View Full Version : Best Aerodrome Cafe/restaurant??

26th Jun 2003, 05:29
Ok, I'm sure this has been done before, but what in your opinion is the bestest, most superb aerodrome cafe or restaurant in the UK?

Shobdon is pretty good - excellent bacon sandwiches.

Sherburn was very good at their recent air display (complete with a lady with the biggest pair of :mad: I've ever seen!)

Netherthorpe - good

Compton Abbas was good in the 80's, but havent been there recently for grub.

Any more?

26th Jun 2003, 05:32
My duty to announce AV8 at Kemble as the best in the land.

26th Jun 2003, 05:32
The Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons is pretty good!
Helicopters have some advantages!:O

26th Jun 2003, 05:33
Abbeville - nice steak au poivre
Granville - excellent moules mariniere
Deauville - or rather Honfleur - excellent everything

England - usually just peasant food. Bacon rolls or burgers. Dreadfully common.

Rumour has it that there's a decent eatery at Kemble these days...

26th Jun 2003, 05:49
Netherthorpe, big boys breakfast, free landings for PFA aircraft, landed with a broken hot air cable, and a departing local pilot showed me her spares/tool cabinet in the hanger, said help yourself and flew off. many thanks to her if she reads this.

26th Jun 2003, 06:03
Went to Kemble for Sunday lunch a few months ago. No food available (apart from a slice of cake) at 3 pm. Might have been a one-off, but put me off :(

Like BEagle, I'm spoiled by outstanding French airport eateries.

26th Jun 2003, 06:06
I thought AV8 at Kemble was a bit pricey and a bit OTT for an aerodrome...I actually preferred the cafe that was on the 1st floor of the tower - another good bacon sandwich.


Agree about Granville - stopped off there en route to Southern France and was most impressed. Lots of authentic Gaulois haze and French bonhomie. Abbeville was not so good. Most of the flying club went down with food poisoning after a trip there in 1995!

26th Jun 2003, 06:17
The Tipsy Nipper at Glenrothes used to very good, but havnt been there in years?

Anyone know any better?


26th Jun 2003, 06:43
roterboater reckons

>The Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons is pretty good!
>Helicopters have some advantages!

I've been there...
on a motorbike...
delivering a parcel...
didn't get past the front door...
nearly didn't make the front door deep gravel and two wheels very tricky.

The teastand in the car park at Blackbushe does a decent cuppa if you're parked up in the van for a bit.

Who was in that Bulldog I wonder ?


Mike Cross
26th Jun 2003, 07:04
Post your PIREPS here (http://www.100dollarhamburger.com/uk.html) and see what others think.


26th Jun 2003, 07:32
Mike, whats a PIREP?

Dumbass question probably but couldnt find a ref to it on the site.


Speedy (also from the fine city of Pompey)

26th Jun 2003, 17:53
Why is it that all the places people are listing are those places where, every time I try to get there, the weather or an aircraft problem prevents it? :confused: :rolleyes:

Speedy - PiRep = Pilots Report. You'll see it used lots around here.


26th Jun 2003, 18:08
Rochester I hear has good food of a French persuasion :ok:

26th Jun 2003, 18:16
Flying Welshman wrote:-

The Tipsy Nipper at Glenrothes used to very good, but havnt been there in years?

Anyone know any better?


I can confirm it still is.


In Altissimus
26th Jun 2003, 18:43
Crab & Lobster at Bembridge gets my vote so far in the UK. A very pleasant stroll from the airfield, and pleny of great seafood when you get there.

Have to agree with BEagle about Deauville/Honfleur though:D

26th Jun 2003, 18:48
The food's not bad at AV8, but it is a tad on the pricey side and although the decor is very trendy, I can't help feeling it's a bit out of place for an airfield cafe :cool:

Long Briefing
26th Jun 2003, 19:02
Try Shoreham.

Nice art deco terminal with reasonable restaurant.

Alternatively, if you fancy a short walk. Follow the river towpath downstream to the road bridge and cross the river there. You will then be in Shoreham town centre which apparently has more pubs per square mile than any other town. Its then a matter of take your pick.

