The time has finally come – our venture to find Britain’s Best Classic Café has officially started! Working with the Practical Classics team, we have planned a route to search the breadth of the country in pursuit of the crème de la crème. Read below to find a more extensive list and overview of the cafés we will be visiting and consider joining us in your classic, we would love to see you along our journeys.
FRIDAY MAY 5
Ace Café, London, NW10 7UD
The Best Classic Café competition is ready to roll and we start our big sausage tour with Practical Classics at London’s Ace Café. The Practical Classics team, in their classic cars, will be sampling the breakfast and meeting in the car park with anyone who wants to come along and say hello. Throughout our big tour we will have our professional photographer Matt Howell with us so come along in your classic and get snapped!
WE WILL BE AT THE ACE CAFÉ BETWEEN 9.30 AND 11am.
Story of the Ace
The Ace Cafe is a former transport cafe in Stonebridge, north-west London, which has been extensively redeveloped becoming a functions and entertainment venue. It is historically a notable venue in motorcycle culture, which originally operated from 1938 until 1969, then re-opened on the original site in 1997.
Contact: Vasilis – 0208 961 1000
FRIDAY MAY 5
Garwick Café, Heckington, Lincs, NG34 9LX
The Britain’s Best Classic Cafe competition sponsored by Footman James comes to Lincolnshire. Our second stop is at the legendary Garwick Cafe. We will be sampling the cuisine and meeting in the car park with anyone who wants to come along and say hello – please bring your classic! There will be media present along with big John Simpson and the Boston Classic Car Club…. Come and meet us. Remember, throughout our big tour we will have our professional photographer, Matt Howell, with us… so come along in your classic and get snapped!
WE WILL BE AT THE GARWICK BETWEEN 1.30 AND 3pm.
Story of the Garwick
Visitors love the cleanliness of the family owned and run business. Known for its good service and the well-kept toilet facilities, the Garwick’s gravelled parking area is spacious and has a paved disability parking close to the entrance. This long-established cafe has been modernised tastefully and offers trucker showers etc, but is somewhere you would happily bring the family. The food is great, and with sweets at only £2.20 the value is good too.
Friendly staff, newly refitted toilets – the queue of lorries at opening time at 6 am tells its own story.
Contact: Dennis Brown - 01529 460504
May 5… we’ll be staying at…
The White Swan in Alnwick, NE66 1TD
Phone: 01665 602109
In the heart of the historic market town of Alnwick and only a stone’s throw from Alnwick Castle and Gardens, The White Swan is a charming 300 year-old coaching inn that blends its unique heritage with superb accommodation.
We are looking forward to seeing its Olympic Dining Room, which has décor salvaged from the Titanic’s sister ship. Dinner surrounded by the magnificent panelling, mirrors and stained glass windows will be a high point. All the bedrooms are designed to an impeccable standard and Hardy’s, open all day for coffee and light lunches, has an excellent bistro menu.
The hotel is a great stopover for PC and Footman James on the Big Sausage tour en-route to Scotland and of course, being a Classic Lodge, it is a classic car friendly venue. We’ll have a look at the famous gardens at Alnwick Castle, then take in a traditional afternoon tea at the hotel before we head off north on the very best of the North East’s unspoilt driving roads.
SATURDAY MAY 6
Ballinluig Motor Grill PH9 0LG
The Britain’s Best Classic Cafe competition sponsored by Footman James heads north of the border, across the Forth Bridge to Perthshire and the Ballinluig Motor Grill. Ballinluig Motor Grill is situated on the main route to the north of Scotland, so it’s an all in one stop, ideally situated between Inverness in the north and the Scottish central belt. Come and meet us for a roll and a chat. Remember we will have our professional photographer with us, so bring your classic along for a photograph!
WE WILL BE AT THE BALLINLUIG BETWEEN 11.00am AND 12.00pm.
Story of the Ballinluig
Ballinluig services was established in 1970 by Clive Bridges. Today's general manager is Clive's daughter Claire and it is as popular and professional as ever. Staff friendliness, huge portions and the famous filled rolls set the café apart from the rest. It’s nearly always busy too… which is a great sign.
