Telephone number 01665 572232
This is situated in the East Quadrant and was opened in 2004. In the 1928 rebuild, the quadrant had been converted into the kitchen, pantry, larders, store rooms, and servants hall; all these were stripped out in 2003 to return the room to its original shape as a ballroom.
The tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, to suit the water at Howick, using bergamot in particular to offset the taste of the lime in it. Lady Grey used it to entertain in London as a political hostess, and it proved so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings came to market it. It is now sold world wide and the Greys were sufficiently unbusinesslike not to register the trade mark; as a result, they have never received a penny!
The room contains two very large paintings by James Northcote, which were commissioned from the artist by Lord Grey in 1809. They depict two biblical scenes, ‘Daniel in the Lion’s Den’ and ‘The Disobedient Prophet’. Above the mantelpiece is a 19th Century copy of the portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence of 2nd Earl Grey painted in 1828, with two modern seascapes on either side painted down on the beach at Howick by Len Tabner in 1992.
Until November 2006, the Earl Grey Tea House was operated under a lease given to Mrs Rosie Robson, whose family own and run the famous Craster Kipper smokery two miles north of Howick. It is now run by Mary and Karen Jamieson. Mary is the youngest daughter of the retired Head Woodman at Howick, Andrew Jamieson, and was born and bred at Howick, while Karen is her sister-in-law, thereby giving the Tea House an 'old estate feel'. They serve a variety of teas, home made and local produce, snacks and light lunches, sometimes on a self-service basis.
The Earl Grey Tea House is open whenever the gardens are open, but exclusively for visitors to the garden. It is NOT open to other members of the public.
Please note, last orders in the tea room will be taken half an hour before the gardens close.
ENJOY YOUR EARL GREY TEA!