Seeking solace in coffee and cake
The children are back at school and I'm looking for solace in coffee shops. I'm not distressed summer is over but am in need of a little distraction - somewhere to write and eat that isn't home. Laura and I are avid supporters of local and independent businesses and seek them out where we can. Don't get me wrong, I'm not snobby - there's always a time and place to stop at a global wide coffee depot. However, if I'm staying close to home, these are faithful favourites.
St Ives & Cambridge
You have to try the bakery gone countywide! Local legend Tom and his team lovingly bake beautiful cakes and a mean sausage roll. Sat on a busy corner of the market square in St Ives, the array of treats is vast: the best coffee and walnut cake, gluten free offerings and scones by the pile. The sausage rolls are sought after and often cause a queue in anticipation of their arrival around 10am. The Cambridge branch has a garden for when the weather agrees to you dining al fresco. Gingerbread men and cupcakes satisfy the contingent of little people and make excellent bribes, yes - I admit it, I have bribed my children with a visit to Tom's cakes.
Little Acre Kitchen, St Ives
A popular haunt, Little Acre Kitchen has thoroughly livened up the market town serving "healthy and imaginative" breakfast and brunch through to unusual and tempting sweet treats too. Milk is on offer in various forms (soya, almond, coconut). Everything is homemade with local ingredients and served by staff who have a great memory for faces. They stock local brands too such as Breckland Orchard's Posh Pop which we love. There's often a workshop to join and you can "cafe yoga" on a Saturday morning. I can hear my brother-in-law chortling out loud as he reads this - he doesn't take me seriously! Don't just take my word for it, give it a try.
The Orchard, Grantchester
On a sunny day this The Orchard Tea Garden is glorious but you can still enjoy it wrapped up un a jumper. Tucked away in the pretty Cambridgeshire village of Grantchester is an historic apple orchard littered with ageing green deck chairs. Once a popular retreat for the literary set in the early 1900s, The Orchard now attracts tourists and locals alike. Once you've indulged you can take a walk across the cricket pitch to the river and on into Cambridge. Take some change for parking and be prepared to wait in peak times, it is very popular.
Peacocks Tearoom, Ely
It may not be quite on my doorstep and I don't get there during term time but it has to be mentioned. Peacocks is a quintessential tearoom with B&B. I had Canadian visitors who couldn't get enough of the vast tea menu and homemade egg and cress sandwiches. The setting is quaint and beautifully thought out - curiosities hidden around and nods to the city of Ely. The only problem with Peacocks is that it is often full to bursting - you might have to wait but it will be worth it.
Let us know your favourite local places - we'd love to hear where you go and what you enjoy.