In a desperate attempt to grab what could well be the first - and last - week of the British summer, some friends and I cycled from Oxford to Uffington, in the Vale of the White Horse. I was looking forward to this trip as it'd mean I'd achieve a few firsts: seeing the White Horse up close and personal; cycling with all my camping gear; and eating cream teas at a campsite.
Firstly, I'd recommend the cycle ride. It's not far from the outskirts of Oxford - 18 miles - and there are a number of pretty villages and nice pubs en route. Take note though: if a friend is willing to drive behind you, Tour de France style, with all the camping gear don't turn them down! Sadly for me I didn't have that luxury, but using that extra energy gave me even more of an excuse to tuck into a cream tea. (We'll gloss over the pub stops and Haribo consumed along the way!)
As we cruised into the campsite at Britchcombe Farm we caught sight of the all important 'Teas this way' sign. As every camper knows, when there's cream teas to be had and pitching of tents to be done, there's only going to be one winner: cream teas. We were enticed into the outhouse-cum-cafe by a large banner of the Queen and a plentiful supply of Union flag bunting.
At first glance things looked good. We'd seen a fresh supply of scones being delivered from the kitchen. They were a good size and looked tasty. We therefore decided to opt for the large cream tea, complete with two plain scones. It was supplied with strawberry jam and cream (not clotted I hasten to add, although - on a positive note - additional cream and jam was supplied at no extra cost when requested).
I scoffed my way through the first half of my scone before realising how dry it was. In fact, upon cutting them the scones lost their majestic shape and fell apart. Undeterred, I piled on extra cream and strawberry jam, but I still ended up leaving half a scone; I just couldn't face it. My initial hunger/greed had been eclipsed by a realisation that I was eating a heavy, dry scone.
The only other thing left to comment on is the tea, which was your standard English breakfast brew. I liked the shiny silver teapots as the bunting reflected nicely in them. (Clearly I will not give extra marks for this fact.)
So, what does this cream tea score? With each bite my score dropped and dropped, until I eventually decided to settle on a 4 / 10. The price was good (£4.80) as was the location, but the cream tea itself - the main event - just didn't live up to expectations. If I was passing by again I would carry on cycling until I got into Uffington village centre to enjoy the delicious food at the Fox and Hounds pub.
One tip: if you decide to do this trip, pitch your tent before eating the cream tea. The campsite's on a slope, so you may find yourself sleeping at 45 degrees if you don't bag a flat pitch! After a sleep-free night in the tents (which my friend quoted as "the worst night's sleep of my sleeping career") we were fresh as an old daisy, and decided to go for a little stroll up the hill to see the White Horse itself. The view was incredible, I hope you enjoy the photos!
Before that, a small and shameless plug for my friend's camping website; if you're planning a visit to a campsite then Camping Ninja is the website to visit!
Happy scone eating,
The Cream Tea Queen