The country park in Havant was formerly the home of Sir George Thomas Staunton - whose father Sir George Leonard Staunton introduced a Chinese tea blend to England, later named Early Grey Tea.
The County Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, Councillor Andrew Gibson, said: “Ahead of the park’s bicentenary in 2019, this is a wonderful opportunity to explore its fascinating history including its famous connection to Earl Grey Tea - one of the most famous tea blends in the world.
“Although it’s named after a former Prime Minister, there are a number of different claims about how it was introduced to Britain. One of the most likely is that it was brought back by Sir George Leonard Staunton whilst working for the East India Company. The association is so strong that you can still buy Staunton Earl Grey Tea today.”
The Tea Festival will include tea tasting sessions and talks, Chinese calligraphy, music and performances from Regency and Chinese dancers.
The majority of Tea Festival activities are free, with additional charges for children’s face painting and crafts. Standard entry fees to the country park apply.
Further research into the history of the country park is due to be undertaken as part of work due to begin in 2018, to restore the park’s 200-year-old Regency landscapes and follies, and transform its Victorian Coach House into a visitor centre and café.
£2.85 million of funding for the works was awarded from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund, together with a £900,000 investment by the County Council.Anyone interested in researching the park’s history can volunteer for a new Friends of Staunton group. To get involved email: firstname.lastname@example.org