Afternoon teas are an increasingly popular menu choice in the North East, but Wynyard’s offering has plenty to draw you to this corner of the Tees Valley.
With the main house on the 120-acre estate now only open for private hire or special calendar events, daily afternoon teas on-site are now served in its Garden Cafe in the walled garden.
It is across the street from the farm shop, which offers high quality produce, including produce from the estate and produce from local suppliers, that you simply won’t find on the shelf of your average supermarket. , as well as chic and understated homewares.
While the main house is opulent and lavish, the café adjoining the farm shop is much more laid back with its flagstone floor and laid back atmosphere.
It sells a very good range of light snacks and lunches, such as cakes, quiches, pastries, paninis, pies, salads and more.
Afternoon tea is also informal, without reservations. Unlike most other afternoon teas, it’s also bespoke, meaning you can mix and match your choices for tiers.
Each diner gets three finger sandwiches, which on our visit were ham, egg mayonnaise and cucumber, with the rest of the afternoon tea tailored to your tastes with a choice of fruit scone or cheese each, a choice of a slice of cake from one of the many dishes on offer in the cafe and a choice of sausage rolls or quiches, all served on a rustic wooden afternoon tea stand.
We chose to eat in the shade of the terrace overlooking the gardens, but you can also enjoy it in the gardens themselves – which would have been an even prettier setting, but we didn’t want our cakes to melt under the heat wave.
The scones were a triumph: perfectly flaky with a golden brown top and they didn’t skimp on the cheese. They were moist enough to eat without butter, but we covered them with plenty of food anyway.
My choice of sausage roll was also excellent, the kind of sausage roll you get at farm shops; packed with flavor into a perfect pastry that crumbled into submission with the lightest of touches. There is also a wide, refreshing range of vegan and vegetarian options, as well as choices for those with dietary requirements.
At £15 pp it’s excellent value for the location, quality and portion size and I’ve certainly been charged more for less at other venues.
We admitted defeat with the cakes and couldn’t put them down after the pastries, but the cafe is well equipped for take-out so we packed them for home.
There’s a great selection among the cafe’s cake stands, like gluten-free and dairy-free lemon cake, summer berries and cream, double chocolate cake and more.
As for drinks, a selection of hot drinks are included in the price, or you can pay an extra £6 for a small bottle of Prosecco.
We ended our enjoyment with a stroll through the walled gardens, one of the finest examples of its type in the region, with its manicured flowerbeds filled with everything from hardy flowering winter plants to roses, 3000 of between them in fact, as well as water features – an incredibly relaxing place to spend an afternoon.
Afternoon tea is available daily in the Gardens Cafe at Wynyard Hall from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can also order it to go to enjoy the outdoors on the Woodland Walk, a self-guided circular walk through the woods.
For those looking for a more dainty afternoon tea in the main house, look for calendar dates, such as festive afternoon teas, advertised on the venue’s social media.
As you would expect from such a lush botanical heritage site – there have been gardens on the estate for centuries – much of these dishes are made from the produce grown in the large vegetable garden.
:: Entry to The Walled Garden costs £7.50 for adults, but that’s for unlimited entry for 12 months. Reduced fares are £5.50, children aged 3-13 are also £5.50. Children under 3 travel free.
You don’t need to pay to access the farm shop and cafe, as the ticket office is at the entrance to the garden itself.
Wynyard Hall Potted History
The sprawling 120 estate just off the A19 in the Tees Valley has a long, colorful and sometimes turbulent history in the North East.
Home of the Londonderry family since 1822, a surname, with the associated Vane Tempest, which figures prominently in the region’s rich mining heritage, as well as political and military history with statues, pubs and mines named in their honor, Wynyard Hall mansion, built from huge profits from the coalfields, was once home to the most powerful in society, from prime ministers to authors.
For the first time in 150 years, it changed hands in the early 90s when it was bought by Sir John Hall, former chairman of Newcastle United, who made it the luxury landmark it is today today.