Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, is reputed to have created afternoon tea in the early 1800s. She decided to have something to eat at around four or five in the afternoon to ward off the hunger pangs between lunch and dinner. She chose bread and butter, pastries and cakes with a cup of tea.
Sometime earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread. Tea and sandwiches were combined and soon became a good reason for social gatherings, starting a trend that is still very much a part of British life.
In Devon, the way to have your scones is to split them in two, cover each half with clotted cream and then add strawberry jam on top. We know the Queen serves scones jam first at her garden parties, but we like the Devonshire method here!
Here are four fab places to have an afternoon tea in our part of North Devon:
Tea on the Green, Westward Ho!
The Tea on the Green at Westward Ho names its cream teas after famous movie stars including The Hepburn, The Grant and The Taylor! A slice of old-fashioned Hollywood glamour on our doorstep.
The Cream Tea Café, Church Lane, Barnstaple
This quaint café receives rave reviews on TripAdvisor and is close to the centre of Barnstaple. It has a fabulous setting and features home baked products. If you’re out for a bike ride or walk along the Tarka Trail, then this café is the perfect stop off to help boast energy and morale!
Docton Mill & Gardens, Hartland
Docton Mill, which also has wondered gardens you can visit, serves freshly prepared food in its granary kitchen and was recently voted best cream tea in Devon at the North Devon Food & Drink awards. It is open daily.
Hartland Abbey & Gardens, Hartland
The tea rooms are located in the heart of the former house. Visitors can either enjoy a cream tea in the old kitchen rooms or in the courtyard. Hartland Abbey includes 18th century walled and woodland gardens. It also has parkland providing visitors with extensive grounds to wander in and enjoy, including a stunning valley leading down to the Atlantic Ocean. Open end of March until October.