My first ever visit to a proper tea room. On a cold early Spring afternoon we came here to take tea and oh what a discovery! The Orchard with a Tea Pavillion. This is no ordinary place but then I had no expectations as I’d never been to a tea room before. All I wanted was to get out of the cold and have a cup of tea somewhere warm. Well, wasn’t I spoilt for choice! To take with my tea, there were the most delicious scones, cakes, apple pies, cookies as well as crisps, soft drinks and other souvenirs. I was like a kid in a candy shop…actually…I was, literally. It would have been really easy to go overboard and have as many accompaniments to my hot steamming cuppa tea as my eyes can decide for my stomach. I tried to fight off the craving of my sweet tooth – a battle I lost happily or I would have missed out on a great English teatime experience!
I really enjoyed the atmosphere. The building didn’t look like much from the outside. It was a modest building but once inside I felt like I was amongst a fraternity of tea drinkers. I felt special! I think part of me was like Alice In Wonderland. For me it was an experience I’ll will never forget. What an introduction to the world of the English tea time.
I looked around the room and there were people from many parts of the world including the regulars who came by to enjoy a cuppa and some slice of their favourite sweet. I was impressed with the number of tables that were filled as people constantly filed in and out of the room. Most of the crowd looked like students and lecturers or university staff from nearby Cambridge University. However, there were also visitors like me who came in with cameras of all sizes slung around their necks. I did not know that I was following a famous Cambridge tradition when I walked into The Orchard for afternoon tea that afternoon until I read the booklet which I picked up on my way in. I felt so grateful for the opportunity to visit a real tea room and share in a great tradition. Yummy cakes, pies and slices and a hot steaming cuppa tea!
The Orchard became a tea time haven in the late 19th Century from a house that has a very interesting and endearing historical beginning. A number of Cambridge students came by one morning in the Spring of 1897 and asked the lady of Orchard House, Mrs Stevenson if they could be served tea in the orchard amongst the flowering fruit trees – first planted in 1868. Mrs Stevenson obliged and so began a ‘great Cambridge tradition’.
Ah! Some famous and prominent people who have taken tea at this historic tearoom: Bertrand Russell, Maynard Keynes, Alan Turing (inventor of the computer), AA Milne, Prince Charles, Pandit Nehru, John Cleese, Tim Rice, David Attenborough, Germaine Greer among many others.
Some more pics of The Orchard acreage where many a hot cuppa was served. I look forward with anticipation for another visit when the fruit trees are in bloom.