A Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea at Down Hall

A champagne afternoon tea is a real indulgence: not just in terms of the foods themselves being indulgent, but also because it really isn’t an everyday experience. So when Down Hall asked if I’d like to come and try out their special new Downton Abbey afternoon tea, I decided to make a girls’ day of it and take my mum.

We may or may not have started our day outlet shopping and I may or may not have come away with two very beautiful pairs of winter boots…!
Down Hall Afternoon Tea

Already very cheerful after our shopping extravaganza (Dad, if you’re reading this don’t panic – your credit cards aren’t entirely at their limits 😉) we arrived at Down Hall and were lead straight into the lounge, where tea is served.

 

Down Hall Afternoon Tea
We met our lovely server, Nicola, who was worth her weight in gold – her service was impeccable throughout our tea – and were shown the selection of loose leaf teas from which we could choose.
I can never resist a good Early Grey tea, so stuck true to form, whilst mum opted for the berry tea where she adored.
Down Hall Afternoon Tea
Down Hall Afternoon Tea
We were given tea timers to make sure that we didn’t drink our tea before it was properly brewed: there were three different timers, one for white tea, one for black tea and one for herbal teas. It was a fabulous little touch!
Down Hall
Waiting for our tea to brew wasn’t too much of a hardship though as we had our lovely glasses of champagne to sip on!
Down Hall Afternoon Tea
The tables were beautifully set and laid out with three different varieties of Tiptree jam.
Down Hall Afternoon Tea
The Downton Abbey afternoon tea, as well as the normal afternoon tea, has to be booked in advance as all the cakes, pastries and scones are made freshly for each serving. It wasn’t long until our beautiful afternoon tea serving arrived…
And just look at it…
Down Hall Afternoon Tea
We started with the savoury selection: smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, coronation chicken sandwiches, goats cheese and caramelised red onion tarts and wild mushroom and truffle tarts.

 

Down Hall Afternoon Tea

 

I loved the addition of the tarts; they were a refreshing change from finger sandwiches, though the pastry could have been a little thinner. The flavours in both tarts were delicious, well balanced and generally pretty moreish!
And well, can you ever go wrong with a smoked salmon finger sandwich? Didn’t think so.

 

Down Hall Afternoon Tea

 

The sweets are where this tea really comes into its own, and where the Downton Abbey element is present, with eccles cakes, meringue topped cakes and Victoria sponges reigning.

 

Down Hall Afternoon Tea

 

I had one of those moments where I didn’t even know where to begin (the macaron – duh Lauren), ’cause I wanted them ALL.
As there was rather a lot of cake, we did ask for the remainder of our tea to be boxed up so that we could take it home to one cake loving father. So don’t panic: you don’t need to eat it all at once – the staff are more than happy to give you little boxes to take your treats home.

Down Hall Afternoon Tea

I plumped for the meringue topped raspberry cake, and felt rather smug with my choice. It was a simple sponge base, but the flavours were marvelous and I really loved the crunch of the meringue top before hitting the soft cream and cake.

Down Hall

The Victoria sponge was delicious – in fact, mum said it even rivaled her own recipe, which is seriously high praise indeed! Though my favourite sweet treat was the violet eclair: when I heard violet I wasn’t sure, but it was such a subtle flavour that it really worked, and the choux pastry really was excellent.

 

Down Hall

 

I’m a massive fan of scones, so when I heard that Down Hall actually make their own buttermilk scones, I knew we were in for a treat. So, I had to save a space for one!
I dived into the clotted cream (I’m really sorry, I’m a cream before jam kind of girl)…

 

Down Hall
Took a dollop of that beautiful Tiptree jam…
Down Hall Afternoon Tea

 

And plumped for a beautiful plain scone. Just. Look.

Down Hall Afternoon Tea

Crisp on the outside with a beautiful soft centre, these were some of the most delicious scones I’ve ever had. In fact, there are two in my freezer at home ready to be devoured when I next have a scone craving.
Mhmmm they’re so good that I’m saving them.

Down Hall Afternoon Tea

We were in foodie heaven!

 

Down Hall

 

When we had finished our tea, we were given a tour of the hotel and told a little bit more about its history. It was originally built in the 16th century, and all extensions have been very tastefully done so as to fit the original building.
In fact, they’re currently renovating the bedrooms and the main lounge to make them a little more modern and give them a little refresher.
It was a chilly October day and so they had lit the fire in the lounge; it looks like the perfect place to sit on a cold afternoon with a hot chocolate and a book, don’t you think?
Down Hall
The hotel has a cocktail bar and a grill, which both look fabulous and would be the perfect place to relax after a brisk countryside walk (and are both on my hit-list if I go back for a staycation!)
The bedrooms themselves are tastefully decorated and are very spacious: Londoners watch out – you won’t know what to do with all the space! Having said that, it was the bathrooms that amazed me the most: beautiful marble bathrooms complete with his and hers sinks – I could picture myself with a glass of champagne enjoying a long soak before dinner!
Down Hall


Down Hall is a wonderful place for a little countryside holiday: go for the night, make use of Eden Spa, enjoy the Downton Abbey afternoon tea and then while away the evening in the cocktail bar.
Sounds pretty great doesn’t it?



Down Hall

I do love London, but afternoon tea in a beautiful country house? Can’t beat it!

Down Hall

An afternoon that Lady Grantham herself would be proud of!
Our afternoon tea was complimentary but the Downton Abbey champagne afternoon tea can be booked online here and is priced at £28.50 per person. 

Down Hall Country House HotelMatching Road,Hatfield Heath,Essex CM22 7AS

 

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