Accolade for family-run village tearoom

JPCT 290612 Amberley Tea Rooms. Owner Sue Wood has been made a member of the Tea Guild. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 290612 Amberley Tea Rooms. Owner Sue Wood has been made a member of the Tea Guild. Photo by Derek Martin

A family-run tearoom in the heart of Amberley village has been recognised by the prestigious Tea Guild for the quality and range of its tea.

Amberley Village Tearoom in The Square is only in its fourth season, having been started by Sue Wood in a Grade II listed property in the village conservation area. Formerly the village slaughterhouse, the building has been sympathetically restored and has a delightful courtyard garden.

Sue runs the tearooms with her daughter Hayley and a small staff. Her mother, Nita, who will be 90 this year, contributes to the business by baking delicious cakes.

Sue said: “The building was originally derelict and I have retained some interesting features, which give the tearooms atmosphere. I am delighted to have been made a member of the Tea Guild and the Tea Council. An under-cover inspector visited and reported back to the Tea Council.”

His report commented on the friendliness, good service, and the high quality of the tea and reported that the tearooms gave excellent value for money.

Membership of the Tea Guild and Council is greatly coveted because it is by invitation only and is given only where standards and quality are exceptionally high.

In her tearooms, customers are reminded that ‘Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world’ and it comes by the mug, cup or pot. The selection is impressive, with ranges of black tea, extending from English breakfast varieties through to Lapsang and Souchong, Green teas such as china jasmine with flower, while fruit teas such as Kentish Apple tea and herbal infusions such as lavender and camomile add to the large range.

“We source our ingredients from local producers and home bake everything on our menu from scones, tea breads, tea cakes and other toasted treats to our tempting selection of cakes and biscuits. We have a range of loose leaf teas and coffee that is roasted locally for us,” she added.

The Tea Guild said: “Amberley Village Tea Room wants visitors to enjoy the pleasure of excellent family cooking and everything on the menu including scones, tea breads, tea cakes and delicious cakes and biscuits is baked by Sue, her mother or her daughter in their cottage kitchen.

“They offer a very personal touch and want to make a visit to their tea room a truly unique experience and as they believe that everyone has the right to enjoy a really wonderful cup of tea.They offer their visitors baby changing facilities, level access and cycle racks. In addition, they are not adverse to muddy boots and well behaved dogs!

“All the teas served are purchased from local suppliers and producers, as is every possible ingredient. The family’s home grown fruit is used and the crockery used in the tea room comes from the Amberley Village Pottery.”

The tearooms fit in well with the character of Amberley village. The building was listed Grade Two in 1980 and when Sue bought it, she wanted to inject life into the old building, giving it a use again within the local community, but with work on it done sympathetically.

“I wanted very much to retain what we could of the building,” she said.

“There were old leaded light windows and we put in new leaded light windows, but replacing like for like. We have branded it in our own way. A lot of work needed doing to it but retention of many original features has given it atmosphere.”