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Santa’s grotto sacked as garden centre launches private tearoom

PUBLISHED: 05:39 07 October 2020

Isabella's Tearoom, a private dining area, has been set up at Thetford Garden Centre. Photo: Thetford Garden Centre.

Isabella's Tearoom, a private dining area, has been set up at Thetford Garden Centre. Photo: Thetford Garden Centre.

Thetford Garden Centre.

A garden centre has launched a private tearoom in a ‘secret garden’, in a bid to provide a safe space for customers and boost business.

Isabella's Tearoom, a private dining area, has been set up at Thetford Garden Centre. Photo: Thetford Garden Centre.Isabella's Tearoom, a private dining area, has been set up at Thetford Garden Centre. Photo: Thetford Garden Centre.

The Lime Kiln Kitchen, at Thetford Garden Centre, has introduced Isabella’s Tearoom, a private dining area overlooking the Kilverstone estate.

The tearoom has been set up in a summer house which was meant to be used as Santa’s Grotto, which was cancelled amid the pandemic.

Garden centre owner Lucy Nixon said they still wanted to do something nice for their customers.

She said: “It’s a summer house that we use as Santa’s Grotto but with everything going on we didn’t feel comfortable going ahead with it this year.

Thetford Garden Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThetford Garden Centre. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“But we still wanted to do something positive and have a bit of fun and because our restaurant has fewer tables available because of social distancing, we came up with the idea to do private dining.

“We wallpapered it, put up chandeliers and pictures and there is a radio to play your own music, and it will be served on vintage tea sets. It’s very sweet.”

Isabella’s Tearoom, which has been named after Ms Nixon’s grandmother who was a champion baker, has been refurbished inside to provide a cosy setting for groups up to six to enjoy a scenic afternoon tea, tucked away in a secret garden.

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The afternoon tea’s set menu includes homemade sandwiches and cakes, inspired by Isabella’s recipes.

A bottle of prosecco is also included in the price and special dietary requirements can be catered for.

Lime Kiln Kitchen is taking bookings for the tearoom with three slots available throughout the day, excluding Sundays.

In the run up to one of Thetford Garden Centre’s busiest times of the year, its Christmas display has already been well received by shoppers.

Ms Nixon added: “We have moved our Christmas display to the centre of our store because it’s a bigger area with more space to wander around safely.

“It’s been up for about three weeks now and it has been really popular. People seem to be shopping for Christmas a lot earlier this year.

“But I think they are mindful there might be another lockdown. I am feeling positive, but you never know what’s around the corner.”


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