Hathaway Tea Rooms – Stratford Upon Avon
What better way to spend a couple of hours in the day than to sit down and enjoy an assortment of well prepared, tasty sandwiches followed by warm homemade sultana scones covered with thick Clotted Cream and Strawberry or Raspberry Jam? Perhaps add several dainty, delicate homemade cakes, washing it all down with lashings of warm tea and suddenly all is at peace in the world!
I have visited Stratford Upon Avon on a number of occasions but I had never stopped for afternoon tea before.
Tea! Bless ordinary everyday afternoon tea!
My attention was first drawn to an overhanging sign, protruding from one in a line of authentic Tudor buildings along the High Street, advertising `Luncheons` The Hathaway Tea Rooms, Stratford`s Oldest Tea Rooms, Established 1931. From the outside the building looked quite small but as I ventured inside the three storey building it was a real Doctor Who Tardis revelation, being much bigger on the inside, than it appeared on the outside.
Situated at number nineteen, the Hathaway Tea Rooms is a Grade II* listed building and occupies one of the town’s most historic buildings. The building was constructed around 1610, exactly the same time as Shakespeare moved into his retirement home of New Place on Chapel Street, just a short walk down the street. The windows are leaded and authentic oak beams dominate the structure of the building creating a unique and original atmosphere.
The Hathaway Tea Rooms is the quintessential English Tea Room delivering all that you would expect from such an establishment right in the heart of Shakespeare`s Stratford Upon Avon. My wife and I enjoyed a glorious afternoon tea, delivered in an authentic setting by friendly and welcoming serving staff. The Hathaway tea Rooms is the place to go for afternoon tea when in Stratford Upon Avon.
My wife and I got to choose three from a selection of eight choices of Finger Sandwiches. We chose the top three, which were all beautifully presented and tasted superb, the Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese sandwiches being particularly outstanding for taste and quality.
Beef & Creamed Horseradish
Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese
Ham & Mustard
Cream Cheese & Cucumber (V)
Egg Mayonnaise with Cress (V)
Cheese & Tomato (V)
Prawn Marie Rose
Tuna Mayonnaise & Cucumber
Having eaten the sandwiches and already on to our second pot of traditional English Breakfast Tea, we then settled down to the fresh Homemade Sultana Scone, Tiptree Strawberry Conserve & Clotted Cream. There was a wide selection of Tea to choose from or Americano Coffee. The English Cream Tea should not be confused with the very old custom of Afternoon Tea, which includes the finger sandwiches and cakes, eaten after lunch and before dinner. A Cream Tea can really be enjoyed at any time!
Arguments continue to rage over the order in which the cream and Jam should be placed on the sliced scone. In a Devon Cream Tea, it is cream on the scone then the Jam; in Cornwall, the Jam is spread first followed by the cream! It is really just a matter of preference – for me it’s the Cornish method, cream on top of Jam. Superb!
By the time we had eaten the sultana scones, Jam and cream I could not eat anything else but the Hathaway Waitress kindly took our Dainty, homemade Cakes away and placed them in a takeaway box for us to enjoy later. You can also upgrade your afternoon tea to include a glass of Prosecco if you so wish!
All of the food at The Hathaway Tea Rooms is made homemade fresh and tastes amazing. You can sit on any of the three floors or when the weather is good, diners can sit outside in the pleasant back garden, which is screened from the busy streets of Stratford by a high wall and a line of buildings. A really peaceful place to sit and enjoy the well prepared food and drink of the Tea Rooms.
Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
If you have food allergies, are dairy intolerant, wheat, yeast, and eggs or Gluten Free let the waiting staff know and they will look after your individual needs! There was no children’s menu that I could see, which you may want to consider, if you have children with you!
I was curious to find out where the English Afternoon tea originated and found this useful information on the Hathaway Tea Rooms website and the Menu.
Anna Maria, the Seventh Duchess of Bedford, is credited with the invention of afternoon tea in 1840. She is said to have experienced what she called a ‘sinking feeling’ in the middle of the afternoon due to the long gap between light luncheon and her evening meal. To relieve her hunger pangs she asked her footman to bring her a pot of tea and a little light refreshment and soon she enjoyed this ritual so much she began to invite her friends over for tea and gossip about the latest scandal. The ritual caught on and afternoon tea became all the rage among the upper crust.
I can drink tea until the cows come home and I love the atmosphere in tea-shops. Zola Budd
A little bit of History about the building which The Hathaway Tea Rooms now occupy.
According to deeds now held by the Shakespeare Archives on Henley Street, in 1728 the property was known locally as The George Inn and was owned by Daniel Yeates of Hampton Lovett who purchased number 19 and 20 High Street for £160. In 1738 ownership was passed to Thomas Pasham of Stratford upon Avon, a book seller.
From 1752 to 1803 the property took on a medical role, serving first as an apothecary, an early form of pharmacy, in the tenure of Robert Carruthers and from 1757 becoming a combined surgery and apothecary in the names of William Smith, Richard Walls, John Knottesford, Thomas Nott and Thomas Mills.
From the mid-nineteenth century, the property was occupied by a boot and shoe manufacturer owned by William Baldwin. In 1874, Alfred Rider added his name to the business which became known as “William Baldwin & Alfred Rider”. In 1892 the Baldwin name was dropped and Alfred Rider took sole ownership. The property remained a thriving shoe shop until the early 1900s. Interestingly, Arthur William Rider, possibly the owners son, is listed as a boarder at King Edward VI School in Stratford between 1886 and 1889. Finally, in 1931, the property became known as Hathaway Tea Rooms.
The Hathaway Tea Rooms also have a spacious function room on the 2nd floor which is an ideal space for all occasions; Family reunions, Book clubs, Social groups or parties.
I would fully recommend a visit to The Hathaway Tea Rooms when in Stratford upon Avon. A very pleasant oasis from the activity and noise of the streets below and outside the leaded windows of the Tea Rooms. A great little place in the very heart of Stratford upon Avon, close to all of the Shakespearean Heritage sites and retail outlets.
19 High Street
Stratford upon Avon
Monday to Friday : 9.30am–5.00pm
Saturday : 9.00am–6.00pm
Sunday : 10.00am–5.00pm
If you visit Hathaway Tea Rooms as a result of reading this review please mention The Travel Locker.