Afternoon tea at Hintlesham Hall
PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:00 03 October 2016
Hintlesham Hall has unveiled its new traditional afternoon tea package. British tradition with a champagne twist. Story has it that once upon a time in 1840, Anna, Duchess of Bedford, found that she got hungry in the long time between lunch and her evening meal which was served fashionably late at 8. She began to request that slices of bread, butter, tea and cake be brought to her mid-afternoon to keep her going.
Afternoon tea: the most British of traditions
She then invited her friends to join her – a tradition that was picked up by many other families and which still continues today: the very British afternoon tea.
Nestled in the heart of picturesque Suffolk, Hintlesham Hall is an historic, grade one-listed building dedicated to continuing that time-honoured tradition.
The Hall was originally owned by Sir John Fortescue in 1448, before begin passed to the Timperley family where it remained for 266 years. Over this time it was built on, added to, enhanced and renovated by various owners until New York cookery writer Robert Carrier purchased it in 1971. His cookery lessons were run from the Hall, and a popular cookery television show was filmed there.
Today, under Milton Keynes businessman and entrepreneur Has Modi, the Hall is a 4-star hotel, with people using its versatile facilities for weddings, corporate hire facilities, or just a pleasant weekend retreat. Its peaceful gardens are home to herbs and produce that are used in the hotel’s kitchen. The Spa at Hintlesham opened in autumn 2015, sitting beside the Hall along a charming cobbled pathway. Top of the range equipment and beauty brands give guests indulgent treatments to complement the 4-star surroundings.
But the true attraction of Hintlesham Hall is its traditional afternoon tea, available every day of the week. Writer Henry James once said: “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” It only takes a couple of finger sandwiches and a homemade fruit scone with clotted cream and jam to realise that he was speaking a lot of sense.
At Hintlesham, scones, sandwiches, cakes and pastries can be enjoyed with a selection of fresh leaf teas, tisanes, coffee and luxury hot chocolates. If visitors are particularly inclined, the Hall also offers a champagne afternoon tea. In association with Laurent Perrier, sandwiches and scones are matched with three small glasses of different champagne – dry, medium and rose. Each one brings a sparkle to the flavours of homemade cakes and the sandwiches filled with smoked salmon or cured local ham – afternoon tea with a twist.
The meal can be enjoyed in a luxury lounge or bar area, or one of the warm, sunny garden terraces. For people wanting that extra hint of luxury, guests can be accompanied by a pianist while they dine if they wish.
Looking to the future, the hotel will soon be adding another 19 rooms to its facilities, to be completed next year with some of them offering long term lets.
With its remarkable architectural surroundings and depth of historical significance, Hintlesham Hall is a fine place to indulge in afternoon tea.
Anna would be proud.
Afternoon tea and spa packages are available for £80. For more information, visit hintleshamhall.co.uk.