The quintessential English delight – afternoon tea. And where better to indulge in this tradition than at the prestigious Chewton Glen? I volunteered to investigate further…..
Set in 130 acres of beautiful Hampshire countryside, just on the edge of the New Forest, Chewton Glen is indisputably one of the best luxury hotels in the UK, with a number of awards and accolades to affirm this. As I drove onto the estate, I soon began to understand what all this fuss is about! Dating back to the early 18th century, this privately owned country house hotel offers only the best in luxury, coupled with a pristine historic setting. The results are first class.
Captain Marryat’s Afternoon Tea
Captain Frederick Marryat, author of the famous novel, ‘Children of the New Forest’, spent considerable time at Chewton Glen during the 1840s and was inspired greatly by the natural beauty of the New Forest. Many rooms in the hotel are named after characters from ‘Children of the New Forest’ and his other novels.
The menu devised to honour the author includes:-
1. Sandwiches, including cucumber with cream cheese, free range egg and cress, ham and tomato, and Scottish smoked salmon.
2. A selection of cakes, courtesy of Chewton Glen’s own pastry chef.
3. Home made scones, fresh and warm, served with jam and clotted cream.
4. A choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
Being a key element of the experience, careful thought has gone into selecting a tasty range of teas:-
1. Chewton Glen’s very own blend
2. Assam – a strong full bodied empire tea
3. Gunpowder – a green Chinese tea with each leaf rolled into a small round pellet
4. Earl Grey or Darjeeling – Chewton Glen’s own versions
5. Jasmine – a sweet and fragrant tea with Jasmine blossoms
6. China Oolong – a unique process of withering the leaves under a strong sun then oxidising them, prior to curling and twisting them is used to produce Oolong.
7. Peppermint – aids digestion
8. Lemon verbena – excellent for tackling digestion and nerves
9. Chamomile – good for relaxation and aids sleep
10. Loose organic herbal infusions
Celebration Afternoon Tea
All of the joys of the Captain Marryat afternoon tea but with NV House Champagne!
Afternoon tea is served in one of the comfortable welcoming lounges, or British weather permitting, on the Terrace. Luckily for me, our beloved climate was feeling kind and I was able to dine al fresco, happily nibbling away on my cucumber sandwich and sipping at my Lemon Verbena tea (for digestion and nerves – not that I felt anything other than relaxed at Chewton Glen).
After eating, never one to miss an opportunity to be outside, I set off to explore (some of) the scenic 130 acre grounds of the estate and found the stunning gardens to be the conclusion to my afternoon tea. Further afield in the estate, I came across a croquet lawn, tennis courts, and a 9 hole par 3 golf course. Walking, jogging and biking trails are also within the grounds.
I am already smitten by Chewton Glen’s Treehouse Suites, so I couldn’t resist this chance to have a quick look around. The perfect get away break takes on a new alluring form with these luxurious Treehouse suites, perched high up within the trees and offering every comfort that you could wish for at such a height! If your perfect conclusion to afternoon tea would be to relax in a hot tub on a glass balcony, gazing through the trees in nature’s tranquility, then make sure you prolong your visit to the Chewton Glen!
Of course, the hotel itself houses 70 bedrooms and suites, for those with less of a head for heights. Each room favours a different design, but all offer the ultimate in comfort and luxury, with opulent furnishings, sumptuous bedding and modern bathrooms. Very much embracing its colourful history, Chewton Glen succeeds in blending both the age old character of the house with modern amenities.
Perhaps next time I should arrive with bags packed because it was very difficult to enjoy a lovely afternoon tea without spending some time at the award winning Vetiver Restaurant, yet another of Chewton Glen’s success stories. Listed in the Sunday Times’ Top 100 Restaurants in the UK, Vetiver takes the finest local fresh ingredients and presents them with finesse. And with a choice between the a la carte menu, set lunches and dinners, a tasting menu and a delightful wine list, and having dropped enough hints to the boss in this blog, I will be back!
Chewton Glen afternoon tea times:
Monday to Friday 3 – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 3.30 – 5.30pm
Captain Marryat’s Afternoon Tea £29.50
Celebration Afternoon Tea £39.50