We think you can almost stop time by having a cup of tea and a slice of cake at the completely magical Carisbrooke Priory on the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory is a still-active priory situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, on the outskirts of Carisbrooke close to Newport, in the centre of the island. We found it quite by chance when we had gone to explore Carisbrooke Castle, which I remember visiting as a child. It just so happened that we saw a board outside advertising lunch and afternoon tea, and needing little encouragement I shot into the car park and sent Mother inside to find out if Hoover would be permitted. Whilst he was not allowed to hang about in the building he was welcome to come through the priory into the gardens. It was a warm, sunny day so we thought this would suit us just fine…and what a treat it was.
The tea room is only open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10.00am to 4.00pm, and it is worth planning your week accordingly.
All of the food is homemade with an ever-changing selection of cakes, sandwiches, soups (during the winter months)
and quiche with salad (during the summer months). The lemon cake was so good on our first visit that we were still talking about it three years later, so we made sure we were back on the island on a Tuesday and made a bee-line for the priory for lunch.
On our first visit we had huge, homemade, doorstep sandwiches of lovely soft bread oozing with a variety of fillings, followed lemon cake and tea. On our return we all had lovely big wedges of homemade quiche with salad…followed by lemon cake and tea!
The ladies who serve are a delight – we think they are all volunteers – and the prices are ridiculously low. It’s worth mentioning that they are unable to accept card payments.
The gardens must be one of the most peaceful places on earth. It was like stepping back in time. They are obviously cared for, but they are far from manicured and very natural giving them an air of nostalgia, which reminded me of my childhood. Every now and then the ladies popped out from the kitchen to pick strawberries and the like as and when they needed them. It was so relaxing here, and you really can lose track of time. After we had stuffed ourselves silly I had a lovely mooch around the gardens with Hooves, and then I sat down, kicked off my flip flips and wriggled my toes in the grass whilst he shattered the peace with some serious snoring! Bliss….
P.S. If you feel the need to work off the cake then there are masses of walks around the area too.