This England’s Finest Tea Rooms
Here at “This England” we love to celebrate those who go above and beyond and know that you, our perceptive readers, do too. So this autumn our “Finest Tea Room” awards go out not only to those establishments that have their service and scones down to a T, but where there’s also a touch of unexpected magic to be found, be it interiors, tea-ware or location.
“A tea shop with a difference” is how one reader has commended the Good Old Days Tea Room, 8 Station Road, Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire and what an apt description! For along with the usual fare (“excellent”) and cream teas sampled (“generous”), the tea room is filled with wartime memorabilia, while the staff are dressed as Land Girls!
Revel in the welcome shaped by the wartime atmosphere and tuck into fine cakes along with a glorious slice of nostalgia. With part of the tea room functioning as a quirky antiques shop, you might just find a unique gift to take home, too. Thank you to Mr Gordon Wittington from Bedford for your nomination.
For our next winner, another reader, Mrs Phyllis Wheeler, takes us to the North Yorkshire dales with her recommendation for the Old School Tea Room, Hebden, which furthers the county’s fame for the best in cake and tea.
“Too beautiful with divine food and the most wonderful service”, the tea room also benefits from its lovely setting in this idyllic village near Grassington boasting verdant views of the dales. The home-made dishes and tasty cakes are made using locally sourced ingredients and the afternoon tea is served on vintage china. It’s an all-family team with Maggie and her daughter Emma, plus Emma’s husband Martyn, running the show. In short, “a delightful English treat”. Well done!
And finally we travel from Hebden to Heydon (don’t get confused, now!), bestowing our final award on Heydon Village Tea Shop, Norfolk after receiving a letter of recommendation from Janet Royall, who has been a visitor of the tea room since it opened in 2011.
“Coffee is sublime as are the very delicious scones and cakes” while Heydon itself is a very pretty village with green and church. So much so it has been used as a location for films and TV dramas. Plus, there’s the added bonus of “a bracing walk on Heydon Hall Estate – visitors are allowed to do this free of charge” before tucking into afternoon tea – “nothing better”, Janet tells us. Winner of Norfolk’s Best Tea Rooms 2017, Heydon Village Tea Shop is no stranger to accolades, but now [proprietors] Cindy and Karl can add a “This England’s Finest Tea Rooms” certificate to their walls and become a national tea room treasure. We’re sure they’ll be delighted.