Top spots for tea in Essex
PUBLISHED: 11:01 16 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:21 20 February 2013
No one does afternoon tea like the British, so Alex Herron went <br/><br/>in search of some of the best tea shop treats in the county
Poppys Tea Rooms
5 Fishmarket Street
Thaxted CM6 2PG
Poppys offers a quintessential English tea room experience. Conveniently located in the charming town of Thaxted it makes a perfect spot for an indulgent afternoon tea, light lunch or delicious cream tea.
Just my cup of tea: The owner is from a long line of Ceylon tea planters so you can be assured that each cup of tea served will be of the highest quality.
The Tea Tree Caf
The Doctors Pond
North Street, Great Dunmow
The Tea Tree Caf is a very friendly, family-run business thats long been a staple destination for locals and tourists. One of the cafs biggest draws, other than the scrumptious chocolate chip shortbread or dark chocolate pecan and raisin squares, is its fabulous location overlooking Doctors Pond.
Just my cup of tea: All the ingredients have been sourced locally where possible, the coffee is fair trade and, oh, did we mention the chocolate chip shortbread?
Blackmore Tea Rooms
Located in the small village of Blackmore lies the perfectly charming Blackmore Tea Rooms. Its run by two sisters and you can always be guaranteed a warm welcome inside this sumptuously furnished caf. However, the main reason people keep coming back is the appetising cakes and other delectables that are nigh on impossible to resist.
Just my cup of tea: The marvellous exposed beams add a real sense of charm to this stunning 15th century building.
The Courtyard Caff
This choice caf is situated just outside the tiny village of Debden, adjacent to Debden Antiques and Interiors which is well worth a look around in its own right. The Courtyard Caff offers a huge assortment of food from freshly-baked scones to more substantial pickings for a hearty lunch or supper. On a summers day the outdoor terrace makes a perfect spot for a glass of chilled wine surrounded by the open countryside.
Just my cup of tea: On the first Saturday of the month a popular farmers market is held in a marquee next to the Courtyard Caffe. This is one not to miss.
Bygones of Writtle
44 The Green
Indulge yourself at Bygones of Writtle with a wander round this delightful shop picking over a diverse collection of antiques and gifts before settling down in the comfortable tea room overlooking the village green. Friendly staff, elegant surroundings and a mouth-watering array of nibbles, sandwiches and quiches ensure any visit to this tea room will be a rewarding one. Just my cup of tea: If you live locally, pick up a Bygones of Writtle loyalty card and get your tenth drink free.
Huttons Courtyard Caf
Huttons Courtyard Caf is located within the Stables Visitor Centre at Hylands Estate. It serves delicious hot or cold meals and snacks throughout the day and is an essential stop off for those visiting Hylands House.
Just my cup of tea: Hylands House is a stunning Grade II listed property, spectacularly restored to its former glory, situated in 574 acres of historic landscaped parkland.
Down Hall Country
Dating back to 1322, this impressive hotel is immersed in history. The Down Hall Country House Hotels lounge serves up a delightfully traditional cup of afternoon tea in luxurious surroundings. There are three menus to choose from each offering a different take on the classic English afternoon tea experience.
Just my cup of tea: For those with a wickedly sweet tooth, the chocolate fondue with a selection of dipping fruits is a must try.
The Swan Hotel
This 14th century hotel was recently voted within the top 20 UK hotels by Cond Nast. If its exquisite tea room and the glorious gardens are anything to go by, its not hard to see why. Freshly-baked scones with jam and clotted cream, homemade cakes and finger sandwiches, are all beautifully presented on traditional tiered cake stands and are a joy to eat.
Just my cup of tea: After your tea why not check out the historic Old Bar? Once the haunt of RAF and American servicemen during World War II and now decorated with memorabilia
from that time.
Dedham is arguably one of Essexs most picturesque villages and those wishing to enjoy the Constable countryside should stop off at the Maison Talbooth Hotel. The hotels tea room is the epitome of quality and luxury and the perfect reward at the end of a long walk.
Just my cup of tea: Your tea can be taken in the sitting room, on the terrace, in the Garden Room or by the pool next to the pool house.
The Essex Rose is ideally situated in this picture-perfect village. Youll find an array of mouth-watering sandwiches, jacket potatoes, cooked lunches, hot and cold snacks, and home-baked cakes. Both the service and dcor is impeccable and you can be sure of a wonderfully memorable visit.
Just my cup of tea: Try the special Tiptree Strawberry Conserve with two Tiptree scones, butter and fresh cream, served with a Tiptree tea.
For an indulgent afternoon tea the stately Prested Hall is just what you are looking for. Your drink can be enjoyed in one of the halls fine period rooms or outside on the lawns, overlooking the moat. Youll find a delightful mix of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and an accompaniment of other equally tempting fair.
Just my cup of tea: In the summer months, picnics can also be booked, with or without butler service, and taken in the gorgeous grounds surrounding Prested Hall.
34 Harwich Road
After walking around this large garden centre, which sells everything from seeds to trees and tools to garden furniture and ornaments, you can relax with a fresh cup of cha at the Garden Caf. The caf offers a collection of tantalising snacks, cakes and other delectable refreshments.
Just my cup of tea: The garden centre has a two-and-a-half acre glasshouse, ensuring the best quality seasonal plants all year round.
The Victory at Mersea
92 Coast Road
After a walk down the long sandy beaches that make up the Mersea coastline, how better to reward yourself than with a bite to eat at one of Essexs award-winning inns? The food is as good as the service is friendly and it stands in a prominent position on the waterfront, overlooking the Blackwater Estuary and the North Sea.
Just my cup of tea: The Times newspaper rates Mersea in its 30 Great British Weekend Getaways and The Victory as the place to stay.
At Snape Maltings youll be able to find something to satisfy any palate. Theres The Granary tea shop serving freshly-made cakes alongside paninis and other goodies in pleasant and modern surroundings. Theres also Caf 1885 which prides itself on serving quality fare made from local and seasonal ingredients.
Just my cup of tea: At the end of every summer, Snape Maltings plays host to the Aldeburgh Food Festival.
At this cavernous coffee house youll find contented gardening enthusiasts recharging their batteries with a refreshing cup of coffee or tea. Theres an extensive food menu too, so if you get peckish while wandering the nursery you have the perfect opportunity to fill up on firm favourites like quiches, sandwiches, ploughmans and baked potatoes.
Just my cup of tea: You can choose to take your food to the adjoining conservatory overlooking the Kelvedon Valley and the outside summer terrace.