I’ve been back in the UK for just over four months and in that time I’ve had the most afternoon teas of my entire life, it’s like I’ve been trying to make up for the lack of time I’ve spent in Britain over the last few years by drinking ALL the tea. Now I love any excuse to sit and eat cake and drink tea all afternoon, as you’ll well remember from the amazing Glam Rock Afternoon Tea at K West Hotel & Spa – a fabulous mummy-daughter day treat. So when we were looking for an idea for our best friend’s baby shower, myself and my other friend thought it would be perfect to have a girly afternoon in Cambridge and instead of drinking the cocktails we’d normally go for, enjoying a lovely afternoon tea catching up on everything that had happened since I had been away.
This post is well-timed as my best friend is just a few days over her due date and we are all eagerly waiting for her little girl to appear – I remember so clearly the moment I found out she was pregnant and how excited I was. I’m not the most maternal of people but I am definitely very excited to be an honorary auntie to her baby, and couldn’t stop myself shopping for baby’s first pair of elephant trousers and cute little shoes with bells on while I was in the Thai markets. I’m just hoping the little one doesn’t take too long as I’m due to move to Germany on Monday and I’m desperate to meet her before I go – so fingers crossed she decides this week is fashionably late enough!
We surprised our baby-mama by booking into The Varsity Hotel & Spa, a gorgeous luxury boutique hotel hotel on the riverside in Cambridge, with picturesque panoramic views over the River Cam and the city. If you’re looking for a beautiful place to spend a sunny afternoon, The Varsity is a fantastic place to do it – as soon as we saw the pictures online, we just knew it was the perfect place to host a baby shower. To set the scene, when you first arrive at the hotel, you are guided to the lift and sent up to the sixth floor, where the beautiful restaurant boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and some magnificent views over the historic city. On the website, the Varsity hails it’s Afternoon Tea at Six’s a truly magical experience, and I have to say I couldn’t agree more.First of all, a tea box was brought to our table with a selection of teas to choose from – I love how many options you get which is great for someone like me who prefers fruit teas. There was a great selection – but it’s worth checking the menu as well because the one I went for wasn’t actually included in the box.I went for a South African blend, Rooibos Red Tea, while the girls went for the classic English Breakfast, and then shortly after the stands of cakes and sandwiches were brought out to us. Unlike my previous afternoon tea which offered a Glam Rock twist on the classic, this one was all about the classic favourites with finger sandwiches, scones and cakes. Sandwiches filled with smoked salmon – my favourite – coronation chicken, cucumber and cream cheese, and egg mayonnaise and cracked black pepper. This was followed by the absolutely delicious fruit and plain scones which were served with strawberry preserve and Cornish clotted cream – my personal highlight of the afternoon tea! And this was followed by the beautiful selection of cakes with included a mini cheesecake, a very intense chocolate pot and some other rather gorgeous treats.
Now I will admit, the service was a touch lax but I will put this mostly down to the fact that the restaurant was so busy. Once we had ordered our afternoon tea and cakes, we were basically left alone for the rest of the afternoon which meant we were unable to ask for more tea later on. We also had a bit of an annoying moment when we weren’t brought the tea strainers, so we without realising poured ourselves some lovely cups of tea filled with tea leaves. But, I was also really impressed by the server’s attention to the fact that my friend was pregnant, she made sure to check if there was anything she couldn’t eat and checked with the chef if certain things were pasteurized and suitable for the baby. These things make a huge difference and it was clear the restaurant were keen to cater for any dietary requirements – they also offer vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options.We were glad to have booked ahead as the restaurant was packed from the moment we arrived, with some even braving the March chill to sit outside on the balcony under the heaters. We had a beautiful spot in the corner where we had amazing views across the city with sunshine streaming through the windows. You could see how utterly gorgeous it would be to be there in the summer enjoying a nice glass of wine on the balcony, or even heading upstairs to the roof terrace which is only open during the summer months. I definitely plan to head back there next time I’m back in the UK and hopefully we’ll have the weather to match, and I know another of my friends was hoping to take her mum along for another afternoon tea. For £26.50 per person, it’s a great one for those looking for a budget-friendly treat for a special occasion and I think it was fantastic value – we all left absolutely stuffed after the afternoon of treats! Click here to book your afternoon tea.
Have you been to a fabulous afternoon tea? Where would you recommend? What’s your favourite part – the scones or the cake?