The recent flutters of snow have inspired us to pull together over a cuppa and come up with our top list of places we can get to without too much effort for a well deserved winter warmer.
Best view. The Salt Cellar, perched at the top of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury – scene of the Ridley Scott 1973 iconic Hovis ad – has sweeping views across the Blackmore Vale. Get a table outside if you can. My Mum reckons it’s the best cream tea she has had in Dorset so far.
Best for kids. Compton Abbas airfield has the unique position of being at the epicentre of an airfield! Sit on the picnic benches outside and watch the tiger moths take off with a hot chocolate and a slab of chocolate chip shortbread. Don’t go if the weather isn’t fine as you won’t be able to see anything! Open Monday-Sunday 9:30-4:30pm.
Best for coffee. The Cafe on Goldhill Organic Farm is run by a mother-daughter team whose travels around the world strongly influence their baking. Their coffee is the richest I’ve ever had and their cakes are deliciously unusual. It’s a great place to hang out and the Organic Farm shop next door has the best organic veg in Dorset. Open Thursday-Saturday 10am-4pm. Cash or cheque only.
Best in the Tarrant Valley. Home Farm is an absolute gem and you can walk or, even better, cycle there. Marlene, the farmer and owner, bakes all her own cakes, served up in a beautifully rustic barn and stable tea room. Her daughter Abigail does vintage afternoon tea if you are looking for something a bit special (£15 per person). Open Wednesday to Saturday 9-5pm. Sunday 10am-4pm.
Best for steam train lovers. And who doesn’t love a steam train?! The Shillingstone Railway Cafe is a volunteer led project housed in the waiting area of the restored station which dates back to 1863. Enjoy your cuppa and home made slice in the waiting area or in the MK1 train carriage. Open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays 10am-4pm.