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Afternoon Tea at Poplar Tree Garden Centre


I am a big fan of afternoon tea! Myself and my partner are always looking for new places to try and we are always looking for places that are child friendly too as our little man loves afternoon tea (cutta tea as he calls it). I spotted some photos on Facebook of a rather beautifully presented  afternoon tea thanks to a friend tagging me in a photo and it definitely caught my eye. It was on the Facebook page for Poplar Tree Garden Centre in Durham which I hadn’t had the chance to visit yet. Once liking the page I was regularly seeing photos of the delicious looking food!

We are currently decorating our new home and we needed to visit a garden centre and Poplar Tree Garden Centre was in the front of my mind because I had been wanting to try their afternoon tea. So on Friday, right after finding out my Mr had passed his driving test that morning we decided to go and celebrate with some afternoon tea at the garden centre whilst also going to look for things we needed. When we turned up I was quite surprised to see how busy the Bramble coffee shop/restaurant was. We didn’t think of booking ahead but this would have been a good idea as a few more people and they may not have been able to fit us in for afternoon tea.

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We were met by a lovely lady who was running around catering to every need of customers and although she was rushed off her feet you could see the efforts she was going to, to make sure that everyone was happy. We asked about afternoon tea and she said she would do her very best to fit us in, since we hadn’t booked. We were very appreciative that she promptly sat us down at a table and managed to get us booked in. The afternoon tea was served in a separate room to the regular café and the tables were decorated really lovely, with china teacups and saucers.


After looking at the menu, we discovered there were two different kinds of afternoon tea – Traditional or Gardeners Afternoon Tea. The Gardeners Afternoon Tea was the one I had been seeing on Facebook and was the one we both wanted. The prices were very reasonable for both with the Traditional being £10.95 and the Gardeners being £11.95. There were options to upgrade to Prosecco afternoon tea also for a couple of pounds more. The Gardeners Afternoon Tea was made up of un-cut sandwhiches, home made pies, quiches, scones, smoothies, crisps, cakes and more, served with either Tea or coffee. I am a very fussy eater and don’t eat any red meat or egg so I was worried that there wouldn’t be much for me to eat with the meat pies and quiches making up a portion of the afternoon tea. I mentioned my food preferences to the lady serving us and she was very understanding and accommodating, suggesting sandwiches I might like and made sure I was happy with what I was ordering. Sometimes I feel like a complete nuisance when I order food with me being picky but it was nice to be made to feel like I wasn’t being a pain.


The best thing about the Gardeners Afternoon Tea besides how it tasted was the presentation. The food and smoothies were presented on a miniature garden bench which was just lovely and the smoothies were in glass bottles and crisps in a bucket. It definitely followed the Gardeners theme and was a really unusual but fantastic idea which I loved. The food itself was really tasty with a big selection and I couldn’t believe how much there was for me to eat. With my partner tucking in to all the pies on top of his sandwich he ended up so full up which meant all the cakes were left for me! I had coronation chicken sandwich which was really tasty with crisps and then had a very yummy scone covered in whipped cream and a strawberry. I was already rather full at this point but had to attempt the cakes as they looked so nice. I had a slice of key lime pie which was full of flavour and a tasty tart with a walnut on top.


12659718_10153993005660337_886339550_nMy son loves to eat afternoon tea and loves to feel like he is eating the same as us. So we ordered him a ham sandwich and I asked if I could have a warm cup of milk so he could have a ‘cup of tea’ like his mummy and daddy. There was a really lovely children’s menu with meals like spaghetti bolognaise on there and a lot of choice but we ordered something not on the menu so he could join in our afternoon tea and again the lady serving us was very accommodating suggesting sandwiches they could make for him and she said she would put him his warm milk in a little tea cup for him, which was a nice touch. He was over the moon with his ‘cutta tea’ and he was really enjoying his ham sandwhich and some of our food  too (he loved the mini sausage rolls).

