Tea time

By | Category: Travel news

Word has reached CD-Traveller towers that the 100 year old afternoon tea menu at the Ritz-Carlton London is getting a ‘British makeover’ ahead of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.

Translation? It’s out with foreign fancies such as British pastries and in with British tea time treats – think Victoria sponge, strawberry creams, custard tarts, lemon meringue pie and Eton mess.

“I live French pastries but there are so many wonderful British cakes and pastries,” says Ritz manager, Guillame Marly. “I want the food to bring back memories of a British childhood.”

Tea at The Ritz is priced at £42 per person (or £54 with a glass of champagne) and looks set to be a strong contender to win the UK Tea Council’s award for ‘London’s best venue for afternoon tea’ later this month. The forthcoming Tea Guild awards inspired me to share some of my favourite rooms with a brew..

Stoke Park Club, Buckinghamshire, 01753 717171, www.stokeparkclub.com
Afternoon teas is served daily from 12-4pm
Expect an old style spread in the Orangery overlooking 350 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown and Humphrey Repton designed parkland – and all for just £12.50 per person. While you’re tucking into tea, keep your eyes peeled for celebs such as Daniel Craig, Claudia Schiffer, Hugh Grant, Renee Zellwegger, Jodie Kidd and Robbie Williams – all of whom have stayed (and played) at this sumptuous country club.

The Crazy Bear, Beaconsfield, 01494 673 086, www.crazybeargroup.co.uk
Tea served Mon-Sat 3-5pm
If you’ve always wanted to see inside the flamboyant chandelier-laden fantasy that is Buckinghamshire’s Crazy Bear then taking afternoon tea here is a lovely – and far more affordable – way to do it. £8.50 nets you one fruit and one plain, clotted jersey cream, strawberry jam and a choice of tea, coffee or infusions. Alternatively push the boat out and plump for the full works (£29 for two). Whichever tea you choose, you’ll be waited on hand and foot.

Peacocks Tea Room, Ely, 01353 661100, www.peacockstearoom.co.uk
Tea served 10.30am-5.30pm Wed-Sun
Situated in the sleepy cathedral town of Ely, Peacocks does afternoon tea superbly. Country Living’s favourite tea shop, Peacocks offers an amazing range of teas from all over the world and excellent home cooking.

St Ives Tea Gardens, Hartfield, East Sussex, 01892 770589
Tea served daily 11am-6pm
Don’t be deterred by the queue; tea here is a real treat. Locals and visitors alike sit in the spectacular landscaped garden set amongst beautiful English countryside, although indoor seating is available in converted stables. Plump for the traditional cream tea; a generous sized spread of warm sultana scones, thick clotted cream, the freshest of jams and a pot of tea which the owners will watch you savour with fierce pride.

Bettys, York, 6-8 St Helen’s Square, York, 01904 659 142, www.bettys.co.uk
Open 9am-9pm daily
Cafes and coffee shops abound all over York but Betty’s tea rooms has an old world charm and feel about it while providing a peaceful respite from pounding the pavements of what is arguably Britain’s most beautiful city.
Bettys serves light bites, lunch and dinner (welsh rarebit, sausages and mash plus a selection of Swiss dishes such as rosti and raclette reflecting the restaurant’s Swiss founder) but the afternoon tea is where it’s really at. Don’t leave without trying a Yorkshire fat rascal washed down with pot of Taylor’s tea. Heaven.

The aforementioned are just five of my favourite spots for afternoon tea.Fancy sharing yours with fellow CD Traveller readers? Post a comment below!


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