Wyken Vineyards and The Leaping Hare restaurant, Suffolk : August 2017

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This is a working farm which has successfully diversified and is collectively known as Wyken Vineyards. The Leaping Hare comprises a classy interiors shop, cafe and restaurant, and there is a vineyard and lovely gardens which are open to the public and all are part of the private estate of Wyken Hall.     

Wyken Vineyards is located approx 11 miles from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and it had been highly recommended by a friend as a splendid destination for a day out in the countryside.

Wyken Farmers’ Market which is located in the old stables block was open from 9-1 when I visited last Saturday with a companion. After a look around the stalls, we found the Leaping Hare restaurant for a spot of lunch. As an aside I have to say that the name of this restaurant appeals to me almost as much as ‘The Giggling Squid’ Thai restaurant in Bury St Edmunds. (Unusual names must be a Suffolk thing!)   

It was one of those typically changeable English summer days when there was a heavy rain shower one minute followed by bursts of bright sunshine the next, so we were wearing macs and sunglasses!IMG_0831 (2)

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The Wyken Farmers’ Market features an impressive mix of stalls from local producers
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The Leaping Hare restaurant is located in the 400-year-old barn
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We started our lunch with ice-cold sparkling orange and cranberry drinks
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We both chose the Eggs Benedict dish for our lunch
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Still thirsty and enjoying a leisurely-paced lunch we ordered a pot of tea each 
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My companion chose a slice of light and moist carrot cake instead of a dessert
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I chose a delicious slice of Blueberry Cheesecake for my dessert
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An outdoor seating area was available outside the cafe/restaurant for days when it wasn’t raining!
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I couldn’t resist bringing home a bottle of Good Dog Ale for Steve! An English Pale Ale style beer brewed by Wyken Vineyards

Wyken Vineyards restaurant, The Leaping Hare, is located in the 400-year-old barn. A Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide and now in its 15th year in The Good Food Guide, the restaurant tries to source their ingredients from a five-mile radius, so the beef, lamb, game and eggs are local (and when possible from the Wyken farm and estate) with fruit, herbs and vegetables from the kitchen garden.

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Curious sign on the entrance door into the restaurant!

Wyken Cafe, which serves breakfasts and lunches daily, is also located in the barn and offers a lighter menu choice with the same quality of food and service as the elegant restaurant. Prices were on the high side but the food was exceptionally tasty. We paid £20 a head for our lunch which included two soft drinks each, cake/dessert and service.

There was also a Summer Exhibition in the Leaping Hare Cafe Gallery of limited edition prints of watercolours by Eric Ravillious.

Wyken Shop – The Leaping Hare Country Store wyken store

This very attractive and stylish shop apparently sells wool throws and blankets from Scotland and Ireland, braided rugs from North Carolina, French grape-picking baskets, Panama hats from Ecuador, and much, much more. The Leaping Hare Country Store also included the book room which houses a selection of books from small specialist publishers. I particularly liked the designer pottery, the chic and classic clothes and accessories, and their range of unusual cards and gift wrap. This veritable cornucopia of beautiful and useful household items and consumables was an ideal place to buy presents. I came home with a bottle of Good Dog Ale brewed by Wyken Vineyards for Steve!

The Wyken Farmers’ Market

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At The Wyken Farmers’ Market, there was an impressive selection of stalls from local producers including farmers, bakers, and a distillery. I noticed fish, artisan cheese and fine tea stalls, and an abundance of organic fruit, veg, plants, flowers and herbs for sale.
The Market is open from 9 am to 1 pm every Saturday.
The Vineyard
 
Wyken is a 1200-acre working farm which includes a flock of Shetland sheep, a small herd of Red Poll cattle and in 1988 they established a 7-acre vineyard with some 12,000 vines. It has produced award-winning wines, including the English Wine of the Year, and in 2009 their ‘Wyken Bacchus’ won the East Anglian Wine of the Year,
On average they produce some 12,000 bottles a year, and these are all sold through their Shop and Restaurant. From the Leaping Hare, you can take a walk to the vineyard over Home Meadow and through the beautiful ancient woodland of the estate.
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Wyken Hall Gardens

wykenThese beautiful formal gardens surrounding the Elizabethan manor house are crammed with topiary, herbs, roses, and fruit trees and you may see meandering peacocks, guinea fowl and chickens too!

The gardens are open from 27th March until the end of September, from 2 – 6 pm daily (except Saturday unfortunately, but all the more reason for a return visit!)

