From Norwich to Japan: Biddy's Tea Room turns 10

Biddy's Tea Room turns 10 this February and to celebrate it is offering birthday treat boxes for local home delivery.

Biddy's Tea Room turns 10 this February and to celebrate it is offering birthday treat boxes for local home delivery. Pictured is manager Brad Smith and owner Charlie Buchan inside the Aylsham branch, which opened in 2014. - Credit: Contributed

From humble beginnings above a kitchenware shop, to baking 2,000 scones a day in Japan, Biddy's Tea Room owner Charlie Buchan has plenty of reasons to celebrate as the business turns 10. 

Miss Buchan, 36, opened Biddy's Tea Room in Lower Goat Lane in Norwich on Valentine's Day in 2011, after asking her friend who owned the shop below if she could use the space upstairs to serve tea and cake.  

The cake counter at Biddy's Tea Room in Norwich. 

The cake counter at Biddy's Tea Room in Norwich. - Credit: Contributed

While there was no signage for Biddy's outside the shop, word quickly got around and it became the city's worst kept secret with people queuing up the stairs to get a table.

It soon became clear that there was an appetite for somewhere specialising in tea in Norwich and in 2013 she was offered the full premises when the downstairs shop closed. 

Inside Biddy's Tea Room in Norwich. 

Inside Biddy's Tea Room in Norwich. - Credit: Contributed

In 2014, she opened a second Biddy's Tea Room at the Market Place in Aylsham and all the baking is now done there. 

Miss Buchan, who previously worked as a personal shopper and named the shop after her dog, said: "I am a tea drinker and Norwich had this great café and coffee scene, but at the time nowhere was geared towards tea.

Biddy's Tea Room in Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. 

Biddy's Tea Room in Lower Goat Lane, Norwich. - Credit: Contributed

"We started out very small scale with six tables and when the first customer came in that wasn't family or friends I couldn't believe someone had randomly found us." 

Biddy's Tea Room is now known across Norfolk and even overseas, after Miss Buchan was invited to do a pop-up at a British food fair in Tokyo in 2019. She is hoping to return in 2021. 

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She said: "It was immense and we got to go on local TV.

Biddy's Tea Room manager Brad Smith and owner Charlie Buchan when they were in Japan. 

Biddy's Tea Room manager Brad Smith and owner Charlie Buchan when they were in Japan. - Credit: Contributed

"We had originally been asked to do 500 scones a day but it ended up being 2,000 and it was only me, our manager Brad and two other Japanese bakers."

While both shops are currently closed, Miss Buchan is focusing on deliveries of cakes and tray bakes, including a limited edition birthday box. 

The birthday box from Biddy's Tea Room is packed with retro goodies. 

The birthday box from Biddy's Tea Room is packed with retro goodies. - Credit: Contributed


Speaking about plans for the future, Miss Buchan said: "We've got some ideas of hosting food pop-ups in the evenings and for a mobile catering van to be more present if the lockdowns do continue.

Reflecting on 10 years, she added: "Without my team Biddy's wouldn't be where it is and I can't say thanks enough to our customers." 

Order for delivery at biddystearoom.com

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