To celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week I sampled a traditional Afternoon Tea yesterday with two friends at SIX, the restaurant at The Varsity Hotel in Cambridge.
SIX is located on the top floor beneath The Roof Top Garden of The Varsity Hotel and Spa with its own terraces for al fresco dining and breathtaking 360° panoramic views across the Cambridge skyline.
We were spoilt with sweet treats at SIX which included a three chocolate mousse mini-dessert, a blueberry and custard tartlet, an orange and chocolate macaron and an indulgent dark chocolate truffle. I was delighted that we were able to order fresh pots of tea at no additional cost too.
SIX is located on the sixth floor of this boutique hotel with floor to ceiling windows ensuring spectacular views of the historic Cambridge skyline. This is certainly a magnificent location for enjoying Afternoon Tea in Cambridge, and the food and service are of a high standard so it ticks all the boxes.
The traditional Afternoon Tea at SIX remains faithful to the classic combination of finger sandwiches, followed by warm scones served accompanied by clotted cream and Jam and a selection of sweet treats. I was particularly impressed with the extensive loose-leaf tea menu which featured many interesting and unusual blends from Ceylon, China, and India.
Vegetarian and gluten free Afternoon Tea options are available and booking is essential as all the food is freshly-made daily.
Afternoon Tea at SIX is available Monday to Friday: 2 pm – 4.30 pm at £19.50 per person or on Saturday and Sunday: 2.30 pm – 4.30 pm at £24.50 per person.
Afternoon Tea Week is an annual celebration of one of this nation’s favourite traditions. Whether it’s enjoyed in a 5-star hotel, or as a home baked treat, we British love the combination of savoury and sweet treats, accompanied by some of the 165 million cups of tea we drink each day in the UK!
Last week my daughter and I enjoyed a delightful Afternoon Tea at Nancy’s Vintage Teashop in Newmarket. It had been recommended to me by two people recently so I was keen to try this local independent teashop for myself and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint.
Nancy’s Vintage Teashopis located on Old Station Road in Newmarket, at the Clock Tower end of the High Street.
Nancy’s Teashop in Newmarket has been serving specially blended teas, with Afternoon Tea being a speciality for four years now, and it’s deservedly created a brand with a good reputation. At Nancy’s it’s obvious that traditional standards of service and quality are paramount, and all the food is homemade on the premises and locally sourced. If you are visiting Newmarket, I can highly recommend Nancy’s to enjoy tasty treats in this elegant and comfortable vintage-themed teashop, which is styled with an eclectic mix of mismatching antique teapots and china, patchwork sofas, pastel pink dining chairs, and hand-sewn collages and bunting. Altogether bright, attractive and highly effective, and I would say that Nancy’s is the best value quality Afternoon Tea I have come across yet!
Due to popular demand, the owner and founder of the teashop Nancy Clack has recently opened an Afternoon Tea Lounge above the teashop. Seating 24 people and plushly furnished it reflects the same quirky vintage hand-crafted feel as the cafe below. Bookings for the Afternoon Tea Lounge from parties of four upwards are available from 27th June. I suggest that this venue would be perfect to enjoy Nancy’s Classic Afternoon Teas for special occasions like birthday parties, anniversaries, baby and bridal showers.
Last Sunday my daughter and I enjoyed an excellent Afternoon Tea in The Waterfront restaurant at Wyboston Lakes Hotel and SPA, near St. Neots in Bedfordshire. To celebrate my daughters birthday we were booked into the hotel for the *Sunday Runaway spa package, (details below). Set in 350 acres, this modern 4 star hotel and spa, with a golf course and leisure centre is 2.8 miles from the market town of St. Neots.
The Waterfront restaurant at Wyboston Lakes is in a lovely location
We were delighted to receive a glass of bubbly on the house as it was a special occasion
*SUNDAY RUNAWAY Y Spa stay
This Sunday night break includes dinner, bed and breakfast, and a full day’s use of thermal spa facilities on Monday which includes a two-course buffet lunch and a choice of one of the following treatments.
Afternoon Tea was served on pretty bespoke china with linen napkins
Unusually The Tamburlaine Afternoon Tea was served on a floor-standing three tiered stand
The finger sandwiches were freshly made with delicious fillings of egg, smoked salmon, ham and cheese and cucumber
The large freshly baked raisin and plain scones were served warm, and there were two of each
The top tier held a selection of gorgeous miniature cakes and sweet and tangy Mango Panna Cotta mini desserts
The scones were light and fluffy and served with strawberry jam and fresh cream
This brand new four-star hotel is the first UK property from the Irish O’Callaghan group, who own four stylish hotels in Dublin. The Tamburlaine is ideally located on Station Road close to the rail station at the heart of the extensive regeneration of this business and residential area, which has now changed out of all recognition. The 155-room hotel had only been open for three weeks when I visited yesterday, and work is still ongoing inside and out. The staff are very friendly and enthusiastic and they gave us a guided tour after our tea. I noticed that the restaurant has an impressive fine dining menu which I intend to sample sometime.
