The day had arrived when Willow and I were going for an afternoon tea at Stanmer House. We were very excited, not to mention hungry after having purposely prevented snacking so we had enough appetite to enjoy all the afternoon tea.
With our office being based in Brighton, we were in the perfect location to drive down to Stanmer House, which is located on the outskirts of Brighton. Even though this is what the map says, when driving down the long country drive, we didn’t feel like we were in a city. There had been a secret gem hiding on our doorstep, which we were oblivious to until today! When we reached the manor house, we went into the car park area. This was located next to the house and meant taking a short walk, perfect for when the weather is brisk - and living in England, most of our days are chilly!
The acres of greenery opposite Stanmer House were beautiful, and Willow and I couldn’t help but look around the landscape before heading inside. As we walked in, we were greeted by a gentleman at a podium with the list of reservations. We were a little early, so were asked to sit in the cosy and very nicely decorated waiting area. The room was full of unique furniture, including some very inviting tall velvet chairs. A short amount of time passed before we were called and our table was ready. As we walked through to the dining room, there was a busy environment, filled with laughter and conversation. Lots of stands filled with cakes, scones and petite sandwiches made our eyes scan the room with anticipation. The tables were laid with white pristine table cloths, serviettes, cups ready for tea, and glasses for water. All the waiters and waitresses were dressed in formal, matching uniforms and were very polite and smiley when asking if we wanted to know their selection of fruit tea or if we would like English breakfast tea.
Our tea pot arrived, and as we sipped, we enjoyed the gorgeous view through the long Victorian windows. After a short wait, our tower of treats was in sight! The attention to detail in the presentation was amazing, from the watercress on the sandwiches, to the cut strawberries in between the cakes.
The selection of filled sandwiches included ham salad and mustard, cream cheese and cucumber – which was very refreshing – and finally, egg and watercress. My personal favourite was the ham sandwich. Before this experience, I didn’t like mustard, but combined with the ham and salad, it was very yummy!
After devouring the sandwiches, we moved onto the second tier of two freshly baked fruit scones, which were bigger than my fist! The scone was still warm as I cut through it, and I started to spread the strawberry jam from its own little glass pot - I must be Cornish at heart! Willow, however, went for the Devonian method, and decided to spread the generous scoop of clotted cream first. The scones were very filling, so to make sure I had room for the final plate, I had to stop myself from finishing the second half! The cake selection was exquisite, featuring coffee and walnut cake, lemon cake, chocolate squares, and macaroons. Willow and I – both having a sweet tooth - were in heaven. The strawberries were a great touch to finish off the experience, leaving us with a refreshing taste.
Overall, the afternoon tea was delightful, and the remarkable interior design meant that we could talk and enjoy our assortment of food for hours. We definitely took advantage of the constant refilling of tea, and left Stanmer House feeling like queens. This is an enjoyable experience to be shared with a friend or loved one as you catch up over tea and cake.