TOP 10After­noon teas

There’s noth­ing wrong with a pow­er­ful cup of builder’s, but a proper af­ter­noon tea is one of life’s great­est plea­sures. Can we tempt you with these?

Irish Sunday Mirror - - TRAVEL - BY MOLLY HOLT and NIGEL THOMP­SON

1 ED­IN­BURGH From

€43pp Palm Court, in the el­e­gant Bal­moral Ho­tel on Princes Street, is an in­sti­tu­tion in the Scot­tish cap­i­tal. You start with chef ’s amuse bouche, then move on to a se­lec­tion of clas­sic and mod­ern sand­wiches and savouries fol­lowed by home­made scones fresh from the oven, served with clot­ted cream and pre­serves. It’s all ac­com­pa­nied by a choice of del­i­cate loose leaf teas or cof­fee – and a harpist pro­vides the per­fect back­ground. roc­co­forte­ho­tels.com

2 MERSEY­SIDE From

€20pp En­joy a ‘‘sparkling’’ af­ter­noon tea at Formby Hall Golf Re­sort and Spa, near South­port. It puts a more mod­ern spin on the tra­di­tional of­fer­ing in its L37 restau­rant with a se­lec­tion of sea­sonal open sand­wiches and savoury wraps, fol­lowed by minia­ture gateaux and pas­tries. Choose from a range of teas and cof­fees to ac­com­pany your treats, and wash it all down with the in­cluded glass of chilled Prosecco. vir­gin­ex­pe­ri­ence­days.co.uk

3 LON­DON From €55pp

(child €40pp) Tum­ble down the rab­bit hole and en­ter your very own Won­der­land at the San­der­son Ho­tel, near Ox­ford Street, with its whim­si­cal Mad Hat­ters af­ter­noon tea. Menus are hid­den in­side vin­tage books, teapots are adorned with kings and queens, and sand­wich plates are dec­o­rated with ze­bras, bird­cages and clocks. Savour some clas­sic cu­cum­ber sand­wiches, white crab eclairs and King of Hearts parme­san goat cheese cro­que­mon­sieur, along with home­made scones and Alice-in­spired treats – in­clud­ing magic marsh­mal­low mush­rooms and ‘drink me’ fruit po­tions. End with Twee­dledee’s lemon curd fi­nancier and a Mad March Hare pocket-watch mac­a­roon. There’s no ex­cuse to be late for this im­por­tant date! mor­gan­shotel­group.com 4 SHERWOOD FOR­EST From €23pp Vic­to­rian stately home Thoresby Hall, near Oller­ton, Notts, is an adult­sonly Warner Leisure spa ho­tel on the edge of Sherwood For­est. It has a range of breaks and reg­u­lar live mu­sic. The af­ter­noon tea of­fers a va­ri­ety of princess-cut sand­wiches made with farm­house white, gra­nary, whole­meal and all-but­ter brioche breads and filled with a tra­di­tional mix. It’s fol­lowed

by scones with Devon­shire clot­ted cream and pre­serves, cakes and pas­tries. Leave enough time for a stroll in the spec­tac­u­lar grounds. buyagift.co.uk 5 BELFAST €28 for two Patis­serie Va­lerie opened in Lon­don’s Soho in 1926 and there are now two in cen­tral Belfast. Try their gelato, and truf­fles and marzi­pan fig­ures. This good­value tea has savoury sand­wiches such as smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg may­on­naise and cress, and chicken, pesto and sun­blazed toma­toes, plus a mini veg­etable quiche. Your sweet tooth will be happy with a mini Vic­to­ria sand­wich, choco­late eclair, car­rot and wal­nut cake, and scones with jam and clot­ted cream. patis­serie-va­lerie.co.uk

