As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to the North Pennines, Paul Bloomfield picks out a selection of restaurants, cafés, markets and farm shops in this glorious Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the north of England.
Fresh produce is big business in the North Pennines, and there are a great many restaurants, cafes and farm shops offering up the best produce the North Pennines has to offer.
Just a little exploration will result in uncovering some truly top quality North Pennines produce, from organically-reared beef and lamb, to award-winning dry cured bacon and countless organic local cheeses, breads and even real ales - all of which has been lovingly prepared by local people who put great pride in producing the greatest taste possible.
It doesn't matter whether you visit a luxurious restaurant, a family-run farm shop or one of the monthly farmers' markets, the food is guaranteed to be top notch, healthy, and you'll have the added satisfaction of knowing that you're putting money straight back into the hands of the people responsible for producing it.
Crown at Mickleton
The Crown at Mickleton offers a range of deliciously traditional home cooked meals in comfortable, unpretentious surroundings. Open from 10am, you could even start your day with a slice of home baked cake in front of the refurbished bar's wood burning stove. Come lunch and dinner there's the chance to tuck into many pub favourites, all of which have been locally sourced and lovingly prepared. One of the favourites has to be the braised beef with Black Sheep ale stew, or the North Sea fish with handcut chips. Discerning ale drinkers will also be able to sample a wide range of cask ales. thecrownatmickleton.co.uk
Eggleston Hall Coach House Restaurant
Situated directly adjacent to the magnificent Eggleston Hall Gardens is the Coach House Bistro and Restaurant. The grand arched doorways of the converted barn offer fantastic views out over Teesdale, while the outdoor seating area is ideal for a little al fresco dining. The owners offer locally sourced organic produce wherever possible, as well as a varied brunch and lunch time menu. The restaurant itself is open for out of hours private parties. egglestonhall.co.uk
Thorpe Farm bistro and coffee shop
The newly converted bistro and coffee shop at Thorpe Farm Centre in North Yorkshire is the ideal place to pick up a coffee, a piece of homemade cake or an entire locally sourced meal. All meals are freshly prepared in the farmhouse kitchen and served throughout the day. On site you'll also find a walled garden and a heritage wood with six circular walks of varying length. If you like what you eat you'll also be able to pick up a wide range of goodies in the well stocked farm shop. thorpefarm.co.uk
Café Bowes is a fantastic dining destination, whether you've come to visit the museum or simply enjoy the café itself. It is renowned for its homebaked cakes, breakfasts and lunch menu that utilise local produce wherever possible. Breakfast offers up all manner of local goodies while, if you're there for lunch, you shouldn't miss out on the Yorkshire Rarebit of Swaledale Old Peculiar cheese or the intriguing Teesdale 'Tongue in Cheek'. Check the online menu for a list of all local suppliers used. thebowesmuseum.org.uk
The Garden Station Café
A wonderful café offering honest and delicious home cooking, which the owners like to think of as 'eco-gastronomy'! Food is sourced and prepared with the utmost care, using local and organic ingredients and avoiding waste wherever possible. The Garden Station is part of Fairtrade Hadrian's Wall, with Fairtrade supplying not only the coffee, but also quinoa, beans and sugar for the cakes. The owners also buy from smaller local firms such as Bluebell Organics and Gilchester Farms. Favourites include home made chocolate brownie and soup served with locally made, organic bread. thegardenstation.co.uk
Hartside Top Café
A bustling café found right at the top of Hartside, offering wonderful views down over the Eden Valley and beyond. Very popular with passing cyclists, you can expect nothing but the best home cook meals using locally sourced ingredients. Contact Tel: 01434 381036.
For information on local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities, see our