 
 

 

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The delights of Nancy’s Vintage Teashop, Newmarket, Suffolk: June 2017

Last week my daughter and I enjoyed a delightful Afternoon Tea at Nancy’s Vintage Teashop in Newmarket. It had been recommended to me by two people recently so I was keen to try this local independent teashop for myself and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint.

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Nancy’s Vintage Teashop is located on Old Station Road in Newmarket, at the Clock Tower end of the High Street.

 

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Nancy’s classic Afternoon Tea was served on a vintage three-tiered cake stand full of tasty treats. I was very surprised by this as it’s unusual to be given a stand each and very generous too!
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This classic Afternoon Tea featured a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with jam and cream, a mini dessert and petit fours. At £15 per person, it was excellent value for money.
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All Nancy’s food is home-baked on the premises and she pointed out that even the Battenburg cake was made in the colours of their own pink and brown livery – a cute touch!
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The delicious strawberry and cream mini-desserts and the scones were fresh, light and tasty and I was so busy eating them I forgot to take photos before I tucked in!

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IMG_0691.JPG At Nancy’s a choice of 20 unique blends of tea or coffee are available to accompany the food
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We were too full to eat all the cakes so we both brought them home in a bespoke goodie box!

Nancy’s Teashop in Newmarket has been serving specially blended teas, with Afternoon Tea being a speciality for four years now, and it’s deservedly created a brand with a good reputation. At Nancy’s it’s obvious that traditional standards of service and quality are paramount, and all the food is homemade on the premises and locally sourced. If you are visiting Newmarket, I can highly recommend Nancy’s to enjoy tasty treats in this elegant and comfortable vintage-themed teashop, which is styled with an eclectic mix of mismatching antique teapots and china, patchwork sofas, pastel pink dining chairs, and hand-sewn collages and bunting. Altogether bright, attractive and highly effective, and I would say that Nancy’s is the best value quality Afternoon Tea I have come across yet!

Due to popular demand, the owner and founder of the teashop Nancy Clack has recently opened an Afternoon Tea Lounge above the teashop. Seating 24 people and plushly furnished it reflects the same quirky vintage hand-crafted feel as the cafe below. Bookings for the Afternoon Tea Lounge from parties of four upwards are available from 27th June. I suggest that this venue would be perfect to enjoy Nancy’s Classic Afternoon Teas for special occasions like birthday parties, anniversaries, baby and bridal showers.

 

Nancy’s Vintage Teashop

18 Old Station Road

Newmarket

Suffolk

CB8 8DN

Tel : 01638 667064

http://www.nancysteashop.co.uk

enquiries@nancysteashop.co.uk

 

 

Art, Afternoon Tea and Cocktails: London – January 2017

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Last week I had a lovely day out in London with a friend to celebrate her birthday. We started our day with a visit to The Switch House, – the new extension to the Tate Modern gallery in Southwark which opened to the public in June 2016.

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The 360 degree panoramic view from the 10th floor of The Switch House at Tate Modern was a spectacular start to our day

Having skipped lunch we were looking forward to enjoying a full Afternoon Tea at our next destination The Wolseley, a café-restaurant in the grand European tradition located on Piccadilly, London.

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The ornate and beautiful frontage of The Wolseley
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The Wolseley dining room is elegant and sophisticated with a grand atmospheric interior

In a classy and relaxed atmosphere we enjoyed The Wolseley’s full traditional Afternoon Tea, which had a lovely selection of finger sandwiches and small cakes, with freshly baked warm fruit scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a choice of loose-leaf teas. At £28.50 per person I considered this to be excellent value, as we were offered more sandwiches and a second pot of tea at no extra charge. Although this place is always busy the service is remarkably good because they have lots of staff. The ambiance is buzzing and it was a super place for people-watching! It’s good to know that their scones and pastries are made on the premises, with an ever-changing selection of cakes, which typically might include a Battenberg or Sachertorte. Everything was perfection, from the white linen napkins, the marble-topped tables, the silver cutlery and tableware, to the bespoke china. We felt that this Afternoon Tea provided a quality experience and it’s the perfect venue for a special occasion. Highly recommended if you are looking for somewhere to eat in London, but booking is advisable.

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The Wolseley’s traditional Afternoon Tea was perfection and there was plenty of it!
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A nice touch to mark this special occasion – a  birthday tuile for my friend
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We enjoyed a tasty mix of finger sandwiches and were offered seconds!

The sandwiches were freshly-made and especially tasty with fillings of Chicken and tarragon, Smoked Salmon, Celery and Tomato, Cream cheese and cucumber, and Egg and Watercress.

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At The Wolseley the freshly-baked scones were kept warm under a silver cloche

                        

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There was even a bespoke goodie box to take home our left-overs!

