Monday, 27 October 2014

Cheese and Coffee - I don't think so.

Posted by Rosie

On Thursday the boys and I met up with a friend and we headed up to Cheddar Gorge for the day.  We arrived, parked and went to collect our tickets where the lady advised on the best route to see the caves, village, museum, steps to the Watch Tower and  3 mile walk around the gorge that were included in the price (which is 10% cheaper if you buy online in advance).  We wandered up through the village full of small independent tea rooms, pubs and gift shops, where we might just have diverted into a sweet shop and a cheese shop.  Well this is the home of the famous Cheddar cheese after all!  


However as we rounded the corner to the entrance of the first cave we were then met by something I think few people would expect – a large Costa Coffee shop strategically placed right by the entrance to the first cave ... and through which is the easiest way to exit the cave.

Now I have no idea how the opening of a Costa in such a prominent position in Cheddar has affected the small independent tea shops but I can guess it has not benefited them.  It also serves to take us one step closer to the total homogenisation of every town and now tourist village.  Independent shops are unable to compete with the big chains who take over, creating High Streets that look the same from north to south and beyond.  How long before a Starbucks wants a bit of the action in Cheddar and maybe then a Weatherspoons pub, a McDonalds and a KFC?  How long before I would not know if I was in Cheddar or Dovedale because they are all full of the same big names and the small independents pubs and tea shops are forced out of business? 

Suffice it to say we did not buy anything in Costa.  We supported a couple of local shops and enjoyed what we went to Cheddar for – it’s caves, the museum, the 275 (ish) steps up to the Watch Tower and a drive through the Gorge itself.

We didn’t have time to do the 3 mile walk but will save that for another trip there.  I hope on our return that we will see as many independent shops and tea rooms as are there now and that they will be thriving.  After all, I really do not think that coffee and cheese go together but as any good Yorkshire man or woman will tell you, a slice fruit cake (home made of course) and a hunk of cheese are a match made in heaven!

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  1. I can't believe this! Im glad to hear you supported local independent businesses. I like a Costa but Cheddar is a beautiful place and I'm a bit sad to see they are there really. But Ive always enjoyed a cream tea on my visits to Cheddar and Costa don't do those so the other businesses should be OK

    1. I too hope the small independent businesses can survive.


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