6 MANCH­ESTER From

€26pp Manch­ester’s Hil­ton Cloud 23 is the ho­tel’s smart cock­tail and cham­pagne bar – styling it­self as the “home of ex­cep­tional” – on the 23rd floor of the land­mark Beetham Tower on Deans­gate. It’s renowned for be­ing one of the top af­ter­noon teas in the city, but even though you’re in a fa­mous foot­ball des­ti­na­tion, please don’t wear your replica shirt. Cloud 23’s Tra­di­tional Af­ter­noon Tea has sand­wiches and wraps, with hand­made cakes and tarts to sat­isfy your sweet tooth. There are also warm scones ready to be loaded up with straw­berry jam and Dorset clot­ted cream, and a choice of spe­cial­ity teas. Add €12pp for cham­pagne. cloud23bar.com

7 BATH From €28pp

Get a taste of Jane Austen’s world at The Pump Room. You al­most ex­pect Mr Darcy to ap­pear from be­hind one of the mar­ble col­umns. The Pride and Prej­u­dice au­thor would spend many an af­ter­noon en­joy­ing tea, cakes and a side help­ing of Re­gency gos­sip in Bath’s most el­e­gant hall. The tra­di­tional Pump Room tea has tra­di­tional sand­wiches, plus poached salmon and crisp­breads, ched­dar scones with tomato and chive cream cheese, and scones with clot­ted cream and straw­berry jam – plus tarts and choco­late and cof­fee opera cake. Up­grade to tea with Searcys Se­lected Cu­vee cham­pagne for €10pp ex­tra. ro­man­baths.co.uk

8 LON­DON From €64pp

It’s more like ‘‘high tea’’ in the cap­i­tal. Head to the 1,016ft Shard sky­scraper at Lon­don Bridge – the tallest build­ing in the UK – for some­thing

a bit dif­fer­ent. The su­per-cool Shangri-la ho­tel’s Ting restau­rant on the 35th floor has amaz­ing views and an Asian­in­spired af­ter­noon tea, with ren­dang brioche bun, sugar-cured An­gus striploin, beet­root-cured salmon, sesame and yuzu on dark rye, mango rice pa­per roll and crab tart fol­lowed by scones with clot­ted cream, goose-berry and el­der­flower jam, Viet­namese cof­fee choux, pan­dan gateaux, mango mac­a­roon and pink guava mousse. Add €9 per per­son ex­tra for Veuve Clic­quot cham­pagne. ting-shangri-la.com

9

SNOW­DO­NIA From

€23pp Nes­tled in glo­ri­ous Snow­do­nia Na­tional Park, you’ll find the award-win­ning Pen­maenuchaf Hall Ho­tel coun­try prop­erty. In­dulge in af­ter­noon tea be­fore a leisurely stroll through the land­scaped grounds. The tea comes with a se­lec­tion of cu­cum­ber, Welsh ched­dar and home­baked honey roast ham sand­wiches, scones with jam and whipped cream, cakes, and tea or cof­fee. pen­hall.co.uk/restau­rant 10 DER­BYSHIRE From €40pp Chatsworth, near Bakewell, is one of the coun­try’s most lav­ish stately homes, so you’ll want to dress a bit more “up­stairs” than “down­stairs”. Head to the Fly­ing Childers restau­rant to in­dulge in a tea served on sig­na­ture Wedg­wood. Start with gin and tonic salmon, Corona­tion chicken, ham and chut­ney, egg mayo and cress sand­wiches with veg­etable quiche, goat’s cheese and red onion tart. Fin­ish with scones, cream and jam, lime and rhubarb short­bread cheese­cake, a mac­a­roon, Earl Grey panna cotta and Black For­est gateau. Splash out an ex­tra ten­ner for Lau­rent-per­rier Rosé cham­pagne. chatsworth.org

1 Ed­in­burgh’s el­e­gant Bal­moral Ho­tel tea

3 Mad Hat­ters party, San­der­son, Lon­don

2 Put a mod­ern spin on the tra­di­tional at Formby Hall

7 Join Jane Austen in The Pump Room, Bath

4 High tea in gor­geous Thoresby Hall, Notts 5 Patis­serie Va­lerie in the cen­tre of Belfast 6 Ex­cep­tional tea in Hil­ton Manch­ester

8 Get a bird’s-eye view from Lon­don’s Shard 9 Pen­maenuchaf Hall Ho­tel in Snow­do­nia 10 Rolls and strolls at glo­ri­ous Chatsworth

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