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Quirky tea rooms and cafes

From a 1930s styled tea room to a cafe overlooking a 200-year-old windmill, sometimes you want to sip your cup of tea with a side of quirkiness. Here's our pick of the best local tea rooms and cafes to do just that.

The Old Curiosity Bookshop and Tea Room, Hathern

I’d never heard of The Old Curiosity Bookshop until they were nominated in the Muddy Awards earlier this year. Run by Tina Walford, the bookshop and tea room has been open a little less than a year but is already a hit with the locals as well as out-of-towners.

The small tea room has been styled to resemble one from the 1930s -there’s original 1930s furniture, hand embroidered table cloths, bone china, silver spoons, proper napkins, a vintage book case and little cabinets filled with curios. No snazzy state-of-the-art cappuccino maker here, it’s good old fashion tea (flavoured and herbal also) or filter coffee as well as traditional cakes and scones all made locally of course.

And of course you can browse or buy from a range of non fiction books, covering everything from archery to zeppelins.

Wymondham Windmill Tea room, Wymondham 

Enjoy your coffee while gawping at an incredible 200-year-old windmill from the quaint, cafe. Partially restored, the Grade II Listed five-story tower is a working windmill and open to the public on specific days. Along with the tea room, there are now eight boutique shops onsite so you can make a real morning or afternoon exploring the area.

The pretty eatery features original wooden beams, exposed brick walls and serves breakfast and lunch. The menu changes regularly and everything is home cooked from soups to sandwiches and every last Saturday of the month, there’s a bistro evening and you can BYOB!

Tithe Barn, Cosby

In a beautiful spot in the village of Cosby, the Tithe Barn sits in the shadow of a church, surrounded by beautiful gardens and flowers.

This Grade II listed building dates back to the early 15th century and was once used as one of the many granaries within the Leicester Abbey parish. In the late 1980s, it was fully restored and converted into commercial offices and a few years later, transformed into a cafe. Lunch here is delicious, there’s sandwiches and salads but it’s the sweet chilli fishcakes and the Tithe Burger that gets my vote.

Prana Cafe, Leicester

This vegan cafe is housed in a stunning Grade II listed historic building. The exterior is polished granite and inside, your eye is immediately drawn to the original decorative ornate high ceiling that give the cafe a bright and airy feel – something you don’t often see.
Food here is 100% vegan with lots of gluten free options also available. Sandwiches are made in-house using local artisan bread and salads are made using superfoods plus, you can indulge in the vegan afternoon tea.

Stonehurst Tea Shop, Mountsorrel

If you’ve ever been to Stonehurst Farm, chances are you’ll have wandered into the tea room too. Located in the oldest part of the 300-year-old building, the main area of this family-run eatery was once a cattle shed. It then became a storage room for the potatoes grown on the farm before being converted to the tea room in 1994 – there’s still a few old iron hoops on the walls which were once used for tethering horses giving a nod to the history of the site.

Open from breakfast and lunch they have daily seasonal specials – think roasted squash and chestnut soup as well as plenty of delicious homemade cake. They use their own free-range eggs in cakes and scones and blackberries and pears from the farm in their honey and pear cake. 

Fika, Oakham
Quite possibly my fave place to eat in Oakham, this Scandi inspired cafe is quirky and cool at the same time. White walls, clean lines, silver birch branches hanging across the ceiling (nice touch). Housed in what was once a warehouse for the department store next door, the place has really been transformed and there’s even a little outdoor space where you can sip your coffee and tuck into a Scandi version of a Victoria sponge.
Food here is all Scandi inspired (of course) so think open ‘topless’  sandwiches with a variety of fresh and seasonal ingredients. Yum-alicious! Read our review of Fika here.

Café Ventoux, Tugby

Named after a mountain on the Tour de France, Cafe Ventoux really is worth visiting even if you’re not a cyclist! The decor is pretty cool too – bikes suspended from the ceiling, a classic Fiat 500 plonked in the middle of the lower floor, and if you are a cyclist, there’s a handy cycle shop next door.

With superb views of the countryside and set within a 20 acres site, it’s a brilliant spot to explore and take some pics for Instagram. As well as coffee, cake and food, the cafe has a fully licensed bar so you can order something a bit stronger too and food wise, there’s everything from salads to chillis.

Any that you think should have made the list? Let me know in the comment box below.
K x

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