Blind lemon
27th Jun 2003, 01:46
In my experience I have found good airfield cafes at
the following

White Waltham
North Weald
Old Buckenham
Swanton Morley
Old Warden
Compton Abbas


27th Jun 2003, 03:39
The Aviator at Gloucestershire Airport does a cracking breakfast.

27th Jun 2003, 04:47
2/6/85 My first visit to the White Heather at Kikrbride.
Never had a disappointing meal in the scores of visits since.
Try the beef and sherry trifle, then crash out on the lawn for an hour or so.

27th Jun 2003, 10:22
New Catering staff at White Waltham. New greatly improved menu and attitude. Well worth a visit. Still early days but if the first month is anything to go by you will have to watch weight and Balance

27th Jun 2003, 17:12
New Catering staff at White Waltham. New greatly improved menu and attitudeAnd new improved prices, as well. 1 for a can of Coke? :eek: :rolleyes: Have to agree that the menu is pretty good, and the food is very nice, though.


28th Jun 2003, 04:43

At least in food terms they offer good value for money. I look forward to seeing you supporting them in the new "bistro". Look what the quality/attitude was like when the can was 80p. I willingly pay the difference for the much better product. Bit like aviation, you pay for what you get.


29th Jun 2003, 02:36
Any of Chris Gurney's fly ins at Northrepps - excellent scoff and a friendly welcome - sorry Chris, the Zlin has gone so I won't see you this year.
Other than that;

Breighton - bacon butties

Netherthorpe for lunch (make sure the chef isn't grumpy though !)

Glenrothes - excellent

Barton - good all round food for Lancastrians !

Bagby - only on a Monday !

29th Jun 2003, 13:15
Blind lemon Excellent 'heart atttack on a plate' all day breakfasts at Old Buck (is the giant haystack still under the approach?) but sadly the cafe at Swanton is no more.

Moving swiftly West there is reasonably good nosh at Haverfordwest and a friendly atmosphere. Compton Abbas also gets a :ok: for food and atmosphere but Popham has the best hotdogs in the land :ok: :ok:

Specialist Flying's place at Sandown had a good fry but I haven't been there for a few years.

Agree with Keef and BEagle re: Honfleur. The multi tiered seafood platter complete with toolkit for extraction of dead things from shellls was an experience not to be missed. Marvellous.

29th Jun 2003, 19:29
It's a shame about Kemble. Beautiful airfield, very welcoming management and FIS, beautifully appointed restaurant, with good views over the airfield, nice menu, acceptably well prepared by the kitchen, all spoilt by two things:

1) Exceptionally grumpy and/or inefficient staff, including one barman who clearly hates his job and considers the customer an irritation whose sole purpose is to wreck his day.

2) Too short serving hours. I, like an earlier poster, have turned up at 2.45, with a ravenous 12 year old who has been promised a slap up lunch to be offered nothing but cake. I pointed out the sign that offered "all day breakfast" and was told that that only applied while the kitchen was open.

For all its promise, AV8 is actually the weak link at Kemble.

Great shame!

On a wider point, I wonder why the standard airfield restaurant in France can provide good (eg Le Touq) to excellent (eg Deauville) food, and fill all their tables every weekend day, yet there is a perception that Brits will be satisfied with bacon butties and luke warm shepherd's pie.

I was actually thinking of taking the family out in the Aztec for a nice lunch today, but could think of nowhere (except maybe The Propellor at Bembridge, and that's pretty naff) this side of the channel which would be nicer than just going to the Cafe Rouge in town. (Couldn't cross the water cos the school's got 12 year old's passport for copying before school trip.)

On the whole (and I know this is a generalisation) pilots are better than average heeled, and have some discernment, so why do we not create a market that enterprising restauranteurs want to satisfy. Yotties get pretty well catered for.

When you look at the average provision (say Fairoaks, Biggin or Halfpenny-WolverbloodyhamptonsocalledBusinesssocalledAirport-Green) it's really pretty awful, much like you would have got in a motorway service station twenty years ago before they got their act together and realised that there is a market for reasonable food in this country.