The food really didn’t disappoint but I think the one thing that really stood out was the customer service. From staff smiling at you as they walked past, to them even on a busy day going out of their way to make sure you were happy. The food was brought out very quickly even though the place was almost at full capacity and we had people checking on us to make sure we were happy and offering more sandwiches or tea if we wanted them. We even got to take the cakes and pies home in a box that we didn’t finish! The Garden Centre itself had some really lovely items in there, especially in the gift shop area, the kind of items you can’t just buy anywhere. I ended up getting a couple of Valentine’s day gifts (can’t mention what they are since they are a surprise for the Mr), and also some treats for our dogs. So we didn’t buy what we went for but that is the usual for us!

I will definitely be visiting the garden centre again and both ladies who served us that day, I believe their names were Beth and Rachel made it a lovely experience and definitely deserve some recognition. We had a great time as a family and can’t believe I hadn’t been before now and that I didn’t realise it was so close to me. It really is a hidden gem and I will be visiting the garden centre for afternoon tea again.

Make sure to follow Polar Tree Garden Centre on Facebook

You can also visit their site for more information


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  • Reply Jenn

    Love a good afternoon tea myself xo

    19th February 2016 at 11:40 am
    • Reply michele jane calderwood

      mmmmmm not had afternoon tea for a while,feeling hungry now…

      20th February 2016 at 1:42 am
  • Reply Anneke bevan

    Mmmm there is always time for tea and a scone :)

    20th February 2016 at 1:40 am
  • Reply Ema

    Lovely read. I love discovering new garden centres & afternoon tea venues.
    The name rang a bell to me but I’m not entirely sure why, I might have visited when I used to live in NCLE.
    If you have a Dobbies garden centre, you should check out their afternoon tea – it’s lovely. They have also recently introduced a children’s afternoon tea which looks really fun! My 3 year old Son loves to join in with afternoon tea visits too, he’s going to love his own children’s version when we visit in a couple of weeks!
    As a new reader I look forward to reading more posts. X

    20th February 2016 at 1:50 am
  • Reply Amanda Hamilton

    that afternoon tea looks absolutely delicious.. And really well presented

    20th February 2016 at 1:52 am
  • Reply Melody Potter

    Looks so yummy!!

    20th February 2016 at 1:59 am
  • Reply leanne tickle

    looks lovely i love afternoon tea x

    20th February 2016 at 3:16 am
  • Reply Helen goodfield

    I love going for a credit tea me and my best friend do this quite often we have a cupa and eat cake and sandwiches and have a good old natter

    20th February 2016 at 4:18 am
  • Reply Hannah read

    I will get for an afternoon tea one day. I seem to never have the chance with the children. We are off to Cornwall in March so I’m saving my pennies to make up for it. :-)

    20th February 2016 at 6:36 am
  • Reply Georgia

    That looks delicious! I don’t think I have ever had an afternoon tea, but definitely need to have one soon!

    20th February 2016 at 7:21 am
  • Reply Sharon Donnelly

    I love a cream tea with scones and clotted cream.

    20th February 2016 at 7:33 am
  • Reply Sarah

    Tea and cake mmmm, very reasonable price too.

    20th February 2016 at 7:38 am
  • Reply Mary Holgate

    This looks yummy i love scones

    20th February 2016 at 7:45 am
  • Reply Wayne

    looks like a great place for both me and the children to have a nice afternoon tea .

    20th February 2016 at 7:58 am
  • Reply sara

    Looks lovely. Been ages since ive done afternoon tea

    20th February 2016 at 8:05 am
  • Reply sharon mead

    We always seek out garden centres for good food!

    20th February 2016 at 8:12 am
  • Reply Laura Bryant

    Oh my this looks amazing making me hungry

    20th February 2016 at 8:19 am
  • Reply Michelle Cooper

    That looks absolutely fab. Will have to try it out myself

    20th February 2016 at 8:26 am
  • Reply Samantha Mann

    I have never been for afternoon tea but it’s something I soooo want to do. Never though about taking the kids along, I get this perception that afternoon tea is for quaint quiet little places and although my children are well behaved and go to restaurants every weekend I’d just never considered afternoon tea! Maybe I need to look into this!