Contact: 01796 482212 / firstname.lastname@example.org
SATURDAY MAY 6
Alston CA9 3BW
Phone: 01434 381036
The Britain’s Best Classic Cafe competition sponsored by Footman James will be at one of Britain’s most dramatically located eateries on Saturday afternoon. We’ll be at Hartside for a photo shoot and to sample the wares so come and join us. We will have classic car photographer of the year, Matt Howell with us, so bring your classic for a photograph!!!! We will set off from Hartside for a run across the Pennines to Northallerton after we’ve eaten.
WE WILL BE AT THE HARTSIDE BETWEEN 4pm and 5pm.
Story of the Hartside
In 1934 the ‘Helm Wind Café’ was built at the summit of Hartside Pass on the A686. The ‘Summit Café’ at Hartside was re-opened in 1957, after being derelict for many years after which an application was made at the time to erect a hotel, motel, café and petrol filling station on the existing cafe site, but the plans were rejected. Applications to extend were also refused in 1959-60. However, the existing timber café was rebuilt using permanent materials in 1962, and again by a different owner in 1972 using stones from Nenthead smelt mill. At 1900 feet it is the quintessential Hilltop cafe with panoramic views for homemade hot food and English breakfast. Popular with bikers, it is a destination in itself.
Solberge Hall Hotel
Newby Wiske, Nr. South Otterington, Northallerton DL7 9ER
Phone: 01609 779191
Nestled between the Yorkshire Dales and the Vale of York, this handsome Georgian mansion is an idyllic country retreat with an open-door policy towards classic car owners. Elegantly-proportioned and individually-decorated guest rooms combine traditional charm with contemporary touches, and many rooms boast stunning views over the gardens and Yorkshire countryside beyond – where the driving roads are. The Brasserie, where the Hall’s chefs proudly produce dishes from the best local produce is complemented by an excellent bar menu. Only a few miles from the A1M Solberge Hall is a great location for your North Yorkshire road trip.
Practical Classics Yorkshire Dales Run!
Which is why we will be there ready to go at 9.30am in our classics, ready to lead the dales run. Come and join us as we enjoy some of Britain’s finest roads. Across the Pennines to the Fat Lamb Hotel Near Kirby Stephen…. And then south to Grassington and Skipton.
09.30 Leave The Solberge Hotel we take the A684 all the way to our first stop. Leyburn Filling station for fuel and crisps.
10.00 Leave Leyburn Filling station and continue along the A684 to Aysgarth where we turn right go over the River Ure and then take the next road on the left to head to Askrig.
At Askrig we turn right onto Moor Road signposted towards Muker. Once over the mountain turn left onto the B2670 and head into Muker.
We take the B2670 to Nateby and then turn left onto the B6259 signposted towards Hawes.
After about two miles at the crossroads at Pendragon Castle, turn right onto Tommy Road and take it over the tops to the T-junction with the A683. Turn left and head down to the Fat Lamb Hotel for tea and snacks.
12.00 Leave Fat Lamb. Now we take the A683 all the way to M6 at Lancaster where we say goodbye.
SUNDAY MAY 7
Oil Can Café, Holmfirth, HD91AF
Having convoyed through the Lake District, the Britain’s Best Classic Café tour will arrive at the Oil Can Café in Holmfirth for a late lunch. Sponsored by Footman James, the tour is stringing together fabulous classic-friendly cafés throughout Britain which the Practical Classics team will judge before crowning one winner. We will have with us not only an eclectic convoy of our own classics, but leading motoring photographer Matt Howell too. He’ll be there to document the trip, so turn up in a classic for an opportunity to be photographed and included in the magazine.
WE WILL BE AT THE OIL CAN CAFÉ BETWEEN 3PM and 4.30PM
Story of the Oil Can Café
The Oil Can Café is situated inside the Carding Shed visitor centre – a former woollen mill, which oozes classic atmosphere and also contains vintage clothing and classic car businesses. It was established in 2012, and the ability to browse classic cars for sale and buy vintage clothing while enjoying a fry-up or afternoon tea really sets it apart from the rest. It’s located right in the heart of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ country, but we’ll steer clear of baths and stick to cars for our trip onwards.
