Wednesday, June 15, 2016

An English Afternoon Tea in Bradford on Avon, England

By now we have moved to our second cottage located in Turleigh, Wiltshire in the county of Wessex. The area belongs still to the beautiful Cotswolds.

Yesterday, after having a lot of fun exploring the pretty old town of Bradford on Avon and doing some fine hat shopping there, we treated ourselves to the first full English Afternoon Tea in this vacation at The Bridge Tea Rooms.



The cottage that houses the tea room is quite old and charming, like so many houses in England. Originally it belonged to a blacksmith and is dating from 1502. The front of the house is lovingly decorated with planters and window boxes. By the way, we had our tea behind the window to the right on the second floor.



There was a beautiful display of vintage, possibly antique blue china on the window sill. Just lovely!



In the background you can see the old town center of Bradford on Avon and the building in the middle with the round cupola I believe is the Catholic Church of Bradford on Avon.



Now we have been served tea! I chose the Guv'nors Tea and my husband had the English Breakfast Tea. Both teas had nice well balanced flavors. I was so pleased, that they served the tea in really elegant and delicate fine bone china. The maker was Duchess, England.



Tadaaa...! And here is the three tired tea stand. What a delight!



Who is able to resist an English Afternoon Tea?



This is the fireplace in the second story, very close to the table were we sat.



Attention to detail is what made this tea so enjoyable besides the edible treats. Each of us had an own tea strainer, that fit into a small metal bowl, so that it didn't leave a mess on the saucer with the little doily.



We chose the Queen Victoria Afternoon Tea to share, which contained a selection of four finger sandwiches, a scone with strawberry jam and organic clotted cream, and two small slices of cake: chocolate and lemon. Traditionally you eat the scone first, then the sandwiches and save the cake for last as a kind of desert. Let's have a closer look at the food items.



The scone was delicious and had the right texture, not too crumbly, not too moist. I loved the little bowl they served the jam in.



The cakes were also very good. The chocolate cake was rich and moist, exactly as it should be, and the lemon cake refreshing. You hardly can see it on the photo, but they were serving small wild strawberries with the cake and very small red grapes, so that the fruits were more in proportion with the small size of the cake slices. I loved their attention to detail.



The selection of sandwiches included salmon, ham, egg and cucumber. All sandwiches were very tasty, but the cucumber sandwich stood out. It was super delicious and one of the ingredients was mint, which was new to me in this context. It just gave it that extra special memorable taste that stays with you for a long time.  



The china was delicate and beautiful and I appreciated the fact that each of us had our own tea pot. If you serve an English Afternoon Tea at home, I think that would the ultimate treat for a well appreciated guest.



One extra detail that some may find over the top touristy and cheesy, but others a delight, is that the tea is served by staff dressed in Victorian costumes. Our waitresses were very friendly and one agreed that I could take a photo of her. 



The fireplace in the first story is much more elaborate than the one shown a few photos above in the second story.



Since we had read mixed review, we asked some locals about The Bridge Tea Rooms. We have been discretely told by them that the owner has changed about two years ago and that the quality has gone down a bit from really exceptional to "people still like it and go there". Hmm..., were they talking about tourists? The Bridge Tea Rooms has been awarded two times the UK's Top Tea Place by the prestigious UK Tea Guild, but maybe that was before the ownership has changed?



Well, we don't know what the quality of the English Afternoon Tea was like at The Bridge Tea Rooms before the owner changed, but we certainly did not regret our visit there. As a matter of fact we enjoyed our experience quite a bit and think it is still absolutely worth having an English Afternoon Tea in this establishment.

So when you are in the area, maybe you stop by and check it out yourself and come to your own conclusion. I hope your experience will be as pleasant as ours has been!

Warm regards,

Christina



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24 comments:

  1. Afternoon tea is such a civilized custom. It looks as though you're enjoying your trip to the fullest!

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  2. That all looks lovely! Quite fancy a bit of cake myself now!

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  3. So charming! Everything looks delicious - especially the lemon cake :) x K

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  4. Hilfe - du warst drinnen! Ich hab es zweimal geschafft, vormittags dort zu sein, 10.00 Uhr, da nimmt man noch keinen Tee. Das ist ja wundervoll innen - und diese Bedienung - einfach nur stilgerecht. Beim nächsten Mal gehe ich auch rein - es ist wunderschön. Habt ihr alles aufgegessen?

    Sigrun

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  5. The old stone buildings are unique to Europe and yes charming. Very pretty inside. Thanks for the tour.

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  6. Dear Christina:
    I love love this posting of Afternoon Tea. I really appreciate that it was not called High Tea! Here in Missouri I have been to several tea rooms that do that. A lack of education I guess. The food looks wonderful and the bone china pieces are so sweet with the ivy and I loved the whole place which I have seen featured on some books. Thanks for sharing and linking to Tea In The Garden.

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  7. How delightful an afternoon, spent wandering and stopping in for tea! And this one looks like more than a tiny shoppe's offerings---everything is absolute perfection, from the starched linens to the crisp cuts to the sandwiches. That kitchen knows its business. I didn't notice that as a costume at all---she looks the picture of a properly dressed, friendly and efficient young Tea Lady, and even her apron adds to the gracious atmosphere.

    It's all simply charming, and looks delicious. What a lovely treat to stop in and see your wonderful adventures.

    rachel

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  8. What a lovely afternoon tea! It is beautifully set and the sweets look so yummy...

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  9. Fantastic place to be I think.
    Wishing you a beautiful holidaytime.
    Warm wishes Marijke

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  10. Nothing over the top, I like the dress of the waitress. Afternoon Teas are a must when you are in England, we love it and this was a delightful place. Are you going to visit gardens too? I suppose yes.
    I have to tell you I go next week again to England, Surrey, visiting gardens and having afternoon teas with my friends of the gardenclub. I'm so looking forward to it.
    Have a nice time!
    Janneke

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  11. What a wonderful afternoon tea. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. What a great trip and to be able to take part in afternoon tea in such a spectacular place has to be an amazing experience.

    Enjoy your trip.

    Janet

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  13. suddenly hungry :) what a great time and fun trip! Adding to my list of must see!

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  14. Oh my, that was a delightful stop for tea! Love the fireplaces! Thanks for sharing!

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  15. Dear Christina:
    So glad you shared this post with BTTCG Blog Party! You sure had a delightful visit and trip.

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  16. What a dreamy, delightful experience.. I dont know waht entices me more, the ambiance, the location or the food... It must be the composition in it's entirety. But I am entranced!

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  17. Dear Christina:
    This post was featured today on my Special Featured Blogs, Congratulations!

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  18. What a beautiful setting for tea. The china is gorgeous and the food looks just delicious!

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  19. Ist das schön, liebe Christina - so tolle Fotos!
    Da bekommt man richtig Reiselust :-)
    Ganz viele liebe Sommergrüße
    sendet dir die Urte

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  20. Wonderful! I do love English Afternoon Tea! And what do I usually bring from England? Nothing but tea! Thank you Christina!

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  21. I'm heading to England next week and my friend has reserved an afternoon tea for us at Bath. I need to learn how to be a proper lady in the next week. ;o) Looks like you had a wonderful time! Everything looks delicious.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tammy, oooh, I am so happy for you that you go to England next week! I could jump right in the plane with you... And what a coincidence, we have been visiting Bath at the last day of our vacation. I hope you have a wonderful time in England and that the Afternoon Tea in Bath will be a full success. I know it is not garden related but will you blog about it, too? I am dying to see photos, what your Afternoon Tea looked like.
      I guess, I have to call myself an Anglophile by now ;-)!

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