We wanted to have afternoon tea during our trip to the Cotswolds. I looked at several fancy restaurants and hotels which all had nice offerings but was having a hard time choosing one until I heard about the Little Picnic Shop in Castle Combe.
They offered an afternoon tea picnic that sounded right up our alley. We thought it would be a lovely way to spend some time in Castle Combe. Let me share more about the afternoon tea picnic from the Little Picnic Shop so you can decide if it is something you want to do.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Please see disclosure for more information.
- About the Little Picnic Shop
- About Castle Combe
- Booking Your Afternoon Tea Picnic
- Our Afternoon Tea Picnic Experience
- How much are the afternoon tea picnics from the Little Picnic Shop?
- Is the hamper option at the Little Picnic Shop worth it?
- Are there bathrooms to use during your picnic in Castle Combe?
- Things to Do in Castle Combe Before or After Your Afternoon Tea Picnic
- Where is the best place to stay in Castle Combe?
- More Places to Have Afternoon Tea in England
- Overall Review of the Afternoon Picnic from the Little Picnic Shop
- Expert Tips for an Afternoon Tea Picnic in Castle Combe
About the Little Picnic Shop
The Little Picnic Shop is a small business run by Anna in Castle Combe that offers takeaway afternoon teas. The afternoon teas are served in a box that includes a picnic sandwich, pork pie, Spanish tortilla, scone (with clotted cream and jam), cake of the day, shortbread, brownie, and tea, coffee, or crushed mint and lime cordial.
You can upgrade the experience to the hamper option if you are ordering for two or more. Hampers include vintage china crockery sets and stainless steel cutlery sets, books, mini games, history of Castle Combe information sheet, picnic blanket, and your tea, coffee or cordial drinks in a flask. You can also request Champagne flutes and bring along your own bubbly.
Note: The hamper, everything in it, the picnic blanket, and flask all need to be returned at the end of your picnic.
They can cater to all dietary requirements. There are separate menus for vegetarian or vegan, gluten free, dairy and gluten free, and dairy free.
Read their Tripadvisor reviews here.
About Castle Combe
Located in the southernmost edge of the Cotswolds, Castle Combe is often referred to as one of the prettiest villages in England. You couldn’t ask for a nicer setting for an afternoon tea picnic.
It gets its name from a castle that was located close to the site of the current day village. Originally it was a hill fort which became occupied by the Romans due to its proximity to The Fosse Way. Centuries later the Normans built the fort up into a castle. Now only small earthworks remain.
By the Middle Ages, Castle Combe had become an important focal point for the wool industry. The mill was powered by the river, still known as By Brook.
Castle Combe is well-preserved thanks to strict rules to protect its character. Many of the cottages are hundreds of years old and are listed as ancient monuments. They are built with thick walls made with the local stone and split natural stone tile roofs. Some have names that honor the village’s past like Weaver’s House.
It’s not surprising that the village is used as a filming location. The most well-known movie filmed in and around Castle Combe is Doctor Doolittle from 1966. The village has also featured in ‘War Horse’, ‘Stardust’,’The Wolf Man’ and an ad for the watch company, Solvil et Titus.
Booking Your Afternoon Tea Picnic
While you might be able to get an afternoon picnic the same day, it is best to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Since the Little Picnic Shop does not have a website, you can book either by email or phone (see the Facebook page here for details).
You will need to provide a contact number, the number of picnics required, and the date you want to have the picnic. Confirm whether you just want the box or if you want to upgrade to the hamper (i.e. picnic basket).
Our Afternoon Tea Picnic Experience
We emailed The Little Picnic Shop to reserve our picnics about two weeks in advance. We decided to upgrade and get the hamper and each get different sandwiches (a chicken and a tuna) so we could try both. I got a quick response to confirm everything and then sent our payment through. We were all set.
The morning before our afternoon tea we decided to explore the town of Tetbury. We took a lot of photos, had a snack, and even did a bit of shopping, before driving to Castle Combe about 30 minutes away.
Picking up Our Afternoon Tea Picnic
After parking at the Castle Combe Public Car Park (which is free), we made our way down the hill to the village. We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather for our afternoon tea picnic. It was sunny and just the right temperature to spend some time outdoors.
It’s about a 10 minute walk to the village past some charming cottages. The wild garlic was in bloom when we visited in May. You could try to park along The Street to make the walk a little shorter, but it was full when we walked by. Don’t be tempted to park illegally, you will be ticketed.
The Little Picnic Shop is located on the left side of the main street. We arrived a few minutes after our scheduled pick up time, but that was fine. All our stuff was ready and waiting for us.
