Now, even though I have recently been tempted over onto the dark side… Coffee. I do still absolutely love drinking tea. I mean, this blog literally has tea in the title – it would be a crying shame if I abandoned something which for so long, has been part of my life mantra.
Hence why, for my birthday I suggested afternoon tea at Cliveden House. I’ve been to Cliveden quite a few times as it’s a really nice place to come for the day and it isn’t too far from where my parents live but had never had tea there.
This picture, for example, was taken during a visit in 2015!
It’s a National Trust property (A British charity that looks after places of historic interest or natural beauty), as well as, hotel meaning anyone can visit although it has hosted some very important guests over the years, including Meghan Markle the night before/morning of her wedding.
I do of course consider myself incredibly important but sadly my bank account doesn’t quite stretch to the treatment that Meghan received, however it did thankfully allow for afternoon tea (£40 for a classic tea without champagne / £57 with champagne).
We booked in advanced as it gets quite busy, so they recommend booking around 3 weeks ahead of time at least. Plus, it took the stress out of the day knowing we had a set time to sit down.
We drove there, as we weren’t too far away and parked just in front of the house; the long walkway does feel quite regal and it’s a fun place to imagine you are in fact, royalty walking into your very own stately home.
Once inside, the tea is served in the main area at the front of the house. It does mean there are quite a few people milling about but it didn’t put me off at all, as in all honesty I love people watching and there’s nothing quite like seeing how the other half live.
The service is of course fantastic, with observant and attendant waiters ready to help you whenever they can but one thing that I found really made this experience stand out in comparison to some other places, is how flexible they were with what they served. Our group had both allergies and gluten intolerances, and neither were a problem at all. We did let them know ahead of time but there were never any issues and they made everyone feel at ease that they weren’t accidentally going to be eating anything they shouldn’t. I also didn’t feel like us making these requests were a problem, as I sometimes do in other places.
I always find with afternoon tea, that my eyes are much, much bigger than my belly: because the individual food items are so small (ie finger sandwiches), I think there’s not much food there but my goodness, we were stuffed so quickly it was almost embarrassing.
They brought out a mix of sandwiches, scones and sweet treats (all of which looked amazing), and I would say we took roughly half home with us because we couldn’t physically eat it all there (in the most lux looking cardboard box I have ever seen).
We of course also had a choice of teas, which they were happy to refill with hot water whenever requested. I went with an earl grey but the menu is large and varied, so you’re able to find something for everyone’s tastes (even coffee, if you’d prefer!).
Once we had finished the afternoon tea, we rolled our full stomachs out of the armchairs and headed outside to take some pictures. We had dressed up a bit so wanted to make the most of our gladrags and the nice setting with some pictures, which we took on the balcony at the back of the house. I’m really glad to have these pictures although part of me wished we had also brought some walking gear as the grounds/gardens of the house are huge and definitely worth spending time in (if you go, I definitely recommend bringing a change of clothes for this reason exactly).
In short, there are many places you can get afternoon tea but if you’re looking for more of an experience and something a bit different than your standard afternoon, I definitely recommend making the trip (especially if you like pretending you’re in a Jane Austen film).
Cliveden is located near Taplow, Buckinghamshire. Trains run regularly from London Paddington to Bourne End, with one change in nearby Maidenhead (total journey duration is from around 35 – 45 minutes). I would recommend then getting a taxi from the station to the house.
If you’re looking to extend your time outside of Cliveden, the small town of Marlow is also nearby, which has a high street full of lovely cafes, hotels and boutique shops, as well as a nice river walk.