looking day and coincidentally we were going to be heading into the bleakest and windiest part of Norfolk on yesterday’s cafe cycle ride. I had planned a tour of Norfolk rivers and Broads with a stop at the Dune River Cafe at Acle Bridge. 

The cafe at Acle Bridge has been on my cafes to visit list longer than any other as it is difficult to get to on a bike and has often been seasonal. It has also changed hands more than once and is now run by the same people who had the Dune cafe at Winterton beach before it sadly fell onto the beach.

I met with Andrew(who is notoriously hard to please) at Hard to Please House in Aylsham and as always spent sometime discussing the best clothing options for a bleak and windy, but still warm, trip into Broadland. Once cycling attire faffing was complete we set off and headed to our first river crossing at Potter Heigham. 

River action from Potter Heigham Bridge

Because of all the rivers in this part of the county there are less roads to choose from and the ones there are are often very busy. It also seemed to be international “drive on the smallest road you can” day as even the little lanes were full of cars.

Our next river crossing was at Acle Bridge where we found today’s cafe. Unfortunately there is a long stretch of busy road to get there so we were rather relived to make it in one piece although surprisingly we weren’t the only cyclists there today. Although we did at least remove our helmets whilst at the cafe.

Outside the Dune River Cafe. See if you can spot some other cyclists 

It was reasonably busy with most people opting to sit outside. There is a bit of room inside plus an overflow shed seating area which was also in use.

A prime outdoor table had just become free so Andrew settled in there whilst I checked out the cake selection and placed our order.

The cake selection was mainly tray bake and pastries in nature. I couldn’t resist the giant cherry Danish pastry whilst Andrew had a cheese sandwich (which is not cake). I wasn’t optimistic about the hot drinks as they came from a push button machine but for the sake of research I still opted for a Hot Chocolate but Andrew decided a cup of tea was the safest bet.

It was very relaxing sitting by the river watching the broads cruisers go by although it was still rather bleak.

Still looking bleak, even by the river.

Our refreshments arrived and sadly, as predicted, the hot chocolate was poor. However the giant cherry Danish pastry didn’t disappoint and scored well.

I toted up the scores and incredibly it got the same rating as the Dune Cafe at Winterton (before it fell down). Proving once again what a thorough and consistent Cafe rating system I had invented.

We were also surrounded by ducks and Andrew wanted to know if I thought he should give them so e grated cheese from his sandwich. I didn’t think that many animals made cheese in the wild so it probably wasn’t part of a ducks regular diet and probably best avoided. Anyway there wasn’t time for Animal petting as we had more rivers and broads to visit.

Our next stop was Ranworth broad. Presumably as it was half term, then the whole of the Ranworth broad marina complex was full with all moorings taken. It wasn’t the tranquil stop I had hoped for so we pushed to our final river crossing at Wroxham.

The only bit of Ranworth broad with no boats

This was the busiest of all with a traffic queue all the way through town and lots of river boat action.

With all river crossings now complete it was a final push back to Aylsham with our 50 mile bleak Broadland adventure complete and although it made a nice change it was a good reminder why I don’t often cycle out that way. 


Hot Choc Quality

Guest Hot Drink Quality

Effective Cake Selection

Cake Quality

Ambiance and Atmosphere

Café Rating







Route to be published shortly 

Friday 1 October 2021

Waterproofs on or off? (The Old Dairy, Stanfield)

The Old Dairy,


Tue-Sat 09:00-4:00,

Highly Recommended
After an interesting 18 months, what with one thing and another, then I'm determined to up my cycle cafe reviewing game as there has been much change to the local cafe scene and I have got a bit behind. 

Therefore, today I met up with Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) at Hard to Please House (HTPH) in Aylsham for a trip to the Old Dairy at Stanfield. It has previously been reviewed as the Barn and Hamptons at the Barn, both of which used to sell home furnishing tat as well as being a cafe so I was keen to see how it performed in its latest pure cafe guise.

The forecast was not good with strong winds and rain forecast as the weather had turned distinctly autumnal. Fortunately, we both had our shake dry Gore waterproof tops. It is the best waterproof I have ever had. Andrew had recommended it and as he is notoriously hard to please then I knew I was on to a winner. I have used it all through the damp spring and summer weather and remained dry.

The weather was dry when we set off but after a few miles it started to rain so I stopped by a field of sunflowers to put my waterproof on. I asked Andrew why he wasn't putting his on. He revealed that he had never used it as he didn't want to spoil it by getting it wet! As the rain got heavier, I eventually persuaded him to put it on and he reluctantly broke it in. 

