Afternoon Tea Week 2021 begins on 9th August and it’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself with something scrummy, around that time of the day when you start to feel peckish, post-lunch and pre-dinner… (that’s assuming you needed an excuse – personally we think any week is a good week for afternoon tea, and especially afternoon tea in White Cliffs Country - Deal, Dover and Sandwich).
Introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, the custom of taking Afternoon Tea began in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon, and as the household’s evening meal was served “fashionably late” at eight o’clock, the period of time between lunch and dinner was too long to wait without food (as far as Anna was concerned). The Duchess requested that tea, bread and butter and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon – and it soon became a habit. Then she began inviting friends to join her…
Whatever tickles your fancy food-wise at around four o’ clock, and whether you’re with friends, family or travelling solo - you’ll find plenty of places to enjoy afternoon tea in Deal, Dover and Sandwich. White Cliffs Country offers you some very exciting options for indulging in this quintessentially English tradition…
West Side to East Side... White Cliffs Country does scones TDF.
Enjoy delicious sandwiches and sweet delicacies by the seaside, in the shade of an iconic English landmark. Dover Marina Hotel & Spa is nestled under the spectacular White Cliffs of Dover and the amazingly well-preserved medieval fortress, Dover Castle. The hotel has stunning views out over “Three Waves”, the striking Tonkin Liu esplanade; the English Channel, one of Britain’s most famous waterways and the brand new cosmopolitan waterfront development on the site of the former Western Docks.
As well as a selection of various types of tea you could opt for a glass of Champagne or Prosecco with the Marco Pierre White Afternoon Tea. The menu pays tribute to Dover’s continental connections (the Port of Dover is Europe’s busiest ferry port) and features (alongside English strawberry and clotted cream cheesecake, Severn and Wye smoked salmon and Wiltshire sliced ham), French macarons and Austrian Sachertorte.
From coast to countryside and you might choose to enjoy afternoon tea in the heart of White Cliffs Country’s rural idylls, in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Alkham Valley tea rooms offer a fabulous afternoon tea that can be enjoyed outside with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of buzzing bees and fluttering butterflies while you sample freshly cut sandwiches, home-baked cakes and scones, and perhaps a glass of bubbles.
Mrs Knott's Tea Room enjoys a splendid and unique location at South Foreland Lighthouse. Take tea and cake with a breathtaking view! (© National Trust)
For awe-inspiring and unique views, take tea and cake on top of the White Cliffs of Dover - from the fabulously quirky Mrs Knott’s Tea Room, located at the historically fascinating and perfectly preserved South Foreland Lighthouse. The tea room is open from 11am-5pm every day and is accessed via a wonderful walk along the clifftops with breathtaking views over the English Channel. Perfect for working off the calories afterwards! Alternatively, head out to the lighthouse and back again, before rewarding yourself with refreshment at the Visitor Centre cafe (which also serves a selection of hot dishes, and offers more savoury options for those with less of a sweet tooth).
Don’t forget the Pines Garden Tea Room in beautiful St Margaret’s Bay is open for takeaway tea and cake too. Enjoy strolling around the organically-managed gardens, visit the carp pond and the famous Oscar Neumann statue of Winston Churchill looking out towards the Dover Patrol Memorial and the White Cliffs of Dover. Wander down to the bay afterwards and enjoy exploring the rockpools or admiring the views, and catch a glimpse of the Art Deco house, ‘White Cliffs’, once owned by Noel Coward and Iater James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming!
White Cliffs Country's literary connections - and wonderful afternoon teas - continue at Goodnestone Park Gardens near Sandwich. The house was a favourite place to stay for Jane Austen in the late 18th and early 19th centuries - she began writing her novel that would later be published as 'Pride and Prejudice' immediately after staying at Goodnestone in 1796. Enjoy an exquisite afternoon tea in The Old Dairy cafe (must be booked in advance) as you imagine Jane having been inspired by the gardens' peace, beauty and tranquillity.
While you’re in White Cliffs Country, and to help exercise off the tea and cake, don’t forget to explore quaint and quirky Deal and relaxed, romantic Sandwich. Both of these pretty towns, bursting with independent shops and full of fascinating history, can be reached with a refreshing stroll from Dover along the new stretch of the England Coastal Path, with spectacular views from the clifftops of the White Cliffs of Dover. Why not make a staycation of it and explore all three character towns of White Cliffs Country, pausing for afternoon tea along the way?