Afternoon Tea at Hanbury Manor
By Sara Shaw
The first thing that strikes you as you enter the grounds of Hanbury Manor is the beautiful landscape. Acres of lush lawns and manicured gardens surround the driveway and give you the comfort that you are about to arrive somewhere very special. We visited Hanbury Manor in December so were even more lucky to see the building and surrounding topiary dusted in magical fairy lights.
The entrance to the building takes you straight through to reception, an inviting, cosy but grand, wood paneled room decorated with sumptuous red fabrics and designer Christmas table displays. Dimly lit chandeliers and an abundance of candles lit up the room to create the perfect Christmas atmosphere!
The Afternoon tea is served in two rooms, a more relaxed lounge and a more formal dining area. The lounge was centered around a traditional open fire place delicately carved out of wood and ceiling high twinkling Christmas tree, the wooden paneled walls, patterned rugs and sofas all contributing to a wonderful feeling of cosiness!
A talented Jazz singer sang Christmas classics in the background and candles again adorned the room, I knew instantly that we had chosen the perfect place to have afternoon tea just before Christmas. The dining area was a lot lighter with huge windows that looked out onto The Manor's grounds, tea served in here had a more formal feel to it with guests sat around large circular dining tables. Both rooms were stunningly beautiful, but as I had broken my foot 5 days before we visited, we opted to sit in the more formal room with higher tables.
We were greeted by Christian and he expertly discussed our menu and made us feel very welcome. We decided on the Christmas Champagne Afternoon tea. Within minutes we were pleasantly surprised to receive a wonderful mini homemade mince pie and liquor soaked cherry dipped in dark chocolate, a lovely little touch, I thought. Both were gorgeous! Our tea was served next along with a very generous sized glass of Champagne. We sat and relaxed in our bay window seat and admired the beautiful landscape, listening to the dulcet tones of the singer next door. The staff were very friendly and polite and we were made to feel very comfortable.
After nosing at other guests’ tea stands, I was very excited when ours arrived. The theme of Christmas was immediately noticeable with pastries and cakes all having their own festive touch. The snowman topped mini meringue tart was my favourite and I adored the iced Christmas tree cupcake. There were 6 pastries in total, all completely unique in taste and large enough to halve, although we were offered more if we had wanted them.
The sandwiches also had a seasonal touch, the turkey and cranberry sandwich was delicious! The scones were freshly baked and covered to keep them warm, sultana and plain scones served with traditional clotted cream and strawberry preserve. Both my husband and I were very impressed.
Our whole experience at Hanbury Manor was wonderful. We will return for Afternoon Tea again very soon. A visit on Mother’s Day would be an ideal gift for any mum and a great excuse to explore those amazing grounds.
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