    20th February 2016 at 8:27 am
  • Reply amy bondoc

    looks very yummy !

    20th February 2016 at 8:31 am
  • Reply Tina Young

    My favourite thing to do with my mum is afternoon tea, :)

    20th February 2016 at 8:41 am
  • Reply Sarah Kochan

    This looks lovely- never been to afternoon tea myself, but desperate to go. I’ve asked my partner to take me for my birthday in April. So fingers crossed. Yummy!

    20th February 2016 at 8:43 am
  • Reply Lucy

    Love afternoon tea!!!

    20th February 2016 at 8:48 am
  • Reply christine dowds

    great to see afternoon teas coming back into fashion, such a lovely treat for a special occasion

    20th February 2016 at 8:50 am
  • Reply Kirsty

    I recently went to my local garden park for afternoon tea, great prices, friendly service and amazing food. Its a shame they get forgotten about x

    20th February 2016 at 8:54 am
  • Reply diane allen

    looks very nommy x

    20th February 2016 at 9:00 am
  • Reply sandra parkes

    I love going for Afternoon tea me and my daughter are trying out a lot a place who do afternoon tea we got a fav at the moment the swan hotel stafford

    20th February 2016 at 9:29 am
  • Reply Hayley biles

    Mmmm afternoon tea yum making me hungry and it’s only early

    20th February 2016 at 9:38 am
  • Reply Tracy

    Mmmmm never had afternoon tea,

    20th February 2016 at 9:40 am
  • Reply Dawn hulse

    I too love afternoon tea it’s one of my guilty pleasures but haven’t been able to go anywhere for 6 months after having our son. I will definitely be looking out for this

    20th February 2016 at 10:02 am
  • Reply Jo manton

    It looks amazing

    20th February 2016 at 10:02 am
  • Reply Jenny Mace

    That looks an amazing Afternoon Tea! Garden Centres seem to be upping their game where food is concerned. Our local Garden Centre (Notcutts) in Pembury serves the most delicious Afternoon Tea for two for £13.95. There was so much food my sister and I ended up taking our (huge) slices of cake home. xx

    20th February 2016 at 10:04 am
  • Reply Elizabeth hills

    I wish we could go out for meals but my 4yr old grandson just doesn’t seem to know when things are dangerous or when he should behave often leading to meltdowns and screaming at us so I wish we could go out and enjoy meals/afternoon teas xxx

    20th February 2016 at 10:08 am
  • Reply Jacqueline Louise rawlings

    This is awesome and something that I would love to do.

    20th February 2016 at 1:37 pm
  • Reply Lynn Nelson

    wish I lived nearer as this garden centre would be my favourite place for afternoon tea

    20th February 2016 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Ryan Cain

    Yes that does look lovely :)

    20th February 2016 at 2:15 pm
  • Reply N Willetts

    Too far away for me (Birmingham ) looks amazing though with super food. Must try afternoon tea with my three children soon. Great idea

    20th February 2016 at 2:20 pm
  • Reply Alana Worthington

    Looks amazing so much choice :)

    20th February 2016 at 2:46 pm
  • Reply Claire Farley

    Wow that looks a beautiful cream tea

    20th February 2016 at 3:50 pm
  • Reply nicola james

    looks lush yummy

    20th February 2016 at 4:27 pm
  • Reply Susan Coneley

    That looks really appetising!!!

    20th February 2016 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply Elizabeth

    This looks Super Yummy!!! Me & My Mum always like to get together and have Tea & Scones and have a good chat x

    21st February 2016 at 12:55 pm
  • Reply Ami

    I love the picnic table idea, very relevant! It seems really reasonably priced too, I’ve never been to the Poplar tree garden centre as it’s a bit out of our way but it would be nice to try for a change, my Mam’s into her gardening. We like the cafe at Wyedale Garden centre in Gosforth, they do massive cream scones!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Ami x

    19th June 2016 at 6:15 pm
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