My husband and I recently had one day to spend in Northumberland and as there is so much to do we spent the whole drive there trying to work out what to do. Finally we decided to visit Howick Hall, have lunch in their tea room and walk around their arboretum, then drive the short distance to Dunstanburgh Castle and do a coastal walk from there.
The Howick Hall Tea Room is the very nicest I have ever been in outside of London. The food was superb, the setting was beautiful (the former ballroom), and the service was outstanding.
And of course I ordered Earl Grey tea.
Why ‘of course’?
Howick Hall is the home of the original Earl Grey.
Form the Howick Hall website:
‘Howick was the home of the Grey family from 1319 and Charles 2nd Earl Grey is the most distinguished member.
Howick is also the home of Earl Grey tea! The tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, to suit the water from the well at Howick, using bergamot in particular to offset the taste of the lime in it. 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 came to market it and it is now sold worldwide. Sadly the Greys, being unbusinesslike, failed to register the trade mark and as a result they have never received a penny in royalties.‘
So there you go. Tea at Source, so to speak.
And we never made it to Dunstanburgh Castle, but instead spent the whole day walking through the many miles of paths in the arboretum that reached down to the coast, then back again. Finishing off with a cake in the tea rooms again!