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Lavender Barn Tea Room review

Thea Euryphaessa finds the little girl inside but worries about buns

Written by . Published on February 20th 2011.

Lavender Barn Tea Room review

Jam on top and cream underneath? Or smeared straight on the scone with a slathering of cream on top?

For me, it has to be the latter with a bottomless pot of freshly-brewed tea. You can keep yer cupcakes and your mocha-choca lattes with frothy bits on: I want afternoon tea and I want it in a traditional tearoom.

I love this place for its ramshackled charm, its shabby-chic, its laid-back farmhouse vibe. It serves its generously-portioned sandwiches and cakes on crockery that never fails to make me go “Aww...”

What’s long bugged me about Manchester is the dearth of dedicated tearooms. Lord knows the number of times I’ve bewailed the lack of them in the city. We’ve chains of coffee shops on every other corner. And then there’s the ever-increasing onslaught of cupcake shops springing up throughout suburbia... which is why my move to the outermost fringes of civilisation (aka Flixton) has actually done me a favour.

After mourning the loss of easy, 24/7 access to the city centre and refusing to pay inordinately high taxi fares home after nights out, I turned my attention the other way towards the Cheshire countryside. It’s turned out to be a revelation.

Walks along the Trans-Pennine trail and Bridgewater Canal have unearthed numerous cosy pubs; there’s Red House Farm with its perennially-chirpy chef and adjoining farm shop packed to the rafters with local delicacies; there’s Dunham Massey ice-cream parlour where hairy bikers stop for a cone of the buttery stuff whatever the weather; and then there’s the tearooms – Tatton Park, Dunham Massey, and my favourite, Lavender Barn Tea Room. Tucked out of the way in Dunham Town, this place frequently provided me a cake haven while writing my book. Not least for the fact they don’t mind at all if you only buy one pot of tea and sit there the rest of the day without buying ‘owt else.

Not least for the fact their speciality lavender-laced scones taste heavenly with aforementioned jam and lashings of cream. Not least for the groups of muscle-thighed, spandex-attired cyclists who stop off en route for tea and wedges of delicious homemade carrot cake.

Ah yes, cake. Not the cup-bound ones, mind you. Apparently, they can’t sell the things. They tried, but no-one was interested. Country tearoom for country kin, this. None of that fancy-schmancy gubbins townsfolk indulge in. We’re talking traditional homemade cakes as deep as the Grand Canyon and as wide as, well, my bottom if I continue indulging in them.

And don’t even get me started on their home-grown, home-made lavender and honey marmalade which a neighbour switched me onto as a hay-fever remedy. I’ve no idea whether it works but it’s as good excuse as any for stocking up on it. In fact, all their lavender-based products are lush, particularly their hand-cream. You can also buy organically-grown lavender plants to take home.

I love this place for its ramshackled charm, its shabby-chic, its laid-back farmhouse vibe. It sells pretty little things that bring out the girly-girl in me and has me cooing over things I’d never otherwise look at including bespoke, vintage painted furniture and twee ornaments. It serves its generously-portioned sandwiches and cakes on crockery that never fails to make me go “Aww...” In the summer, you can sit outside, spread your wares out on a picnic blanket, and revel in the scenery while the smell of lavender from the adjacent field washes over you. This, dear reader, is how all tearooms should be.

If you have children you may like to know they have ‘pony parties’ where the little ones get the opportunity to pet, brush, feed, and ride the ponies. Resplendent in lavender pink coats and accessories Katie Price would be proud of, together with the tearoom it must rate up there as one of the most delightful venues in which to hold a kid’s party (for the Pony Parties call Amy on 07876597672).

Actually, never mind the kids – I’m wondering if they’d let me have my birthday party there this year, seeing as it’s in the middle of June. Hire one of them there fancy yurts, glamp out in the field overnight, argue whether the correct pronunciation is ‘scon’ or ‘scone’. Now there’s an idea...

The cost of cream tea (pot of tea/coffee with a scone with jam and cream)is £2.50.

Rating: 14.5/20
Breakdown: 7/10 food
3.5/5 service
4/5 ambience
Address: Lavender Barn Tea Room
Dog Farm
Dunham Massey
WA14 4TR
0161 928 5377

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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22 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Man in a shedFebruary 21st 2011.

Is it open on Sundays? Sounds ideal for an afternoon yomp out along the Bridgewater

Thea EFebruary 21st 2011.

Aye, Man in a Shed, it most certainly is: Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 4pm. Saturday and Sundays, 10am – 5pm. Also open Bank Holidays.

Man in a ShedFebruary 21st 2011.