A full Afternoon Tea is served from 3.00pm (3.30pm at weekends).

First opened as a prestigious car showroom in 1921 for Wolseley Motors Limited, the venue became The Wolseley in 2003 and soon became the famous institution it is today.

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We ended the day with cocktails at the fabulous bar of The Gilbert Scott, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Kings Cross, London

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The opulent interior of the 19th century Gilbert Scott bar

The Bar at The Gilbert Scott offers flavour, ingredients and theatre and provides the ultimate cocktail experience in show-stopping 19th century surroundings. Guests are welcome for drinks on a drop-in basis, and although I thought it was expensive, it was well worth it for a special occasion.

Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark. It’s Britain’s national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group. Based in the former Bankside Power Station, the Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art. Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world, and the new Switch House extension provides one of the best panoramic views over London free of charge, so it’s well worth a visit. As with the UK’s other national galleries and museums, there is no admission charge for access to the collection displays, which take up the majority of the gallery space.

The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly

London

W1J 9EB

Telephone: 020 7499 6996

http://www.thewolseley.com

Delightful and delicious Tom’s Cakes on Mill Road, Cambridge

Today I enjoyed lunch with a friend at Tom’s Cakes, a delightful new café in Mill Road which only opened for business last week. It already looked well established and busy with customers, who were either eating in or taking out Tom’s delicious sweet or savoury bakes. It’s located at no 32, which was formerly occupied by another café in a previous life.

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We were mesmerised by the huge selection of very reasonably priced cakes attractively displayed at the counter. For drinks I had a pot of tea from a selection available supplied by the Kandula Tea Company from Wilburton, Cambs, and my friend had a coffee, sourced  from the renowned Monmouth Coffee Company.img_0191-2img_0197-2img_0193-2

 

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We shared a mouth-watering jumbo sausage roll and a savoury quiche. Both were exceptionally good bakes

 

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My friend enjoyed her Viennese Whirl, which was deliciously short and light

 

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My classic scone filled with fresh cream and jam was so big I had to ask for a box to take half of it home to eat later!
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My friend couldn’t resist buying this exquisitely decorated cupcake as a treat for her granddaughter

 

Tom’s Cakes offers a wonderful selection of cakes and biscuits to take away or eat inside, and at very reasonable prices too. We paid £11.50 for our lunch, with drinks included.

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Tom’s Cakes has a smart blue shop frontage and a seating area in the back garden

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Tom’s cakes also has a Café and Shop in St Ives, Cambs

Formerly the Toll House for the St Ives sheep market, Tom’s Cakes café and shop can be found at 19 Market Hill, in a unique building which has been sensitively restored. I have been to this welcoming tea room and cake shop several times when visiting St Ives, and like the new Cambridge location both places are highly recommended for their excellence and value. (The staff are nice and friendly too).

 

Try Harriets Teashop in Cambridge for a Savoury Afternoon Tea

 

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Harriets Café Tearooms is located in Green Street, Cambridge

Today at Harriets Teashop I sampled something completely different from my usual Afternoon Tea fare, a SAVOURY Afternoon Tea. It made a pleasant change from cake!

 

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Harriets Savoury Afternoon Tea was served on a traditional three-tiered stand

 

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The bottom tier contained sandwiches with Egg mayonnaise and Coronation chicken fillings

 

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The middle tier contained two freshly baked cheese scones, which were light and crumbly in texture

 

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The cheese scones were served warm with a pot of cream cheese and tomato chutney

 

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On the top tier were homemade sausage rolls , chicken gujons, and scotch egg

On previous visits to Harriets I have enjoyed their traditional (sweet) cream tea, which I have to say I preferred to the savoury version, but it’s a good idea to provide this as an alternative, and it would be an excellent choice for anyone who prefers savoury to sweet treats.

One of the best things about Harriets is they include a free refill of pots of tea or coffee to accompany their range of Afternoon Teas, and there is a wide selection of loose-leaf teas available. Harriets offers a quality standard of service and their aim is to provide “A truly English experience” – which they succeed in doing, and the décor is charmingly old-fashioned. The Savoury Afternoon Tea is substantial and reasonably priced at £17.95 per person, and is available all day.

You can find Harriets Café Tearooms in Bury St Edmunds and Norwich, and Ration Book style Gift vouchers are available, which make a splendid novelty gift.

