Three coffee places with outdoor spaces

These past 2 years (lockdowns in particular), seem to have been pretty much held together by a routine of takeaway coffees in the rain. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends and dogs and sometimes accompanied by a rain-soaked cheese toastie or slice of cake. There has been laughter, conversation and fun whilst sitting in steamed up cars, dashboard littered with napkins and crumbs, determinedly ignoring the rain dripping from ends of noses and the scorching sensation on your tongue from the first lava-hot sip through the hole in your coffee cup lid….. There have also been beautiful sunny days at the end of a satisfying walk with the discovery of new places, or rediscovery of those I knew through exploration of newly created outdoor areas and shelters. The following 3 have been my favourites, or most regularly visited. I hope you get to enjoy them too!

Lean To Coffee, Ashaig, Isle of Skye Instagram @leantocoffee

A bit of an unexpected gem. It’s by the road and the seating area is based in a ruined stone cottage. The walls have been white washed and seating arranged by old fireplaces, with splashes of colour and repurposed items adding to the rustic atmosphere. The coffee and cake is available from a beautifully converted shipping container and both are delicious. I think there is a fuller menu of lunch items – check their lovely Instagram page for more details.

Loch Leven’s Larder, Channel Farm, Kinross Instagram @loch_levens_larder

I think I had more cups of coffee from here than anywhere and it remains my favourite place for a quick visit. You can sit on a picnic bench and watch the world go by, or under a newly installed canopied area if it is raining. I always regret not having my sunglasses with me as this place is a sheltered suntrap and can be deliciously warm on a cold day. One of my favourite memories from here is of sitting in the torrential rain, determinedly eating my way through a rapidly disintegrating toastie. The Loch path is a great walk, always enhanced by the promise of cake and coffee at the end, or break a 6k journey in half by setting out from and returning to Burleigh Sands car park.

The Pillars of Hercules, Strathmiglo Road, Falkland, Fife instagram @pillarsofherculesfife

I love the coffee and atmosphere here. It has a fabulously rustic deck that spills out from the shop and café, with both a marquee and poly tunnel utilised to create additional outdoor space over the past year. The poly tunnel, complete with fire pit and aroma of wood smoke, does look to be a slightly more permanent feature. There are lovely walks here too through the Falkland Estate and Maspie Den.