Feeling very grown up
The magnificent Cliveden House welcomes us in a remarkable experience
I had been to Cliveden House, Berkshire, a few years ago when a friend had her wedding lunch at the magnificent and historical house. At the time I had my two children, one was a baby and as a result, I couldn't remember much about the surroundings, the architecture and the gardens. I only recalled it being very grand.
When our publication was invited to attend their afternoon tea experience, I asked a friend to join me, as I wanted to take my time memorising all the beautiful details of the place, this time without the kids.
My fabulous friend drove from London to Cliveden and in amazingly quick fashion we were seated at the most gorgeous table half an hour after leaving London.
As we stepped in I immediately remembered my first experience there. The rich and decadent interior was unforgettable. Opulent and lavishly made blood red curtains give the lounging area the drama it deserves.
All becomes surprisingly sleek and refined as you enter the restaurant area where the palatial windows dominate the bright and calm space. The grandeur is everywhere, though, with imposing chandeliers and attractive fine art.
Pauline and Damian warmly welcomed us with a more than generous glass of Veuve Clicquot, which was precisely what we need to settle in on a hot summer's day. So refreshing I nearly forgot I was there for work!
The staff knowledge and enthusiasm in recommending our tea, saw me swap my usual ginger choice for the Cliveden signature, which was a mild sort of earl grey delicious indeed.
As we were presented with our afternoon tea treats, for a moment I could be forgiven to think I was lucky indeed. We had the best seats in the house by the glorious windows overlooking Cliveden grounds. I had to close my eyes and try to keep it all in for as long as possible.
The afternoon tea followed the same pattern of the house: impeccably presented, absolutely splendid! May I point out that my friend and I agree the scones were the best we have ever had. A choice of plain and raisins, warmly wrapped in white cotton napkins. A delight!
Little buttery quiches, smoked salmon bagels and posh sausage rolls to start with, followed by the most exquisite little desserts such as the lemon mouse pie and the raspberry cake, Cliveden has it all for a very grown up afternoon tea experience. The friendly staff give such a grand venue its charm and warmth.
If you have time, a stroll in the grounds and gardens is a must. You will feel elated for the food, for the place, for the privilege to be there. A very stylish quick escape from London. Don't worry, you will be back home for dinner, if you must.