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16-17 Green Street

Cambridge CB2 3JU

Tel: 01223 356443

http://www.harrietscafetearooms.co.uk

Afternoon Tea at Aqua Sana in Center Parcs, Elveden Forest, Suffolk

Last month as an extra birthday treat my daughter and I enjoyed an afternoon of total relaxation at Aqua Sana spa in Center Parcs at Elevedon Forest, with the added bonus of Afternoon Tea included. On a warm August day we sat outside in our robes in the garden of the café to eat a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and lovely mini-cakes, accompanied by a pot of tea each. It was a perfect way to end our chilled out day!

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Center Parcs at Elveden Forest, Brandon, Suffolk IP27 0YZ

http://www.centreparcs.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Vintage Jo’s Travelling Teas, Cambridge

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New to the ever-expanding local street food trader scene in the Cambridge area comes Vintage Jo’s Travelling Teas, a complete mobile Afternoon Tea service for all types of events. This weekend (13th/14th August) saw the launch of Vintage Jo’s Travelling Teas, with her very pretty and stylish mobile cafe parked outside the Go Glass shop on Cherry Hinton Road, in Cambridge.

Vintage Jo offers fresh cream teas and a full Afternoon Tea menu, so along with my daughter and granddaughter I sampled the full vintage experience. Complete with nostalgic background music and table service in the small al fresco seating area, there was the added attraction of a free Tea Cocktail tasting. This perfectly timed event coincided with National Afternoon Tea Week, and the sun even shone too!

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The launch of Vintage Jo’s Travelling Teas was held at Go Glass, Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge. Everything on the menu was available to take-away or eat on site

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I chose to sample the Grace Kelly Mini Afternoon Tea from an enticing menu of very reasonably-priced sweet and savoury treats.2004-12-31 23.00.00-62 (2)

Shall I be Mother? ‘Granny Apples’ starts with a nice cup of tea!

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Afternoon Tea was served on a traditional 3 tier cake stand with pretty mis-matched vintage china

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The bottom tier was an interesting mix of savoury treats
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Followed by a fruit scone with jam and cream, and a mini lemon meringue tart……
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and a top tier of miniature cakes (I loved the cherry on top of the chocolate one!)

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Exceptionally well-priced at £10 this was a lavish and generously-sized afternoon tea for one, and ample for two in my opinion. Other Afternoon Tea choices were the Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor set menus, which were all variations on the theme of 1950’s splendour.

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My daughter chose a slice of this delicious coffee and walnut cake which I couldn’t resist tasting
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I enjoyed these free taster samples of Jo’s Tea Cocktails

Mmmm … these teas mixed with spirits are a new drink/taste sensation to me, but they had quite a kick. I sampled ‘Ras my berries’ which was vodka based, ‘Peachy Keen’ – spiced rum, ‘All dressed up’ – tequila, and ‘Out to lunch’ with white rum.

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My granddaughter enjoyed a Pomegranate Green Tea
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The Grace Kelly Mini Afternoon Tea was so generous I was supplied with a box to take home my left-overs!
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Granny Apples wishes Vintage Jo every success with her new mobile home-baking venture

Jo’s business has grown out of a passion for baking beautiful cake creations and her own vintage style. She offers the complete Afternoon Tea experience by providing vintage china, with full waitress service and nostalgic background music, suitable for a home or corporate event. Perfect for a wedding or any celebratory occasion Vintage Jo will transport you to a bygone era with her bespoke vintage afternoon teas. Competitively priced, and good value for home-baked savoury and sweet treats, I predict that this fledgling business with it’s attention to detail will be a big success. Granny Apples says…..”Vintage Jo’s is a welcome addition to the mobile Cambridge foodie scene and highly recommended”.

                                                         

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Vintage Jo’s Travelling Teas

email: vintagejos@gmail.com 

Tel. 07702033985

http://www.vintagejos.com

National Afternoon Tea Week 2016 celebrated

Afternoon Tea Week is a celebration of a quintessentially English tradition. Over the last 12 months I have enjoyed many different afternoon teas in various locations. Here are some of my most memorable experiences…….

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Peacocks Tearooms in Ely, Cambridgeshire is an award-winning cafe

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Images of the picturesque Peacocks’s Tearooms in Ely, Cambridgeshire

My Afternoon Tea at The Courtyard RestaurantElvedon Estate, in Suffolk was rather special and in a lovely location

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Fitzbillies cafe in Cambridge is famous for Chelsea buns, and my personal favourite for a traditional Afternoon Tea

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This Mothers Day Afternoon Tea at Champneys, Henlow was provided by my daughter!

