Put the kettle on, sit back, and enjoy a flavour of our top 12 tearooms for 2012….
1. Rocke Cottage Tearooms, Clungunford, Shropshire
Named as the “Top Tea Place” in Britain by the UK’s Tea Council, Rocke Cottage can be found on the edge of the tiny village of Clungunford, in Shropshire. It’s also the epitome of a 1930s tearoom. Visit Rocke Cottage.
2. The Trentham Garden Tearooms, Stoke-on-Trent
It’s hard to imagine a tearoom with a better view in Britain. Actually designed to take in the view of the “finest Italian Garden outside all Italy”, the glistening Trentham Lake, and the Capability Brown parkland, the £1-million glass fronted building also has terraced seating outdoors so you can enjoy the fresh air with your cuppa. Visit Trentham Gardens.
3. Bantam Tea Rooms, Chipping Campden
Everything and more from a tearoom in The Cotswolds. This is where you would take your Mum for a cup of tea and cake - and there is no higher praise for a tearoom than that. Visit Bantam Tea Rooms.
4. Rose Cottage, Cockington, Torquay
Just what you want to find in a place as fabulously old-fashioned as the thatched-cottage village of Cockington. Visit it during the summer months and you’ll even find a pianist playing in the garden. It’s also a great place to join in the thorny old scone debate: jam on top or cream? You’re in Devon, so it’s cream first then jam. In Cornwall it’s jam first, then cream. Visit Rose Cottage, Cockington.
5. Bennetts Tearoom and Café, Derby
One of the most traditional department stores in this part of the UK, Bennetts in Irongate, Derby is the place where you really should treat yourself to the full Afternoon Tea, served on a three-tier stand with a delicious selection of sandwiches, followed by clotted cream scones and your choice of homemade cakes. And if it's a special occasion why not add a glass of bubbly? Visit the Bennetts website.
6. Queenie's Cupcakery, Ironbridge, Shropshire
From the sublime to the ridiculous. Nothing could be further from a traditional tearoom than Queenie’s Cupcakery in Ironbridge. But this vintage vantage-point in the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution is where you’ll also find the King of all cupcakes – the Red Velvet. More details on the Queenie's Cupcakery website.
7. Northern Tea Merchants, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
This company has connections with the tea trade dating back to 1926. Since then, they have developed their knowledge and expertise to a point where over 50 million cups of their own tea are drunk every year. Not all of them in their own tea and coffee shop in Chesterfield, you understand! But this is where you’ll also find some glorious home-made cakes, and can occasionally book-in to a tea tasting session. Visit Northern Tea Merchants.
8. The Old School, Acton Scott
Although part of Acton Scott Historic Working Farm (used by Channel 4 as “The Victorian Farm”), the tearoom can be accessed separately. It is housed within the newly refurbished and restored former School, originally built by Frances Stackhouse Acton in the late 19th century to educate the children of the Parish, and also has a lovely cottage garden where you can enjoy the homemade cakes and sandwiches. More details here.
9. Wedgwood Visitor Centre, Stoke-on-Trent
Let’s face it. Afternoon tea isn’t just about what you eat and drink. It’s also about real, English fine china. So where better to enjoy an afternoon tea - using a traditional cake stand, beautifully decorated plates, cups and saucers – that at the Wedgwood Visitor Centre. Best of all, if you like the designs, you can see how they are made on the new factory tour, and may even be able to buy them afterwards in the adjacent factory shop. Wedgwood Visitor Centre.
10. Marmalade and Tea, Borrowash, Derbyshire
This one is new – and destined for great things! Another traditional tearoom doffing its cap to the emergence of the cupcake, its real speciality is Afternoon Tea – with open sandwiches, cupcakes or scones with jam and cream, all served on a tiered cake stand with a pot of tea for two. Its deli shelves, meanwhile, are stocked with sweets and chocolates to take home, plus extra special teas and coffees and gorgeous jams, marmalades (of course!) and chutneys. Visit the Marmelade and Tea website for more details.
11. Old Market Hall, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
If ever there was an award for “best flapjack”, this place would definitely be well in the running. Oh – and possibly for best restoration of a historic Elizabethan building, too! Delicious sandwiches, cakes and biscuits; teas and coffees; and all washed down with a contemporary spoonful of history. Pop in here for a cuppa before going into the small cinema to watch a latest movie. The Old Market Hall.
12. Mrs T. Potts Tea Room, Moreton-in-Marsh.
Let’s not forget that some of your family members may not be able to handle Gluten. In which case, here’s another traditional Cotswolds tearoom, well worth a visit – if only for the chance to meet Mrs T Potts! More details here.
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