Anna had mentioned that there was a lot of stuff to carry with the hampers and she was right. We had one hamper, one picnic blanket, two boxes full of food, and two thermoses (flasks in British English) to carry. The hamper was a bit heavy since it had china and books.
Finding our Picnic Spot
She suggested that we have our picnic in a field just behind the building that house the Little Picnic Shop so we wouldn’t have to carry things too far. We followed her directions, but when we got to the field there were children running around and it wasn’t quite the atmosphere that I wanted.
We decided that even though we had a lot to carry, it would be worth moving to a spot further away so we could be by the river. It was definitely worth the extra effort.
Our spot was right by one of the bridges. It wasn’t a grassy area but it wasn’t muddy and we had the picnic blanket. While we had the occasional people walk by, for the most part it was nice and quiet.
Enjoying Our Afternoon Tea Picnic
Now it was time to enjoy our picnic. We opened up the hamper and got out our tea cups. I poured the tea and was impressed with how hot it was even after we had been walking around a bit. (It actually stayed warm for the several hours we were enjoying our picnic.)
We got out our plates and started on the sandwiches. Both were quite tasty and I liked that they used ciabatta bread instead of the plain bread that is used in many afternoon teas. Even though you only get one sandwich per box, they are a generous size, equal to several finger sandwiches.
The sandwich is not the only savory food included in the afternoon tea box. It also has a Spanish tortilla and pork pie. While I have seen afternoon teas with pork pies, this was the first one with a Spanish tortilla. With the amount of food that was included, we decided to save the pork pies for later.
My favorite part of afternoon tea was next – scones with clotted cream and jam. Sometimes places are a bit stingy with their clotted cream but it wasn’t the case this time. I had plenty of clotted cream and jam for my scone.
We barely had room for any of the desserts. It came with a large piece of Victoria Sponge cake, a brownie, and shortbread. The Victoria Sponge cake was moist and delicious, and the shortbread was nice and buttery. The brownie was quite rich, one of the best I have had in England
It’s nice that we could easily pack away what we didn’t finish in one of the boxes to save for later. I had the rest of mine for breakfast the next morning. Maybe not the most nutritious choice, but it was a fun way to start the day.
Once we finished eating, we could just relax. It was nice to have this quiet time together. We admired the scenery and chatted with the friendly robin that kept coming over to say hi. Then we played a little bit of knots and crosses or tic tac toe as we Americans call it and looked through the books that were included in the hamper.
I didn’t want to leave. I wish we would have had more time for our picnic, but there was just so much we wanted to see in the Cotswolds that it was time to pack up. We put everything back in the hamper and returned it to the Little Picnic Shop.
*You might also enjoy reading my post about the Best British foods.
How much are the afternoon tea picnics from the Little Picnic Shop?
If you just get the afternoon tea box it is £18 per person. If you want the hamper and all the extras that come with that it is £22 per person. (Note: The hamper option is only available when ordering for 2 or more.)
Is the hamper option at the Little Picnic Shop worth it?
For only £4 per person more, you do get the hamper, picnic blanket, larger beverage, games to play, and books to read during your picnic. I think that’s a good value. Plus, it will also make for better pictures.
That being said, it is a lot to carry so take that into consideration. It may limit your options on where to have your picnic.
Are there bathrooms to use during your picnic in Castle Combe?
Yes. There are public toilets too far from the first bridge. In case you are wondering, they were cleaner than I expected.
Things to Do in Castle Combe Before or After Your Afternoon Tea Picnic
Castle Combe is one of the places on everyone’s list of best villages to visit in the Cotswolds. It’s not a big place but it’s one that you will want to spend some time in. You can go for a scenic walk, visit a historic church, take photos, have a pint, and more.
Get more information in our post about the best things to do in Castle Combe.
Where is the best place to stay in Castle Combe?
If you want to treat yourself and spend the night in Castle Combe check out the Manor House. It’s a 14th century luxury hotel and golf club perfect for a romantic night away in the Cotswolds. They also have a Michelin starred restaurant, the ByBrook.
Read Tripadvisor reviews here.
Check price and availability here.
More Places to Have Afternoon Tea in England
If you enjoy afternoon tea as much as we do, you might also enjoy these posts:
Overall Review of the Afternoon Picnic from the Little Picnic Shop
Our afternoon tea picnic was one of the highlights of our trip to the Cotswolds. I would do it again next time we are in the area. You get a lot of delicious food so it’s a great value and the village provides a lovely atmosphere.
Have you ever had an afternoon tea picnic?
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Last Updated on February 15, 2023