Tea Traveling To Colchester, England

By Michael Alpiner, Contributor

A great tea experience requires a great tea town. Colchester, an historic town in Essex, England, boasts a 2000 year history, long before tea made its way to British shores from the clay pot of Chinese Emperor Shen Nung. By 1650, tea was being served as a rare novelty in coffee houses in England, and by the 18th Century, tea graced the tables of the middle class. By the late 19th Century, tea became the national beverage of England. 

Afternoon tea for two getty

Traveling the world for a tea experience is not so far-fetched. Many tea enthusiasts scale the mountains of the Far East in search of the most authentic and earthy tea leaves. Others might want to simply don their Sunday best and indulge in the dignified and quaint pleasure of afternoon tea in an atmosphere reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel.

That scenario is best offered in the town of Colchester, and among the many eateries that offer a variety of teas, such as Tymperley’s on Trinity Street. This iconic building that dates back centuries is designed in the Tudor style, and offers its guests a beautiful walled garden resembling the Secret Garden, perfect for events as subtle as afternoon tea or even for hosting weddings.

Afternoon tea at Tymberley's on Trinity Street, Colchester, England. Courtesy of Tymberley's (Instagram)

The hotel restaurant’s menu is rich with egg dishes, Monkfish Scampi, Quiche, and Chicken Liver Parfait. Afternoon tea in the garden is presented on three tiers with cakes, scones and sandwiches. Besides tea, champagne and Prosecco are both options.

A further stroll through Colchester will bring the traveler to Tiptree Tea Room, Museum and Jam Shop. The Tea room offers indoor and outdoor seating, but there is just something about tea and home baked cakes consumed in open air that epitomizes the English tea experience.

Three-tiered tea experience at Tiptree Tea Room, at Essex Rose, Dedham. Courtesy of Tiptreephotos (Instagram)

 For a truly classic and chic tea experience, consider a stay at The George Hotel, in Colchester. This hotel is central to the town, sitting upon High Street for the past 500 years in what is considered England’s oldest recorded town. Despite the decorative elements of historic artifacts and medieval wine cellars, The George Hotel succeeds at staying contemporary within the milieu that gives respect to the hotel’s rich history. Wifi throughout the hotel, a stylish lounge, bar and restaurant, Smart TVs and a Bang and Olufsen sound system juxtaposes the period atmosphere which is a mere two minute walk to majestic Colchester Castle.

The George Hotel, Colchester, England Courtesy of Geograph.org.uk

A great example of this juxtaposition is the new Tea Room, aptly titled ‘T’ at the George. The room is inspired by Victorian elegance and dappled with modern twists. Imagine the classic English tea accompanied by a three-tiered serving of cakes and scones, while a stylish neon sign glows with the words, “You’re My Cup of Tea.” The custom made neon sign is the creation of Sculpt Neon Signs, a Dallas-based company who has put many customer’s names (or phrases) up in lights throughout North America as well as the UK and Australia. This energy-efficient, safe and long-lasting product is the perfect pairing for a town and a tradition that has similar appeal and longevity.

A custom made sign from Sculpt Neon Signs augments the tea experience at The George Hotel, Colchester, England Courtesy of Sculpt Neon Signs

The eclectic nature of the tea experience makes it possible to travel almost anywhere in the world and find the hot or cold beverage could become the underlying theme for any great adventure.


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