A perfect pastime if rain stops outdoor play! Great locations coupled with rather unexpected ingredients (not always edible) here is Our Norfolk’s top 5 pick of where to enjoy afternoon tea in Norfolk, take a worthy friend and treat him/her as a thank you for all that friends are for.
1 The Tea House, Elm Hill, Norwich
Situated on Norwich’s oldest street, stroll the length of cobbled Elm Hill with its independent shops and glorious architecture before heading into Wrights Court and The Tea House (approx 1/2 way down Elm Hill, look out for a doorway and tunnel into its courtyard). Co-owner Peter will guide your nose through 30 different loose leaf teas that are on offer which you can try alongside a traditional fruit scone cream tea or other bakes such as white chocolate and raspberry muffins. Join in the conversation on Twitter @teahouseNorwich or find them on Facebook.
2 Byfords, Shirehall Plain, Holt
Believed to be the town’s oldest building, Byfords houses a Store, posh B&B rooms and an all-day café. Rummage through the independent shops of Georgian Holt then sit down to tea, served between 3pm – 5pm. THE CLASSIC consists of finger sandwiches, scones, preserves, clotted cream, Byfords cakes, tea and coffee.
3 The Coffee Van, Salthouse Beach Car Park
No cafe amenities here, its all about the man, his van and its location. To enjoy afternoon tea requires a bit of audience participation; own chairs for a shingle bank or beach view and own cake (as it’s only on offer at random times). Or partake in your car. Park with your back to the bank and ‘drink in’ the landward view; Wolsey Hills Nature Reserve, Salthouse, Cley and Blakeney in the far distance. Julian does have biscuits to dunk, custard creams or bourbons. He also does a very nice hot chocolate and of course, offers freshly ground and brewed coffee from Norwich purveyors Wilkinsons. Turn up on a Sunday morning and you may meet Wells regulars Mr and Mrs Morris Minor in their lovely Traveller, Nelson and I did.
4 Sandyhills Amusements and Café, Sea Palling
From the outside, the quintessential bucket and spade café with perhaps the highest concentration of ‘A-sign’ ad boards in the County but don’t let that put you off! Enjoy a stroll on the stunning beach then pop in for a proper cup of tea, some freshly baked doughnuts (the ones you get to shake in a paper bag full of sugar) and take some time to look round the walls of the café, covered in framed newspaper cuttings about the Great Flood of 1953 and more recent events. The personal accounts make interesting reading and the images remind us of our coastline’s sometime destructive nature. Out of season you may find their one-lane bowling alley free. Loser pays for refreshments?
5 Heydon Tea Rooms
The picturesque cul-de-sac village of Heydon provides perhaps the most lovely Norfolk village setting I’ve yet seen, complete with an idllic village green, church, Husk Bakery, Heydon Hall and The Earle Arms pub. The traditional Heydon Tea Rooms serves afternoon tea from a front room that overlooks the village green. The cake selection is beautifully displayed under glass domes. Mars bar shortbread and sticky gingerbread with Guinness are two I can recall. Mismatch china adds a quirky touch.