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A Taste of Britain in ‘the Valley’

Our latest adventures in Chilliwack included a stop at one of my new favourite Valley gems — Dicken’s British Sweets & Groceries.

Located at 45945 Alexander Ave, this iconic family run business is more than just a destination, it’s the ultimate British experience for all ages.

As we entered the 10,000 square-feet of retail space, which includes U.K. sweets, groceries, souvenirs, loose leaf teas, novelty gifts, a museum and tea room, we realized there was no way we’d be in and out in under an hour as planned.

It was as though we had been transported to jolly ol’ England, minus the pricey airfare and cramped seats.

Dicken's British Sweets & Groceries

Much to the delight of both my girls, there was quite the extensive selection of goodies — a colourful feast for the eyes.

After prying the enormous lollipops out of their hands, we browsed through the groceries.

Half of our family lives in England, and some in Ireland, so there were plenty of goodies that we recognized on the shelves, including like Branston pickle (so good on toast!), Coleman’s Mustard, flakey bars from Cadbury and tins of creamy custard.

Dickens British Sweets & Groceries

There’s also a cozy little nook filled with over 150 varieties of loose-leaf teas, china cups, saucers and tea pots for purchase.

Dicken's British Sweets & Groceries

Eventually, we made our way over to Oliver’s tea room, which is on site and like nothing we’ve experienced before.

“Wow, I feel like I’m in England right now!” said my mom, scoping out all the scenery.

Every square inch of retail space is filled with U.K trinkets, treasures and memorabilia.

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“You can choose to sit wherever you like,” said our friendly waitress, pointing to the various themed dining options.”

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Thank goodness we pried those lollipops away – I”m not sure my girls would do well with china cups when all hopped up on sugar.

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My mom and I ordered the “Taste of Britain” High Tea, which came with a pot of Yorkshire tea, a selection of petite sandwiches and savoury sweets from the onsite bakery on a tiered silver tray.

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Molly and Zoe share the children’s version, dubbed the ‘Tiny Tim’s Children’s Tray, which was the perfect amount for their teenie-tiny tummies.

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The food was so fresh, delicious and filling – tasted just like the lunches my nanny Margaret used to make us when I was little. I highly recommend the high-tea experience if you’re in the area.

After lunch, it was time to explore Dicken’s one-of-a-kind museum.

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Owners Fred and Anne Halls have spent many years collecting novelty items and memorabilia to create fascinating and factual exhibits, including the history of the British Royal Family and the famous Titanic. There’s even an impressive “war room” with displays from WWII. Everything to illustrate life in Britain as it used to be.

Today, Dicken’s British Museum is a “must-see” for thousands of visitors  from all over the Fraser Valley and beyond – even across the border.

After Remembrance Day Dickens is transformed into a Christmas Village, with a variety of holiday scenes to thrill Christmas lovers of all ages.

And guess what? There’s no fee to enter the museum or Christmas Village.

From the conception, it had been the pledge of both Fred and Anne there would be no charge to the museum and is true to the present day. However, donations to the BC WheelChair Foundation are greatly accepted.

I can’t wait to return to this Valley gem around the holidays for another high-tea experience and to see the Christmas display. My girls are going to love it!

For more information, visit www.www.dickenssweets.com and follow them on Facebook for event updates.

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ENTER TO WIN A “TASTE OF BRITIAN” HIGH TEA FOR 2

ValleyMom.ca is pleased to partner with Dicken’s British Sweets and Grocery to give away a “Taste of Britain” High Tea experience for 2. To enter, simply tell us below one of the products or highlights of this Valley Gem that you’re excited to discover for yourself. Contest closes Sept. 14 and the winner will be announced on our FACEBOOK page.  Good luck!

Contest is Now Closed. Congrats Kathy Pearce!

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One of Vancouver’s top Mom Bloggers, Kristyl Clark is a work-at-home mom of two little Valley girls proving there is nothing bland about the burbs. Her adventurous family seems to always be out on some sort of crazy quest, from helicopter rides and wild river rafting, to top-secret paranormal investigations and living the high-life sampling the fine wines and foods of the Fraser Valley region. The ValleyMom.ca blog inspires her loyal fanbase through the trials and tribulations of suburban family living, guiding readers to local hotspots and hidden gems in her Canadian backyard

80 Comments

  • Hilda

    September 1, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    It all sounds good but I have never had Branston pickles – on toast sounds different! Never heard of this place but will have to check it out

    Reply
  • Annie

    September 1, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    I would love to enjoy a pot of Yorkshire tea! The egg beaters on the ceiling and a model train – How exciting! Can’t wait to check it out!