Images of Champneys, Henlow (the original health spa) in Bedfordshire

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Afternoon Tea with a healthy twist at Champneys, Tring

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I enjoyed an al fresco afternoon tea at Champneys, Tring in Hertfordshire

I found the Tiptree Jam Museum and Tea Rooms in Essex, was well worth a visit

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This rather substantial Afternoon Tea at Byways Tearooms was the best value

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Byways 18th century Tea Rooms in Bakewell, Derbyshire

Images from the quirky Samovar Tea Shop in Ely, Cambridgeshire

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Hotel Felix, in Cambridge for a classic Afternoon Tea
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Hotel Felix, Cambridge

Afternoon Tea at The Gonville Hotel, in Cambridge

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Afternoon Tea with a modern twist at Browns Brasserie, Cambridge

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There are lots more cakes to eat and I’m still looking for the perfect afternoon tea, so the search goes on. I will be visiting several new places in the next few weeks, so expect more posts on this delightful topic to follow soon!

Picture postcards of Crete (2)

I couldn’t resist sharing more of Steve’s lovely photos from our holiday in Crete last month, so this selection features scenic views of city streets captured in Chania and Rethymnon, glorious coastal views, delightful churches, and several inviting-looking restaurants, as we were usually wandering around looking for somewhere to eat!IMG_20160506_1554027 (2)

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A typical residential side street in Rethymnon

We loved these quirky signs in a cafe identifying ladies and gents toilets!

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Pretty restaurant in Rethymnon
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Another typical residential side street in Rethymnon
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An inviting-looking restaurant in Rethymnon
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Two picturesque streets in Chania

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Another lovely doorway in Rethymnon

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Our favourite cafe in Kalives was in a very pretty spot
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We enjoyed dinner at this delightful restaurant in Chania harbour

There are so many scenic views and lovely places to explore on Crete, we will simply have to return to the island next year to capture new images and make some more memories!

Celebrating National Afternoon Tea Week (2) The Assembly House, Norwich

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   Frontage of The Assembly House, Norwich viewed from Theatre Street

In late August last year I spent a day in Norwich with a friend, where we enjoyed a splendid Afternoon Tea at The Assembly House. This grand Georgian building is a historic venue with an illustrious past, and the perfect setting for a classic afternoon tea which was beautifully presented, with superb food and service. We had a choice of Loose Leaf tea or coffee from Wilkinson’s of Norwich, and were assured that we could enjoy a second pot of tea at no extra charge. (As the saying goes once bitten, twice shy, – see my review of Peacocks in Ely!)

The set traditional Afternoon Tea included a choice of dainty finger sandwiches, savoury and fruit scones, a selection of miniature cakes, and a dessert by The Assembly House’s pastry chef extraordinaire Mark Mitson.

We were impressed by the freshness and fillings of the sandwiches which were clearly made to order, and additional sandwiches were offered free of charge too. The scones were home-baked and still warm, (and appropriately as Norwich is the home of local company *Colman’s ) the savoury scone was a cheese, *mustard and chive version, served with butter. The fruit scone was served with Norfolk strawberry jam and clotted cream. Both types of mini scone were light and equally delicious. The classic sandwich fillings were of Norfolk ham, smoked salmon, free range egg and cress, cream cheese and cucumber.

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Chandeliers and elegance were hallmarks of The Assembly House restaurant lounge area dining room

We were seated in what must surely be one of the finest and most opulent dining rooms for our Afternoon Tea

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The traditional Afternoon Tea was served on a classic silver three tier cake stand
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The miniature desserts on the top tier looked most tempting and tasted delicious!
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The Assembly House has everything, including bespoke napkins, and even a cake box to take away any leftovers!
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The Assembly House is set in beautiful grounds, where you will also find The Noverre Art Gallery which is well worth a visit
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When in Norwich The Assembly Rooms is the perfect place to enjoy al fresco refreshment!

Interesting fact – Did you know that Afternoon Tea was originally the brainchild of the Duchess of Bedford who was a Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria? Apparently she thought there was an intolerable length of time between luncheon and evening dinner, so she arranged for tea to be brewed and served with a selection of sweet and savoury snacks, midway between the two meals. The habit soon became established and before long this quintessentially  English tradition was being enjoyed by all!

My friend commented “I would highly recommend The Assembly House as the service and the ambience matches the fantastic food”

Granny Apples says – Regular readers of my blog will know that over the last 12 months I have been searching for the best value afternoon tea. For the second of my posts in celebration of National Afternoon Tea Week I am more than happy to recommend The Assembly Rooms in Norwich. This Afternoon Tea was close to perfection, there was nothing to criticize and it was the best value for money at £17.50 for 1, £32 for 2.

 

The Assembly House, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RQ

Bookings are advisable on 01603 626402 or admin@assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk

http://www.assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk