I have just returned from spending a very pleasant week walking in the New Forest which is situated in Hampshire in Southern England. I stayed at the Forest Lodge a hotel in Lyndhurst which forms the administrative capital of the New Forest. During one of my many strolls around Lyndhurst I visited the grave of Alice Liddell in the town’s churchyard. Liddell (later Hargreaves) was the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic, Alice in Wonderland. I must confess that when reading the book as a child I was thoroughly confused and did not know what to make of it! nevertheless I was still keen to see the grave of Alice in Wonderland, sorry Alice Liddell!
A short walk takes the traveller from the graveside of Alice Liddell to the Mad Hatter Tea Rooms. The restaurant takes it’s name from the hatter who features in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. As those of you who are familiar with Carroll’s book will recall Alice is invited by the Hatter to take tea only to find that all the tea has, in fact been consumed. As an aside it is interesting to note that the phrase “mad as a hatter” was in common usage at the time that Carroll was writing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The phrase probably owes it’s origins to the fact that hatters used mercury in the hat making process which caused poisoning. The mercury poisoning lead to many hatters going mad perhaps explaining the bizarre behaviour of the Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Returning to the Mad Hatter Tea Rooms, the business is family run and this manifests itself in first-rate customer service. On every single occasion on which I visited the welcome was warm and my order was delivered promptly. Prices are very reasonable. I enjoyed a pot of Earl Grey tea, a huge prawn sandwitch and a big piece of fruit cake for £8,,30. I was pleasantly surprised that my sandwitch was jam packed with prawns and came with crisps and salad (one gets so used to ordering only to be faced with tasteless bread with a meagre smattering of prawns)!
I can’t claim that the owners remembered my name. They did, however recall that of my guide dog, Trigger. Indeed on my last day in Lyndhurst I visited the Mad Hatter in the morning and on visiting the restaurant later that same day other members of my group where informed that Trigger had “been in earlier”! Such fame for a brindle lab-retriever cross at the tender age of two and a half.
For those who collect Alice memorabilia the Mad Hatter Tea Rooms sells a range of products including fridge magnets and clocks.
I’d wholeheartedly recommend the Mad Hatter. The welcome is, as I said above genuine and the owners make you feel valued rather than merely another customer who adds to their profit account.
You can find the Mad Hatter Tea Rooms at
Mad Hatter Tea Rooms
10 High Street, Lyndhurst, SO43 7BD, United Kingdom.
For directions please visit http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=en&biw=886&bih=176&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=mad+hatter+tea+rooms+lyndhurst&fb=1&hq=mad+hatter+tea+rooms+lyndhurst&cid=10690972195751317879.
For the grave of Alice Liddell please see http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8716
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