Don’t make my mistake and drive right through Aysgarth village on your way from Leyburn to Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. At least, that’s what I always used to do before I embarked on this FancyaCuppa? tour of North Yorkshire.
This place is definitely worth a stop, and not just for a cup of tea and piece of cake.
This stretch of the main A684 is right on the route of the Tour de France stage in July that runs from Leeds to Harrogate, and Hamilton’s Tea Rooms look out onto the road, so have a cuppa here and you’re perfectly placed to see the peloton flash past.
Steve and Sandra, who run the tea room and associated B&B, have got used to serving cyclists who are out to give the Tour route a go before the pros descend on Yorkshire later this year.
The blue Wensleydale cheese scones were fresh out of the oven when I dropped by recently and though we usually focus on the cakes rather than the savouries, at Hamilton’s Tea Room, it’s well worth finding out what Sandra has been cooking up in the kitchen before you make your choice.
I ended up with a pot of Yorkshire Tea too, and one of her home-made shortbreads. A great start to the morning.
Aysgarth’s biggest draw are its waterfalls. And again, incredibly, in almost three years living in the Dales, I’d never bothered to turn off the main road to check them out. More fool, me…
Aysgarth Falls are not only a wonderful sight; it also costs you nothing to stand on the bridge and watch them (unlike Ingleton over the other side of the Dales, where they charge you a phenomenal £6 for the privilege of viewing the falls!).
Our second recommendation for tea in Aysgarth is right on the bridge over these falls. In fact, from the window of the Mill Race Tea Shop, you can watch the river racing past.
But it’s not just the old mill building and the views from the tea shop that make the Mill Race special. This is the first place in Yorkshire I have ever found the wonderful English-grown tea from Tregothnan.
Yes, as soon as I saw that the Mill Race Tea Shop serves loose leaf Tregothnan, it became one of my favourite tea destinations in North Yorkshire. Their cakes aren’t bad, either. This was a rather nice home-made chocolate and Black Sheep cake, Black Sheep being the local brewery rather than some meaty addition to the cake menu…
We’ll definitely be back here as soon as we can, and I hope this blog goes some way towards helping all those crowds coming up here for the Tour de France to experience one of the highlights of North Yorkshire, and I don’t just mean the Falls. If you haven’t tried it yet, Tregothnan Tea is worth the detour. Hey, it’s still the only tea grown commercially in England, and it’s an excellent brew.