Gargrave has been on a major thoroughfare for at least 2,000 years, whether you were travelling by road, rail or canal. And it still is! Doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t stop off for a cup of tea, mind you.
For years we always did just drive through, on our way to or from Settle or Skipton. But on this FancyaCuppa? tour of North Yorkshire, we decided it was time to give Gargrave a go. I’m so glad we did.
The Romans crossed the River Aire via a ford (well, this little stretch of water was nothing compared to some of the enormous rivers they crossed elsewhere in their empire). It’s a shame they don’t have any more remains to showcase still today; there is a detailed signpost by the spot, but you can’t see a lot in the river itself.
Mind you, signposts are one thing Gargrave does excel at. This one at first sight suggests there’s more to see in this village than there really is, actually.
This is my favourite one, though. It’s really for people on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal so they know how far they have to go to their destination. And the canal has been a major route east to west for hundreds of years too.
Today it’s mainly used by pleasure boats of course, but still pretty busy. According to the people on this barge (I chatted to the lady in the pink wellies), there’s even a local family who can be seen some days in period costume driving their narrow boat through the locks here. Not something we saw, but sounds a nice idea – wonder what ‘period’ that would be, then?
But, hey, this blog is not about signs or about means of transport! It’s about where to go for a cuppa once you do get to your destination.
Now, part of the reason we wanted to go to Gargrave was that as you drive through on the A65 there is a quirky looking tea room right on the main road. I forget its name and we didn’t end up going there this time because it was too busy in there and the tea on offer didn’t look as if it was worth waiting around for. (Not saying it was bad; just that it wasn’t THAT special).
So, we were very lucky to find, tucked away behind the main street, the rather beautiful White Cottage Tea Room. Quick warning here: if you’re over about 5’8″ be prepared to duck on entry or you’ll bang your head on one of the lowest front door frames I have ever come across. Makes you realise just how short everyone was back in mediaeval days, when this place was probably built.
Once over the threshold here, there’s a fantastic array of home-baked cakes on offer (sorry my camera took a dreadful shot so can’t show here!). And they have some interesting options for afternoon tea beyond the conventional tea and scones: I went for the cheese on toast followed by fruit cake.
This is a really tastefully decorated place. Quite modern feel inside, but you can tell the couple who run the place have an eye for interiors and it was no surprise to learn that both of them used to work in the textile industry over the border in Lancashire. They’ve done a great job on this tea room and I’d definitely go here again if I stop in Gargrave in future.