Reviewed in Feast issue 43 – February 2020
Ketteringham Hall is a gorgeous place, just off the A11 between Norwich and Wymondham, and is really accessible, despite its lovely, rural location.
Dating back to the 15th century, the Tudor manor boasts a fine history but now fulfils several roles; it has a new bridal shop, offers lots of office space and there’s even a little nursery. Add in beautiful grounds and a resident cricket club, and you’re starting to get the picture.
The Orangery tea room opened last summer and makes the most of both its surroundings and the interior, especially the large, ornate windows and doors. I loved the colourful botanical print wallpaper and the numerous plants, too.
With around 36 covers, the tearoom opens five days a week, during the daytime, serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. It is now run by Laura Butler whose mother, Sarah Softley, operates Softley Events and organises weddings, corporate events and activities at the hall.
The hall has around 36 acres to explore, including a lake, woodland areas, and Victorian walled gardens and do look out for the numerous sculptures scattered around the grounds.
Our deputy editor Emma and I thoroughly enjoyed a traditional afternoon tea (£18.95 each), which saw a three-tier cake stand filled with a selection of mini scones, finger sandwiches and sweet treats including brownies and macarons. There was also a lovely fruit jelly in a shot glass which added a bit of fun! And you can add a glass of fizz for an extra special occasion.
I chose Earl Grey tea while Emma opted for English Breakfast, and both came in their own teapots which were happily refilled as we ploughed our way through our respective cake stands. Sandwich choices included smoked salmon and cream cheese, and delicious ham hock, and both vegan and gluten free options were available, too.
The tea room is lucky enough to be supplied with fresh fruit and vegetables from the Norfolk School of Gardening which operates from the hall’s walled garden. And there’s a real emphasis on local suppliers, too, with Breckland Orchard posh pop, ice cream from Dann’s Farm, and Norfolk Cordials all used. Everything is homemade, and all dietary requirements are catered for so it is a very inclusive place. And, interestingly, all of the coffee granules, tea leaves and peelings go back to the garden to be composted.
Next time I might try breakfast, which is served until 11.30am. Bacon sandwiches are offered alongside, say, avocado on toast, with smoked salmon, which is always a winner with me!
- Lunches include paninis, quiches, soups and sandwiches.
- Afternoon tea needs to be booked.
- Dogs are allowed on the terrace where there are several tables, overlooking the lake.
- The tea room is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.