Worried I may not have time for a cream tea today, I was relieved to arrive at Waterperry Gardens late this afternoon. I've worked in the cafe of a busy tourist attraction myself, so I knew that we were playing a risky game by arriving at 4pm and expecting a supply of scones to be readily available. I wasn't wrong either; there were a few cheese scones left but only one, rather sad looking, fruit scone (£1.85). My boyfriend commented that it looked as if a child had picked it up earlier in the day, dropped it, and then put it back in the basket. Not the most appealing proposition, but as your Cream Tea Queen it was my duty to try it!
Unfortunately they'd also run out of clotted cream. I declined the offer of whipped cream. (Does anyone have whipped cream on a scone?). Luckily there was a basket brimming with different miniature pots of delicious Wilkin & Sons of Tiptree jam (65p).
Upon falling apart on my plate, the scone revealed itself to be nice and fresh, most certainly baked today. It was a good size, and the fruit was evenly dissipated. The base was a bit thicker than one would expect, suggesting that it'd been left on a hot tray for 30 seconds too long. I quite enjoyed the additional crunch that this gave the scone and delighted in munching my way through it, although afterwards I was struck by the telltale taste of slightly too much baking soda.
The tea (£1.95) was loose leaf and delicious; an Oxford Brew by
Jeeves & Jericho. A new brand to me, but one that I will be looking
out for in the future. The lady I was with (an octogenarian who looks
remarkably like the queen) kept commenting on how delicious the tea was,
and how it was a shame that all tea is in bags nowadays. Another plus point is that an extra pot of hot water was supplied upon request. We would make those tea leaves work for their money!
The tea room itself isn't much to look at from the outside (a glorified cricket pavilion springs to mind), but it's tasteful on the inside and there are plenty of tables. The windows look out onto verdant grass, which - alfresco diners will be pleased to hear - is dotted with picnic benches.
So, how would I rate the cream (minus the cream) tea? Considering there
was only one scone and no cream, I found it - coming in at a total cost
of £4.45 - quite pricey. The scone itself was tasty though, and I am
very much aware that I got the last one out of the basket, which at 4pm
on a Sunday is never going to be the best of the bunch. The tea was
delicious, as is the setting. With this in mind I'd give it a 6 / 10.
I would go back but I'd have a cake instead (my fellow tea diners
enjoyed their Bakewell tart and chocolate brownies immensely).
We took a brief walk around the garden centre after tea. Not a place for me (I have a track record of killing most plants I come across), but I'd quite like to come back with my mum one day as I'm sure she'd appreciate it. There's also the gardens themselves of course, although we were too late in the day to visit those. I'd certainly leave a full day to soak the gardens up next time as they look quite large and you have to pay to visit them (£6.30 in the high season). We also took a trip into the (free) small museum of rural life which I found quite interesting. I hope that you like the photos!
Happy scone eating,
The Cream Tea Queen