Review: Afternoon tea tailored to your tastes at Wynyard Hall's Garden Cafe

Picture postcard setting: check. Artisan produce: check. Value for money: check. The afternoon tea at Wynyard Hall garden cafe has it all.

Saturday, 23rd July 2022, 4:55 am

Afternoon teas are an increasingly popular menu choice across the North East, but Wynyard’s offering has much to draw you to this corner of the Tees Valley.

With the main house at the 120-acre estate now only open for private hire or special calendar events, the day to day afternoon teas at the venue are now served in its Garden Cafe at the walled garden.

It lies on the other side of the farm shop, which offers some great quality products, including estate-grown produce and goods from local suppliers, that you just won’t find on your average supermarket shelf, as well as chic and understated homeware.

Afternoon tea at he Garden Cafe, Wynyard Hall

Whilst the main house is opulent and palatial, the cafe which adjoins the farm shop is a much more casual affair with its flagstone flooring and laid-back atmosphere.

It sells a really good range of light bites and lunches, such as cakes, quiches, pastries, panini, pies, salads and more.

The afternoon tea is also informal, with no need to book. Unlike most other afternoon teas, it’s also bespoke, meaning you can mix and match your choices for the tiers.

Each diner gets three set finger sandwiches, which on our visit were ham, egg mayonnaise and cucumber, with the remainder of the afternoon tea tailored to your tastes with a choice of either fruit or cheese scone each, a choice of a slab of cake from one of the many on offer in the cafe and a choice of either sausage roll or quiche, which is all served on a rustic, wooden afternoon tea stand.

You can tailor the afternoon tea to your tastes

We chose to eat under the shade of the terrace overlooking the gardens, but you can also enjoy it within the gardens themselves – which would have been an even prettier setting, but we didn’t want our cakes to melt in the heatwave.

The scones were a triumph: perfectly flaky with a golden brown top and they hadn’t skimped on the cheese. They were moist enough to eat without butter, but we slathered it in lashings of the stuff regardless.

My choice of sausage roll was also a great one, the kind of sausage roll you get at proper farm shops; packed with flavour in perfect pastry which flaked into submission with the lightest of touches. There’s also a refreshingly broad range of vegan and vegetarian options, as well as choices for those with dietary requirements.

At £15 per person it’s great value for the location, quality and size of the portions and I’ve certainly been charged more for less at other venues.

The farm shop and cafe is in front of the entrance to the walled garden

We admitted defeat with the cakes and couldn’t shoehorn them in after the pastries, but the cafe is well geared up for takeaway so we boxed them up for home.

There’s a great choice from which to choose from the cafe’s cake stands, such as gluten free and dairy free lemon cake, summer berries and cream, double chocolate cake and more.

Drinks-wise, there’s a selection of hot drinks included in the price, or you can pay an extra £6 for a small bottle of Prosecco.

We walked off our treat with a stroll around the walled gardens, one of the prettiest examples of its kind in the region, with its well-manicured beds filled with everything from hardy flowering winter plants to roses, 3000 of them in fact, as well as water features – an incredibly relaxing spot to while away an afternoon.

Afternoon tea is available daily and there's no need to pre-book

Afternoon tea is available daily at the Gardens Cafe at Wynyard Hall from 10am to 4pm. You can also order it for takeaway to enjoy al fresco on the Woodland Walk, a self-led circular walk around the woodland.

For those after a daintier afternoon tea in the main house, look out for diary dates, such as festive afternoon teas, announced on the venue’s social channels.

Meanwhile, larger meals are available at the nearby Glass House restaurant, which has been created in the revamped Victorian glasshouse, one of the largest of its kind in the UK.

As you’d expect from a site with such a lush, botanical heritage- there’s been gardens on the estate for centuries - much of those dishes are informed by the produce grown in the large kitchen garden.

:: Entry to the Walled Garden is £7.50 for adults, but that’s for an unlimited entry for 12 months. Concessions are £5.50, children aged 3-13 is also £5.50. Children under 3 go 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.

Entry to the walled garden is £7.50 for adults for an unlimited 12 month pass

Potted history of Wynyard Hall

The sprawling 120-estate, just off the A19 in the Tees Valley, has a long, colourful, and sometimes chequered, history in the North East.

Home to the Londonderry family since 1822, a family name, along with the associated Vane Tempest, that looms large in the region’s rich mining heritage, as well as in politics and military history with statues, pubs and mines named in their honour, Wynyard Hall mansion house, built from the huge profits of the coalfields, once played hosted 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 steered into it becoming the luxury landmark venue it is today.

The gardens are well maintained
The private estate spans 120 acres