Something different today – a sneaky peek of the city where I live. In December I visited a vintage style tea room in Norwich (England). I wish I could invite you all for afternoon tea, but hopefully this post will create the illusion you have done just that! 🙂
From the window display Biddy’s Tea Room looks more like a gift shop, and I’ve been walking past this gorgeous teashop for a long time not realizing it was somewhere to eat and just my kind of place. That’s what happens when you live in a tourist city, you get used to the surroundings and you don’t see things in the same way as the visitors, you can end up missing out. I shall pay more attention in the future.
Biddy’s Tea Room was created by Charlie Buchan in 2010. She explains on her website “I’ve always been interested in history and obsessed with antiques. I wanted Biddy’s to reflect the bits I loved in each era… the whimsicalness of the Victorians, the ingenuity of the Edwardians, the romance of the pre-Raphaelites and the work ethic of arts and crafts! It’s a lot to ask-but I tried to cram as much of this into Biddy’s as I could – I always just hoped people ‘got it’?! “
As you will probably see from my pictures, she really has created a wonderful glimpse into the history of afternoon tea and cake in beautiful English tea rooms. It was like stepping back in time to a scene from an old movie. I loved the genuine homely antique furniture and the variety of mismatched crockery. It was just like my Grandmothers home – none of her plates, cups or saucers ever matched.
I kept saying to my brother, “I feel like we’re going meet some really interesting person from the past, perhaps Oscar Wilde sitting in an armchair writing some poetry! It was a unique and delightfully surreal time travel experience!!
And of course, the tea and cake was delicious. I’m looking forward to trying the restaurant upstairs to discover more of their main menu next time. The staff were very friendly and relaxed too, and were happy for us to take some photos. If you click on the gallery for these pictures they look so much better, there’s also an option under each picture to view them in full size. The first two pictures and also the last one were taken by my brother, all the others are mine.
I didn’t use the flash on my camera because I wanted to capture the cosy feeling. I was surprised I was able to get any good pictures without a lot of camera shake, I must have a more steady hand than I thought. And if you’re wondering what that tall building with a string of Christmas lights around it is, it’s the city hall clock tower.
I was amazed to find an excellent video on You Tube all about Biddy’s Tea Room (See further down post). It shows all the bits I haven’t captured in the pictures, and also what it looks like in the summer season.
I’ve been living in this medieval city since 1990. It was only meant to be temporary, I had some vague plan to live in London one day, but you couldn’t drag me away now, it is such a beautiful place to live.
Norwich has thirty-three medieval church buildings, two cathedrals, an art deco city hall and a striking Norman castle high on a hill looking down at the city centre. Although the exterior of the castle was refaced in 1839 with Bath stone covering over the flint and Caen stone walling making the castle blend in with a lot of other new buildings of that era. The original walls would have looked very different and can only be seen from the inside. If you’re into historical buildings that’s a very good reason to pay it a visit and also take a look at it’s museum and scary dungeons – and believe me, they are very creepy!!
Also there are two large shopping malls, four cinemas, five theatres and a really vibrant outdoor market, trading virtually on the same spot for almost 900 years. On Saturdays the city centre streets often come alive with buskers, and other street entertainers, we even have our own living statue of Charlie Chaplin. Anthony Arnold not only performs in Norwich but has twirled that cane in Hollywood too on his many travels with his captivating performance of Charlie.
Each year in July we have a Lord Mayors Celebration, which is basically a huge carnival, including a beer and music festival, a selection of outdoor theatre productions, and a huge firework display launched from the roof of the castle as the grand finale of the evening celebrations. Rockabilly band Derrière (from Brighton) performed at the festival just around the corner from Biddy’s Tea Room in 2012, and somehow, I managed to miss that show 😦 – they sound so good! If you like the sound of their music you might like Battle Plan, one of their official videos. Time to dance now!!
If anyone living in Norwich says they’re bored, it can only be a state of mind, there are so many things to do and places to visit in the surrounding area, you can never get bored living in this city.