THE Duchess of Northumberland will be visiting Morpeth’s own piece of Downton this week for its official opening.
The Curiously Wicked Edwardian Tea Rooms have already delighted dozens of customers with their traditional staff costumes, recipes, photographs, decorations and furnishings.
And tomorrow the Duchess will sign in to officially open the Sanderson Arcade attraction.
The tea rooms, based around the fictional Lord and Lady Cuwick, have been created above the Curiously Wicked chocolate shop following a three-month transformation of the unit.
Their grand opening ties in with the shop’s first anniversary.
Owner Krystyna Dodds said: “The last 12 months have been incredible and we are so excited to be marking our first birthday and official opening with a visit from the Duchess.
“We are really creating a little bit of theatre and aiming to give our customers a real experience that they can’t get anywhere else.
“We’ve been very focussed on the tea rooms for the last few weeks and are now giving the shop the wow factor, ready for this Friday’s big reveal.”
The family business started out selling handmade chocolates at farmers’ markets and fairs, before opening its first outlet in the arcade.
In the latest venture 16 extra staff have been employed, along with chef David Hall, who has cooked for Royalty.
The tea rooms recently featured on the Alan Titchmarsh Show.
Mrs Dodds said: “They were doing a piece on nostalgia so basically Alan Titchmarsh invited us onto the show to talk about the tea rooms and why people like to go back in time.
“The programme went out and a lot of people came to us as a result of seeing it.
“There were quite a few comments of ‘we saw you on television’.
“You don’t know how long I’ve waited to hear that. It was really nice.
“The tea rooms are doing absolutely fantastic. We have already got pages and pages of comments.
“We have a guest book and everybody puts something in there.
“There are lots of coffee shops around, but this is a really old fashioned tea room. It is absolutely what a tea room should be.”
The Duchess of Northumberland said: “It is always lovely to be able to celebrate a true North East success story and I wish everyone at The Curiously Wicked Edwardian Tea Rooms all the very best.”