Lying to the south of Liverpool and Manchester Cheshire is a region favoured by football stars and genteel country folk. The region boasts the best of modern infrastructure and old world charm. The main city Chester is a wonderful place to visit – built by the Romans as a fortress – it has 12 mile long red-sandstone wall encircling Tudor and Victorian buildings in a cruciform-shaped city centre. Cheshire’s dairies and farms produce natural food products of world renown including cheese, gooseberries and asparagus. These and other products can be found in farm shops dotted around the countryside and are used with great pride in a number of world class eateries. In short, Cheshire is the ideal foodie destination and is full of great options for outstanding afternoon teas.
Peckforton Castle (Tarporley)
Enjoy a gourmet afternoon tea and feel like royalty at a medieval castle in the Peckforton Hills. Peckforton Castle is a luxury hotel with one of the best restaurants in Cheshire, but was originally built in the mid-1800s as a gothic-style family home for a wealthy landowner. With its stunning architecture and commanding view over the countryside below, this venue is memorable and magical. The hotel décor (rich fabrics and clean modern lines) does nothing to detract from the historical value of the old stone walls, spiral turret staircases, towers and open fires. Afternoon tea is served in the less formal of two eateries on site – the 2010 Brasserie, located in the former scullery of the Castle. You’ll enjoy amazing views while being thoroughly pampered in this atmospheric stone-walled cosmopolitan brasserie. The adjoining courtyard can be used to make the most of warmer weather while enjoying expertly made French pastries delicate fancies , sublime sandwiches and fruit scones alongside a pot of tea of your choice. If you’re feeling especially regal, swap your tea for a glass of Joseph Perrier champagne or a gin and tonic.
Crewe Hall (Crewe)
Crewe Hall is a grand Jacobean mansion at the of a tree-lined driveway near Crewe Green. This elaborately decorated luxury hotel has stained glass windows and original Jacobean wood carvings, chimney pieces and ornamental plasterwork. A great afternoon tea is prepared in a traditional Victorian kitchen and served in the opulent Sheridan Lounge – a lavish and airy space with ornate turquoise ceilings and large windows. Served on a towering stand, this tea is both sophisticated and delightful, pleasing to the eye and the taste buds. The menu sticks to traditional classics but adds a few contemporary twists like the timers that ensure your tea is perfectly brewed. The finger sandwiches are well flavoured, and prepared to order so they arrive at the table perfectly fresh. If you love scones then you will appreciate Crewe versions- warm, crisp on the outside, soft and melting inside, in plain and fruit – they are served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. The rich cake selection includes moist macaroons, gateaux and éclairs accompanied by your choice of Twinings teas. The whole experience is enhanced by exceptionally professional staff – including in-house tea experts – who work hard to make the experience extra special.
Edgar House (Chester)
For a stylish and indulgent riverside afternoon tea in in the heart of Chester head to Edgar House – a unique boutique hotel that combines a superb riverside location with excellent food to produce a masterful and thoroughly indulgent afternoon tea. The early 19th-century villa is located on the city walls, just above the River Dee, and is decorated with luxurious flair expressed in statement wallpaper, copper baths and bespoke furniture. The owners pay a lot of attention to the smallest details and this results in extraordinary levels of comfort and indulgence. The library dining hall mixes drawing-room style with simple (handmade)modern furniture and the walls are lined with eclectic art. Their Proper Afternoon Tea is presented on a three-tier stand that holds a good selection of finger sandwiches, a home-made fruit scone and home-made cakes and treats, alongside a pot of hand-blended loose-leaf tea or pink prosecco for added indulgence. We love the way this menu celebrates local produce and being offered a choice of traditional and unique preserves that included strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb and ginger and damson.
Arley Hall (Arley)
Arley Hall is a beautifully preserved stately home with famous grounds that are open to the public. After exploring the amazing 250 year-old gardens you can take a special afternoon tea surrounded by elaborate ceilings and oak panelling, impressive fireplaces and intricate stained glass in the home of Lord and Lady Ashbrook (whose family have lived at Arley Hall for generations). They often join their guests for tea in the richly decorated library. The high ceilinged room is warm and grand, thanks to the deep red and cream furniture and the ancient books that reach from the carpeted floor to the ornate plaster ceiling. The tea reflects the particular traditions followed over generations at Arley Hall: starting with cucumber sandwiches made with Cheshire-salted sweet-cream butter and ending with ‘mini sweet patties’ inspired by Elizabeth Raffald, Arley Hall’s housekeeper in the 1760’s and author of the wildly successful recipe book ‘The Experienced English Housekeeper”. Freshly baked fruit scones and tea time treats like mini chocolate torte and lemon drizzle cake can be enjoyed with a range of good teas and a glass of champagne.
Davenports Tea Room (Daresbury)
Davenports is a multi-award winning country tea room whose afternoon tea is considered by the UK Tea Guild to be an excellent example of this much-loved English tradition. The quirky vintage venue is attached to a florist and farm store and is styled with retro floral wallpaper, old furniture and antique lace table cloths. The three rooms and outside garden have an Alice in Wonderland theme- in tribute to Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll ) who was born down the road. Tables are strewn with Victorian newspapers, chess sets and playing cards and you can choose from a range of menus – including a savoury version – as long as you do so a day ahead. After being named as the UK’s top tea venue for 2013 this venue has become extremely popular and bookings are essential. Their friendly but sometimes harried service is made up for by the pretty bone china, the tiny sandwiches with locally produced fillings, lovely hot scones and very prettily decorated cakes. There are over 30 loose leaf teas to choose from as well as decent coffee as well as a champagne, wines or locally brewed beers and ciders.