An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
21 St James Street
Tel: 01553 770500
A friendly family run tea shop full of traditional touches; china cups and saucers, tea cosies and over 50 types of tea to lure you in as well as a full and varied home cooked menu, three dining rooms and a walled garden to eat al fresco.
Where to find it
Kings Lynn is a lovely historic town that dates back hundreds of years. The main shopping centre is conveniently situated in four streets that make a square so wherever you park, you tend to do the block. There are streets leading off from the main ones but if you’re anything like me, you only venture down them if you have a purpose in mind. My incentive, come summer or winter, is Florence Cafe, hidden behind the old majestic cinema theatre heading towards the Saturday marketplace.
What to expect
The tea rooms are set in a grade 2 listed three storey terrace that, according to the original plaque outside, dates back to 1819. Owned by a mother and two daughters, Sharon, Amanda and Rebecca Boldero, they have been in business over four years now and continue to grow more popular month by month. I’m not surprised; it’s a delightful traditional environment with old fashioned dining, linen tablecloths and bone china cups and saucers. Tea, of which there are around 50 varieties to choose from, is served in teapots with tea cosies. This place isn’t just about drinking tea though, or coffee for that matter – they offer the usual latte, cappuccino, espresso etc - they also serve exceptional homemade food cooked from fresh as it’s ordered and it’s this that makes the locals return again and again.
What’s on the menu?
Whether you’re coming in for breakfast (expect the usual selection of hot and cold options), afternoon tea for two (they do a delicious two tier cake stand full of finger sandwiches, scones, and cakes), or lunch, you will not be disappointed. Salads and jacket potatoes, sandwiches, wraps and Panini’s – gluten free also available – plus two choices of homemade soup of the day, and larger meals such as scampi and chips, as well as the daily specials board, it almost warrants entry into our deli cafe category. Although generally only open until 4pm, they do offer evening meals on certain days of the month, and do Sunday roasts on Heritage days and occasions such as Mothering Sunday. For me at least though, this remains a perfect place to enjoy a hot drink and a snack whilst shopping, particularly in the summer months when the quaint walled garden can be enjoyed. An espresso sitting at the bistro table or tea and huge slab of chocolate cake under the courtyard parasol; it’s a welcome alternative to the coffee house chains in the centre of town.
Florence Cafe is open Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30 to 4pm all year round.
If any of the tea pots and tea cosies that adorn the tea rooms take your eye, they are all for sale; so is the homemade jam in jars in the dresser.