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

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 Victoria Pub, Beeston

The Victoria Pub, 85 Dovecote Lane, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 1JG
I don’t normally do pubs, for a great many sensory reasons, and a couple of moral ones, but this has been a regular haunt of my wife and me for many years. They do experiment with music, both piped and live, so you might want to ring before going, but it has been muzak free many more times than not.
The starters and mains are all cooked on the premises: one sees the chef in local shops / supermarkets stocking up. The afters, however, do appear a bit ‘plastic’ and are less impressive. The menu changes every day, there’s a selection of boards on hooks over the fireplace which get swapped around. This is ‘slow’-ish food, so take good company or reading material. It’s also very popular, so get in quickly once the food bit opens. Parking is a nightmare, so you might have to hunt for a space, and yes, it is right down the end of the road: when you think “How much further ?”, then you will find it.
My wife and I walk 30 minutes there and back to justify large helpings ! For those into alcohol, there appears to be a continual supply of different real ales.
Heartily recommended. Biggest noise issues: other people’s voices, and in the summer – trains ! The main line to London runs right past the pub, so if an HST at 90mph or 2,000 tons (yes, really) of coal train isn’t your thing, don’t go outside in the summer.

Ceilidh Place,Ullapool

If you’re looking for somewhere quiet in Ullapool try the Ceilidh Place. They do have music playing in the cafe/restaurant but were happy to serve us our lunch in their peaceful front sitting room (when we asked nicely!)
Their bookshop is muzac-free.


Tontine Hotel, Peebles

An elegant Georgian hotel with comfortable lounge, bar and dining rooms. They have no music before 5pm and then quiet background music. Good and reasonably priced coffee elegantly served. www.tontinehotel.com

The Cook Book

This cafe is the place to head for when visiting St. Just in West Cornwall, in the Land’s End Peninsula. It’s clean, quiet, with friendly staff, and it has a good, substantial menu at attractive prices. Also a well presented second hand-bookstore. There is also a polite notice discouraging the use of mobile phones as well, so there is double the reason to go there.

Open 10 – 5 in Summer and 10 – 4 in Winter.
Parking outside in the street, or free car park within 3 minute walk. Bus service half hourly to Penzance, from the bus station in the car park. And in summer open-top bus along the stunning coast road to St.Ives and/or Land’s End. Plus lots of superb walks in the area – and the coast path as well!

London Review Cake Shop

Accessed through the London Review Bookshop.

As well as excellent home-made cakes, quiches, sandwiches and very good coffee (from the Monmouth Coffee House), the cake shop serves a variety of teas. I had an lovely sweet Oolong, served in the correct way so that I could control the infusion process. Although I only sat and read for an hour, others had obviously settled down for longer. Some chatting and a great deal of reading make this a home-from-home.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10:00 – 18:30 (last orders 18:00).

The Munch House

A great little cafe, bang in the middle of Maidstone, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The staff are friendly and efficient, and the proprietor says he has no plans to install piped music because “the customers don’t like it”.

There is an excellent range of reasonably priced meals and snacks, and the establishment has been awarded the maximum 5 stars in the Scores on the Doors food hygiene scheme.

Edinburgh University Library Cafe

Next to the University Library on the south side of George Square, the cafe is sizeable and has comfortable chairs and sofas and quiet corners for conversations and for groups to socialise.

Open to the general public to just walk in, and generally blissfully quiet outside mealtimes.

The food is standard good cafeteria fare and the coffee is fine.

However do check the opening times on the website as they vary throughout the year.


Open every day and in the evenings during term times.
Open on weekdays during university vacations.
See the website for details: www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/accommodation-services/current-students/catering/librarycafe