I was recently asked to write a feature for Local Secrets, a fantastic online guide to what’s going on in and around Cambridge, the topic being my top 5 afternoon tea spots in the Cambridgeshire countryside.
This was a tricky one, as there so many superb venues outside of our City, but I decided to share some of my newer finds throughout this piece and here on the blog I’m also sharing these notes with you, my food & etiquette-loving readers.
As we Brits cheer ourselves up during tough economic times with a sweet fix and a brew we’ve picked five of the best afternoon teas in Cambridgeshire to indulge your taste buds. Dainty finger sandwiches, fluffy scones and mouth-watering profiteroles and raspberry macaroons are being served up alongside loose leaf tea and freshly ground coffee in an abundance of family run tea rooms, trendy hotels and even an old thatched-roof post office.
It seems the great British pastime of afternoon tea is having a revival with all budgets and tastes being catered for, be they modern or traditional…
Photo by Debbie Wallwork Photography
Teacake at Shepreth
This pretty little tearoom is situated in an old post office, a grade II listed building complete with thatched roof, making this a perfect setting for a pot of Darjeeling and a big wedge of homemade Victoria Sponge or fruit tea loaf. The wide menu offers a great selection of loose leaf teas and coffees, sandwiches, seasonal cakes, fluffy scones freshly baked every day as well as provisions, such as bread, milk and free-range eggs. Sipping from mismatching china, watch the world go by in a comfortable fireside seat or a cosy al fresco table in the rose garden. Teacake couldn’t be more welcoming if it tried. Read my full write up here.
The Angel Hotel
This trendy four-star hotel in the centre of Bury St Edmunds overlooks the picturesque Abbey Gardens, apparently host to a complex corridor of secret tunnels, running under much of this historic market town. Afternoon tea here is luxurious and needs your full dedication; enjoyed leisurely by the grand fireplace seated in a leather wingback chair, surrounded by cushions. A huge selection of finger sandwiches precedes a warm fruity scone with the usual accoutrements and a grand selection of dainty cakes. Oh the cakes! A perfectly bitter lemon tart, coffee syrup soaked opera cakes, raspberry cupcakes, a chocolate profiterole on steroids with a crispy shell and vanilla crème patissière filling. Mon Dieu!
Read my full write up here.
Cafe Cou Cou
This is a haven for cake lovers visiting Saffron Walden, with row upon row of freshly baked cakes, cookies, sweet or savoury scones, tarts, pies, shortbreads, cheesecakes and traybakes, with the option of eating in or taking away. This is a venue for the ultimate treat, with freshly ground coffees and loose leaf teas on offer there is no excuse not to sit down and enjoy an hour of indulgence. You can smell the freshly baked bread and monstrous scones as you walk through the door each morning, handmade to include plain, fruit or cheese they are truly impossible to resist.
A new boutique hotel situated in a large townhouse in Ely’s St Mary’s Street, offers a clean and modern feel to proceedings and is an exciting new venue for afternoon tea in this part of the world. Seated in the study overlooking the courtyard, but close enough to the bar should you desire a sweet drink with your afternoon delights, you will be wowed with the colourful display on offer; perfectly symmetrical finger sandwiches with twists on the traditional fillings include cucumber and sour cream, ham and tomato chutney, as well as a choice of scones with jam, clotted cream and the intriguing addition of lemon curd. To finish, you are presented with raspberry macaroons, brownies with chocolate frosting, perfect fruit tartlets and a lavender and vanilla éclair. Luckily this venue is a hop from the cathedral, perfect for a walk to work off some of the calories afterwards. Read my full write up here.
Nancy’s Vintage Teashop
The scent of a lemon sponge fresh out of the oven strikes you as you walk through the door and off the main streets of Newmarket, in readiness to join the long line of drool-inducing cakes adorning the countertop at this fairly new family-run afternoon tea establishment. Sweet treats on their afternoon tea tier include chocolate brownies, blueberry and elderflower trifle, raspberry macaroons, fruit tartlets, perfectly washed down with a glass of Champagne. The loose leaf tea is specially blended for this quaint tearoom, to include blends such as ‘Nancy’s Majest-tea’ and ‘Nancy’s Naught-tea’. They have a great sense of humour to boot, bringing out the best behaviour in everybody, young and old, with a desire to recapture traditional standards of service in a unique setting.
To read this feature in full and other superb features by many local (and very talented writers) then visit the Local Secrets Website by clicking here.
And to read more about becoming a well behaved guest or host/ess at your own tea party, visit my etiquette workshops page here.
You can also read a longer piece on some of my favourite afternoon tea venues here.
Please Note – These are my own words and reviews and I am in no means obliged to blog or write about them or promote them if written for any external publications, I simply choose to do so. Should you wish to reference these posts or ramblings, please do contact to discuss or share your own ramblings on the topic.
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