There are some heritage tea-rooms that deserve a special mention, and this includes NT Mottistone on the Isle of Wight. First, there was a warm welcome that makes a big difference. Second, tea was served in a proper teapot and cups and saucers were provided. Third, the scone was well above the normal standard for NT fare. Fourth (and outside the control of the NT), the sun shone.
Tea with the National Trust has become a rather mixed affair with a move away from quality tea blenders, and with a very bland, and often disappointing, range of cakes on offer. At least there is a corner of an island that takes pride in what it has to offer.
One of the (nearly) essential things in any heritage visit is finding a welcome cup of tea and cake. Historic Scotland (HES) need to be congratulated on their excellent tea (tea bags are hand-filled — I watched it happen) and delicious cakes at Caerlaverock Castle. Note the cup with saucer: no paper cups with plastic lids. And could you find a better view to relax and enjoy one of Scotland’s most magnificent castles? (My top 10 HS sites can be found here).
I have had tea at Caerlaverock before but there was something familiar about the presentation and style. The tea shop is now run by Benugo who also look after catering at the British Museum as well as other outlets for Historic Scotland.
Of course the tea was even better with the discount from my Historic Scotland membership card.
We have noted over on ‘Looting Matters‘ that today is the 255th anniversary of the opening of the British Museum to the public. This was linked to the release of visitor figures for 2013: 6.7 million. The British Museum has been successful in mounting events that have attracted the public but it has not really grasped the issue of visitor facilities. Try and get a cup of tea at lunchtime, and the wait for the toilets can be extended. (Hint: become a Friend of the British Museum.)
Parts of the museum are unbearably packed and popular whereas there are some routes where visitors are fewer on the ground.