About to put my waterproof on in a field of sunflowers
A little damp we arrived at the Old Dairy and parked our bikes undercover in the outdoor front patio seating area (There is a larger out the back outdoor seating area but not surprisingly it was not in use today).
Outside todays target cafe 
We obviously sat inside to keep dry. I checked out the cake selection which wasn't large but varied so fairly effective and attracted a reasonable effective cake selection (ECS) score.
Todays smallish but effective cake selection

I'm always nervous at the next part of my cycle cafe review process. The system demands I have a hot chocolate while my cycling guest/s review the coffees and teas under the guest hot drink category. However, over the years, I have realised that a cheap hot chocolate powdered drink is quite unpleasant so I now ask what type it is before ordering. If it is the rubbish sort, I just give it a standard 5 out of 10 and have a nice pot of tea instead.

However, there was no such problem here as there was an actual Hot Chocolate menu with a selection of strengths and varieties. Fantastic!

Hot chocolate menu

I opted for a Vanuatu chocolate from Malekula island as I was attracted by its cherry, lemon and white grape tones.

On the cake front it was brownie and, as Andrew wasn't caking with his pot of tea, I took some home so Mrs Crusader could help with the cake ratings.

When the hot chocolate arrived it certainly lived up to expectations and was one of the best, I have had in ages so top marks although I couldn't detect the cherry, lemon and white grape tones. It was more chocolate flavour.  As confirmed by Mrs Crusader then the brownie was pretty good too.

Top hot chocolate

Any cafe which has, and then delivers on its hot chocolate menu automatically deserves a visit and with the nice cakes and pleasant setting as well then, I highly recommend you go.

On the way back the weather couldn't make its mind up, so it was waterproofs on, just as it was stopping raining and waterproofs off just before it started again. Although Andrew didn't bother putting his on in case it got wet again.

It was water proofs off, or possibly on again

Next week I return to Terrace Cafe (see last review Damn Knees) as I forgot to have a hot chocolate when I reviewed it so need to complete the process. So pop back to see the hot chocolate update 


Hot Choc Quality

Guest Hot Drink Quality

Effective Cake Selection

Cake Quality

Ambiance and Atmosphere

Café Rating








Click here to download 48 Mile Aylsham Stanfield loop gpx file to your gps

Friday 17 September 2021

Damn Knees (Terrace, Loddon)

The Terrace,
Tue-Sat 8.30-4.00, Sun 9.30-3.30
 Highly Recommended

This may look like an ordinary knee to you but apparently it has got a degenerative meniscal tear and a patella problem. This means that this knee can’t do running and only possibly gentle cycling until it’s fixed. Sadly it’s my knee so I’m having to take it easy at the moment which is not my specialist subject. However I have been told that gentle cycling might be ok so when yesterday I got an offer of joining a ride down to Loddon I decided it was a good time to test things out and it would also be a chance to check out the Terrace cafe too, as I have been meaning to for sometime. 

My right knee

Regular Cake Crusader Cycling guest Mike had invited me to join him, and friend Roberta, for an afternoon pedal. He, coincidentally, had a bionic knee put in a few years ago so knows all about dodgy mid leg joints. He is also a qualified British cycle level 1 ride leader and has a hi viz jacket to prove it. So he was clearly in charge.

After a cold morning we certainly had the best of the day as it was a warm late summer afternoon. I was taking it very cautiously knee wise so the other two were often up the road but at least I was still going.

My fellow cyclists were often someway ahead

We soon arrived at the Terrace in Loddon which has a nice location overlooking the high street. Mike had been here before and, despite knee issues, made as carry our bikes up the steps to the terrace area. 

Up the steps with bike onto the terrace

After we had humped our bikes up a very nice chap told us they had a ramp at the other end of the terrace which led to a lovely garden area and that normally cyclists took their bikes that way. I blamed our tour leader.

The garden outdoor seating area which most cyclists use

As we had gone to all the effort of clambering up the steps we decided to stay put. Both the terrace and garden outdoor seating areas were excellent so I awarded a high atmosphere and ambiance mark.

Delightful terrace area

Next it was inside to check out a nice little cake selection which although not large covered most bases. 

Cake selection 

It was now, when ordering, I made a terrible blunder. As I haven't been able to do many reviews recently I completely forgot to order a hot chocolate and went for tea and scone instead. Later on I did investigate what type of hot chocolate I would have had and was told a nice Italian one. As I recognised it I knew what score it normally gets. So I gave it that mark and promised to come back and have an actual one soon. (I returned a coiuple of weeks later and can confirm it was an excellent Italian style Hot Chocolate which attracted a very high mark).

Mike went for a flat white and coffee and walnut cake. While Roberta had a cold drink and no cake which was no help at all. I decided to have some brownie as well as a scone to make up for  her lack of cake action.

Our refreshments soon arrived. Mike thought his flat white was only ok but we both agreed the cakes we excellent with the brownie being deceptively good. Regular readers may remember that Mike is my go to coffee and walnut cake expert. His feedback was overwhelming positive but would have liked some butter cream in the middle as well as on the top of the cake.

