Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Top Ten Places For Afternoon Tea - The Treasure Houses of England

A fittingly fine way to enjoy the quintessentially English custom of afternoon tea, visit the Treasure Houses of England’s consortium of historic homes, palaces and castles to indulge in this traditional pastime in spectacular surrounds and inimitable stately style.

Afternoon Tea at Woburn Abbey
•    Woburn Abbey - The quintessential English tradition of Afternoon Tea is said to have been popularised around 1840 by Duchess Anna Maria, wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford, who entertained her friends at Woburn Abbey.  Visitors today can experience Afternoon Tea at Woburn at the Duchess’ Tea Room or at the Estate’s hotel The Inn at Woburn (pre-booking required).

•    Burghley House – Enjoy a range of Afternoon Teas in the Orangery Restaurant at Burghley, designed by ‘Capability’ Brown in the eighteenth century. The ornate gothic windows provide a bright and elegant space to indulge in homemade scones, cakes and a range of teas while overlooking the peaceful and romantic Rose Garden.

•    Beaulieu – Enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea with a wide selection of cakes and pastries all baked in-house in the Brabazon Coffee Shop and Restaurant.  Some produce comes from Lord Montagu's own Victorian Kitchen garden; beetroot is transformed into a delicious moist cake and plums made into jam, to eat on scones with lashings of Dorset clotted cream.

•    Hatfield House – Take tea to new and dizzy heights with Hatfield’s Helicopter Discovery Tour where you can escape on an eight mile helicopter pleasure flight over the estate to snatch spectacular aerial views of the stunning architecture of the house, rounded off by a delicious home made cream tea at the house.

Afternoon Tea at Castle Howard
•    Castle Howard – Enjoy an afternoon treat at Castle Howard in either the bistro style Courtyard Cafe or the more traditional Fitzroy Room.  On offer are seasonal menus prepared by their incredible chefs that include a generous selection of freshly made sandwiches, salads and heavenly homemade cakes.

•    Chatsworth – Enjoy a British tradition at Chatsworth with an afternoon tea in the Cavendish Restaurant (from 16 March 2014) built within the 18th century Stables designed by the famous architect James Paine. Enjoy homemade dainty finger sandwiches, a selection of cakes and pastries freshly baked at Chatsworth every day and a wide choice of carefully selected leaf teas. Afternoon teas are available throughout the day and are pre-bookable online.
Afternoon Tea at Leeds Castle

•    Leeds Castle – Enjoy an afternoon treat with a cream tea in the 17th Century oak-beamed Fairfax Hall or outside in the sunshine on the Terrace overlooking the castle.  There is an excellent choice of freshly prepared hot and cold dishes on offer, along with cakes and other sweet treats, all of which can be enjoyed in a rustic farmhouse kitchen style setting featuring oak and wrought iron finishes.

•    Harewood House – At Harewood House you can taste the delights of afternoon tea in one of its renowned cafés.  The Grade 1 listed Courtyard Café, edged by colonnades, offers superb al fresco and covered facilities perfect for families, while The Terrace Café- voted one of the best places to have afternoon tea by Gardener’s World Magazine readers in 2010- offers stunning views over the lake and Capability Brown landscape. Using locally sourced ingredients, much from Harewood’s own Walled Garden, both cafes provide a spectacular setting to relax and unwind.

•    The Holkham Estate has two cafés offering afternoon tea.  As part of a visit to Holkham Hall, discover the Stables Café in the adjacent sunny courtyard, perfect on a summer’s afternoon. Or there’s the Beach Café just a stone’s throw from the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea.  Whichever you opt for you can be sure to find plenty of mouth-watering homemade treats to indulge in.

•    Blenheim Palace is the perfect place to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in the elegant surroundings only a palace could provide.  Tea is served in the palace’s Indian Room, or Champagne Bar, overlooking the eautiful fountains on the Water Terraces for a truly inspired setting.  Choose from a delectable selection of menus including a traditional Blenheim Tea, a Churchill Champagne Tea or a luxury Winston Churchill Premier Tea, inspired by the great leader it includes his favourite tipple Pol Roger Brut Reserve NV.

Treasure Houses of England
The Treasure Houses of England are ten of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles in England today. Members are Beaulieu, Blenheim Palace, Burghley House, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Harewood, Hatfield House, Holkham Hall, Leeds Castle and Woburn Abbey.  Each has its own unique charm and all combine together to give a fascinating insight into life in England over the centuries

One of the most compelling features of the Treasure Houses of England is that they all offer the visitor a living history. Most are still homes to the great families who have owned them for generations. Others keep their heritage alive by re-creating scenes and events that have dominated and shaped England from the 9th century to the present day.

Between them they house some of the most important art collections in the world with famous works from artists such as Van Dyck and Gainsborough and priceless antiques including Chippendale, Wedgwood and Meissen.

Discover hidden gems and dark secrets, follow walks and adventure trails in beautiful parklands and gardens, enjoy classical concerts, outdoor theatre, family fun and relax over afternoon tea:  the Treasure Houses change with the seasons, move with the times and always have something unexpected to offer, something new to discover.

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