    Reply
  • Rhian

    September 1, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    I’d love to come there when it’s transformed into the Christmas village! And would definitely stock up on all the treats we miss from back home!

    Reply
  • Kimberly Gleave

    September 2, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    I would say the chtistmas village after rememberance day. I also want to try that awesome looking high tea and hubby will be looking forward to flaky bars by cadbury!

    Reply
  • Guppy

    September 9, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I love Dickens! We go every year for the Christmas display and to stock up on the great imported candies. To have High Tea there would be so fun.

    Reply
  • Leslie Paris

    September 9, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    I would love to try this lovely place. We still have family in England and Scotland so it would be very nice to sample the British fare. Would love to take our family there soon. Thank you for sharing this new exciting place.

    Reply
  • Deb

    September 14, 2016 at 7:17 am

    The cream of earl grey sold in the Dicken’s Tea Shop is the best I have ever drank. It’s sold in bulk to take home a little or in pre-filled bags. Every time we are there we find something just a little different (or an old standby) to take home to enjoy later. Glad to hear the clotted cream shortage has been solved.

    Reply
  • Shannon Thompson

    September 14, 2016 at 7:21 am

    I love looking through the museum part. I’m also very excited to take the children this year to the Christmas village display❤️

    Reply
  • Margaret Morneau

    September 14, 2016 at 7:22 am

    I would love to try your High Tea with my family. My brother always spoils us and takes us for Tea for Mothers’ Day so I would like to return the favour. Memories and shared experiences are what it is all about.

    Reply
  • Kayte

    September 14, 2016 at 7:31 am

    I love all of the candy, of course. The Galaxy chocolate and Walnut Whips are my favourite. But what I really love the most about Dicken’s, is their tea. I can’t have caffeine, and Dicken’s carries a decaf irish breakfast tea that actually tastes like normal tea!! Worth driving to Chilliwack (from Vancouver) for.

    Reply
  • Corinna Yorke

    September 14, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Everyone who knows me knows this is my favourite place to enjoy with family and friends!! Especially my Granddaughter! We love the scones!!
    I would love to pick up a scone mix for home again!!

    Reply
  • Alica Larsen

    September 14, 2016 at 8:11 am

    This is truly one of our best “gems” in Chilliwack. I frequent the store often as this is where I buy all my cake making supplies. My boys like to tag along as they know I’ll get them something from the awesome candy shop. I ‘d like to win the lunch for 2 so I can take the lady I work with there. She’s the closest thing I have to a mother figure here in BC and think it would be a wonderful thing to do together!! Fingers crossed I’ll win, thanks for the opportunity!!

    Reply
  • Caitlin Lidster

    September 14, 2016 at 8:14 am

    My mum and I visit Dickens often as it reminds her of home. I would LOVE to take her for high tea as that’s one thing we have yet to do at Dickens!:)

    Reply
  • Colleen

    September 14, 2016 at 8:16 am

    My Grandma was a war bride from Inverness. Married my Canadian Grandpa in 1944. I used to take her to Dickens and oh how the memories used to come back! I now come here and share tea with my mom and two daughters. Love it

    Reply
  • Andrea Dunphy

    September 14, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Another great part of the Dickens experience is the cake decorating department. They have everything you need to bake beautiful cakes/cupcakes for all occasions. They offer classes and great advice. I enjoyed a Breakfast Butty (sandwich) yesterday with a pot of Yorkshire tea. Always a lovely experience. Highly recommend it.

    Reply
  • Michelle Yodogawa

    September 14, 2016 at 8:25 am

    I am just in the process of moving to Chilliwack and it has been a stressful month. I would love to be able to support a local business, especially as I reminisce about my childhood in England. I am looking forward to exploring the candy and the museum.

    Reply
  • Noelle Yuke

    September 14, 2016 at 8:38 am

    I am looking forward to bringing my son there at Christmas to enjoy the Christmas village. This year he will be old enough to remember it! We are also excited to try some if your amazing teas! My 4 year old son really enjoys teas!

    Reply
  • Melody Rae

    September 14, 2016 at 8:44 am

    It looks lovely! I’m excited to try the tea &
    Sweets and discover the themed seating area. Looks looks like the perfect outing for mom & daughter or to take a bestie.

