EASTCOTE House Gardens is set to enjoy a summer of tea, scones and cake – as long as the weather holds up.
As part of efforts to win Lottery funding for the restoration of the park’s Tudor buildings, a local business owner has agreed to host a series of vintage tea parties there.
Kelly Thompson runs Vintage Tea 2 You, a catering firm with a retro vibe, and is hoping her monthly events at the gardens will impress officials at the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Hillingdon Council and the Friends of Eastcote House Gardens (FEHG) submitted their bid for a £1million restoration project last year and it has already reached stage two of the selection process.
If successful, the Grade II Listed stables could be transformed into a permanent tea room. In the meantime, Ms Thompson is happy to host her outdoor garden parties, including stalls and children’s entertainment.
The Cranbourne Road resident told the Gazette: “We don’t see this just as a business opportunity, but a chance to attract people to the park and help boost the restoration fund.
“Every business that takes part in the events will donate a percentage to the appeal. It started with us working with Eastcote Park Estate Association and they put us in touch with [FEHG chairman] Lesley Crowcroft.
“We put our heads together about what we could do to raise the profile of the site and make the business plan more solid for the Lottery bid.
“What happens at Eastcote House Gardens affects our family and involves the schools so it is about more than just business. We are passionate about it because it is our local park.”
The monthly tea parties, to be held on the second Sunday of every month up to October, are involving several local businesses.
Quantum Xpress, in Salisbury Road, is printing all the banners and posters, Bennett Homes, in Field End Road, is printing 5,000 flyers and a lot of the produce for the food will come from White Heath Farm, in Harefield.
Shops, libraries, children’s centres and doctors surgeries are advertising the events in their windows and thousands of school children have entered a competition to help design posters.
The events are set to feature pony rides and professional face painters and arts and craft sellers – all provided by local firms.
Ms Thompson’s Vintage Tea 2 You will be selling tea, coffee, traditional sliceable cakes and scones. “We are really excited about it, we are going to make it look like a beautiful tea room, but outside,” she said. Hopefully it won’t rain.”
The grand opening is Sunday, June 10, from 11am to 4pm.