Old School Coffee Shop, Grosmont
Emily Thwaite and Bill Sanderson did that change of life thing after bringing their kids up in Gloucestershire, moved to the North Yorks Moors, bought the old school building, painted a wall or two (kidding, they worked their socks off) and opened the caff in 2012.
Here’s a bit of history; built in 1846 it was Grosmont’s first school and cost 200 pounds to construct. And it was crowd-funded! Village folk contributed to building costs and paid a weekly fee for their children to attend. By 1870 there were 100 kids on the roll but the place closed in 1996 with just eleven attending.
Anyhoo, you won’t get your knuckles smacked with a ruler for not doing your times table, there’s a much more relaxed vibe nowadays, and a pleasing jumble of mismatching tables and chairs, some inevitable spotty oilcloth, lots of books and the papers. Cakes are home made and I can vouch for the savoury bakes – goat’s cheese with red onion marmalade was delish. Best of all, there’s a shiny Italian espresso machine, and Emily sure knows how to get a good flat white out of it. All this and a very pretty garden to eat out on good days, and STEAM TRAINS literally on the doorstep. When we were there, only the iconic Sir Nigel Gresley, puffing by, sleekly. You train spotters are all a-quiver now, aren’t you?