I was recently invited to enjoy afternoon tea at the stunning and unbeknownst to me, recently revamped Bedford Lodge Hotel in Newmarket, just a hop from the racecourse. It only took me 25 minutes from my front door, so it’s a great location to take a trip out of Cambridge for a few hours, even if you wouldn’t plan to make a day of it.
I believe my geekery had rubbed off onto my mini companions joining me for this very special afternoon, as they quickly advised me that we were about to enjoy a “Low Tea” due to the height of the table, I love them!
The table was set perfectly, our white napkins were linen (no terrible paper ones here) and even starched and set in a fancy fold, much to my delight.
The finger sandwiches were huge wedges, not quite the dainty 2-3 bite-sized sandwich it should traditionally be, but we weren’t complaining. In fact, far from it, I loved the finger sandwiches and the way they were beautifully presented on a high 3 tiered stand, cut into perfect and symmetrical rectangles and garnished with fresh herbs to finish them off. There was a choice of ham & mustard, salmon & cream cheese and egg mayonnaise & watercress and as we demolished these little works of art very quickly, our waitress replenished them (without us even having to ask) to keep us going for even longer, it was lovely to have such an extensive savoury option.
Our plates were then cleared away and clean ones provided for our scone course, which was a refreshing change not to be eating our sweets on a mustard or cream cheese smeared plate. I don’t actually think my plate has ever been cleared away and swapped for a new one within any afternoon tea I’ve sampled in the last year or so, it was a very welcomed action.
We were provided with a new tier filled with a choice of scones, both plain AND fruit, all warm straight from the oven, simply the smell of these beauties was enough to get us drooling for a bite of these large fluffy creations.
This was only the second time at afternoon tea that I have been provided with not just strawberry jam & clotted cream to smother my scones with, but also a lemon curd for a very different scone experience, they were delicious with no fuzzy tongues here. A perfect scone. I mean scones, plural – I mean, it would have been rude not to!
The cakes were dainty, presented perfectly and served on a large rectangular plate, with some treats fixed in place with a tiny splurge of chocolate ganache to ensure nothing rolled around, it was an impressive sight to say the very least.
My companions were in awe and couldn’t resist getting stuck right in, spoiled for choice and unsure where precisely to start, we almost didn’t want to demolish the cake display, it was gorgeous.
We were provided with cute and perfectly round sweet white meringues sandwiching a dark chocolate ganache to give it a bitter edge, these were my favourite element, coming a close second though, was everything else!
Raspberry tartlets with vanilla crème patissière, lavender macarons which melted in your mouth with every bite, tiny carrot & walnut cakes garnished with a piece of real carrot which had us laughing and a double chocolate eclair filled with vanilla cream.
Our waitress had told us that we were about to be provided with an extensive selection and she wasn’t kidding!
From the moment we parked our derrières, the background music had relaxed us, the food had flowed, top ups of tea were offered along with a waitress asking to pour for us and the friendly service with a smile telling us exactly what was in each item we were about to enjoy, the entire experience was relaxing and pleasing in every way.
I loved that our food came in waves and not all in one serving, as it meant that everything was served fresh and warm or chilled where required, sandwiches didn’t curl, cakes didn’t dry out and scones didn’t cool whilst waiting patiently to be devoured. We didn’t have to ask for a thing, everything flowed perfectly and it kept an element of surprise back for every course which I loved about this tea.
This is how I like my afternoon tea to be served, at a relaxed pace with no rush to leave and no grumbling stomaches by the end. In fact, there was so much food leftover that we had to ask to take a “doggy box” home with us for a second wind later on.
The only negative from the entire experience was that the tea choice was lacking excitement for such a stunning afternoon tea, however the staff were very accommodating with my companions unusual requests for lemonade and apple juice in place of their teapots.
No tea choices had been offered on arrival, just a simple question asking if we would like tea and then preparing to leave us, so I had to ask rather awkwardly for their tea menu, to which our waitress reeled off quickly a few generic “Teapigs” offerings which did let them down ever so slightly. I opted for an Earl Grey, however, with the superb food on offer, they should really offer a loose leaf tea selection to excite the geekery in their guests, but this is simply the only element I could fault for the experience.
Afternoon tea is served in the Roxana Bar from 2pm – 5:30pm every day of the week and can be enjoyed inside or outside on the patio in the landscaped gardens, with no need to book, although out of courtesy, I would recommend doing so for larger bookings.
£7.95 for a light cream tea with scones and tea & coffee.
£9.50 for light afternoon tea of finger sandwiches, cake and tea & coffee.
£14.50 for a full afternoon tea as experienced.
You can view my full photo album for this stay by clicking here.
Ps – I popped back in that weekend for a bite to eat (salmon & cream cheese sandwich and some Prosecco didn’t disappoint ; ) and there were 5 ladies indulging in the very same afternoon tea I had sampled. They were mmmming and smiling from ear to eat enjoying the very same service I did, so I was thrilled to see I wasn’t just being played for on my visit. I highly rate this venue for a wow-factor afternoon tea that won’t send you home hungry.
To view my full photo album for this visit, please click here.
Please note – On this occasion, my visit was complimentary, following an invitation to view this venue and meet the team. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share their offerings with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. Any questions, please do email: firstname.lastname@example.org