Northampton mum who runs a tea room from her garden will serve 'thousands' as she takes over at Rockingham Castle

The business has gone from strength to strength despite set backs

A Northampton mum who runs a tea room out of her garden will now be running one for “thousands” at Rockingham Castle, after a small question got a very big answer.

Emily Armstrong, 35, who founded Mill House Tea Rooms & Garden out of her own home back in 2019, was given the news after enquiring about a place at the castle’s annual food and drink fair (taking place on July 17 and 18).

The business-owner was surprised when the organisers got in touch “almost immediately” and not only offered her a place at both their food and renaissance fairs, but the chance of owning and running the tea room there as well.

Pictured: Emily Armstrong

Emily, who serves home-made bottomless cakes at her tea room, said: “We set up a tea room from our home a few years ago now and it’s been a massive success. We had 100 people turn up on our opening day, so it was very successful.

"Now we’ve gone from running a tea room from our garden to being the owners of the tea room at Rockingham Castle as well.

"We don’t know how it’s going to go now. We’re used to catering for 100 people at a push, but here it will be thousands so it will be a big step up.

"But we’ve got a humongous support network to help get us there. A lot of my friends are helping out, people I used to work with and even my partner, who’s in his own full-time job, will be there as well.”

Emily said the offer came as double positive for the beleaguered business-owner because, after a complaint from a neighbour in 2019, her tea room had been left only doing takeaway orders and outside catering for events. This was because she was made to submit a mixed-use planning application for the tea room that was subsequently denied.

She said: “It’s really exciting for us because it’s been a real fight to keep this going. After we were denied planning permission it was very upsetting. We’d worked so hard to get where we were so it was very frustrating.

"The Parish Council set up their own tea room in the town as well so that was a bit of a hit too.”

But now Emily will be facing a whole new challenge on Sundays and Tuesdays over the next six months, as her home-grown hunger cure expands to far loftier heights. This especially since Mill House Tea Rooms & Garden is also staying open.

Beginning with a two day stretch on Easter Sunday and Monday (April 17 and 18), the newly-born Mill House Tea Room at Rockingham Castle will hold its official opening day April 24, with all of the same home-cooked cakes and smiles.

Emily also plans to hold live music events in the future, with capacity for birthdays and other bookings.

Anyone who is interested will soon be able to find out more on the Mill House Tea Room at Rockingham Castle Facebook page, once it goes live.