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Tea Rooms in England

Pauline Kenny

Most villages and small towns in England have one or more tea rooms. In our experience, especially in the Cotswolds, these are locally owned family businesses and offer good food options for breakfast, lunch and mid-morning or afternoon tea. Tea rooms are usually open from 9:00am to around 5:00pm. In some towns they are open every day; but some will have closing days (usually mid-week because weekends are their busiest time).

Cream tea at the Abbey Tea Rooms, Tewkesbury

Cream tea at the Abbey Tea Rooms, Tewkesbury

Walkers Are Welcome

Tea rooms in the villages in the Cotswolds are used to walkers in muddy hiking boots and rain jackets. Many places will have a sign saying walkers are welcome, but most ask that you place plastic bags over your muddy boots. We saw several tea rooms with a box of plastic bags by the door for your muddy boots. Slip the bags over your boots and then go into the tea room (yes, it feels strange - but is a perfect solution). If you are muddy and do not see a box of plastic bags, ask before you venture far into the room.

Food Items Available

Breakfast

  • Tea or coffee
  • Toast
  • Some will offer egg dishes
  • Some will offer full English breakfast (usually fried eggs, sausage, tomato, toast)

Lunch

  • Cold sandwiches (vegetarian options usually egg salad or cheese)
  • Melted sandwiches (vegetarian options usually cheese)
  • Jacket potatoes: Baked potatoes with various "stuffings" (vegetarian option usually cheese or cheese, tomato and onion). These stuffings are not usually baked into the potatoes but are spooned onto the baked potato.
  • Full meals: Many tea shops offer nice cooked lunches and will have these listed on a daily specials board.

Sunday Roast

Some tea rooms, and pubs, offer a "Sunday Roast". This is a traditional meal with roast meat and vegetables. We saw vegetarian versions in some pubs and tea rooms!

Cream Teas and Pastries

  • Cream Tea: one or two scones, clotted cream, jam, pot of tea
  • Toasted teacake: toasted large raisin bread type thing (very good)
  • Various cakes and pies and pastries
  • Tea, coffee, mineral water (sparkling, still or tap), hot chocolate

Ordering in Tea Shops

Most tea rooms expect you to seat yourself. The waiter/waitress brings you a menu (or there is a menu already on the table) and then takes your order. Many tea rooms have daily specials displayed somewhere. Have a look around to see if there is one. Cakes are usually displayed and you can walk over to have a look at them.

Prices

On our September 2004 trip, we usually paid about £10.00 per person for a lunch, tea and cake. Or £3.00 to £4.00 for a Cream Tea. The most we paid was £6.50 for Cream Tea at the Pump Room in Bath. See our Tea Room Menu for sample prices.

On our September 2005 trip, I noted these prices from The Kitchen in Minchinhampton (southern Cotswolds):

Open Monday - Saturday, 9am - 5pm
Breakfast Menu served 9am - 11am
Lunch Served 12pm - 2:30pm (wine and beer with lunch)

  • Pot of Tea £1.10

  • Filter Coffee £1.20

  • Cream Tea £3.95 - pot of tea, 2 scones, clotted cream, jam

  • Full Breakfast £6.95 - eggs, sausage, bacon, tomatoes, black pudding, beans, tea or coffee, toast, fresh orange juice
  • Poached Eggs on Toast £3.95

Paying the Bill in Tea Shops

Most tea shops expect you to go over to the cash register when you are done and pay your bill there.

Tipping

We usually tip 10% or just round up the bill.

Resources

Slow Travel Photos: Photos of tea rooms and meals.

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