It’s difficult to focus on anything but the brilliant interiors at Laura Ashley The Tea Room in Burnham Beeches. There are soft sofas in warm lilacs and greens; indoor plants dotted in every corner; grand mirrors and chandeliers hanging from above. Upon arrival, you’ll be taken to your table (ask for the spot by the window for otherworldly country views). Table napkins are crisp-white, almost too pretty to use. Lavender candles are placed on the tables and delicate Laura Ashley teacups, saucers and Josette Dove Grey plates are arranged with precision.
Sink into the chairs and choose a tea of your choice from the vast menu. For a classic British taste order the Earl Grey. For something fruitier, try the jasmine, peach and peppermint — all of which are simply delicious. There are no gilded trolleys, either. It’s smart here, with professional friendly waiters, brilliant tea and even better local wine. On to the food itself, you can expect a proper traditional afternoon tea. Some savoury sandwiches are filled with cream cheese and cucumber, others are topped with salmon, Wiltshire ham and generous dollops of mustard. Still-warm scones come plain or with raisins as you desire. Slice them open and pile on the clotted cream and chunky strawberry jam to enjoy a simply marvelous homemade treat you won’t get anywhere else.
Once you’ve finished your scones, move on to the bite-sized cakes. These are mouthwateringly good — some with cream, others with small slices of strawberries. If you look closely you’ll see tiny edible daisies that really look too lovely too eat (but they’re so good you’ll ask for more). If you choose to have the wine included, order a glass of the Hattingley Valley — a multi-award winning English sparkling wine made in Hampshire using traditional methods. Sip this and you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Plus, Laura Ashley The Tea Room here just won an award at the Afternoon Tea Awards, so there really is no excuse not to visit. If there’s still time before you leave, ask to have a peek in the Laura Ashley-styled bedrooms upstairs. From the bathtub to the cushions, lights and rugs, everything about the interiors is as smart as can be.
Have you paid a visit to Laura Ashley The Tea Room yet? Let us know below or on Twitter @LauraAshleyUSA