Hopleys Café

The café is an adjunct to a nursery. It is set in the middle of what, according to Pevsner, is Hertfordshire’s most splendid village. When I visited, it was free of piped music and I suspect that it always is. It has plenty of indoor as well as outdoor seating under a grove surrounding a splendid Atlantic cedar. The gardens are fairly extensive and worth taking some time over. They include a wide, sloping avenue of pretty hornbeams; very much, along with the oak, the local tree.

Although I only had tea and polenta cake, they serve both breakfast and lunch-time meals and soups. The smell from the kitchen was not at all generic café, but good food!

Mérite un detour!

Café Opening:
Open from March through to December.
Monday – Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 12:30pm – 5:00pm
Tuesday: Closed

Nice Green Café at Forty Hall

Forty hall is a charming giant 17th century dolls house, set in 107 acres of grounds on the very northern edge of London (see the Wikipedia article). It is owned and run by the London Borough of Enfield. Since its construction, it has been somewhat extended and a couple of very odd windows added. Otherwise, it is perfect. Its simple gardens are ideal for stolling and contemplation. Alongside it is a farm, run by Capel Manor, the local horticultural college. This includes a vineyard that produces very good, if rather expensive wine sometimes available in its student-run farm shop  and some very authentic looking animals.

The high-roofed café is in part of what was the stables. It is pleasantly higgledy piggledy, with touches of junk shop in its decor. As well as the usual tea, coffee, home-made soup etc., they sell a selection of cakes baked with gusto on the premises. The radio is sometimes on, but is not intrusive, even to my sensitive ears.

The athmosphere is usually very calm and definitley condusive to conversation.  It has terraces both front and back, both very sheltered, one in a large, bright, partly arcaded courtyard with delightfully bucolic Jacobean looking gateway (Wikipedia says 1650, but it looks as if the maker was remembering the style of his long lost youth) . The other faces into a grove of splendid trees, foremost among which is a cedar or Lebanon that was planted in 1770. Look out the splendid mid 19th century magnolia.

It gets busy on warm weekends, and there are always a few dog-walkers and retired folk around. There are pleasant walks to be had from the house,

Definitely, a favorite, in easy cycling distance from Enfield Town or Turkey Street stations. For those with the time, the best setting off point for a walk is probably Gordon Hill station about 1½ miles via Hillyfields park and the old course of the New River.

Forty Hall is a short walk by footpath from the beautiful gardens of Middleton House.

Café open: 7 days a week. 10-4 (November – March) 10-6 (April – October)




The Moon Under Water

Large Wetherspoon’s pub with cheap food and real ale.  A pleasant walk from both Enfield Town and Enfield Chase stations.



The Dugdale Centre, Enfield

Photo of the interior of the Dugdale Centre, Enfield
The Dugdale Centre cafe and foyer

The Dugdale Centre is the Enfield Council run theatre and arts centre in a windswept location, just to the south of the town centre. A river of one-way traffic swirls past its door. Plans to improve the immediate environment have been put on hold for the time being. Much of the local populace is too wedded to their cars to allow things to be put right.

That said, although very austere on the outside, and rather industrial inside, it is the most peaceful place in Enfield Town to meet and relax. The café serves soups, sandwiches and cakes; its bread comes from a local artisanal bakery, its cakes from the Forty Hall café, Its ice cream comes from an artisanal producer in nearby Edmonton. The coffee is from Union (right down at the mouth of the Lee), and priced well below the coffee-like-substance from the chain suppliers. The athmosphere is very relaxed and informal. It also gives the lie to the idea that the outer boroughs of London are cultrually homogeneous.

The council’s archive and historial library is upstairs and there is a small toy museum.

Sometimes the place is thronged with parents and children, sometimes with groups of old age pensioners.  Sometimes it is very quiet. A surprising gem!

The latest innovation is a weekly Philosophy morning.

There is a little gift shop that has a small stock of local history books. Although it seems to  be unstaffed, you can pay at the theatre box-office.

Opening hours seem to vary. When there is a performance, the bar stays open. The website claims 8am to 4pm Monday to Saturday, but sometimes I have found it closed in the morning, and it rarely closes anything like as early as 4. I will try to find out more.



The Farmers Arms near Malvern

Traditional unspoilt village pub ( c.1500 ) in beautiful countryside near the southern end of the Malvern Hills. Friendly atmosphere free from piped music/tv/gaming machines. Hook Norton and guest real ales. Homemade traditional pub food. A gem of a pub.

The Hollybush Inn, Ayrshire

The place was really busy, with one or two effusive patrons, but the carpeted floors, small windows, and rough-hewn stone walls hung with various works of art, resulted in what in a modern city metal and glass venue would be excruciating being more than tolerable, actually pleasant. There were TV screens showing BBC news, but no audio.

I have postponed this review so long that I cannot honestly recall the menu nor what we ate, but we are fussy vegetarians and we went away sated so I think you can expect to be well-fed.

The Hollybush Inn is just north of the village of Hollybush, on the A713. In the parking area is a map of a nearby walk down to the River Doon.

KinRoss Service Station

It is quite a small place, but was piped music free both times I stopped there on trips to and from Aberdeen.
I just stopped off at Costa, and don’t have no particular view on the service station itself.

Sarn Park motorway service station

I visited this sevice station on the afternoon of 5th August 2017 for coffee and a snack. It is owned by Welcome Break.
Address: Sarn, Bridgend, South Wales, CF32 9SY.
It was clean and the staff were friendly. Above all, and exceptionally, it was quiet, ie NO MUSAK!!

George Beckmann

I recommend Cote Brasserie, 100-101 High Street, Worcester, WR1 2HW, Tel: 01905 676 177.
My wife and I have just enjoyed a quiet supper there, accompanied by excellent food.

Living Pretty, Curry Rivel

Attractive restaurant with light decoration, with a seating area of nooks and crannies and wood burners. Good food and friendly staff.