Hemmel Café and Craft Shop

It’s such a delight, the Hemmel up at Allenheads, and I’ve been meaning to write about it for months, so a double delight finally to be expediting this lovely task.

Amanda Noble took over the café in 2013, and she’s built a lovely business over the intervening years, expanding comfortably into the craft shop which features items from local craftspeople and artists, and welcoming an increasing stream of visitors, both regular and new.

Renowned for her cakes and baked delicacies at the counter, the café also maintains the tradition of a monthly Fish and Chips night every first Friday, as well as offering Sunday lunches from 12-3pm. The café and shop are open from 9-5 every day of the week during the high season (1st April through 30th September) but closed on Wednesdays between 1st October and 31st of March.

Clearly a much appreciated asset along the C2C route, Amanda and her friendly team have also made fast friends with the skiers at the Allenheads Ski Slope, transporting piping hot chocolate and baked treats up to the frozen run when snow brings the members flocking to the ‘heeds. The Hemmel’s website features a stunning Christmas-time photo of the place all bedecked, and it’s absolutely charming!

I spent a few moments browsing in the craft shop on through the café, and was delighted to see hand-knitted garments and scarves, a host of brilliant cards, books on local history, including the new Silver from the Allen Valleys, a production by Allendale Primary School that I simply could not resist.

Dining or café service is on several levels at the Hemmel, including the main floor, the intimate mezzanine up the stairs which features a library and lounge area, and in clement weather and sunshine, the wonderful outdoor courtyard. Just above the courtyard, from where parents can monitor their children’s activities, is the Allenheads play area which has robustly stood the test of time and the weather. Incidentally the ‘Cold-Blooded & Spineless’ trail sets off from here, and leaflets for this nature observation activity are in the café as well.

I replenished the café’s stock of the local Pocket Directory, Iteration 3.4.4, noted the free WiFI on offer, snapped a few photos in the idyllic sunshine of the warm autumn day, and quietly took my leave, revelling in the strong sense that the Hemmel is a lovely and vital cog in Allenheads life.

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