How to throw an Afternoon Tea party in the Cotswolds.
PUBLISHED: 14:20 17 October 2016 | UPDATED: 14:31 17 October 2016
Afternoon tea something of an institution in the Cotswolds, and in recent years has seen a surge in popularity. Once a preserve of the rich and wealthy, more people are now switching to afternoon tea as an alternative way to spend an afternoon than the usual pubs or restaurants. But what constitutes the perfect afternoon tea?
We spoke with Richard Smith from Charingworth Manor to find out how to throw an afternoon tea party in the Cotswolds.
Take yout time
“For us, afternoon tea is all about enjoying the atmosphere and taking the time to relax and spend time with the people you’re with. Our afternoon tea is served daily between 2pm and 5pm, and we limit the numbers that can book afternoon tea with us, so it doesn’t interfere with your enjoyment. We don’t have any time limit, so you can really take your time and enjoy the experience. We don’t want people to feel as though they’ve been pushed away into a corner, or that they have to rush to give the table back. However long you want to stay, you can stay.”
Enjoy your surroundings
“Here at Charingworth you can choose where you want to have your afternoon tea. Most people have it in the restaurant, but in the winter some people might have it in the lounge next to the fire. Or in the summer you can have it outdoors on the terrace. Location is one of the main things for us. The manor house itself is perched on a hillside in the Cotswolds, almost like that ideal chocolate box sort of setting. It’s an intimate hotel which has been cared for over the years. Our afternoon tea comes on a proper three-tier cake stand, so it’s everything you would expect from an afternoon tea, within a quiet setting and beautiful surroundings.”
Choose what you want
“Our afternoon tea is all about choice, even down to our range of various loose-leaf teas and choice of sandwiches. Everything is made fresh to order. Our cakes vary too – at the moment we’re doing a mini Victoria sponge to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. We really have sat and thought about the menu, because it’s important that people feel we have exceeded their expectations. We provide the taste and the quality which makes our afternoon tea really stand out.”
Turn it into a celebration!
“What sets us apart is the level of quality, service and delivery, and also the location we have here at Charingworth. Because of that, our afternoon tea has become popular as a gift voucher to give as a birthday present, or for celebrations such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Afternoon tea is an occasion, just like you may go out for a fine-dining experience. We also have options to add champagne or Pimms to make your occasion even more special. For us, it’s about people looking after you and serving your tea just the way you like it.”
Charingworth Manor is located near the town of Chipping Campden, and boasts commanding views over the Gloucestershire countryside. The manor itself is over 700 years old, and was actually mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, when it belonged to a noble lord. In more recent times, the poet TS Eliot frequently visited the manor, and is said to even have written some of his poems while he was a guest here. Over the years the original building has been extended and restored, and in the 1980s was converted into a hotel.
Classic Lodges purchased the property in 2006, and have completely refurbished the hotel to turn it into the elegant and luxurious 4-star retreat you see today. Classic Lodges own a number of properties throughout England, with each one chosen for its distinct history and character.