salcey forest & beckworth emporium

The weather has not done a great job of welcoming me home, but on Saturday my mum, dad and I decided to embark on a country walk anyway. We headed to Salcey Forest, which my mum assured me was a favourite walking destination of theirs. Luckily, the rain held off and although we lost track of the designated walking paths, we had fun anyway!

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We were all distinctly hungry after, so my mum suggested paying a visit to Beckworth Emporium for afternoon tea. Anywhere that has “emporium” in the title is a winner as far as I’m concerned, so off we went.

From the outside, Beckworth looks less than impressive: it basically looks like a garden centre. Inside, however, is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of plants, exciting food, and pretty Things – it was easy to see why they call themselves an Emporium!

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The restaurant is hidden away at the back. At about 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon, there was a queue of about 10 people, but the restaurant is deceptively large and it moved quickly. We were seated in the “indoor” part (there are three parts, indoors, the “garden cafe” and the actual outdoor terrace) on a table next to an indoor tree which is a feature I always enjoy.

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I deliberated for ages over the menu but in the end simple comfort food won out and I went for the ham sandwich with chutney while my parents opted for the afternoon tea for two AND a side of pate (piglets!). My dad also somehow ended up with a “spiced apple” which, when it came, turned out to be almost exactly like my beloved hot apple cider! He kindly donated it to me.

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The afternoon tea looked VERY impressive, served altogether on a slate rather than on a tiered stand.

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The sandwich and the pate didn’t look half bad either!

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I had predicted lots of leftovers and I was right, although mummy and daddy didn’t do a bad job of polishing off the afternoon tea. I sampled the tiny lemon tart, one of the mini trifles (it had chocolate sponge and cherry compote at the bottom, yum), some of the pate – my first try, I wasn’t sure about it to be honest – and the chocolate cake, which was delicious.

After lunch, we were let loose on the grocery area.

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I was delighted to find that they stock Cook products, but my hopes of finding their to-die-for carrot cake were dashed ’cause they didn’t stock it! We bought some of the frozen meals to sample anyway – if they’re half as good as the carrot cake they’ll be fab! Aside from Cook stuff, the Emporium stocks every kind of food you can imagine, from meat to cheese to local fruit & vegetables to a particularly tempting chocolate section. Eventually when the basket got too heavy for either mum or I to hold we had to admit defeat and return to the car.

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I have to admit I don’t often think much of the area I live in, but Beckworth Emporium (and Salcey Forest if you’re looking for a good walk!) is definitely a hidden gem and a lovely way to settle myself into quiet rural life once more!

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