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‘Tea-Rrific’ England: Celebrate The 250th Anniversary Of Charles Earl Grey

April 8, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

There’s nothing more quintessentially English than a cup of Earl Grey tea and last month marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of its creator, Charles Earl Grey.

According to legend, Grey (a former British Prime Minister) received a gift, most probably a diplomatic present, of tea that was flavoured with bergamot oil. It became so popular that he asked English tea merchants to recreate it. To cut a long story short; the perfect English cuppa was born!  

In celebration of Grey’s lasting legacy, VisitEngland rounds up some of the best ‘tea-rrific’ experiences to be had across the country… 

Discover Charles Earl Grey in Northumberland & NewcastleVE14284

Howick Hall Gardens in Alnwick, Northumberland, is known as the birthplace of Earl Grey tea. Home to the Grey family, it was here the tea was specially blended for Charles Earl Grey, using bergamot oil.  Charles’ wife, Lady Grey, used it in London when entertaining as a political hostess and it proved so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings. Sadly, the Greys failed to register the trademark and as a result they have never received a penny in royalties. Today, you can visit the extensive grounds at Howick, kick-back and dream of English tea, the way it used to be… In addition, the gardens offer a wide variety of flora throughout the year. Entry costs £7.70 for adults and children go free. For more information, visit  

In Newcastle, the imposing statue of Charles Earl Grey dominates the city centre. In tribute, EAT! NewcastleGateshead have taken inspiration from the man for its first event of 2014, Tea & Cake Planet, A Weekend Adventure in Brewing and Baking. The event will combine a celebration of the nation’s favourite tipple with EAT!’s fifth Cakebook outing. Taking place at The Boiler Shop, Newcastle, on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June 2014, the event brings together some of the North East’s leading tea-upstarts with century-old blenders for two days of tea dances, pop-up afternoon tea, tea-themed street food stalls, traditional tea parties, and tea-themed cocktails and beer. For more information or to book tickets,   

Visit Woburn Abbey, the birthplace of afternoon tea

Where would England be without tea, or Duchess Anna Maria for that matter? The English tradition of afternoon tea is thought to have started around 1840 by the Duchess, wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford, who entertained her friends in the Blue Drawing Room at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire. Today, you can experience afternoon tea at Woburn at the Duchess’ Tea Room. Costs £13.50 per person. For more information or to book, visit  unnamed (1)

Have a traditional English cuppa at Bettys, Yorkshire

No Yorkshire holiday is complete without an indulgent hour or two at Bettys – a local institution with a tea list as long as your arm and a truly tempting selection of Yorkshire and continental desserts. Swiss confectioner Frederick Belmont created an unlikely but delicious union between Yorkshire and Switzerland over 90 years ago, combining his homeland’s famous chocolate roll with a good old Yorkshire brew. Yorkshire now has six Bettys. To see where it all began in 1919stop by the Harrogate branch and treat yourself to cream cakes, fresh scones and raspberry-studded macaroons washed down with a steaming brew. The light and airy surrounds still offer plenty of early 20th-century charm, with quaint views of the Montpellier Gardens through gleaming Edwardian windows. For more information, visit  

Explore Cornwall’s Tregothnan, England’s only tea plantation 

Holidaymakers in India and Sri Lanka visit tea plantations in their hoards, but a good hot cuppa is an English institution and they do it to perfection at Tregothnan. Home to the Boscawen family since 1335, this historic estate has been supplying England’s first and only tea since 2005, though it is thought to have been growing the Camellia sinensis bush ornamentally for 200 years. Its placid climate, thanks to the cooling breath of the Atlantic Ocean, creates optimum conditions for the plant to thrive, producing some of the unnamed (2)world’s most delicious teas. Try it for yourself at Tregothnan’s Tea Bar, selling everything from their bold and full-bodied Classic Tea to the refreshing Afternoon Tea and healthsome Manuka honey and herbal infusions range. For more information, visit  

Catwalk designs take centre stage at The Berkeley Hotel’s Prêt-à-Portea

Bringing tea into the 21st century; Burberry trench coats and Saint Laurent’s red leather duffle bag are among the luxury fashion brands inspiring delicious cake, mousse and biscuit creations at London’s Berkeley Hotel’s show-stopping Prêt-à-Portea collection. Fashionistas and fans of sweet treats alike can enjoy these creative twists to the quintessential English afternoon tea – feast on Jean Paul Gaultier cremeux and Vivienne Westwood macaroons, or taste Emporio Armani’s Prêt-à-Portea debut, a violet cassis mousse and light Curacao jelly topped with a chocolate swirl. One of the highlights of the winter season’s Prêt-à-Portea tea stands is an orange bavarois emphasised with shocking pink chocolate embroidery, in honour of Oscar de la Renta’s 50th anniversary in the industry this year. The luxury, Knightsbridge-based hotel also continues its links with Wedgwood, which has produced a bespoke collection of fine-bone china for Prêt-à-Portea. The Prêt-à-Portea costs £39 per person. For more information or to book, visit  

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, London

Completing England’s tea evolution, last week saw the opening of the London’s first ever cat café, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. Designed with moggy in mind, at Lady Dinah’s, visitors relax with a ‘purrfect’ cup of tea and spend time in the soothing company of feline friends. For more information,  

For more ‘tea-rrific’ experiences in England, visit 

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