Sunday May 7 - evening
Bagden Hall Hotel
Wakefield Road, Scissett, West Yorkshire,
Denby Dale near Huddersfield HD8 8SZ
Phone: 01484 865330
Sunday night on our Britain’s Best Classic Café run – sponsored by Footman James and Classic Lodges, we will be staying at a handsome Victorian country house hotel. Set in acres of grounds overlooking the West Yorkshire countryside Bagden Hall has very comfortable accommodation and two dining options – but most importantly, being a Classic Lodge, it welcomes classic cars. Tucked into the West Yorkshire countryside between Leeds and
Sheffield, and just ten minutes from junction 39 of the M1, Bagden Hall is perfect for runs in the North Peaks and Bronte Country or a relaxing break in Yorkshire’s ‘Last of The Summer Wine’ country.
The hotel sits in 40 acres of secluded parkland, with its own lake. Choose between their à la carte Glendale Restaurant or more informal Norton's Bar & Bistro, and all 36 en-suite rooms, some set in the main house and some a moment’s walk away in their Lakeside Lodge, offer style and comfort befitting an elegant country house.
MONDAY MAY 8
Yondermann Café, Buxton, SK17 8RW
On Monday morning, the Britain’s Best Classic Café tour will roll in to the Buxton area and begin the day with breakfast at the Yondermann Café – reputed to offer the best breakfast in Derbyshire. Footman James are sponsoring the tour, and our professional Photographer Matt Howell will be with us, so come along and have some pictures taken of your classic. From here we’ll be wending our way towards Northampton so feel free to join us for a convoy!
WE WILL BE AT THE YONDERMANN BETWEEN 9.00 AND 10.30
Story of the Yonderman
Based in the middle of nowhere, ‘Yonder’ is an old-fashioned way of saying ‘some distance over there’, and Mann is Julie’s (the owner) maiden name and a dedication to her late grandmother. The café has been on this site for 60 years, and serves both locals and the tourist trade. It promises great atmosphere alongside great food and crucially a big carpark.
MONDAY MAY 8
Super Sausage Café, Northampton, NN12 7QD
The Britain’s Best Classic Café tour will be rolling into Northampton from Buxton, so come along and join us for lunch and a chat about classics. Footman James are sponsoring the tour, in which the Practical Classics team are visiting the top twelve cafés readers voted for in our epic round Britain voyage.
We’ll also have professional motoring photographer Matt Howell with us, so come along in a classic for the opportunity to appear within the pages of your favourite classic magazine.
WE WILL BE AT THE SUPER SAUSEAGE BETWEEN 1PM AND 2.30PM.
Story of the Super Sausage Café
Just 10 minutes’ drive from the Silverstone circuit, there has been a café on this site for well over 60 years. The café adopted the Super Sausage name in the ‘70s, and is well known for its excellent and locally sourced food. A huge carpark regularly hosts car and bike meets, and it prides itself on serving quality, locally sourced produce.
Monday May 8
Charingworth Manor Hotel, Chipping Campden, GL55 6NS.
It’s the halfway point of our efforts to choose Britain’s Best Classic Café with Footman James and we want you to join us!
The Practical Classics team roll into Gloucestershire on May 8th for a summer evening of fun and classic car banter at the Charingworth Manor Hotel.
There’ll be bar food, plenty of tea, a quiz and a chance to have your classic photographed for the magazine. Danny Hopkins, Sam Glover, Matt George, Matt Tomkins and James Walshe will be present in their own classics. So come and see us in your classic, and join us for a chat and a cuppa!
WE WILL BE AT THE CHARINGWORTH MANOR HOTEL FROM 5pm
About the Charingworth Manor Hotel
Set in the idyllic Cotswolds, the 700 year old manor house offers 26 bedrooms, stunning food and views across the tranquil rolling hills.
Oak beamed ceilings and Cotswold stone lend themselves to a laid-back atmosphere perfect for an evening of classic car chatter.
THURSDAY MAY 09
Body & Soul Autoworks Café, Cardiff CF24 5SD
All the stops are pulled out for Wales when the Practical Classics team visits the impressive Body & Soul Autoworks. We’ll sample the food and tea at their diner as part of our efforts with Footman James to choose Britain’s Best Classic Café. It’ll be followed by an epic road trip through The Valleys, ending with the astonishing spectacle of dozens of classics crossing the Severn Bridge.
WE WILL BE AT THE BODY & SOUL AUTOWORKS CAFÉ BETWEEN 13.30 and 14.30.
Story of the Body & Soul Autoworks Café
The ‘Coffee & Carbs’ 1950s style diner overlooks the workshop and offers coffee, tea, cakes and endless chatter about cars. It’s a petrolhead’s dream diner – and a meeting point for clubs and groups from across the country.
