Granted, it’s some time since we visited Goathland Tea Rooms in North Yorkshire but that doesn’t necessarily matter.
The reason it doesn’t matter is because it’s one of those places which seems to defy time itself. Like Goathland. This is the place where they shot Heartbeat and used the station there as Hogsmeade in Harry Potter.
For those who choose to venture out into the mist-shrouded hills of North Yorkshire, it really does feel as though you’ve gone back in time.
We found ourselves there in April (before the sun started shining non-stop, if you can remember that far back), so it was still a bit drizzly and the sky was a canvass of interminable grey. We had taken the utterly pleasant, bewilderingly English North Yorkshire Moors Railway, with its vast, wood-panelled carriages and uninspiring refreshments cabin. It rattles its way through some of the most majestic views you are ever likely to see. It runs all the way from Whitby to Pickering but we had only time to get to Goathland and back, which was fine, because we got to visit the tea rooms, which are wonderful in every way.
But before we get to that, there’s the walk from the station, which is firstly up hill, then along a long road and past an olde worlde mechanic’s garage which is now a shop and was full of Japanese tourists when we arrived.
The road in looks as bleak as you like. Sheep roam freely, clipping the endless dew-drenched grass verges and eyeing you with utter nonchalance as you amble past in lockstep with the rest of the tourists. Partly, it looks like one of those ‘idyllic’ country scenes from a Wallace and Gromit film. Yes, this version of England does still exist.
Which brings me to the tea rooms, which are glorious, quirky, replete with staff and have a menu more extensive than I would imagine, offering freshly made sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, hot buttered crumpets, scrambled egg on toast (have I gone to cafe heaven?), beans on toast (I have), there’s a full English, jacket potatoes, quiche, soups and salads and some paninis at the back end., all of them mostly around the £5.99 mark. Then there’s the cakes and scones etc. All the things we idolise, really, on such a day out. I settled for some cheese and ham sarnies and a pot of tea, my partner and children tested the soup and tuna sandwiches. All told, the bill came to £30.55, so very reasonable. Service is no-nonsense and efficient.
The cafe is ‘nestled’ at the far end of a short row of shops, one of which sells pricey (but good quality) outdoor clothing and tourist gifts. It was such a pleasant day out and the cafe was the icing on the cake.