By the way, the hotel’s name Tamburlaine references a 16th-century play by Christopher Marlowe, who attended Corpus Christi College in the city.
My friend and I were celebrating her birthday and taking Afternoon Tea amid the genteel grandeur of the Colonial-style Garden Room made an excellent start to her celebrations. With ornate Victorian wallpaper and gorgeous silk velvet sofas, this is an exceptionally light and splendid room with a unique style.
The Tamburlaine traditional Afternoon Tea cost £21.50 per person and is priced on the high side for Cambridge, so not the best value for money but the surroundings more than compensate with a strong sense of occasion. One minor quibble though – I was surprised that a selection of loose-leaf tea blends wasn’t available, although we could have unlimited tea or coffee to accompany the food. Highly recommended.
Tamburlaine 27-29 Station Road Cambridge CB1 2FB Tel: 01223 792888
This week I had not one but two good reasons to celebrate as it’s the 2nd anniversary of the date I started my blog and it was a friends birthday, so we treated ourselves to a delicious Full Afternoon Tea at the Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa in Newmarket, Suffolk.
We ate in the elegant Squires restaurant which although contemporary was the epitome of comfort and luxury that one would expect from a 4 star country house hotel. It was very quiet on a Thursday afternoon so we had the restaurant entirely to ourselves. The service was friendly and attentive, and we were offered limitless refills of pots of tea which I always think is a prerequisite of an Afternoon Tea, but unfortunately this doesn’t happen everywhere.
The food was freshly-made and served on attractive Villeroy and Boch china, with white linen napkins and tablecloths. The finger sandwiches had exceptionally tasty fillings and were generously filled. The scones were extremely light and still warm when served with the very best lemon curd I have tasted anywhere. In fact, I liked it so much I asked if they sold it in pots to take home. (They didn’t!) We also had both plain and fruit scones, with plenty of clotted cream and strawberry jam.
In addition to a delightful selection of cakes and sweet treats we also enjoyed a refreshing seasonal fruit sundae served with a dark chocolate spoon, which was a lovely touch.
Presentation of the Afternoon Tea was especially attractive and appetising. Although we had skipped lunch deliberately we soon ran out of room, so a selection of cakes were boxed up for us to take home to enjoy later.
We had a guided tour of the elite spa adjacent to the hotel which has superb facilities at surprisingly affordable prices, so we plan to book a spa day there soon.
Newmarket is the ancestral home of British horseracing and a unique town in Suffolk which is well worth a visit. The Bedford Lodge Hotel would be an ideal location to stay, and I’m more than happy to recommend Afternoon Tea at the award-winning Squires restaurant – which is open to non-residents.
Next time I visit I intend to try the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea which was a quirky twist on the traditional. Our Afternoon Tea was £18.95 per person which was exceptionally good value, and is served from 2.30 to 5.30pm, throughout the year. This stylish hotel is set in lovely grounds and there is ample parking.
I only have one minor quibble, and that is the tea was not loose-leaf which one would expect from a hotel of this quality, but a selection of teas were available (or coffee if preferred).
Last week I had a lovely day out in London with a friend to celebrate her birthday. We started our day with a visit to The Switch House, – the new extension to the Tate Modern gallery in Southwark which opened to the public in June 2016.
Having skipped lunch we were looking forward to enjoying a full Afternoon Tea at our next destination The Wolseley, a café-restaurant in the grand European tradition located on Piccadilly, London.
In a classy and relaxed atmosphere we enjoyed The Wolseley’s full traditional Afternoon Tea, which had a lovely selection of finger sandwiches and small cakes, with freshly baked warm fruit scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a choice of loose-leaf teas. At £28.50 per person I considered this to be excellent value, as we were offered more sandwiches and a second pot of tea at no extra charge. Although this place is always busy the service is remarkably good because they have lots of staff. The ambiance is buzzing and it was a super place for people-watching! It’s good to know that their scones and pastries are made on the premises, with an ever-changing selection of cakes, which typically might include a Battenberg or Sachertorte. Everything was perfection, from the white linen napkins, the marble-topped tables, the silver cutlery and tableware, to the bespoke china. We felt that this Afternoon Tea provided a quality experience and it’s the perfect venue for a special occasion. Highly recommended if you are looking for somewhere to eat in London, but booking is advisable.
The sandwiches were freshly-made and especially tasty with fillings of Chicken and tarragon, Smoked Salmon, Celery and Tomato, Cream cheese and cucumber, and Egg and Watercress.
A full Afternoon Tea is served from 3.00pm (3.30pm at weekends).
First opened as a prestigious car showroom in 1921 for Wolseley Motors Limited, the venue became The Wolseley in 2003 and soon became the famous institution it is today.
The Bar at The Gilbert Scott offers flavour, ingredients and theatre and provides the ultimate cocktail experience in show-stopping 19th century surroundings. Guests are welcome for drinks on a drop-in basis, and although I thought it was expensive, it was well worth it for a special occasion.
Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark. It’s Britain’s national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group. Based in the former Bankside Power Station, the Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art. Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world, and the new Switch House extension provides one of the best panoramic views over London free of charge, so it’s well worth a visit. As with the UK’s other national galleries and museums, there is no admission charge for access to the collection displays, which take up the majority of the gallery space.
Today at Harriets Teashop I sampled something completely different from my usual Afternoon Tea fare, a SAVOURY Afternoon Tea. It made a pleasant change from cake!
On previous visits to Harriets I have enjoyed their traditional (sweet) cream tea, which I have to say I preferred to the savoury version, but it’s a good idea to provide this as an alternative, and it would be an excellent choice for anyone who prefers savoury to sweet treats.
One of the best things about Harriets is they include a free refill of pots of tea or coffee to accompany their range of Afternoon Teas, and there is a wide selection of loose-leaf teas available. Harriets offers a quality standard of service and their aim is to provide “A truly English experience” – which they succeed in doing, and the décor is charmingly old-fashioned. The Savoury Afternoon Tea is substantial and reasonably priced at £17.95 per person, and is available all day.
You can find Harriets Café Tearooms in Bury St Edmunds and Norwich, and Ration Book style Gift vouchers are available, which make a splendid novelty gift.
Last month as an extra birthday treat my daughter and I enjoyed an afternoon of total relaxation at Aqua Sana spa in Center Parcs at Elevedon Forest, with the added bonus of Afternoon Tea included. On a warm August day we sat outside in our robes in the garden of the café to eat a selection of finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and lovely mini-cakes, accompanied by a pot of tea each. It was a perfect way to end our chilled out day!
Center Parcs at Elveden Forest, Brandon, Suffolk IP27 0YZ
New to the ever-expanding local street food trader scene in the Cambridge area comes Vintage Jo’s Travelling Teas, a complete mobile Afternoon Tea service for all types of events. This weekend (13th/14th August) saw the launch of Vintage Jo’s Travelling Teas, with her very pretty and stylish mobile cafe parked outsidethe Go Glass shop on Cherry Hinton Road, in Cambridge.
Vintage Jo offers fresh cream teas and a full Afternoon Tea menu, so along with my daughter and granddaughter I sampled the full vintage experience. Complete with nostalgic background music and table service in the small al fresco seating area, there was the added attraction of a free Tea Cocktail tasting. This perfectly timed event coincided with National Afternoon Tea Week, and the sun even shone too!
I chose to sample the Grace Kelly Mini Afternoon Teafrom an enticing menu of very reasonably-priced sweet and savoury treats.
Shall I be Mother? ‘Granny Apples’ starts with a nice cup of tea!
Exceptionally well-priced at £10 this was a lavish and generously-sized afternoon tea for one, and ample for two in my opinion. Other Afternoon Tea choices were the Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor set menus, which were all variations on the theme of 1950’s splendour.
Mmmm … these teas mixed with spirits are a new drink/taste sensation to me, but they had quite a kick. I sampled ‘Ras my berries’ which was vodka based, ‘Peachy Keen’ – spiced rum, ‘All dressed up’ – tequila, and ‘Out to lunch’ with white rum.
Jo’s business has grown out of a passion for baking beautiful cake creations and her own vintage style. She offers the complete Afternoon Tea experience by providing vintage china, with full waitress service and nostalgic background music, suitable for a home or corporate event. Perfect for a wedding or any celebratory occasion Vintage Jo will transport you to a bygone era with her bespoke vintage afternoon teas. Competitively priced, and good value for home-baked savoury and sweet treats, I predict that this fledgling business with it’s attention to detail will be a big success. Granny Apples says…..”Vintage Jo’s is a welcome addition to the mobile Cambridge foodie scene andhighly recommended”.
Afternoon Tea Week is a celebration of a quintessentially English tradition. Over the last 12 months I have enjoyed many different afternoon teas in various locations. Here are some of my most memorable experiences…….
Peacocks Tearooms in Ely, Cambridgeshire is an award-winning cafe
Images of the picturesque Peacocks’s Tearooms in Ely, Cambridgeshire
The Affernoon Tea at the Courtyard restaurant
My Afternoon Tea at The CourtyardRestaurant, Elvedon Estate, in Suffolk was rather special and in a lovely location
Images of Champneys, Henlow (the original health spa) in Bedfordshire
Afternoon Tea with a healthy twist at Champneys, Tring
I foundthe Tiptree Jam Museum and Tea Rooms in Essex, was well worth a visit
This rather substantial Afternoon Tea at Byways Tearooms was the best value
Images from the quirky Samovar Tea Shop in Ely, Cambridgeshire
Afternoon Tea at The Gonville Hotel, in Cambridge
There are lots more cakes to eat and I’m still looking for the perfect afternoon tea, so the search goes on. I will be visiting several new places in the next few weeks, so expect more posts on this delightful topic to follow soon!