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Cafes, castles and culinary detours

Sydney, Australia
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Cafes, castles and culinary detours

Hi all,

I have just about finalised a driving itinerary, and now want to make the best of it. I believe a tea or cake stop at the right place can enrich a travel experience by a good notch or two, so am hoping to collect a few recommendations to pin on my travel map.

I did try read through the "Some really good Tea Rooms", but am finding it a bit hard to mark it up in relation to my route. Maybe it will all become easier if I keep reading and re-reading till the it all gets merged with the map of Scotland.

So the route is, Edinburgh (not staying there) to Oban. (I'm guessing the A85 ).

Oban to Speanbridge along the A28.

Speanbridge to St. Andrews

All done on separate days, and hopefully with ample time for leisurely photo-stops.

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Edinburgh
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1. Re: Cafes, castles and culinary detours

Hi!

On your way from Spean bridge to St Andrews, head off the A9 into Dunkeld. It's just a 2 minute detour, and there you will find Howies Bistro, with real coffee (not as prolific as in Sydney!) and homemade doughnuts, made to order. Amazing pit stop!

Abs :)

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2. Re: Cafes, castles and culinary detours

Thanks. I'll make sure to drop in at Dunkeld.

And judging by the TA reviews, there seem to be quite a few shops offering home made cakes in most of the places.

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3. Re: Cafes, castles and culinary detours

Tea and cakes...now you've got me started!

The Coachhouse in Luss on Loch Lomond is a lovely place (nice village too) and does the biggest scones I've ever seen.Enough for two easily.Usually good soup choices.Pricey but nice.

If you go to Oban via Tyndrum, the Green Welly looks like a big cafeteria but actually the cakes etc are pretty good.Some homemade.If you go via Inveraray ,The Tree Shop Cafe beside the posher Loch Fyne Oyster Bar does some good cakes and soup.Simple place.The Kitchen Garden in Oban itself is nice.

On Mull Arlene's Coffee Shop at the ferry gets good reviews though I've never got in yet as it's always shut! On Iona, the Argyll Hotel is lovely. Brilliant chocolate brownie . Duart Castle used to have a really nice tearoom with great cakes but I haven't been there for a while.The Carthouse Gallery at Calgary beach is really attractive with some great cakes.My husband is iffy about sweet things but even he couldn't resist their carrot cake.The Boathouse on Ulva is great for lunch - very special spot. I've stayed in Glengorm Castle, a fabulous location and they now run a very nice looking cafe.Quality place.Tobermory Chocolate Factory and The Coffee Pot in Salen are good.

http://www.isleofmullandiona.com lists quite a few options.

For a real treat, you can order tea/coffee and homemade biscuits or superb scones and cream at 5 star Inverlochy Castle Hotel, a real 'wow' north of Fort William.Very friendly staff, pricey yes...but well worth it for the stunning location and superb interior.Lovely grounds for a walk afterwards and a great view of the Ben if it's clear.Treat it as an experience overall.

Russell's in Spean Bridge gets a mention in 'Scotland the Best' for afternoon tea but never tried it.

On the A9 south don't miss the den of iniquity that is the House of Bruar. Harrods in the Highlands.The cafe is just ok and there's a pleasant walk up to a waterfall but I'd defy anyone not to buy some of the chocolate and other goodies they have for sale.Worth a stop even for the toilets.

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Loch Lomond
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4. Re: Cafes, castles and culinary detours

Ah that's exactly what I was looking for. "A definitive guide to all the cake stops in my personal route".

I'm guessing that going to Oban via Tyndrum is the logical route since we won't be getting to Waverly Station till afternoon.

I can't thank you enough, maybe except to make a vow to sample the scones at Iverlochy in your honour.

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5. Re: Cafes, castles and culinary detours

House of Bruar's Home Baking is ace and I would thoroughly recommend a stop!

Cairnie Fruit Farm just outside Cupar (near St.Andrews) does lovely cakes etc and you must visit Fisher and Donaldsons Bakers when in St.Andrews itself - its in Church Street, between South Street and Market Street, just round the corner from the Tourist Information office.

When passing through Newburgh on the way to St.Andrews (if you are going that way and not via Dundee) The Tower Bakery on the left does lovely wholemeal bread!!

Have a yummy journey - sounds like MY kind of trip!

Woody x

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Dundee
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6. Re: Cafes, castles and culinary detours

Glad it's a help! Definitely say hello to Inverlochy for me - it's a stop on our own trip north soon as it was shut for a wedding the last time we called in.How dare they!

On the road choice- there's really nothing between the two routes time-wise via Tyndrum or via Inveraray.The latter overall I find more scenic and the little town is nice and in a great location and you'll pass impressive Inveraray Castle. Also Glen Croe is lovely and under-rated.You will also avoid the often slow, very winding and quite narrow upper stretches of Loch Lomond beyond Tarbet which in summer can get clogged with touring coaches edging past each other.Scenic though and over in 20 mins.

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Loch Lomond
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7. Re: Cafes, castles and culinary detours

The Green Welly at Tyndrum is ok, but the Real Food Cafe at the south end of the village has much nicer baking and coffee as well as being a good place for lunch

I don't know what your route will be around St Andrews, but if in Fife then look out for Blacketyside farm shop and cafe east of Leven on the A915

Also, Loch Leven's Larder near Kinross has brilliant home baking

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Fife
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8. Re: Cafes, castles and culinary detours

Near Spean bridge there is a lovely cafe at the Locahber Farm Shop lochaberfarmshop.com/coffee-and-crafts.asp -it is just off the road to the Nevis range ski area.

I'd echo the recommendation for the Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum for homemade cakes - they are excellent and the Luss Coach House (its warm apple pie and orkney ice cream is tremendous)

Alternatively if you travel via Inverary the cafe at the Kilmartin museum does lovely food.

Let's face it, you are spoilt for choice!

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Nevis
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9. Re: Cafes, castles and culinary detours

Just wanted to drop in and thank everyone who made my Scotland trip (tastefully) sweeter.

I was definitely spoiled for choice and it wasn't easy to have so many cake stops in between great meals.

The full tea at Inverlochy castle was 27GBP and was definitely worth it. I'm not sure if Russel's at Speanbridge does casual tea but they certainly had some fine dinner dishes. And all those artisan food preserves I bagged a House of Braur will hopefully last for months.

What a great country. I'm so glad that I didn't try to squeeze in Skye during our limited time. We hardly had time for Mull. And for anyone else who is hesitant regarding a road itinerary, do listen to the locals and limit it to a few places.

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10. Re: Cafes, castles and culinary detours

Oh I'm so glad it all worked out so well for you! it's always great to get feedback.Everything is a matter of taste - so to speak - so good to know the recommendations re eating and travel were useful.We're just back from over two weeks touring the Hebrides and I must say, the number of eating places which offer either superb home - baking or top quality shellfish/local produce is increasing all the time (rather like my waistline).

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The Hebrides
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