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Blog > May 2013

If you ever want to transport yourself to a completely different world and forget the rest of your life, I can highly recommend Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa.

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa

The hotel feels like it is miles from anywhere, though it is only 20 minutes from Bath.  Along country lanes and then a very long and beautiful driveway, this is a majestic house from another era; with every modern convenience.  Like many of Britain's beautiful hotels this was once a stately home.  It was only converted into a hotel relatively recently, in 1997, but no expense has been spared in making it completely luxurious.  We had a tour of the estate after our tea and the spa was just so hard to leave and we were only viewing it from the edge.  The pool starts indoors but allows guests to open the glass panel at the end and go outside, too.  At night fires line it making it possibly the most romantic place to swim indoors in England.

The drawing room, where we enjoyed our afternoon, is stunning: a high ceiling, beautiful comfortable furniture, fireplaces, large windows and views onto unbroken green fields and forest.  Next door to this were more guests in the library, surrounded by bookshelves from floor to very-high-ceiling.  A ladder contraption on wheels was present to access the upper shelves.

In the pictures the food might not look much different from any other afternoon tea but every item is exceptionally well made, fresh and using the highest quality ingredients.  Each bite was a delight.  It’s little wonder to the quality when Lucknam also offer a cookery school.  I already want to go back.

Lucknam Park drawing room

Lucknam Park afternoon tea 2013 Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa
Lucknam Park afternoon teaLucknam Park Chocolate Tart
This divine chocolate tart had a perfectly even centre of Yuzu mousse and jelly, surrounded by the chocolate ganache.

Posted: 09/05/2013 12:03:30

Mad Hatter's Menu

We have featured the Sanderson in our London Great Cake Places guide, but the menu is always evolving so we were invited back to sample it again.  Lucky us!
Now, I know that this review should all be about the cake, but what I came away wanting most from the Sanderson’s Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea, was the gorgeous bespoke china.  The china is part of the Luna & Curious’ specially-handmade contribution to the collaborative tea.  Luna & Curious is a design collective with a beautiful boutique in Shoreditch.  The whimsical offerings from this band of geniuses fits perfectly with the Mad Hatter theme of the tea and the china is some of the most unique and creative I’ve come across.  One day I might be able to justify having the range in my own house.

Sanderson luna & Curious crockery 

From the outside, the Sanderson barely distinguishes itself from an office block or old council  building, but step through the doors held open by the handsome butler and it’s all glamour.  There are some distinctly creative furniture pieces in the lobby, the bar is stunning and popular with local offices after work and even more attractive is the conservatory space, filled with trees, fountains, colourful comfortable benches and marble tables.
We enjoyed our afternoon tea in a quiet corner of the main restaurant overlooking the bar.  The menu arrived hidden inside an old book (we checked the other tables and they had different books) and upon opening the pretty box on the table we were twinkled at by a rotating ballerina floating above the sugar cubes filling her jewellery box.  There are four teas created especially for the theme and they appeared immediately within little glass vials for us to smell first to help us make our selection.  The rhubarb and custard, based on Rooibos and Vanilla, was delicate and a charming accompaniment.
Never have I seen quite such a fascinating tower of afternoon tea offerings.  Sandwiches were spirals of different flavoured breads filled with the traditional fillings, so much more interesting and flavoursome than regular sandwiches and accompanied by the even more delicious mini quiches and herbed scones, still warm and offered with a divine herb butter as well.  At the top of the tower were the toadstools, actually strawberries and cream marshmallows, sat alongside a mini plant pot of pea shoots hiding carrot meringues (nicer tasting than they might sound!).

sugar boxSanderson teateas 

My favourite sweet item from the tea came inside a minature bottle tied with a hand-drawn tag, inviting “drink me”.  This was a creation of several layers including passionfruit and coconut foam.  I didn’t shrink, but it did make the world feel like a better place.  The main event of cakes included a chocolate tea cup filled with a moreish white chocolate and matcha mousse, a teardrop of mango cheesecake bound by a rainbow coloured white chocolate wall (we were helpfully instructed to use a spoon to stir inside the shell to mix with mango coulis with the cheesecake) and a Tick Tock clock face atop a mini Victoria

drink me

As if this wasn’t all enough, a trolley of fruit jelly is available to take your fill.  Beautifully coloured semi-translucent shapes created from Victorian jelly moulds wobble gently and enticingly to try them all.
One of the greatest features of this afternoon tea is it’s offered into the evening so it works as an early dinner as well.

The Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea is £35 per person or £45 per person with a glass of champagne.

Posted: 03/05/2013 16:33:41

Great Cake Places Blog

Jennifer Earle

Welcome to the Great Cake Places blog. I'm Jennifer Earle, the Content Director for Allegra Publications. I love cake. All kinds of cake. Lemon drizzle, coffee & walnut, chocolate, ginger, carrot… I love trying new cakes and baking them too. I’'m particularly obsessed with chocolate and quite partial to cheese scones, straight from the oven, spread with real butter. This job makes me a very happy girl. Please do register for access to discounts we’'ll be adding and say hi in the comments of the blog!

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Right now we'’re travelling the country researching our new book, Great Cake Places Britain.  We will be updating this blog every few weeks with new pictures, recipes, shop openings and general cake-related news.  If you would like to write a guest post, please get in touch.

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Afternoon Tea at the Pheasant Hotel in Yorkshire

Afternoon Tea at Chewton Glen

Afternoon Tea at Lucknam Park

Mad Hatter's afternoon tea at the Sanderson Hotel

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