We have Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, to thank for afternoon tea.
Around the year 1840, Anna had the idea to dismiss the “sinking feeling” between lunch and her later evening meal (which would normally be served around 8 or 9 pm), by having a cup of tea in her private living quarters, accompanied by a plate of bread and butter, and perhaps some cake. Soon, this habit became routine and Anna extended the invitation to friends and family to join her in her private rooms for tea in the afternoon. Usually, refreshments would be served with minimal sense of occasion, on plainly decorated tables in a lady’s private chamber or drawing room, and so this low-key event became known as ‘low tea’.
As Anna was lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, the idea of ‘low tea’ caught on in high society, and soon it evolved to include more elaborate items such as crustless finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and a final course of sweets and pastries.
Now, ‘afternoon tea’ still lingers on. In 2018, we’ve truly made it our own and added all kinds of novelties to maintain its appeal. Have it with champagne, have it with flowers, have it with miniature battered clam burgers – we’ve got it all in Norwich. Take your pick.
Pastry Wizard Mark Mitson has really excelled himself with the Assembly House’s latest themed Afternoon Tea. This magical selection features both puns and pastries, including ‘philosopher's scones’, a ‘bolt out of the blue’ macaron, and ‘the wizard’s choosing hat’ – a pastry that hides a colourful vanilla secret… There are still places available in the week for this very special tea, served in one of Norwich’s most spectacular settings.
Afternoon Tea costs £20.95 for one or £40 for two, a Mini Wizards’ School of Magic Afternoon Tea is available for children aged 12 years costs £12.95.
Floral Afternoon Tea at Park Farm – this week only!
From the 13th – 19th of August, Park Farm hotel (just south of Norwich) is serving a wonderful, floral-inspired afternoon tea, in their relaxed lounge bar, ‘Helene’s’. Treat yourself to rose lemonade scones with clotted cream and rose petal and rhubarb jam, orange blossom panna cotta topped with orange syrup and meringue, and violet and white chocolate macaroon, alongside all your traditional afternoon tea favourites.
Afternoon tea from only £17.50 per person! Visit the Park Farm website for more info and to book.
This popular destination has recently launched this afternoon tea, which sees the English classic served alongside a fantastic view of Norwich’s skyline. The selection is as refined as the setting, and includes English Truffle Quail Scotch Egg, Truffle Mayonnaise Crab Éclair and Millionaire’s shortbread with Red Miso Caramel.
£24.95 per person £29.95 per person with a Glass of Prosecco.
Barnham Broom has it all: a range of afternoon teas to choose from, a spa and a golf course. While you’re there enjoying ‘chocolate afternoon tea’, take the time for a round of golf, or doing absolutely nothing in their luxurious spa. Barnham Broom also offer an special afternoon tea for children, so nobody gets left out if you’re there with the family.
Traditional Afternoon tea starts at £15.95 - visit the Barnham Broom website for more information.
So, we know it isn’t open yet but we had to include this on our list. ‘The Ivy Norwich Brasserie’ is going to be a showstopper, and has the Afternoon Tea menu to match. The interior of the restaurant is set to feature onyx bar, pendant lighting, marble floor tiles, polished parquet panel flooring and leather banquettes – there’s nowhere more spectacular to enjoy fresh scones, smoked salmon and crème brulee doughnut (…with champagne?). Fancy it? Booking is open already on their website…
Afternoon Tea £18.95, or £26.50 for Champagne Afternoon Tea.
Urban Jungle is not your typical plant nursery. Within this leafy treasure in Costessey, Norfolk, is ‘Café Jungle’, where you’ll find squashy sofas, tables, chairs, rugs and throws hidden amongst the plants and flowers. Afternoon tea here is all gluten free, and includes open faced sandwiches, bruschetta and cakes, as well as scones and jam. What’s more, tea and coffee is unlimited as part of the package. This is truly special, and one for nature lovers.
£16.95 per person. Pre-booking essential.
For a relaxed afternoon tea in some secluded Norfolk countryside, then look no further than this one. The Norfolk Mead hotel is set north if Norwich by the majestic river Bure, so spend the day exploring the broads before returning to the hotel to relax in the company of some really great scones. Depending on the whether (and what you feel like), you can enjoy the afternoon tea here in the Lounge, Snug, or beautiful Walled Gardens.
Afternoon Tea starts at £18.50; advance booking is essential.
On Norwich’s historic Timberhill lies Cupcakes and Bubbles, a place that specialises in exactly as the name suggests. This cosy café has an excellent rustic afternoon tea, and you can choose from the ‘Classic Indulgence’ version, or ‘Savoury Afternoon Tea’ if you’re one of those people that chooses a starter over a dessert when you visit a restaurant. Both packages are served with tea and coffee, and you can upgrade a glass (or bottle!) of champagne if you’re feeling fancy…
Afternoon tea starts at £19.95.
Over in the beautiful Norfolk town of Holt, Byfords are serving afternoon tea every day from 3 until 5pm. This gorgeous cafe is situated alongside Byfords' posh B&B, where cosy rooms are beautifully furnished, and a real luxurious escape from the everyday. Byford's is also home to a chocolate brownie so delicious that it is famed within the local area. Choose from afternoon tea, or 'high tea' which features more savoury treats (and of course, there's the option to add champagne...).
Afternoon tea is bookable with 24 hours' notice; please visit the Byfords website for more information.
...And the High Sea at the Grosvenor!
The trendiest and much-loved chippy in Norwich, Grosvenor Fish Bar, has just launched their incredible take on afternoon tea, the High Sea. Enjoy a 3-tier platter of: clam sliders, chips, cod cheeks, goujons, whitebait, prawns and squid, in a delicious departure from everything you thought you know about traditional fish and chips. Make a night of it by heading across to the Birdcage Pub across the road, and enjoy the High Sea with a pint, prosecco, pimms (etc - you get the idea)...
The High Sea costs £29 for two and £15 for one.
COMING TO VISIT?
Greater Anglia has Advance fares from £10 one way between London Liverpool Street and Norwich. Trains run every 30 minutes. Greater Anglia also serves Colchester, Ipswich and Diss on the Norwich line. Direct trains also run from Cambridge.
East Midlands Trains runs services from Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham. Flights into Norwich served from Edinburgh, Manchester, Exeter, Aberdeen and Amsterdam, and seasonally from Guernsey and Jersey.
To plan a trip to Norwich check out our website www.visitnorwich.co.uk