myisleofwight Guide to Afternoon Tea

Afternoon teas are in vogue. Across the Isle of Wight more and more charming establishments are embellishing their menus and testing their boundaries to deliver more than just the quintessentially British cream tea. Get ready for your love of this wonderful tradition to be taken to a whole new level.

Anyone care for Tea?

Afternoon tea is said to date back to the 1840’s and by the end of the nineteenth century had developed into its current form and was observed by both the upper and middle classes. Traditionally, loose tea is brewed in a teapot and served with milk and sugar, accompanied by luxury ingredient sandwiches (often cucumber, egg or smoked salmon) scones with jam and cream, and cake and pastries served on a tiered cake stand.

So where do you find the best Island afternoon tea for that little bit of luxury and going to the Ritz type feeling?

Here’s our guide to five of the best…

Tea Room Classic – Dimbola Lodge, £20 for two

The home of pioneering female Victorian photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron, Dimbola Lodge has recently won a Museums & Heritage Award for its wonderful, newly designed tea room. Keeping in line with the house's heritage, Dimbola offers a Victorian homemade afternoon tea with a selection of finger sandwiches, including smoked salmon, cucumber and egg mayonnaise, a slice of Victoria sponge and also scones, jam and cream, served with Yorkshire tea. An absolute bargain and a great place to visit for a look round the exhibitions on display at Dimbola while you’re there.

Country Charm – Chessell Pottery, £15 per person

Chef Bridget Wells has transformed this pretty country café at Chessell pottery into a must visit eaterie. The Courtyard Café offers a wonderful homemade full afternoon tea, comprising a selection of sandwiches, including smoked salmon on open focaccia from The Island Bakers, plus a middle tier of home baked scones, clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam, which Chessell has already become renowned for. The top tier is the ultimate afternoon tea experience of miniature hand crafted cakes and pastries, including a contemporary take on the traditional Victoria sponge and egg custard tart.

Tea is served on a three tier stand - the plates are hand decorated in the pottery with Chessell’s own strawberry design - accompanied by a Teapig English Breakfast ‘temple’ of tea in a beautiful strawberry teapot. The afternoon tea also include a complimentary pottery keepsake.

Traditional Vintage Experience – The Royal Hotel, £23 per person

A favourite haunt of Queen Victoria – the Royal Hotel is the place to go for a truly quintessential afternoon tea experience. Sitting in the hotels Colonial-style conservatory the Royal afternoon tea features a dainty assortment of sandwiches with traditional fillings followed by an exquisite selection of cakes, meringues, patisseries and freshly baked scones and cream all prepared lovingly by their talented patisserie chef. The tea menu varies with the seasons and features 6 refreshing JING teas. The perfect spot to stop off while exploring vintage Ventnor.

Blow the Budget Luxury Champagne Tea– The George Hotel, £30 per person

For that ultimate 'I’m at the Ritz' type feeling, afternoon tea at The George Hotel in Yarmouth is an absolute must. Sitting outside in the garden overlooking the water, it really is the prefect spot to enjoy a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with butter, jams and clotted cream and an array of cakes and pastries. All served with a choice of tea or coffee or upgrade to have yours with a glass of Champagne! Sit back and enjoy the view. 

Alix Robinson

30 April 2016

By Alix Robinson in Articles

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