A Very British Tea
Afternoon tea was introduced in 1840 by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon.
A lady after our own heart it seems, this tradition is still very much enjoyed across the UK. The rule book went out the window and now you can enjoy a cream or high tea at pretty much any time of day.
Dimbola Lodge, is the former home of photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and current home to Julia’s Tearoom – a charming homely tearoom manned by the gallery’s volunteers. You know how your granny or you mum’s cakes were always the best? Well this is the case with the expertly baked goods you’ll find on offer at Julia’s Tearoom – with scones the size of your face, voluptuous cakes layered with buttercream and tea served in charmingly mismatched vintage china. Book for their deluxe afternoon tea with a mini bottle of wine for a little extra treat. Advance booking for afternoon tea is essential.
Owners and Islanders, Mike and Russell of The Spinnaker are famous champions of locally sourced produce so we aren’t surprised that they great take pride in using as many local gems as part of their ‘Isle of Wight Afternoon Tea’ offering. Expect baked goods to have been baked with Calbourne Watermill Flour adorned with jam from the Fruit Bowl in Newchurch and tipples from Adgestone Vineyard and Isle of Wight Distillery, along with the freshest Bembridge crab for the sandwiches. Booking is essential.
Set in the heart of the West Wight, Chessell Pottery is easily accessed from the many surrounding local footpaths and bike trails making it an idyllic spot to stop off for something tasty. Over the years their Chessell Cream Teas have become Island-famous with both a traditional sweet option and a savoury option with cheese scones. For their self titled ‘dainty’ afternoon tea they serve up a selection of finger sandwiches, tempting mini cakes, and scones with jam and cream, all served on a three-tiered stand. Again like all of these afternoon tea offerings it’s always best to book in advance as it’s a bit of an upgrade from your usual cream tea.
Woods have become known Island-wide for their super fun themed cream teas where the table can be dressed with a variety of props. Past events have celebrated Mary Poppins, Christmas and even the Mad Hatter’s tea party from Alice in Wonderland. Included in the package is a full stand featuring cakes, sandwiches, scones served with clotted cream and strawberry jam, along with as much tea and coffee as you can drink. Not only this, but it comes with an extra layer of treats on the cake stand and a miniature bottle of prosecco each.
The dining room at The Hambrough offers a view to die for with panoramic vistas out over the Ventnor bay horizon. Couple this with an indulgent high tea with dainty sandwiches, clotted cream tea and petit-fours, and you have the making of a wonderful afternoon. Make it a special occasion with the addition of a glass of prosecco or an indulgent glass of Champagne to wash it down.
The Royal Hotel has been so called ever since Queen Victoria enjoyed taking afternoon tea at the hotel, whilst visiting her friend Sir John Hambrough, at nearby Steephill Castle. This fine tradition of a mid-afternoon spread continues with an exquisite selection of cakes, patisseries and freshly baked scones and cream, all lovingly prepared by their talented pastry chefs. Sit and enjoy some of the finest food around in the beautiful setting of the conservatory, brasserie or geranium terrace.