You may know him for his ruinous eBay Lotus Esprit, and for taking father and son drives by Mazda RX-7 or Caterham 7, but Hagerty contributor Nik Berg also runs the website detour-roadtrips.com which, as the name suggests, celebrates all things road-trip related, and recently Nik and his merry band of Detourists have identified some of Britain’s best independent roadside eateries.
“Detour exists to celebrate the romance of the road trip – to take the longer way,” says Nik “And where you pause on your journey is as important as the route itself. That’s why we sought out the best independent eateries to make your next Great British road trip even more memorable.”
Detour scoured the country to seek out the very best small, independent roadside cafés and diners. These venues won’t necessarily receive famous guidebook recommendations or become social media sensations, but that’s far beyond the point. Instead, they’re all independently owned and aimed at everyday people, with warm service and food that’s subsistent and high in quality, perfect for filling up on before continuing your journey. The full list is available over on the Detour site, but meanwhile here are five that took our fancy…
The Yondermann Café, Buxton, Derbyshire
Address: A632 Wardlow Mires, Buxton SK17 8RW
In the heart of the Peak District The Yondermann Café has been popular for over 60 years and focuses on showcasing locally-sourced ingredients, with food served in a friendly atmosphere. In addition to a huge car park, the café also has outdoor seating which boasts gorgeous views to enjoy alongside the menu that’s simple but puts quality at the forefront. Little wonder drivers and riders keep on coming back.
Ace Café, London
Address: Ace Corner, N Circular Rd., London NW10 7UD
London’s Ace Café’s history and petrolhead culture make it a standout. Near Wembley (just outside the ULEZ zone), the café first opened in 1938, acting as a pit stop on the brand new A406 North Circular Road. It was the go-to destination for mods and rockers and, although closed some years later, it is once again hosting regular bike and car meets. Visit for breakfast and tuck into the exemplary Ace sausage sandwich or a restoratively greasy fry up. The Ace is so popular, in fact, that it’s been rolled out in Finland, Switzerland, China and Florida. Owner Mark Wilsmore is the man behind the Ace, and he’s got some great stories to tell…
The Airport Café, Ashford, Kent
Address: Main Road, Sellindge, Ashford TN25 6DA
When looking for The Airport Café, it’s often easy to mistake the venue for a lorry park but you’ll soon understand why it’s considered one of the best cafes in Kent. The nostalgically decorated Airport Café really excels with its breakfast menu. It’s cheap and sustaining – boxes all no-frills greasy spoons should tick. And with the coast and Romney Marsh on its doorstep, you can make a day of it.
Harry’s Café at Fowlers, Bristol, Avon
Address: 2-12 Bath Rd, Bristol BS4 3DR
A popular venue for bikers to meet, Harry’s Café is housed within Fowlers motorcycle dealership in Bristol. The café’s ‘big biker breakfast’ challenge is particularly famous, offered free of charge if you can eat it all in under an hour, but beware the dustbin lid-like plates harbour around five kilograms of food.
The Filling Station Café, Keswick, Cumbria
Address: Crosthwaite Rd, Keswick CA12 5PP
According to the café’s Twitter, The Filling Station is a “den of iniquity, hated by the authorities… You’ll love it!” On the outskirts of the Lake District, this tiny café occupies a former petrol station, specialising American diner-style classics, with highlights including a range of burgers, hot dogs, stacks of fluffy pancakes and the occasional greasy spoon staple.
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