Yarmouth: Yesterday's World
PUBLISHED: 16:27 28 May 2011
Archant Norfolk Photographic / James Bass © 2011
Yesterday's World in Great Yarmouth is a place to take a step back in time and enjoy the nostalgia of afternoon tea like they used to serve. STACIA BRIGGS finds it somewhere worth visiting today - or tomorrow.
A stone’s throw from the beach, on Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile, is a real hidden treasure of a café.
Attached to one of Yarmouth’s most mesmerising attractions, Yesterday’s World with its huge collection of vintage ephemera, full-size working carousel and more curiosities than Dickens could fit into one of his weighty tomes, is a gem of an eaterie.
Even better, the prices at Yesterday’s World’s café won’t break the bank, leaving you plenty of spare change for a spin on the famous snails or an ice-cream on the promenade – if you’ve got room after what is likely to be an indulgent feast.
Having visited the attraction itself, which is one of my Yarmouth must-dos (where else can you stand on a Victorian train station which is next door to Frankenstein, Queen Victoria, a fortune telling machine and a hall of mirrors?) we came back to the front of the building where there is a very pleasant café, recently remodelled and with lots of tables.
Rather than have our usual Yarmouth fayre of chips, we decided to embrace extravagance with a full cream tea.
The traditional afternoon tea at Yesterday’s World offers Ritzy glamour for motel prices – for £9.99 per person (£17.99 for two) you are given a towering stack of prawn, ham, tuna mayonnaise, cucumber, mature cheddar cheese and egg mayonnaise finger sandwiches without a crust in sight.
Cream enters the equation with a selection of freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam and there’s also an assortment of Alice in Wonderland style tiny cakes, including dainty little fruit tarts.
The whole lot is washed down with tea or coffee and for those that fancy, fruit tea.
A cream tea for two will keep a pair of intrepid Golden Mile explorers satiated for hours – my Mum and I pride ourselves on good appetites, but even we were defeated by the magnitude of the spread before us.
Having been served by waiting staff dressed in traditional Victorian garb, and sitting in a large, tiled café with exhibits to look at and books for children to read as they wait for their food, we waited only a short time for our cream tea to arrive.
Served on a silver cake stand and groaning with tempting treats, it was a visual feast – apparently, most people stop to take a photograph of this most English treat before they dig in, and I was no exception.
Eating off bone china plates and served tea in a proper pot, it felt as if we were being properly pampered. Being a picky and annoying vegetarian, staff were happy to substitute some of the meatier sandwich options for more of those without fish or meat while leaving plenty of the aforementioned for my mother, who isn’t half as annoying.
The sandwiches were fresh as a daisy, plentiful and delicious. But it’s hard to concentrate on them when you’re waiting to sample your scones and cakes, which are the real star of the show.
Bite-size tarts and fancies were demolished in minutes and we both agreed that we’d often had lesser cream teas that cost far more money and that weren’t half as impressive as the one we’d just eaten.
If you’d rather dine on something less substantial, the café also offers a wide range of lighter options – you can enjoy a larger scone with cream and jam with a cup of tea, a cheese scone with onion chutney and tea or a toasted tea cake with butter and jam each for £3.95, or one of the café’s popular platters, with sandwiches, a scone and cake for £11.99 for two or £19.99 for four.
Sandwiches are available for £2.25, children’s meals including a sandwich, cake, crisps and a drink cost £2.99 and you can bag yourself a huge wedge of cake – choices include chocolate, carrot and, of course, Victoria sponge – for £1.95.
It may be Yesterday’s World, but it’s definitely somewhere to visit today…or tomorrow.
l Open: Daily 9.30am-5pm.
l Prices: Sandwiches from £2.25, cream teas £9.99 (£17.99 for two).
l Vegetarian options: Available.
l Wheelchair access: Yes