Sorry. I've gone on a bit, haven't I!?! But my tummy matters to me.;)


29th Jun 2003, 19:51
WRT Blackbushe - the caravan is gone and the "old" clubhouse is open again with tea/cakes etc.

Excellent points WC. ;)

AV8 Kemble - every time I have been it has been lunch at noon(ish) - but the 1400 closing of restaurant is not too different from the average pub in the UK -- which I have always found rather bizzare...

Surely the automatic taps in the AV8 bogs are sufficient entertainment for any 12 year old - who needs food? :)

29th Jun 2003, 23:29
Sleap - bacon sandwiches. Bacon and stilton sandwiches. Bacon and brie sandwiches. Bacon and some other things I can't remember sandwiches. Plus a host of cooked breakfast variants and many other delicious-looking meals.

30th Jun 2003, 17:59
Plus a host of cooked breakfast variants Including bacon, by any chance? ;)


30th Jun 2003, 20:23
One reason why LTQ and Deauville are good is beacuse the locals go there. How many people do you know would go to the local airport for lunch?

30th Jun 2003, 21:08
Surely the automatic taps in the AV8 bogs are sufficient entertainment for any 12 year old - who needs food? 12 year old? WASH??? :p One reason why LTQ and Deauville are good is beacuse the locals go there. How many people do you know would go to the local airport for lunch? But isn't this just a question of marketing? People will get in their cars and go to Beefeaters and Harvesters, why wouldn't they go to a decent restaurant properly run?


30th Jun 2003, 21:25
For you fish chips and mushy peas afficianado's, read on -

Clacton - a very pleasant 15 min. stroll to the pier. Best fish and chip shop in Clackers: - walk away from the pier entrance and cross the main coast road. Its down a few steps. Eat in or takeaway.

Cromer - A 3.50 taxi to the pier. Dressed Cromer crabs at 3.50 each (bring your orders and cool box).

Best fish and chips in Cromer/ whole wide world is the one with the big queue outside (ask the taxi driver for the name I didn't take any notice) but apparently it pipped Harry Ramsden to the Egon Ronay (or something like that) fish and chip prize recently.

Absolutely scrummy and - wait for it - as cheap as chips!

A word of warning about Cromer - the strip is less than 500metres and is on a slope - check your guide. Very pleasant/ helpful owner in the club caravan - limited parking - 5 landing fee.

For anything other than fish and chips or a lardy-git breakfast you do indeed need to cross La Manche in my opinion.



30th Jun 2003, 22:09
When you look at the average provision (say Fairoaks, Biggin or Halfpenny- WolverbloodyhamptonsocalledBusinesssocalledAirport

Good news, When I was at Wolverhampton last week, the cafe had closed down, only crisps and thing from a machine, so the food has improved at least!

30th Jun 2003, 22:24

I was at Blackbushe yesterday, and it's still teas, coffees and hot-dogs in a little tent outside (a step on from the caravan).

I was told that Margaret will not be back and that the Biggles Bistro will be in new hands from sometime this week. Hence all the decorating.

So, we wait with baited breath to see if the food will be Haute Cuisine at White Waltham style rates or earthy food for one and all (or maybe even earthy food at WW style rates).

1st Jul 2003, 01:01
rotorboater When I was at Wolverhampton last week, the cafe had closed down, Yeah, well, you wouldn't expect a BUSINESS AIRPORT associated with a MAJOR CITY to have any catering wud'ya? :}

One day they'll go away and give us back our dearly beloved Halfpenny Green


1st Jul 2003, 03:39
As I started the thread, surely its my privelage to go off topic for a bit:ok:

As we are currently talking about 'Wolverbloodyhamptonwhat'sitcalledthisweek' airport, Is it true that the owner named it Wolverhampton Business Airport, so he could get an NDB installed with WBA as callsign, as he is the unfortunate saddo who owns West Bromwich Albion footie club?:sad:

Anyway, back to the menu....................

Forgot to say that Haverforwest was another favourite cafe of mine, together with Ipswich, (Sadly no longer with us) well known for its cherry pies in the early 80's. Every Sunday, we used to get somebody to fly there and collect two whole pies for our own flying club tea!


