A68, Junction Lauder; 9 minutes
Vegetarian or vegan options
Just off the A7 and a short but beautiful moorland road away from the A68, the Cloudhouse Café, with its striped awning and glowing windows, stands in the centre of the pretty town of Stow. The building has had various lives as a grocer’s and bakery (the delivery horse was once stabled in what is now the kitchen), but now it’s Caroline’s domain where she and her friendly team serve hearty country dishes amid a collection of local artwork. Full breakfasts might come with duck eggs, bread is freshly cooked and vegan dishes are frequently seen on the menu.
The atmosphere is familiar and there’s a play area to keep kids entertained. Cushions soften pew bench seats, upcycled tables are painted in earthy tones and on sunny days tables are set out on the pavement next to pots of lavender. Browse the gallery at the back for a souvenir art piece, pick up a trinket from the counter or a holiday read in the book exchange. It’s popular with cyclists (thanks to those wavey moorland roads); a bellwether of good cafés if ever there was one.