Smashing news, I shall treat my beautiful ladyfriend to a spot of promenading by the cut, a brew and half a scone upon the occasion of the soonest sunny Sabbath.

tommyboyFebruary 23rd 2011.

This place is class! One of my favourite places for a cup of tea and a bun.

Elaine Vinton-EvansJune 2nd 2011.

You need to visit this place you wont regret it ummmmmm lovely people and the food ummm very good no regrets why not call and bring the children they will love it xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2012.

Dont entertain it. Told 10 to 15 minute wait. 45 minutes later We were served luke warm watery hot chocolate and crumpets so uncooked and cold that the butter would not even melt. Confused as to how something so simple can go so wrong

1 Response: Reply To This...
Amy WalshAugust 13th 2013.

Hi sorry to hear about your disappointment I feel u should of asked to speak to the manager and we would of been able to exchange everything immediately also have dealt with the staff to rectify the problem instead of writing on here to make us look bad mistakes Can be made unfortunately we try out best at all times but as I said if noone tells us we can't rectify things please come back and we can make amends

Tina BJanuary 25th 2012.

first visit today and it will be my last! place was very cold and dark. Staff didnt acknowledge us and we sat waiting for 10 minutes to be served not knowing you had to go up to the counter to order as there was no indication thats what you had to do. Other tea rooms in the area the staff come to your table to take you order. Had to keep our coats on to eat as it was that cold because they had no heating on.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Amy WalshAugust 13th 2013.

Hi sorry to hear u had a bad experience We are different to "the other tearooms "in the area and there are clear signs at the till on the chalkboard with the specials o and outside to let u know to order at the till Unfortunately we did have a few problems over winter with the heating frozen pipes etc which am sure u can appreciate I feel u should of asked to speak to the manager and we would of tried our best to make things good. I hope u might try us again maybe in the summer when u can sit outside take in the tranquil surroundings

TimmyMarch 7th 2012.

shuts at 4 - isn't that a good time for afternoon tea - this country drives me mad with its closing times!!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Amy WalshAugust 13th 2013.

We all have a life am afraid we work 6 days a week and need to close sometime !!!! Anyway 4 is getting close to tea time a lot of our customers come 230 for afternoon tea maybe give us a try

SmittyMarch 7th 2012.

Thea, there's loads of places in Manchester where you can get a splendid afternoon cream tea! I can think of 10 off the top of my head. There's quite a few tearooms as well - from Teacup for the trendies and the Richmond Tea Rooms for a tearoom that is camper and kitcher (and fabulouser) than a weekend in Holmfirth!

AnonymousJanuary 30th 2013.

Lavender Tearooms have started some new groups this year and a good turn out for the two of them at the moment, A knitting group on the second Wednesday of every month 2pm/4pm went very well. And last Wednesday of the month a walking group 10 30 till 11 30 what a good turn excellent why not give them a go .......

1 Response: Reply To This...
Elaine Vinton-EvansJanuary 30th 2013.

Well done go for it ..........

Lindsay McCourtApril 9th 2013.

Went for the first time today and won't be going again. Staff were rude and unfriendly. We were asked (rudely) to move our bags from the table after we had eaten, even though there were plenty of free tables and no one waiting. I had a lavender scone which was stale: rock hard and dry. My friend had soup which was clearly out of a tin. It was freezing cold and dark inside. Don't go here!

1 Response: Reply To This...
Amy WalshAugust 13th 2013.

Am sorry to hear u had a bad experience I feel u should of asked to speak to the manager we would of exchanged your scone immediately and I can say the soup is home made as I watch my dad make it every day !!! As for it being cold and dark again u should of told us and then can rectify the problems please try us again and will try more than our best to satisfy

SarahOctober 15th 2013.

We went on Sunday just gone, and was lovely, really quaint. Food was ok and the staff that served us were polite , not in your face. Would go again. :)

AnonymousOctober 15th 2013.

Quite off-putting how the manager feels the need to have the last word after every negative comment.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 15th 2013.

The repeated aggressive illiteracy is hardly impressive either.

JoyNovember 10th 2013.

Visited today and will not be returning ! Had a 30 minute wait as they had lost our order. When we asked the waiter he was quite rude and said " I shouldn't even be in and we've got 40 people just arrived, it's not easy !" Their attitude was terrible as though we were a nuisance, we had only ordered drinks but the kitchen staff just seemed to crumble under pressure. I think they need to remember who pay their wages....customers !

1 Response: Reply To This...
Ian IronicNovember 11th 2013.

Joy - such a inapt name for such a miserable person

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