1st Jul 2003, 04:00
:confused: woverhamptonbuisnesswhatsitmcallit........... but its next to Kidderminster??? its miles from Wolverhapmton.....

:confused: :confused: :confused:


1st Jul 2003, 21:15
Harris Ranch in California - they just serve the cow up on a plate!

Hard to spot as its in the middle of the desert, we found it because the instructor had it in the GPS (and they go there quite a bit!).

Wouldnt recommend it until you have a few hours under your belt though. Once you get there its like trying to land on your Grandmas garden path!

wet wet wet
2nd Jul 2003, 01:25
Fife/Glenrothes gets my vote.

BTW hear that Wolverhampton Business Airport is to be renamed as Wolverhampton BIRMINGHAM Airport!

2nd Jul 2003, 01:37
hear that Wolverhampton Business Airport is to be renamed

Where did you hear that?

I thought Birmingham was going to be London Birmingham Airport anyway :p


2nd Jul 2003, 05:02
Netherthorpe.....(but then I'm biased as it's hombase;) )

I agree with BEagle - Honfleur/Deauville.
Will be there in a couple of weeks time. A friend has a little cottage that backs onto Deauville airfield (used to be the local Luftwaffe Commandant's billett in WW2) and so we are whizzing over in a Commanche for the weekend.:cool:

surely not
2nd Jul 2003, 05:38
Shoreham seems to get its fair share of locals in for Sunday lunch. Plus they have musical evenings to attract flyers and non flyers alike.
The food is reasonable without being special. Probably had the worst pasta dish ever there about a year ago, but seems to have improved of late.

2nd Jul 2003, 06:47
Got to agree about Netherthorpe. A mate of mine got a trial lesson there for her birthday a couple of weeks ago, and while she was up in a 152 I managed to polish off a couple of chip butties and a pint, not something I've ever done at an airfield before as I'm usually flying! :ok:

Gamston used to have a decent selection, but I'm going back a good ten years oon that. Don't know what it's like there now.

2nd Jul 2003, 15:46
Lomo de cerdo con patatas fritas y mahonesa used to be excellent at the Aero Club San Luis, Menorca.

Has Wolverpennyhamptongreen Intergalactic Spaceport really no catering facilities at all? How ridiculous for an alleged 'business airport'. Something better than dead pig and egg all-day breakfasts surely needed for the 'Berrmigoom business folk' they're hoping to attract?

As it's in the heart of 'Tum te tum te tum te tum' territory (Archers aficionados will recognise the tune), why not 'Ambridge International' - or 'Borchester Airport'?

Mike Cross
2nd Jul 2003, 15:55
Or for the adult Archers fans:-

Rumpy pumpy pumpy pump, rumpy pumpy pumpy

(That's more than enough rumpy pumpy for this hour of the day!)


2nd Jul 2003, 16:33
There seem to be very diverse views on what constitutes "good".

For me "good bacon butty" is an oxymoron.

I would have thought that it should be possible for these cafes and restaurants to serve up something reasonably nutritious and palatable, if not the haute cuisine that the French consider acceptable.

Am I really on my own in thinking that even the "good" airport restaurants (of which there are few enough) are way below the standard of the average high street, or even motorway service stations and airports?


Mike Cross
2nd Jul 2003, 16:58
"Good" is very subjective. If you really feel like a cholesterol laden fry-up or a curry then Salade Nicoise just isn't going to hit the spot.

Of course you can have a good bacon butty, just as you can have a great steak sarnie (have a look at Jamie Oliver's recipe). What it takes is good ingredients, well prepared and presented.

Unfortunately ingredients have become commodities, to be sold at the lowest price, which is why our supermarkets are filled with bacon and ham loaded with water and phosphates, fruit which has not been allowed to ripen naturally, processed foods full of sugar salt and starch and bread that has been steamed rather than baked.


3rd Jul 2003, 00:41
Of course you can have a good bacon butty, just as you can have a great steak sarnie (have a look at Jamie Oliver's recipe). What it takes is good ingredients, well prepared and presented.

