Long afternoons filled with tea, sandwiches and scones are back!
The appetite guide to afternoon tea
It’s all about etiquette, folks…
The tea… Must be loose leaf and should be served with a pot of hot water to dilute.
Pouring the tea If your waiter does not pour the tea, the person closest to the pot should pour for everyone. Milk, sugar or lemon should be added after the tea – never before!
Stirring the tea Stirring may cause a splash and with it social embarrassment, so move the spoon back and forward from 12 o’clock to six o’clock. Then rest your teaspoon at the back of the teacup on the saucer.
Holding your cup Pinch the handle with your forefinger and thumb; don’t hook your finger through the handle, and don’t stick your little finger in the air!
Eating Use your fingers for sandwiches (they’re called finger sandwiches for a reason). Break your scone with your fingers rather than using a knife, and add butter, cream or jam to each section. Whether you add the cream or jam first is up to you – it is a matter of geographic argument, not of etiquette, thankfully.
Take our afternoon tea tour
We’ve scoured the length and breadth of the region for classic and unusual afternoon teas. This is what we’ve found…
Bradley Gardens’ afternoon tea is a classic affair, served in the elegant conservatory with views over the gardens. The scones are of particular note served with Bradley’s own jam.
Bradley Gardens, Sled Lane, Wylam, NE41 8JH, tel 01661 852 176, www.bradley-gardens.co.uk
Brocksbushes Farm Shop
At Brocksbushes Farm near Corbridge, the popular Tea Room makes a lovely setting for afternoon tea of sandwiches, scones and cakes served the traditional way. Whether in the conservatory or outside, there are few better places to spend a relaxed afternoon.
Brocksbushes, Styford Roundabout, Stocksfield, NE43 7UB, tel 01434 633 100, www.brocksbushes.co.uk
For afternoon tea in a grand setting, pay a visit to Backworth Hall, where the daily afternoon tea includes a selection of sandwiches, scones and desserts. You could book a round of golf too!
Backworth Hall, Backworth, NE27 0AH, tel 0191 268 1048
With some of the finest views of the Tyne Valley, afternoon tea at No.19 at Close House is served in great style. Executive chef Craig Harvey is a master of pastry and crafts seasonal teas around local produce to create a truly one-off experience.
Close House Heddon-on-the-Wall, Newcastle, NE15 0HT, tel 01661 852 255, www.closehouse.co.uk
Afternoon tea at the Coquetvale Hotel in Rothbury offers something for everyone. Treat yourself to a glass of prosecco with a traditional tea, or try a savoury afternoon tea of Scotch egg, mini cottage and pork pies, smoked salmon bagel, roast beef and horseradish sandwiches, Yorkshire blue cheese, biscuits and tomato chutney, a cheese scone and malt loaf. All are served with loose-leaf teas or coffee from Ringtons.
The Coquetvale Hotel, Station Road, Rothbury, NE65 7QH, tel 01669 622 900, www.coquetvale.co.uk
Massey’s Tea Room
Take a trip to picture-perfect Corbridge and Massey’s afternoon tea, which comes in three sizes – micro, mini or maxi – and includes sandwiches, scone with jam and cream, cake and coffee/tea. Guess which size we recommend…
Massey’s Tea Room, Middle Street, Corbridge, NE45 5AT, tel 01434 633 130, www.masseystearoom.co.uk
Melanie’s Tea Room
We like nothing more than a cosy tea room after a walk on the coast, and Melanie’s Tea Room in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea ticks all the boxes. Cream and afternoon teas are traditional and served in style – perfect for a lazy afternoon after a morning on the beach.
Melanie’s Tea Room, Front Street, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, NE64 6NJ, www.facebook.com/Melanies-Tea-Room-2089139004648670
Red Kite afternoon tea is traditional and proudly local. Or, for a taste of something different, try an alternative afternoon tea of mini fish cakes and chips, mini Yorkshire pudding beef wraps, scones and cakes.
The Red Kite, Spa Well Road, Winlaton Mill, Blaydon-on-Tyne, NE21 6RU, tel 0191 414 5840, www.theredkitewinlatonmill.co.uk
The County Hotel
The County Hotel serves up classic afternoon teas ideal for long sunny afternoons. Take your time and relax with sweet and savoury options and a choice of fizz and cocktail teas should they take your fancy.
The County Hotel, Priestpopple Hexham, NE46 1PS, tel 01434 608 444, www.countyhotelhexham.co.uk
Having met in the pastry kitchens of the world-famous Connaught Hotel in London, Frederic and Jane Robineau’s afternoon teas are backed up with years of experience and plenty of style. The team creates stunning French patisserie, savouries and scones every day, and the relaxed space and excellent service make this a must-visit!
Robineau Patisserie West Auckland Road, Darlington, DL3 9EL, tel 01325 489 129, www.robineau.co.uk
Walwick Hall’s beautiful afternoon tea served in the hotel’s grand Drawing Room comprises mini sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam, beautifully presented pastries, and more, all carefully crafted by an expert pastry chef. Walwick serves two afternoon teas – Traditional and Northumbrian with local favourites such as mini stotties. There are also seasonal and special occasion teas, the next on Father’s Day. Add some extra sparkle with a glass of champagne and enjoy the view over the Tyne Valley.
Walwick Hall, Humshaugh, Hexham, NE46 4BJ, tel 0871 495 0013, walwickhall.com