WHAT initially started as a craft gift shop at the end of someone's garden in 1954, has blossomed into one of the most cozy and well-loved tearooms that West Cumbria has to offer. 

Woodlands Tea Room & The Santon Bridge Gift Shop, in Seascale, is a popular stop-off point for both locals and visitors hankering for afternoon teas and delicious homemade food using only locally-sourced ingredients.  

General manager Andrew Carver, who joined the business in 2019 with owners Paul Nightingale and Kelly McGarth, said; "For us it's all about homemade food, with everything served in the cafe made by ourselves, even the bread for the sandwiches.

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"And the gift shop, it's all primarily locally sourced, whether that be from local artists making prints, jewellery or local businesses making chutneys. 

In Cumbria: Offerings in store from local Cumbrian producers. Offerings in store from local Cumbrian producers.

"If we're able to find something made locally in Cumbria, we'll always go for them first.

"When it comes to small local businesses it's all about helping each other when you can," he said.

The business has changed hands over the years, with each decade only seeming to expand upon the business's stature and reputation, with 2001 being the moment in which it added its popular tearoom and restaurant to the gift shop. 

In Cumbria: Homemade: Afternoon TeasHomemade: Afternoon Teas

Like many businesses, Covid-19 forced long-standing businesses like Woodland's to have to adapt. They turned to offering deliveries of their highly-sought after afternoon teas.

"Locals ordering those afternoon teas is really what kept us going throughout the pandemic, it kept us in people's minds whilst we still provided great homemade food of high standards," he said.

Even for Andrew, the business has brought him new skills and traits he would never have expected to add to his repertoire.

"It's great to see the locals on a regular basis and have a chat with them to see how they're doing each day.

"Now I also do the majority of the cake baking and if you told me that a couple of years ago I would have denied it vehemently," he said.

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