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Muddy review: Festive afternoon tea at Whittlebury Park

More tea, Santa? One snowball or two? Whittlebury Park's festive afternoon teas are full of Christmassy fun and we've been along to give them the Muddy seal of approval.

WHITTLEBURY PARK FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA

THE LOCATION

This contemporary spa and golf hotel on the edge of the picture perfect village of Whittlebury is a favourite among visitors and locals alike, and the vastness of the hotel’s gorgeously decadent Bentley’s Lounge belies its ambiance, which wraps you up in its arms as you fall into one of the Chesterfield sofas beside the roaring log fire. It’s the perfect place to relax with friends or family, sip champers and eat until you go pop.

THE VIBE

You can’t help but feel enveloped by the relaxed and cosy atmosphere here and there’s no snobbery, just great service, which is refreshing and means that everyone you encounter, whether staff or guest, seems to have a smile on their face (as far as you can tell behind those face masks at least).

THE FOOD

WHITTLEBURY PARK FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA

One thing we love about Christmas (and there are so many) is that we get carte blanche to embrace all things kitsch and cute and if Rudolph pretzel macarons don’t tick that box then I don’t know what does. It really doesn’t get any sweeter than these edible darlings. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The usual afternoon tea menu has been spruced up (geddit? Spruce? Christmas tree…) with a fabulously Christmassy flavour and guests are welcomed with a glass of fizz and an extensive choice of loose leaf teas in lovely fine china cups and saucers. We opted for the Russian Earl Grey and a comfortingly smoky Margareth’s Hope Darjeeling to accompany our festive nibbles.

WHITTLEBURY PARK FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA

Whenever I go anywhere for afternoon tea I take one look at the towers of sandwiches, pastries and cakes and, however beautiful they are, I always think “that will never fill me up.” Not here, my friends, we advise you initiate stretchy waistband mode as you won’t be able to resist these delicious morsels.

Afternoon tea arrives on a three-tiered cake stand simply bursting with lovely looking treats. There’s turkey, cranberry stuffing and mayonnaise sandwiches, mini quiche Lorraine, prawn cocktail in little lettuce leaf cups and smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels. If you’re veggie or vegan, the team will happily accommodate your needs too, just let them know in advance.

To follow, the plain and white chocolate, citrus and raspberry scones were still warm from the oven and served with strawberry jam and clotted cream, the citrus giving a distinctly Christmassy flavour. As we all know, when it’s Christmas the calories don’t count, so we happily ascended straight from scones to the top tier sweet treats.

WHITTLEBURY PARK FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA

Coconut and white chocolate snowballs were almost (I said almost) too big to polish off, but we still had room for the chocolate Brussels sprouts (yes, they are green), Black Forest Yule log, mince pie custard crumble tart (my personal favourite) and, of course, dear Rudolph the red-nosed macaron. Actually, I have to confess we didn’t polish off every last bite and the lovely staff popped a few bits into a box to take home for the kids, which scored me a few mum points too.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: A lovely way to celebrate and get into the festive spirit in gorgeous and calming surroundings. Why not make the most of it while you’re here and book in for a spa treatment? It would make a special experience for a family celebration or girlie gathering if you live locally and is worth the drive even if you don’t.

Not for: Who doesn’t love afternoon tea? Steer clear if you’re the actual Grinch.

Festive Afternoon Tea will be available at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury, Near Towcester, Northamptonshire, NN12 8QH until 29 Dec 2021.

Find more ideas here

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