    Reply
  • Crystal Baker

    September 14, 2016 at 8:53 am

    I would love to go to high tea with my mom and or my daughter. I love your beautiful little nook in Chilliwack. Thank you for the opportunity!

    Reply
  • Andrea Heys

    September 14, 2016 at 8:57 am

    We’ve recently moved to Agassiz and I discovered my new neighbor lost her mum a short while ago. She has never been to Dickens and I would love to treat her to a high tea for a small window of joy from her grief. The invigorating smell of freshly brewed jasmine tea is a delight and the quintessentially crustless sandwiches with cucumber, scones with jam & cream and impeccable service would cheer anyone’s soul. From the moment you enter the world of Dickens as a stranger, to the moment you leave as a friend, your heart will be filled with so many lovely British traditions, you’ll be searching for distant relatives to have been British to lay claim to having British genes to justify your frequent trips back to Dickens to sample all the other goodies from each department. The smell of freshly baked pastries in the bakery, the hundreds of teas in the tea shop, the delights of favourite sweeties from the sweet shop, the fantastic Christmas grotto and the mountainous array of antiquities that surround your whole journey through the experience of Dickens. How can anyone choose a single item?

    Reply
  • Gail Goodman

    September 14, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I have loved going here for many years! I had my last baby shower at dickens 🙂 I love taking my kids for the high tea there, getting Bon bons from the candy section and leaving with some cream of earl grey tea!

    Reply
  • Diana nelson

    September 14, 2016 at 9:11 am

    The home made pastries they make are simply fantastic. As well I love to explore their museum. Everything I go there I discover new things I’ve never seen.i would love to experience their high tea.

    Reply
  • Betty

    September 14, 2016 at 9:18 am

    I visit Dickens often and love their high tea. Must buy some more ginger biscuits and Yorkshire tea. Their China is lovely I bought a China mug there that I enjoy my morning coffee every day. ❤️

    Reply
  • Alisa Gelderman

    September 14, 2016 at 9:44 am

    It’s been a long time since I have come by but I always liked the museum. My kids liked the candy! okay.. me too!! Time to stop by again for sure.

    Reply
  • Colleen Neels

    September 14, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Would love to try out the high Tea pastries! I think those would be delishious with a strong cuppa tea. Interested in checking out the trinkets you mentioned too

    Reply
  • Jeanine Hutson

    September 14, 2016 at 9:52 am

    You can see by the photos what an amazing place this is.
    If you are wanting tea, lunch or sweets you will find just the right thing.
    But it’s the staff I find really make this place so welcoming .
    I am excited about the prospect of tea for two!

    Reply
  • Corina

    September 14, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I am hoping to get a chance to be able to browse all the delicious treats from across the pond . My sons grew up with the custard ,at bedtime, which the sweetly named ‘ soft stuff’

    Reply
  • Angela Errington

    September 14, 2016 at 10:12 am

    I love Dickens Sweet and Tea Shoppe. Their selection of English candy is my favorite as I can always get that extra special treat for my husband and kids who were treated to English candy while small thru they grandparents..and I can continue to do that only at Dickens. I have never had English High Tea but would love to try it one day. Thanks and good luck to everyone.

    Reply
  • Anna Walter

    September 14, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I’m from Bath in the UK and just said goodbye to my Aunt and Uncle who were visiting us, maybe a high tea with a nice strong cuppa will help me feel less homesick!!

    Reply
  • Bev R-H

    September 14, 2016 at 11:40 am

    What do I love about Dickens??? Hmmm. Let’s see…..EVERYTHING!!! It is a gem. Took my Mumzies for tea & we loved it. Especially at Christmastime.

    Reply
  • Andrew G

    September 14, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    We are so pleased to have moved to Chilliwack and be able to get our beloved Marmite from Dickens! Love Dickens and the great atmosphere of all things British 🙂

    Reply
  • Faith Murphy

    September 14, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I love Dicken’s British Sweets and Groceries. Checking out the candy department, the tea department, all the shelves. The Red Rose Tea Animal zoo brings back fond memories of my grandparents collection. My daughter and I love high tea.

    Reply
  • trudy

    September 14, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    It sounds like such a interesting place and museum i would love to see it and have tea. Didn’t know about this place until i saw it on your page, always learning something new.

    Reply

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