Mike Cross
Representing AOPA in all food-related matters :rolleyes:

3rd Jul 2003, 00:48
2Donks put a gourmet guide to aviation on his website a couple of years ago, and it acquired a few entries. Mostly in France, as I recall.

I don't think I've ever had what I could call a good meal at a UK airport. I've had some that were edible, and some that were dreadful (and left uneaten).

L'Escale at Le Touq suits me fine, and I've eaten well at Reims Prunay, Deauville, Rouen, and quite a few others in that country. A different scale of measurement altogether.

3rd Jul 2003, 00:51
Rustle, I fear you're not taking this vital safety matter seriously. How is a pilot supposed to fly on an empty stomach? Or worse, on a stomach full of bad ingredients? Good luck to Mike in his new role for the AOPA! ;)


3rd Jul 2003, 03:02
Lomo de cerdo con patatas fritas y mahonesa used to be excellent at the Aero Club San Luis, Menorca.

Sadly, BEagle, these days the Aero Club seems to be in a fairly poor state. They tried boosting it up and getting some tourists in a few years ago by doing, I think, Go-Karting but when I flew from there a few months ago it was SERIOUSLY run-down and as dead as a dodo. The good news, however, is that the word on the street is that the Spanish government is going to give them some cash for a new runway. :D ;) :D ;)

Back to the topic: ;)

Flew into Rochester a few weeks ago and despite all the promises of the 'New French Cuisine' etc etc - I'm sorry to say, I wasn't that impressed but maybe it was just an off day. . . . People who run it were, however, very friendly and seem keen on improving things so I guess it's a case of watch this space. . . . .

3rd Jul 2003, 17:44
Sad to hear that. But my experience was some 25 years ago, I guess. San Luis aerodrome would make an excellent GA aerodrome for the Baleares and a cash injection (presumably using our EU hand outs!) would be very welcome. The lady who ran the kitchen made her own mahonesa - it didn't come from a jar - and it was the best there was!

Plus, of course, if you could get a 737 in to San Luis, then perhaps RyanAir would be interested.....

Blind lemon
3rd Jul 2003, 22:17
WCollins, Zlin526

Totally agree. Halfpenny Green had a certain ring to it. Had my first trial lesson there many years ago

Rumour is that Cosford is being considered as a local commuter airfield for Telford and Wolverhampton. Where would that leave WBA. Like its namesake ......relegated.

Harbour Rat
4th Jul 2003, 03:28
Are we supposed to call them Woolfinghampton or do they still respond to 1/2penny Green?

4th Jul 2003, 05:44
I was working LARS this morning , had 2 strips on same aircraft so decided to check which flight he was actually on.

" G-**** confirm if you are flight to Halfpenny Green"

"negative" was his response " we are enroute to Wolverhampton"

He hadn't a clue that they were one and the same place.

Do i now feel old or what !!!!

4th Jul 2003, 07:12
My biggest gripe with "WBA" is not the ridiculous pricing, nor the revoltingly rude and aggressive airport manager, nor the swill in the (happily now defunct) cafe.

My biggest gripe is a conversation I had a few years back, maybe six months after they changed name.

"Halfpenny Green this is G-xxxx"
"Halfpenny Green, G-xxxx, do you read?"
"Halfpenny Green G-xxxx transmitting blind, Aztec from Fairoaks to Liverpool five miles south at 2500' VFR will be passing through your overhead in two minutes"
"G-xxxx This is Wolverhampton, are you trying to contact us?"

I am sorry, but this is worse than stupid and petty...it's downright dangerous. I wish now I had filed an MOR.


4th Jul 2003, 14:14
And Halfpenny Green sounds so delightful whereas Wolverhampton..........

It speaks for itself :mad:

Blind lemon
4th Jul 2003, 21:26
Its amazing how really good airfields fall from grace so quickly.
Obviously many have a grip with WBA and it looks as though Sywells following suit by all accounts.

4th Jul 2003, 22:41
You want the best cafe:

Wellesbourne Mountford (The Touchdown Inn) Superb breakfasts, lasagne etc! Ok so its not the savoy, but i have never tasted such a good sausage and egg sandwich!

