Experience a taste of the 30s and 40s at new tea rooms

Co-owner Annette Sparshott with Virginia Lewis-Jones and staff at the grand opening. Picture: Steve Robards
Co-owner Annette Sparshott with Virginia Lewis-Jones and staff at the grand opening. Picture: Steve Robards

Visitors can experience a taste of the 1930s and 40s while listening to the iconic songs of Dame Vera Lynn at a new tea rooms in Ditchling.

The Nutmeg Tree tea rooms and restaurant, which has taken over the former Ditchling Tea Rooms, can be found in West Street and offers breakfast, lunch and its popular afternoon tea.

It was officially opened last Wednesday (November 8), by Vera Lynn’s daughter, Virginia Lewis-Jones, who lives in the village with her famous centenarian mother and family.

Annette Sparshott, 48, opened the tea rooms with husband Doug, after having to close their tea rooms in Tunbridge Wells due to re-development.

Annette said: “The opening went really well, Virginia was amazing, she was so friendly. Lots of locals came in which was really good.

“Everyone knew everyone and the feedback has been brilliant. Everyone had a free drink at the opening and a ribbon was cut by Virginia.

“We had a great response. We did a raffle and all profits went to the Poppy Appeal.

“We have been really busy since opening – we have been completely full a couple of times and we have had to turn people away.”

The couple currently live in East Peckham in Kent and are looking to move nearby soon.

Annette said the business fitted ‘far better’ in Ditchling.

“Dame Vera Lynn lives in Ditchling, so it’s a very appropriate place for us to open,” she said.

“It is lovely here. We are different to everyone else and our customers know eachother, so I think this makes us stand out.

“Our old customers from Tunbridge Wells have even travelled over to us here, which is really nice.

“We have pictures of spitfires and we play music from the 1930s and 40s such as Dame Vera Lynn. Our waitresses dress up to fit in the eras too.

“Everyone is really lovely around here. For us the at the moment we are still trying to get things in place but we will get there.

“We cater for everyone – including toddlers and babies. We offer breakfast, lunch and our afternoon tea is a very popular choice.”

The Nutmeg Tree is open from 8am to 4pm on Monday to Fridays and 8am to 4pm on Saturday and Sundays.