Whether you’re a ‘staycationer’ sampling one of Coombe Abbey’s award-winning boutique hotel rooms or luxury afternoon-tea packages, a day-tripper dipping into the site’s 500-plus acres of beautiful Warwickshire parkland, or a family of thrill-seekers embarking on a tree-top adventure with Go Ape, it isn’t hard to see why Coombe Abbey Park has earned itself a reputation as one of Coventry’s top visitor attractions in recent years. 

Bosses at the park have now added yet another string to their already impressive bow with the opening of the Sundae Club Dessert Diner and the Artisan Food Market. 

Conveniently located within Coombe Abbey Park’s newly remodelled visitor centre - just a short distance from the venue’s popular family walking trails, play area and wildlife conservation site - the stylish, 1950s-inspired diner & takeaway comes complete with a child-friendly menu of irresistible sweet treats. These include freshly toasted waffles (£6.50) - available in a variety of flavourings, from caramel shortcake to Canadian maple syrup - sweet crepes (£5.50), 13-plus varieties of Kelly’s ice cream (served by the scoop and starting from £1.95), classic shakes (£4.25) and American-style sundaes priced at £7.50 each. 
Granted, tucking into an ice-cream might not be the first thing you’d think of on a cold midwinter’s afternoon in Coventry, but don’t let that stop you; the Sundae Club’s small but perfectly formed menu has something for all seasons and to satisfy every variety of sweet tooth. 

Settling into my stylish surroundings, the vibrant interiors - complete with neon-signage, ’50-style menus, retro cobalt blue booths and quirky vintage detailing - quickly banished all thoughts of the winter blues, as families, dog-walkers and day visitors alike took refuge from the cold before heading off on their afternoon woodland walk through Coombe’s stunning grounds.  

Having wisely skipped breakfast for the occasion, I considered myself well prepared for any challenge that came my way. Faced with this dessert lover’s dream of a menu, my choice eventually fell on the raspberry & white chocolate crepe and banoffee waffle. Served hot in a handy takeaway box for portability, the piping-hot crepe was just what the doctor ordered; thick but not stodgy, oozing raspberry sauce and served with a molten topping of melted white chocolate and a generous scoop of white chocolate & raspberry ice cream on the side. Delicious! 

The fresh waffle, too, was the perfect pick-me-up for a frosty day and well worth the money at £6.50. Served with slices of fresh banana, topped with bite-sized fudge pieces, popping candy and lashings of luxurious caramel sauce, one waffle on its own was enough to set me up for the day…especially when served with a scoop of delicious Kelly’s clotted cream banana ice-cream! 

For the die-hard dessert fans amongst you, I urge you not to leave without first sampling one of the Sundae Club’s soon-to-be-legendary sundaes (the clue’s in the name, right?)

After some tense negotiating with my partner over a choice of Crunchie, Oreo or Biscoff, we eventually landed on the latter. Layered with salted caramel ice cream, Biscoff caramelised biscuit crumb, hot caramel-fudge sauce, topped with squirty cream and served with a whole caramelised biscuit ice cream bar on the side, it did not disappoint! Indeed, forget about skipping just breakfast, you’d be well advised to cancel your dinner plans, too! 

Luckily for us (and for our blood-sugar levels), Coombe’s beautiful countryside grounds beckoned, providing a readily available opportunity to walk off some of those hugely enjoyable extra calories! 
In addition to the newly launched Sundae Club, visitors to the park can also check out the Abbey Artisan Market shop. Specialising in artisan produce from Warwickshire and the surrounding regions, the newly launched food market comes complete with a well-stocked larder of signature craft ales, local meats and cheeses (courtesy of Leamington’s own Aubrey Allen Butchers), hand-bottled and blended gins (produced by Redditch-based distiller Thousand Trades), and handmade pies and preserves. There are also well-loved brands celebrating world cuisine, including Mutti, The Bay Tree Food Company, Joe & Sephs Gourmet Popcorn and luxury chocolate brand Willies Cacao. 

Light, bright and proudly flying the flag for local produce, this miniature market - well situated for passing hotel trade and day-visitors alike - is a more-than-welcome addition to Coombe’s already impressive visitor offer, providing a taste of the countryside that we can all get on board with. 

Just remember to pack your outdoor shoes to make up for all that indulgence! 

Reviewed by Katherine Ewing

Find out more about Coombe Abbey Park HERE