Contact: Jill – 029 2045 5682
WEDNESDAY MAY 10
Smokey Joe’s Café, Redruth TR16 5BJ
Proving we really have gone the length and breadth of Britain with Footman James in search of Britain’s Best Classic Café, we arrive in Cornwall to sample the delights of the legendary Smokey Joe’s Café. The Practical Classics team will be there for a fine lunch and a cuppa so we hope you can join us in your classic cars! Don’t forget, we’ll have our professional photographer with us, so come along in your classic for the opportunity to appear within the pages of your favourite classic magazine.
WE WILL BE AT SMOKEY JOE’S BETWEEN 12.00pm and 13.00pm.
Story of Smokey Joe’s Cafe
Well-loved by holidaymakers, truckers and locals alike, Smokey Joe’s is at the heart of the community in Cornwall, providing home cooked food to die for. There are steak nights, curry nights and events of all kinds drawing people to the café, which is located on the A30 – the very lifeline of Cornwall – providing travellers with the fuel they need when heading up country!
WEDNESDAY MAY 10
Haldon Forest Diner
Devonshire classic car enthusiasts be aware! Britain’s Best Classic Café competition tour with Footman James takes us to Exeter and the home of a fine fry up, at the very gateway to the west! We’ll be enjoying afternoon tea and perhaps a late lunch at this fine café, so we hope you can join the Practical Classics team for a photoshoot with your classic car.
WE WILL BE AT THE HALDON FOREST DINER BETWEEN 15.00pm and 16.00pm.
Story of the Haldon Forest Diner
This former Happy Eater shut down in 1997 and became derelict but was rebuilt to become the Haldon Forest Diner. Having served generations of holidaymakers heading west to Devon and Cornwall, it survives as a shining example of an independent roadside eatery.
THURSDAY MAY 11
Emma’s Café, EX14 9NE
We start Thursday May 11 at a legend of the roadside eatery, where the A30 and A303 collide in the deepest West Country. Britain’s Best Classic Café competition tour with Footman James arrives at Emma’s Café at 9.30am with a bunch of classics driven by the Practical Classics team. We’ll be driving from there to the Railway Carriage Café 20 miles to the east for another cuppa so why not join us for the drive?
WE WILL BE AT EMMA’S CAFE BETWEEN 9.30am and 10.30am.
Story of Emma’s Café
It might not look like the most glamorous establishment (it’s basically a little static caravan) but Emma’s Café is a true survivor. Many of these smaller cafes have disappeared in recent years and despite previous worries over the future, this one remains rooted to an area synonymous with UK tourism – the A303 and A30 are the main routes taken for many decades by generations of holidaymakers.
THURSDAY MAY 11
Railway Carriage Café, Lopenhead, TA13 5JH
We’re well on our way eastwards by Thursday May 11 and our target is a legend of the south of England: The Railway Carriage Café. But will it impress our team of judges in their efforts to decide the victor of Britain’s Favourite Café competition tour with Footman James?
WE WILL BE AT THE RAILWAY CARRIAGE CAFE BETWEEN 13.00pm and 14.30pm.
Story of The Railway Carriage Café
With their roots in farming and horticulture, proprietors Steve and Sue purchased the old filling station site in 1998 and turned it into The Trading Post farm shop and Railway Carriage Café. The carriage itself – built in 1887 at the Stratford Locomotive Works – was built for use on the Great Eastern lines out of London Liverpool Street. It was lovingly restored and opened as a café in 2006, seating 22 people.
FRIDAY MAY 12
Bashley Manor Tearooms, New Milton, BH25 5SZ
It’s the final day of Britain’s Best Classic Café competition and our epic journey around the UK with Footman James Insurance comes to an end with a visit the beautiful Bashley Manor Tearooms. We’d love you to join us in your classic and have it snapped by our photographer. It’ll be a chance for us to admire your car over a cuppa and a fine breakfast!
WE WILL BE AT THE BASHLEY MANOR TEAROOMS BETWEEN 11.30am and 1pm.
Story of the Bashley Manor Tearooms
Located near the world famous Sammy Miller’s Motorcycle Museum, this café is a biker’s paradise – and is well loved by classic car fans, who flock here in the summer months to enjoy a fine menu. All home cooked food with seating for up to fifty people, Sunday roasts are a speciality, with all the food being locally sourced.