What is High Tea?
Just before Christmas, we were invited to Upwey Wishing Well for High Tea. I had to google the difference between High Tea and Afternoon Tea as until now, I thought it was the same thing. I was expecting to learn that the contents would be the difference, or maybe one would include a glass of bubbly… Turns out, it’s actually largely to do with the height of the table you sit at. At High Tea, you sit at a higher table, i.e. a dining table. Afternoon Tea is more likely to be served at a “lower” table such as a coffee table. Afternoon Tea or “Low Tea” as it is less commonly known, would traditionally be served a little earlier, mid to late afternoon to bridge the long gap between lunch and dinner, which years ago would be served around 8pm. Whereas High Tea was likely to be served at the end of the working day and may be more substantial, replacing the evening meal.
Upwey Wishing Well
Upwey is a little off the beaten track and you aren’t likely to just stumble across it. However there are plenty of people who know about the village, and its star attraction, The Wishing Well with its Tea Rooms and Water Gardens. The scenery is very special. The village of Upwey itself is a pretty place and no distance from either Dorchester or Weymouth. You’ll see the signs for it you’re driving between the two along the Weymouth Relief Road. The Wishing Well itself is actually very well signposted. However, should you want directions, there is a link at the bottom of this page.
I’ve been for afternoon/high tea a few times (although until now, still not learned the difference). On this occasion, I was with my mum and my six year old daughter. High tea isn’t just something our partners might do at the weekend while we stay in and watch Soccer Saturday. I really enjoyed myself and would love to go back again with Sarah.
From previous experiences, I was looking for a relaxed environment, attentive staff, and as well as great tasting food, freshness was also of paramount importance. In the past I’ve felt a little let down by sandwiches that have clearly been sitting around for an hour in anticipation of orders. That is enough to put me off going back somewhere. In this instance, the food couldn’t have been fresher.
We were offered a choice of teas. I love an Earl Grey or a Darjeeling. We went with the Earl Grey. The teas are from local company Clipper Teas. Two large, warm and absolutely delicious scones with clotted cream and jam accompanied the three tiers of sandwiches and sweet treats. All in all, this was a lot of food and I’m told it is normal for customers to ask for a box to take away what they can’t eat. In our case, even with Laila helping out, we still had five or six left over.
This really is a plentiful and varied spread and a lot of thought and effort has gone in to creating great flavour combinations and stunning presentation. Wonderful combinations and, no matter how full I was feeling, it was hard to stop eating. The addition of the edible flowers, rosemary and chives made the platter come alive. In addition to the fruit scones, our tea included a selection of sandwiches (Tuna and Cucumber, Beef and Horseradish, Smoked Salmon and Cream cheese, Brie and Grape) and plenty of cakes (Peach Melba Tart, Victoria Sponge, Chocolate Brownie, Lemon Meringue Tart and Macarons).
We were very well looked after, as were all the other customers. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming and the local people are obviously proud of their tea rooms. Everybody including patrons and staff were very friendly. I strongly recommend the tea rooms to anybody who is a fan of (or wants to experience) a high tea or a cream tea. The setting is beautiful, and the day we went, it was raining constantly. I can only imagine how spectacular it must look in the summer so I will definitely be going back.
There is more on offer at the tearoom than just High Tea however. You can also choose from their food menu and it’s a lovely setting for a meal out with friends and family. The venue is also very popular for celebrations. Birthdays, anniversaries, naming ceremonies, wakes and baby showers. It’s even a wedding venue, and a very picturesque one at that. The Wishing Well is conveniently located close to St. Nicholas’ Church, should you want a church wedding or Upwey Wishing Well is licensed to host your civil ceremony in its stunning grounds. Regardless of which type of service you would like, you can hold your reception here.
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