Afternoon Tea · Food & Drink

AFTERNOON TEA: TOP 3 … SO FAR!

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” – Henry James

I am one of those lucky people who can consider their mum their best friend. One thing my mum has passed on to me is a love of not just tea, but the experience of afternoon tea. We love nothing more than making ourselves up and enjoying pots of tea, great sandwiches and delicious scones, cakes and pastries. Scones, in particular, are one of our great loves in life. My mum has enjoyed more afternoon teas than I have but she introduced me to them at the start of 2015, a post-exam treat, and to-date all but one afternoon tea I have had has been in her wonderful company. Although I have not been to as many places as my mum, I have still enjoyed a fair few. I want to give you a rundown of my top three instead of going into detail of every experience I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy.

3. The Carron Restaurant in Stonehaven. This was also my most recent afternoon tea, mum and I went in January 2017 as a treat for finishing my uni exams. I love Stonehaven anyway, so a tootle around before going for afternoon tea added to the whole experience. The Carron Restaurant first opened in 1937 and I love the feel of it. It still has a very old-timely feel to it. I know a lot of people wouldn’t fall in love with this but I think it’s great when places stand the test-of-time.

The staff at The Carron were very friendly. We had booked our afternoon tea in advance but on arrival we were given a menu with the chance to add-on a glass of prosecco or a cocktail. My mum and I both opted for a glass of prosecco and this was enjoyed alongside our sandwiches. Mum isn’t the biggest fan of egg but this wasn’t a problem for the staff and they switched her egg sandwich for an alternative.

sandwiches-at-the-carron
Ham & chutney; egg mayo; cheese & onion; and smoked salmon & cream cheese (I think!)

Following this we were asked for our tea preference and brought our cake stand. Like the traditionalists we are, we both had English breakfast loose leaf tea. There was a great variety available on our cake stand including scones, Victoria sponge, brownies, salted caramel choux buns and pistachio macarons.

cakes-at-the-carron-edit

Not everything was to our taste but the majority was incredible! The staff also made sure we were aware it was possible to have a different type of tea during the afternoon. That said, as I got fuller and felt bloated I did ask for a pot of peppermint tea which was a great choice!

I really recommend The Carron for afternoon tea. Check their website for details on how to book. It is currently only served on a Saturday and Sunday and I do wish it was served during the week too for anyone available Monday-Friday!

2. The Banchory Lodge Hotel. I love love loved The Banchory Lodge. It’s set out so beautifully next to a river and after looking at pictures online, I’ve decided it’s where I want to get married! I treated my mum to afternoon tea in March 2016 as a Mother’s Day present. We had a great view of the river and scenery from where we were seated.

There were a variety of sandwiches including cucumber, ham and smoked salmon. A nice touch my mum and I both enjoyed was a sausage roll and a cheese straw. On our cake stand we were treated to a huge fruit scone, brownies, tarts and shortbread among other things.

banchory-lodge-afternoon-tea

There were so many things that made The Banchory Lodge a great location for afternoon tea: the quality of the tea and food, the attentiveness of the staff, and the picturesque setting.

At only £16.95 per person with the option of adding prosecco or champagne for a little extra, this afternoon is amazing value! You can book here. I highly recommend The Banchory Lodge to anyone looking for somewhere a little bit different to enjoy an indulgent treat.

1. The 5-Star Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder. My mum had been here previously with a friend and went on and on and on and on and on about it! She decided to treat me (her favourite child) to a luxurious afternoon here for my 21st birthday. WOW. This place was incredible. From where I stay it’s just under two hours in the car but it is so worth it. Everything about the hotel screams luxury. From the moment we sat down we were treated like royalty. Any time our cups or plates were empty a member of staff was over to take care of us.

There was such a great choice of savouries including chicken, smoked salmon and ham sandwiches, sausage rolls, cheese and leek quiche and goat’s cheese choux pastries. Due to my LOVE of scones, this was definitely the best part of the afternoon tea. There were three different types of scones, and being me, I had one of each… Oops! They were delicious. And an added bonus was they were all served separately so they were all warm when placed on the plate. I’m surprised we even had room left but luckily, we did and made our way on to our cakes! There was an assortment of raspberry tarts, chocolate eclairs and sponges.

gleaneagles

At £35 per person and an additional charge for prosecco or champagne this is the priciest afternoon tea I’ve had and put on my list but I assure you it is worth the price! I would go back in a heartbeat, it’s definitely a place to keep in mind if you have any special occasions coming up. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations… a Saturday? Everything about this experience exceeded my expectations and now I understand why my mum went on about Gleneagles. Have a look at their website for full details.

Sorry for the long post! Apparently I’m passionate about tea and cake… I hope you enjoyed my recommendations! Do you have any of your own? I’m always up for trying new venues for afternoon tea so please let me know!

-Shona x

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