Following on from her secretarial career, Margaret and her husband Roger opened a small gallery in Ludham, in the Norfolk Broads area , primarily to display Roger’s hand - made furniture. In time Margaret decided to turn her hobby of baking into an opportunity to serve tea and cakes in the gallery. With the attraction of home baking the business proved to be successful, culminating in them eventually selling and expanding.
Having completed renovations on a dilapidated property, 1992 saw the opening of Chestnut Farm House, in the village of Baconsthorpe in North Norfolk. The house offered three reception rooms where refreshments were served , the Harebell, Strawberry and Rose Parlours. All with appropriate bone china and Nottingham lace tablecloths, creating an atmosphere of homeliness.
As the tea-rooms expanded Margaret still prided herself on the fact that she baked everything herself, in the farmhouse kitchen.
During the 20 years of running the tea-rooms she received five Awards of Excellence from The Tea Council of London and voted the 2001 Norfolk Tea Room of the Year. It had become an ambition of hers to win the Top Tea Place of Great Britain Award and she always stated that if she did, that would be the year she would produce a recipe book in order to share her [many times asked for] secret recipes. In 2003 she achieved the Tea Council’s Top Accolade - hence the recipe book - Margaret's Recipes From Her Tea Rooms. First published in 2004, it has undergone several reprints. Back by popular demand, Margaret has reprinted her book again and it is now available. If you are interested in a copy, please fill out the Order Form on the Order tab.
Since retiring in 2005 Margaret took part in the television series Mrs. Beeton’s Flying Picnic which was broadcast on Sky TV.
Margaret’s book continues to be a very successful, indeed many tea-rooms in the area have adopted some of the recipes. Always a joy to Margaret knowing that long established traditions live on.