Today’s drinks and cakes. But where is the hot chocolate 

Overall the Terrace at Loddon was an excellent stop and I plan to come back soon to have a hot chocolate and make use of the ramp facility. I would highly recommend a visit.

Mike proposed return route would mean going back on the same road we had come on for some of it so I offered an alternative as I do like a proper circular ride. So tour leader duties were passed across, although sadly not the tour leader hi viz jacket. 

With knee starting to tire we made it safely back and hopefully it won’t be too long before the knee fancies another go.

Scores based on 2 visits

Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating


Click here to download Loddon - Norwich loop GPX file to load on to your GPS

Thursday 12 August 2021

Let the adventure begin. (Norway to Italy bike packing pilot 1 at Cromer)

Norway to Italy bike packing pilot 1

As regular followers will know me and Mrs Crusader like to have a summer adventure along a National cycle route. However what with one thing and another this has not been possible for the last two years. Therefore in 2022 we plan to super size our trip. The aim is to head to the northern tip of Europe in Norway and, roughly following Eurovelo route 7, see how far South we can get, hopefully finishing somewhere in Italy, with the target being Rome.

The original plan had been to get to the tip of Italy but thanks to Brexit we now only have 90 days before we get chucked out of Europe.

Our normal trips don’t take much organising, just download the cycle route to your Garmin, book a bit of accommodation and off you go.

However 3 months in Europe needs a bit more thinking about and as parts of it will be quite remote camping will be involved.

Bike packing has not been something we have done for over 20 years so I decided a few practice goes would be required. Therefore on Tuesday we set off on a practice trip to Cromer. We would be bringing the e-learning book to write down all lessons learned for the after ride debrief.

I put Mrs Crusader in charge of packing the bikes and she assured me she had spread things out evenly although on closer inspection I wasn’t sure how good a job she had done.

Bikes locked and loaded, lets bike pack.

After lunch we set off into the unknown and it was slow going for me unusually arriving at the top of any hill with Mrs Crusader still with me.

After 20 miles we had a break at the excellent Reepham station cafe that I had recently re reviewed (See Egg Hunt). It was a very welcome cup of tea and excellent Rocky Road and chocolate cake.

Reepham Refreshments

From here the route became more interesting as I had added some off road sections to make sure we got the feel for handling more difficult terrain while fully loaded. This did not gone down well and it was suggested going straight down the A 140 to Cromer would have been preferable. I made the first entry in the e-learning book.

Off road bits weren't popular

We arrived at our campsite and checked in. I unpacked our gear and laid it out. Some was brand new and some were old friends from 20 years ago. 

Now build a campsite

I had kept meaning to have a practice putting up the new tent in the garden but had never got round to it but how hard could it be?

Tent assembly was easier than expected

Fortunately it turned out to be fairly straight forward and within 30 mins our campsite, including light weight camping chairs, was ready for action.


Foolishly we decided to celebrate with fish and chips but as everyone is on a staycation these days then all the chip shops had massive queues. I decided to leave Mrs Crusader in one such queue while I had a nice sit down. 

Over an hour later we got back to the campsite, ate are chip supper and settled in for the evening. 

The next big test was how a night in the tent might pan out, especially now my bladder was 20 years older too. 

Not surprisingly not well as I spent the night either going for a pee or lying awake needing one. It also turned out the the world snoring championships were being held on our field with the tent next door having a real contender. In the morning Mrs Crusader claimed it was her worst nights sleep ever. Better sleeping mats, bags and ear plugs were added to the e-learning book plus the need to keep the number of camping stops to a minimum.

As I supervised, Mrs Crusader broke camp and remarkably manged to get everything packed back into the tiny bags from whence they came.

De camping underway

We hadn't bought any breakfast or cooking gear with us so no morning coffee which was another big mistake as we headed to Alysham for breakfast 90 minutes away.
I took on the key management role in getting packed up

It was a beautiful morning for cycling which reminded us of why we were doing this so, although tired we got safely to Aylsham for a mid morning breakfast.
Beautiful Norfolk morning

I hadn’t been to Biddys for several years so thought it was a good chance to refresh my ratings.

I was blown away by the fabulous cake selection and opted for a nice cup of breakfast tea and giant cinnamon bun type thing, which were both very good. Unfortunately all Mrs Crusader wanted was a strong coffee and croissant of which neither were available, so out came the e-learning book with a new section re breakfast and not going to tea rooms at that time of day.

The outdoor courtyard was very pleasant and we felt a bit more refreshed after we had had some fuel.

It may not have been the perfect breakfast stop but Biddys would be an excellent stop for a normal bike ride and it improved its scores on my last visit as well.

Once back at Crusader Towers  we reviewed our pilot trip. The cycling bit went better than expected but the camping is definitely work in progress so I have arranged another pilot camping trip next month to put the e-learnings from the book into practice as planning for next years big trip continues.

map of route

Click here to download 64 mile Norwich Cromer camping route gpx file for your gps