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Hylands House prepares for tea

There’s nothing quite like an afternoon tea.

This very English custom has been a source of comfort over the last year with many of us indulging in this genteel tradition at home.

What could be better than a pot of tea, dainty finger sandwiches and a plate of warm scones?

How about a delicious spread in one of the most stunning historic locations in the East of England instead of in your living room?

Afternoon tea
Sweet treats in the Terrace Room

Vintage teas in the Terrace Room

When coronavirus restrictions are lifted and inside dining is allowed once again, Hylands Estate is planning to serve traditional afternoon teas.

The Terrace Room at the heart of the house has been given a makeover thanks, in part, to funding from the Friends of Hylands House. Visitors will be able to book a table for tea one Sunday every month between March and December.

The Hylands team has revealed to City Life that the theme of these teas will be ‘vintage’. So expect quirky mismatched china and beautifully styled sweet treats like lemon drizzle cake and Eton mess alongside the sandwiches and scones.

Terrace Room
The Terrace Room is getting ready for visitors

The Terrace Room will also be dressed with flowers by a local florist, bringing touches of the famous gardens inside.

Lorraine Thorne, the manager of Hylands Estate, says the house can’t wait to welcome visitors again.

"The Terrace Room is such a wonderful location with sweeping views of the back lawn. It’s the perfect place to make happy memories with family and friends in 2021; we hope these exclusive afternoon tea events will be moments to cherish."

Lorraine Thorne, manager of Hylands Estate
Hylands House frontage
Hylands House

A venue with a long history of entertaining

Visitors taking tea at Hylands will become part of the rich history of entertaining at the Georgian mansion.

In July 1909 the Chelmsford Chronicle (forerunner of Essex Live) ran a piece about a lavish garden party thrown by owners Sir Daniel and Lady Gooch. Guests were received in the Terrace Room and tea was taken under the trees.

There is a wonderful and rather breathless account of “a lovely dress of cinnamon brown chiffon, trimmed with glacier blue velvet” worn by Lady Gooch, who is described as an “ideal hostess”.

Sir Daniel Gooch at daughter's wedding
Sir Daniel and Lady Gooch on the back lawn of Hylands House after their daughter’s wedding

Although things may look a little different now, it shouldn’t be too hard to imagine this rarefied scene as you sip your tea.

And if this whets your appetite and you’d like to find out more about the history of Hylands, why not take a tour of the grade II* listed property afterwards as part of its monthly open house.

How to book

We’ll all have to wait just a little longer for more details about Hylands teas, including a start date and how to book. To be sure to hear the very latest about this and other events, sign up to the Hylands Estate mailing list.

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Julie Weight
Julie Weight

Julie writes stories and creates videos for Chelmsford City Council. Contact her at julie.weight@chelmsford.gov.uk or on 01245 606984.