Ellis Tea Room Guide website, sweep across the Peak District and the Derbyshire Dales in his bid to seek out the highs and lows of English tea rooms and save more from closing. His passion is not for the ‘cuppa’ tea itself, but for the tea room: the ambience, the staff friendliness, and the attention to detail of both what is served and the environment.
Ellis said ‘statistics show that 15 traditional English tea rooms are
closing down every week, and they really need our support to keep going.
If I find a tea room which is what I deem not my cup of tea, I am not
afraid to say so. Many tea rooms finding themselves in this category
in the past have contacted me for advice on what they can do to improve,
and I am always happy to help’.
Ellis advocates supporting the more traditional tea rooms; painted
pretty colours, with lace tablecloths and pretty china; and staff who
get to know their customers. They usually give their customers a hearty
welcome and value for money.
Ellis was delighted with the standard of tea rooms in the areas visited
although he was disappointed that the majority he visited were self
Ellis points out ‘the experience of an afternoon tea, or even brunch or
lunch in a tea room should be relaxing and enjoyable. Having to order
at the counter is not really conducive to this concept. I even
encountered one establishment, where the waitress came to the table
specifically to tell me to order at the counter…why could she have not
just taken my order?’
Of course the vast majority of the tea rooms visited on this trip had
the added bonus of the beautiful countryside of the Peak District and
Derbyshire Dales, and therefore the views from windows and tea gardens
were worth the visit alone. Sadly though out of 19 tea rooms visited,
11 were open and were reviewed, two were closed despite the visits
during opening hours, and the other six had closed down apparently only
Just one tea room received the accolade of not my cup of tea but this
was mainly because it was more of a café than a tea room in the true
sense of the title.
Ellis continues to travel England in his quest to save the English tea room.
Joe Ellis’ website is very popular and he receives good feedback on the
tea rooms he visits daily. He is also editor of the Time for Tea
magazine which can be subscribed to via the site at www.tea-room-guide.org.uk