Why 50 tea rooms?

This site contained posts on exactly fifty tea rooms for a very short period of time (less than one hour), so why 50, and why tea rooms?

Many people for a ‘50 at 50’ challenge will choose something healthy (50 ½-marathons, 50 hills climbed, 50 fifty-mile bike rides) or something adventurous (50 countries visited, 50 rock faces climbed). My aim was for something a little more sedate, yet involving travel. If one travels for a day out then one also needs to eat out. Fifty pub lunches seemed a bit too damaging for health, and so I settled on the idea of visiting 50 places with tea rooms, having been rather taken by the experience of taking tea at Waterloo Tea in Cardiff in 2017.

Travel, tea and cake, what could be better! At Corfe Castle station, in the background, the Tea Truck is serving tea and cakes.

A tea room is ideal for providing sustenance on a long day trip — travelling by public transport to a place of interest can often take all morning, so taking afternoon tea instead of lunch nicely divides an afternoon of sightseeing. But “50 Places with Tea Rooms” isn’t the most succinct title, so “50 Tea Rooms” it is. In addition to a definition of what is a tearoom, and counting places visited rather than counting tea rooms, I also decided that where tearooms are part of a chain of tea rooms, I’d only count one of each chain, though as it happened I didn’t visit more than one of any chain during the year. With those rules, there have been more than 50 tea rooms visited before I reached my tally of fifty places. (For the record, visiting and eating in two tea rooms in one day is a perfectly reasonable achievement; at the third tea room of the day, eating yet another wedge of cake can seem more of an ordeal than a pleasure. In Yorkshire the portions are usually so substantial that one tearoom in a day was often my limit.)

Some words of warning if you’ve come across this site whilst looking for somewhere to eat out: the catering trade can be a difficult one in which to be a successful business, with custom varying with changes of the seasons, weather and fashion. This is particularly so for small businesses, which most of the tearooms I’ve visited are. So if you like one of the tea rooms you see in these pages and are thinking of paying them a visit, it’s worth checking that they’re still open before you travel. I’ve not linked to websites for the tea rooms, as the sites seem to come and go for these establishments more quickly than the tea rooms themselves, but most should be easily found on the main internet search engines or review sites like TripAdvisor.