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Our little black book of enchanting places


Tea parties you won't want to be late for by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in FOOD + DRINK By Maggie O'Sullivan

It was 150 years ago this June that Lewis Carroll’s classic story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was first published. To mark the anniversary you can go to Christ Church college in Oxford and take a guided Alice in Wonderland Meadow Walk. You can buy a facsimile of Carroll’s handwritten version of Alice’s Adventures Underground (as it was originally called) at Alice’s Shop, across the road from the college. Or you can head for the British Library in London to view the real thing.  And when you’ve done all that, you can have a themed tea. Here are four of our favourites.

Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa, York

The hotel will be holding a Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea Party (pictured above) once a month throughout the year (you can also book a tea party as a private event). Teas start with an Arrival ‘Drink Me’ Potion at 3pm, and finish at 4.30pm, when guests are invited to ‘Disappear down the rabbit hole’. The edible candles, chocolate clocks, Eat Me biscuits and an array of colourful and suitably themed cakes and sandwiches are served with ‘Fairytale Tea’. £33 adult/£20 child; booking essential. Further information, Cedar Court Grant Hotel & Spa Sanderson, London

Sanderson’s Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea (above) is a collaboration with design collective Luna & Curious who have made the pretty Alice-themed crockery. A great deal of thought has gone into this one: menus are hidden in books, napkins wrapped with riddles, and the Jelly Wonderland fruit jellies arrive on a cake trolley. The tea is served daily and costs from £38 adult/£30 child. Further information, Sanderson London Conrad London St James, London

The Alice in Wonderland Afternoon Tea (above), served on a mirror, is the creation of Executive Pastry Chef Zoe Wager and features such delicacies as a checkerboard chocolate truffle tower, mini toadstool lemon tarts and a ‘Painting the roses red’ cake. £35 per person until May 11, 2015. Further information, Conrad London St JamesChrist Church, Oxford

The rabbit hole that Alice – in real life the daughter of the college dean – falls down is said to have been inspired by a narrow spiral staircase in Christ Church’s dining hall. The college, which also offers Alice-themed walks, is running four Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties between now and June, with a talk on Lewis Carroll and an optional tour of college features thought to have inspired the writer. £25 per person, booking essential. Further information, Christ Church 

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