Taking tea in Sidmouth
The Costa del Sidmouth
I always enjoy going to Sidmouth as it’s still feels like a traditional seaside town and being small means when you look out to sea you get a fine view along the coast in both directions. The town itself always reminds me of the home counties in the 1960s. A bit like a specialist theme park I suppose.
Sidmouth has a reputation for being a last resting place for the retired. You shouldn’t let that deter you, even if such does usually deter you. Sidmouth has a fine mix of cafes for all tastes from Marmite fingers in Fields Department Store to the one I can never remember the name of but used to meet a friend for lunch there. With summer ahead I think I will have do a bit of a survey!
Tea at the Riviera Hotel
This was recommend by a colleague as being a place for a fine tea and she was spot on! There is a choice of three teas in ascending order of price. You can have a traditional cream tea, or a teacake with fresh cake, or for the hardcore tea addict sandwiches, cake, and other teatime goodies. All come with a choice of teas from traditional to herbal.
I was with my parent, who is a hardcore tea addict, but we settled for the teacake and victoria sponge (I had pointed out how large the big tea was and the price of flowers). Everything was excellent. The sponge was impressively light and the filling of cream and chopped strawberries as fresh as could be. It was nearly a tenner each but worth the investment!
And the ambience then?
I liked the big reassuring sign at the front of the hotel letting you know afternoon tea was being served. No surprises or disappointments on arrival here! The service was very good; politely friendly and no hovering.
The room itself had enough small chandeliers to keep Liberace happy. The carpet was a bit on the bright side but the rest of the room was calmer, so you wouldn’t get hiccups. Well. unless you stared at the carpet a great deal. Plenty of large chairs and settees with something of a seventies reproduction furniture look, which rather suited the place.
I would say if you like afternoon tea this is a please to go when you are feeling a bit self- indulgent or extravagant. Or simply need a really good tea!
And another thing
The hotel has a large panoramic print of Sidmouth from c. 1840.The print shows the hotel as it was originally was – three separate houses. The amount of detail from clothes to the volume of thatched buildings away from the seafront and variety of dogs by the beach make a prolonged inspection worthwhile. I believe RAMM has a copy of this print too.