Shrove Tuesday: Visiting Britain’s Crêperies
28 February is Shrove Tuesday; traditionally a day to enjoy pancakes filled with lemon and sugar, or maple syrup. But did you know that across the UK there are some fabulous crêperies, offering indulgent menus that might surprise you. Why not try something more imaginative this February? The restaurants offer a startling array of imaginative crêpe fillings, such as chilli con carne, or bacon, brie and cranberry. Sweet options include Nutella and banana, or melted Mars bars with ice cream.
Whether those sound like a culinary dream or a nutritional nightmare to you, there’s something for everyone. Among the wide variety of tasty options, are healthy choices and gluten free.
Susie Kearley is a British freelance writer and journalist, working for magazines, newspapers, and book publishers around the world. She does a lot of British travelling in her tiny Freedom caravan.
The Crepe Escape in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, offers a fabulous selection of sweet and savoury fillings. ‘Feta, Spinach & Tomato’ is a firm favourite, followed by ‘Apple and Cinnamon’ for desert.
Image Credit: Susie Kearley
This crêperie is located in a historic market town, within walking distance of Whiteleaf Cross, a huge chalk landmark on Whiteleaf Hill. You can walk off your meal in Brush Hill nature reserve, ascending to the viewing point, which offers amazing views across the Chilterns landscape, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Other nearby attractions include the show-house of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild; the home of Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli; and the Hell Fire Caves. Some of these attractions have limited opening in February so do check the websites.
Quick Crepes, located in Bury, Greater Manchester, has a ‘QC Bury Special’ of black pudding, chorizo sausage and French mustard. Their Mediterranean crêpe includes tomato, olives, onion, cheese and pesto. Among the tantalising sweet selection are, ‘Sugar and Spice’ and ‘Tutti Frutti’! Their ‘secret recipe’ featured on the ‘BBC Good Food Guide’ and is so highly regarded that the mixture is on sale at Harrods, Selfridges, and other premium retailers.
Image Credit: Bury Art Museum
While you’re in Bury, it’s worth visiting Bury Transport Museum with its collection of vintage buses and steam traction engines. The Fusilier Museum follows in the footsteps of the Lancashire Fusiliers from 1688 to 1968. And don’t miss Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre which offers a dramatic mix of art and contemporary sculpture.
The Crepe Affaire restaurants in London offer a fantastic selection of savoury crêpes from tasty ‘Moroccan’ to ‘Pesto Mozzarella’. You can choose ‘Belgian Chocolate’ or ‘Strawberries and Cream’ from among the sweets.
While you’re in the capital, there’s a huge choice of attractions to visit, including some of the country’s top museums,many of which are free. The London Eye, on the South Bank of the River Thames, offers fantastic views over the city, and the London Dungeons look at the gruesome history of the capital and some of its most notorious criminals. Nearby is the Sea Life London Aquarium and you can enjoy afternoon tea on the river with City Cruises if you wish!
Image Credit: iStock.com/QQ7
Visit West End theatres for shows and musicals or admire the royal palaces; there are guided tours of Buckingham Palace until 5 February. Walk through the royal parks, stroll across Tower Bridge, or see Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral. Visit the famous waxworks, Madame Tussauds or spend a few hours at London Zoo. Don’t forget the beautiful art galleries.
There’s so much to do in the city! If it’s too overwhelming, just order another crêpe while you consider your options.
Crepes and Creams in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, offers a tempting selection of fillings, including breakfast crêpes, meat and vegetables in tasty dressings, and delicious cheesy options. The sweet menu includes ‘Milky Bar Chocolate, Strawberries & Cream’ or ‘Orange & Sugar’.
Charles Dickens, famously described Harrogate as “the queerest place with the strangest people leading the oddest lives of dancing, newspaper reading and dining”. Today, you can get a feel for the Victorian way of life in the town by visiting the Royal Pump Room Museum, where you can find out about the spa treatments of the day and explore the Egyptian gallery.
Image Credit: Susie Kearley
Other attractions near Harrogate include Brimham Rocks on the Brimham Moors, and Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden. Ripon Museums include the Old Workhouse, the Old Courthouse, and the Police and Prison Museum. Nidderdale Museum looks at local history and rural life. Some of these attractions have limited opening hours in February, so do check online before you visit.
Plans are afoot to open another branch of Crepes and Creams in York City Centre, where the visitor attractions include Clifford’s Tower, The Shambles, York Minster and a variety of fabulous art galleries and museums.
The Crepe Affaire in Birmingham city centre offers the same tantalising menu as the London restaurants, with ‘Super Veg’ or ‘Mexican Chicken’ options, followed by ‘Yellow Mellow’ or ‘Bananalicious’ sweet crêpes!
Birmingham also has an abundant choice of museums including the Think Tank Science Museum; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; and The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. Historic buildings are brought to life with characters in period dress. Visit Aston Halla great Jacobean house; Blakesley Hall; a fine Tudor house; or Sarehole Mill, an old watermill famous for its links to JRR Tolkien.
Image Credit: Cadbury World
Birmingham is also the home of Cadbury World. Fans of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will jump at the chance to follow the Cadbury Story! Inside the exhibition, you can explore the history and art of chocolate making, and the manufacturing and packaging process. Walk along Advertising Avenue, enjoy interactive exhibits, and visit the World’s Biggest Cadbury Shop. There are also outdoor exhibits including the Bourneville Village, a 4D cinema experience, and an African Adventure play area.
The city’s National Sea Life Centre displays glorious fish and other sea creatures from around the world, and Birmingham Back to Back offers guided tours of 19th century workman’s houses owned by the National Trust – booking essential.
The Crepe Affaire franchise also has restaurants in Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle and Stratford. Pick your favourite location, or look up your nearest crêperie online and try something new!