Give it a try! mmmmm... must go back soon

Been to shobdon, and they are good but EGBW just seemed to come out tops.

Although Sywell is top of my list for the nicer joint....

727 exec
5th Jul 2003, 02:49
I was interested to note that London's Premier Business Airport (aka Biggin on the Bump) has decided to continue to offer the very, very highest level of service to it's customers - by closing the terminal cafe on Sundays.

Standby for the installation of a coffee and crisps machine.


5th Jul 2003, 04:15
727 Exec

I think I can understand the decision. The vast majority of users of Biggin don't go over to the terminal, they are based on the East side of the runway, where the schools, hangars, shops, maintenance facilities and so on are. There is a (reasonablish) cafe over there. I don't know its hours of operation, but I guess it must be busiest on weekends.

OTOH, the relatively few people who pass through the terminal are, well to coin a phrase, the 727 Exec jocks ;) . As has been discussed rather vehemently on another thread, the jets and executive aircraft are very much in the minority at Biggin, and most days the cafe is really very desultory, with maybe two or three pilots hanging around the large lounge, with a fireman popping in every so often for a bun and a chat.

In my days as an exec jet pilot we definitely worked less on Sundays, and I imagine that the same is still true. Thus I would imagine that the cafe does even less well then. As wages are more on Sundays, I can see why the decision might have been made.

Maybe The Mad Controller will jump in and tell us from the management point of view.


5th Jul 2003, 09:13
No-one's mentioned Sandown and it's cake and a cuppa - sit out in that gorgeous seabreeze and enjoy.

Can confirm Wellesbourne's super reputation, friendly, good value.

IMHO changing Ha'pny Green's name was as sacriligeous as if they were to tear up the pitch at Hartley Wintney (?). Lovely names that roll off the tongue is what I'm at...

It ain't UK by a long chalk (we did our very best) but has anyone been to Egelsbach since they rebuilt the terminal into one of the best restaurants in the Frankfurt area? I took the family on Monday, great meal, great service, professional, ambience. Live music Fridays, upstairs bar, it's become one of THE places to take your loved one of an evening. Now THERE'S a suggestion for a long weekend.

We took the JU-52 back to Frankfurt (yawn)...

but it just ain't Sandown, on a sunny breezy day....sigh..!

(wonder what the restaurant at Woodley was like...?)

5th Jul 2003, 14:12
Anybody been to that place in Germany (I think) where they used to publish the menu in the AIP and/or Bottlang. You give them a call 20 mins before arrival and the food is waiting for you by the time you arrive. Sounds cool. Dunno whether or not it was urban myth though..


SATCO Biggin
7th Jul 2003, 17:52
WCollins , 727 Exec,

The main reason for the reduction in Cafe service at Biggin is (believe it or not) increased security !

With security issues becoming increasingly more demanding the airport management is about to introduce a 'no public allowed' policy in the terminal building. Management viewpoint is that the corporate sector requires higher levels of security so Mr and Mrs Bloggs and their screaming kids will not be allowed in. This means that the running of a cafe becomes totally unprofitable. It also means I have to start bringing packed lunches into work !

..and yes the obvious vending machine theory is being investigated to supply the needs of the few individuals who will need some sort of eating and drinking facility.

The only other food outlet is on the other side of the airport, and although I never frequent the place I am told it is like a transport Cafe. Probably not the sort of place I would like to take my passengers.

Looks like we have a vacancy for a decent 'eatery' at Biggin.



7th Jul 2003, 20:51
In response to The Mad Controller, I have to say that while 'Scrambles' (the cafe over by the flying schools at Biggin) does do a decent cuppa and a nice all-day breakfast it does look incredibly shabby.

I'd describe it as 'early 1960s Transport Caff' - it looks like it's not seen a decorator for at least forty years. It's not even got heating, in winter they have calor gas heaters like you see outside pubs!

I stop there before a flying lesson for a tea and an all-day breakfast fryup. Works for me. But you wouldn't want to take punters there. I wouldn't want to take most of my friends there!