A visit to the Cotswolds, even for just a day, calls for a stop at one of the numerous classic and classy tea rooms for Afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea is said to have been introduced in 1840. Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, found the wait between lunch and dinner too long and unbearable to go without a snack. She soon requested that a tray of tea, bread, butter and cake be brought to her during the late afternoon. Food is best enjoyed with company, and it was not long before the afternoon snack became a chance for a good catch up with friends. Thus, the tradition of Afternoon tea was born and, thankfully, has continued.
During a recent visit to Stratford-upon-Avon my family and I paid a visit to the Hathaway tea rooms. There are a number of rooms you can choose to dine in, each of which exudes an old-English feel.
Although we arrived at 10:30 am, we were pleased to be told that we could still order from the Afternoon tea menu! This included selecting three sandwich fillings accompanied by a selection of homemade cakes and a pot of English breakfast tea.
Pros: The sandwiches tasted good. Each filling was served on both white and brown bread, and the crusts had been cut off which seemed to improve the overall taste. They were also cut and presented quite nicely.
Cons: Being able to choose only 3 types of sandwich fillings seems a bit limiting for Afternoon tea. There were also some sandwich fillings missing from the list of options that I could see elsewhere in the lunch menu. The meat was not halal.
Pros: The selection and presentation of the cakes was what I would expect for Afternoon tea.
Cons: The scones were very dry, which was pretty disappointing. My husband found the lemon drizzle cake too overpowering, although I enjoyed it because I like my lemon drizzle very moist and strong. The carrot and walnut cake was also dry, and the chocolate cake tasted suspiciously like one from a Betty Crocker packet.
Pros: The staff were friendly and even provided us with a small bowl of crisps even though it was not on the menu for Afternoon tea.
Cons: Having had Afternoon tea in the Cotswolds before, we were expecting a much more enthusiastically friendly service from the staff.
Overall, my husband and I agreed that Afternoon tea at Hathaway’s tea rooms ‘did the job’. There was plenty of food and we left feeling satisfied and replenished. The cost was £30 for two people, although there was plenty of food for us to share with our two and a half year old daughter. However, I think it will be a while before we choose to visit again.
Have you visited the Hathaway tea rooms? If so, how was your experience? Do you have a favourite tea room in the Cotswolds you recommend we visit! Let us know in your comments below!
Planning a visit to The Cotswolds? Check out some of our our halal travel guide to the Cotswolds for ideas on what to do during your stay.