By Rachael Parkin
Cake scarcely tastes as good as it does after a refreshing walk. And a walk is never more enjoyable than when you know that a delicious and well-earned baked reward and accompanying steaming drink awaits you at its conclusion. Even the most reluctant of walkers can be persuaded along by the promise of an imminent sweet treat at a cosy café after an afternoon of activity.
We have compiled a list of some of our favourite, family-friendly walk and tea/coffee shop combinations that are guaranteed to please body, mind and taste-buds in equal measure.
Walk: Skelwith Loop Café: Chester’s by the River
This walk has everything; mountain scenery, waterfalls and a café which is a firm favourite of us here at The Coppermines. The walk begins at the National Trust car park in Elterwater. From the car park follow the level path along the River Brathay. The path winds its way through woods and meadows and provides outstanding views of the surrounding fells along the way before arriving at Skelwith Falls. After admiring the thundering cascades, stay on the path past the waterfalls and you’ll soon happen upon Chester’s where you have the choice of dining in their riverside café or grabbing a freshly-made cake and coffee from their new takeaway, outside of which is ample seating.
Walk: Orrest Head Café: Homeground Coffee and Kitchen, Windermere
This popular walk to Orrest Head viewpoint starts in Windermere. The walk begins at a clearly marked sign on the A591 close to Windermere train station. Follow the path as it twists and turns its way up through woodland before emerging on the summit of Orrest Head. A helpful slate plaque outlines the vista before you, naming the surrounding summits visible from your viewpoint. Retrace your steps back down to Windermere. Homeground Café is waiting for you on Main Road, Windermere and offers speciality coffee and home-cooked food throughout the day.
Walk: Boon Crag Loop Café: Herdwicks, Coniston
This relatively flat, circular walk from the centre of Coniston culminates at Herdwicks Café in the village. The walk follows a bridleway through woodland and open countryside before joining the northern shores of Coniston Water back to the village.
From the centre of Coniston take the lane which leaves the main road in-between The Black Bull and the Village Co-op. Follow the lane to the end of the tarmac and turn right to join the footpath which winds through woodland for 1.2km to an access point by the A593. Cross the road to join the bridleway to Low Yewdale. The bridleway is followed past the farm and over Yewdale Beck. It climbs slightly then descends to pass Boon Crag Farm and joins the B5285. Turn right on to the road then join the footpath on its west side. Follow the path back to Coniston. Herdwicks Café and Bistro is located on Yewdale Road towards the north of the village centre.
Walk: Latterbarrow Café: Poppy Red, Hawkshead
This four mile, circular walk through Beatrix Potter country begins and ends in the village of Hawkshead. Though Hawkshead has a variety of eating and drinking establishments to choose from, our favourite is Poppy Red, right in the centre of this charming Lakeland village. The walk starts at Hawkshead car park, following a quiet country lane for a while before climbing the low fell to Latterbarrow Monument. Here you can spend some time admiring the stunning lake views across to Windermere before descending back down to the village where cake and coffee awaits. A shorter version of this walk can be achieved by retracing your steps from the Latterbarrow Monument back down into Hawkshead.
Walk: Silecroft Beach Café: The Byre Cafe (Bootle)
Cumbria is well-known for its stunning lakes and mountain scenery. Lesser known, but no less impressive, are its miles and miles of sandy, mostly empty beaches which, at low tide, offer vast open spaces, perfect for walking, horse-riding, kiting and a whole host of other outdoor activities. Silecroft Beach, on the edge of the National Park, is one such beach. This stretch of coast is dominated by the distinctive, domed shape of Black Combe to the east and on a clear day, the Isle of Man can be seen across the sea to the west. From the car park, you have the choice of either turning right to walk north along the shoreline or left to head south. You can then walk as far or as little as you fancy before returning to your car for the short drive to The Byre Café at Bootle. There’s nothing quite like fresh, sea air for working up an appetite and this welcoming, cosy café serving home-cooked meals and cakes makes for some perfect post-walk respite.