M1, Junction 22; 6 minutes
Closed Dec 25-26
Vegetarian or vegan options
Bradgate Park has an embarrassment of riches for drivers taking slight detours just north of Leicester. Its 830 acres are a wild, rugged and rocky place with deer, the ruins of early brick-built houses, ancient oaks and war memorials.
The Old Post Office Tearoom is mere minutes from the M1 at the park's western entrance, in the village of Newtown Linford. There are a few cafés in a row but this was our favourite with its lovely blue and white-painted building, cosy log-burner (winter), hidden rear garden with parasols and scented shrubs (for sunny and summer days) and super-friendly staff. It's rightly popular with walkers - dogs are welcome inside - who return for the home-baked cakes and tiffins and the changing café menu, with all dishes cooked fresh to order. The coffee, from local Leicester roaster, St Martin's, will keep you on your toes.
Drop into Watkinghams gift shop before you go, in the beautiful old stone building opposite.
Buy The Extra Mile Guide
The Extra Mile: Delicious Alternatives to Motorway Services is your essential glovebox guide to good food on the move. The guidebook is a great gift for motorists and foodies who prefer to avoid motorway services and boring, big-brand food. Find independent cafes, pubs, local coffee and tea shops and lovely farm shops near motorway junctions and main roads. To improve your journey, support small businesses and discover real local flavours, order your copy today (edition 4 published March 2023 and available now).