Set in the countryside near Granchester, there is something about this place that just oozes "Cambridge" as you sit at a table eating cake and drinking tea. Though consider... read more
The Orchard Tea Garden, has been serving morning coffee, light lunches and...
The Orchard Tea Garden, has been serving morning coffee, light lunches and afternoon tea in its pavilion and under its trees, in an oasis of thought-provoking calm, for nearly 120 years, and becoming an essential part of Cambridge life.
Just a short stroll, bicycle ride, punt or car trip away from the bustle of Cambridge lies the Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester; a corner of England where time stands still as the outside world rushes by.
The Orchard, first planted in 1868, became a tea garden purely by chance. In 1897 a group of Cambridge students asked Mrs Stevenson, who lived in Orchard House and usually served tea and cakes from one of her front rooms or the garden, if she would serve them beneath the blossoming fruit trees of the Orchard. They were unaware that, on that spring morning, they had started a great Cambridge tradition and little has changed since then. It is still a rite of passage for every new undergraduate at Cambridge University to walk or cycle along the Grantchester Grind, or punt upstream to exchange the formal surroundings of the Backs, for the peace and tranquillity of the meandering River Cam and to enjoy home-made scones soaked in cream and covered in jam (or vice versa) at the Orchard Tea Garden
The Orchard is renowned for the huge number of famous people who have enjoyed morning coffee, lunch, or afternoon tea in its genteel setting. Its luminaries including Rupert Brooke, Virginia Woolf, Bertrand Russel, Ludwig Wittgenstein, E.M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, Alan Turing, Ernest Rutherford, and Watson and Crick to name but a few. By sitting under its trees, and sharing in the great English tradition of afternoon tea, one is following in the footsteps of generations of Cambridge students.
Robin Callan, it former owner who saved the Orchard from redevelopment , bequeath what he called “God’s little acre” to charity when he died in April 2014 so that, in the words of Rupert Brooke, they remain “forever England”. Shortly before he died Callan wrote: “Without such places as The Orchard, with “its peace and holy quiet”, Cambridge will no longer produce great thinkers. How can it, if its environment does not allow its students and professors to hear themselves think?”
Deliberately, the Orchard Tea Garden remains of a bygone era.