Saturday, 25 August 2012

Tea places with a twist


There’s nothing like going out for afternoon tea for a real luxury treat.  


Most hotels and tea rooms will serve it in one shape or form.  If you are looking for something a little quirky for an afternoon tea you won’t forget, try one of these ten unusual venues:

Tea in the air

Fanny Maiklem dreamt all her life of building a tree house and serving tea in the sky, six years ago her dream became reality and she opened the High Tea House at her home and farm shop in Surrey. There you can share afternoon tea for two (or for up to twelve) in complete privacy from just £15pp
Fanny's Farm Shop, Markedge Lane off Galton Bottom Rd, Merstham, near Redhill, Surrey, RH1 3AW. 01737 554444. http://www.fannysfarm.com/  Reservations are required.

Tea behind bars

Luxury hotel chain Malmaison specialises in turning historic buildings into unusual boutique accommodation. In Oxford they have, converted a historic Norman castle and prison into the place to stay. Fans of Inspector Morse may recognize the galleried landings and open iron staircases of "A Wing".  Here in the former solitary confinement wing, now the bistro, you can take afternoon tea between 2pm and 5pm for £44 per couple with a glass of champagne.  Tempted? Guilty as charged!
Malmaison Oxford, 3 Oxford Castle, Oxford, OX1 1AY.
01865 268400.
http://www.malmaison.com

Tea on the rails

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon tea on board a Victorian carriage on the world’s oldest railway. Hauled by a vintage steam locomotive you travel on the Tanfield Railway and through the picturesque Causey Valley.  For £13 pp you will be served up a selection of sandwiches, scones and homemade cakes with lashings of tea throughout the stunning journey.
Tanfield Railway, Marley Hill Engine Shed, Old Marley Hill, Gateshead, NE16 5ET.
0845 463 4938.
http://www.tanfieldrailway.co.uk  Pre-booking is essential.



Tea with a sensational seat

Willow Pool Tea Room is like nothing else in the UK. Based at Willow Pool Garden Centre, a treasure trove of gardening equipment, antiques and salvage, you can choose to take your tea in the open air, but sheltered from the weather, in your own thatched heated gazebo. If that is not to your taste you can choose a table in one of their Victorian fairground stalls or how about a table in an upturned four poster bed!
      Willow Pool Garden Centre and Nursery, Burford Lane,
      Lymm, Cheshire, UK, WA13 0SH.

Tea way up high

The Ptarmigan Restaurant in the Cairngorms is the highest restaurant in the United Kingdom at 1097m above sea level. Offering spectacular panoramic views of the area and the mountain weather, here you can enjoy a good range of locally sourced produce including scones and baked goods to go with your tea.
Cairn Gorm Ski Area, Aviemore, PH22 1RB.
01479 861261.
http://www.cairngormmountain.co.uk

Tea with a phew

Customers to perfumers Miller Harris’ flagship store can take tea in its luxurious and peaceful tea room. The teas are accompanied by a delicious selection of cakes that echo the natural essences used in each blend.
Miller Harris, Bruton Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 6QD.
020 7629 7750.
http://www.millerharris.com/tearoom/ Call to book.

Tea on the water

Enjoy tea and a cruise aboard MV London Belle. Departing from Festival Pier the ship travels up to the Houses of Parliament before turning around and heading through the heart of London.
You will be served a fresh homemade scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a cup of English tea as the captain points out landmarks of interest.
Tickets are £18pp. Call 0207 118 1281 for more information or to book.
http://www.londonpartyboats.co.uk/info/index.asp?page=afternoon-cream-tea-cruise-84

Tea amongst the trees

Follow in the footsteps of poet Rupert Brooke and enquire “And is there honey still for tea?” at the beautiful historic Granchester tea gardens.  There you can take tea in the orchard; you can even punt there down the river.
The Orchard Tea Garden, 45 - 47 Mill way, Grantchester, Cambridge ,CB3 9ND.
01223 551 125.
http://www.orchard-grantchester.com

Tea with the deceased

Downstairs in the atmospheric 18th century crypt of St Martin’s is the Café in the Crypt - a favourite spot for Londoners and visitors alike. All dishes are freshly prepared on site, using wherever possible locally sourced ingredients. Afternoon tea is served daily at a very reasonable £5.75. profits from the Café support the work of St Martin's
 St Martin-in-the-Fields , Trafalgar Square , London, WC2N 4JJ. 
020 7766 1158 
http://www2.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/page/cafe2010/cafe.html

Tea by the pool

Visiting Bristol Lido for afternoon tea will really make a splash! Enjoy the swimming pool, sauna, steam room and spa pool, and then follow up with afternoon tea . Feast on smoked salmon on toast with a glass of Prosecco, a pot of tea with a scone, clotted cream and jam, all for £30pp.

 Bristol Lido, Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2BJ.
 0117 933 9530.
http://www.lidobristol.com
 Telephone to book.