Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Tea at the Towers

If you've been reading my blog from the beginning you'll know that Saltwell Park in the Low Fell area of Gateshead is one of my favourite places in the area to visit.  It's featured in my blog quite a few times across all the seasons whether it be a picnic in the Summer, Bonfire Night, Enchanted Parks at Christmas or a walk to see the Spring flowers

So I was a very excited to hear the news that Saltwell Towers, the beautiful gothic mansion in the middle of the Park, was going to be hosting "Tea at the Towers" on the last Sunday of every month.  The tea has only been running since March but being a pair of eager beavers we booked a slot for the April tea. 

Unfortunately on the day the weather was typical of British Spring time ... dark clouds, lots of puddles on the ground and frequent showers.  Not really what you want when you're doing a 40 minute walk to afternoon tea.   We embraced it though, and I was quite happy wrapping up in my big parka, putting on my favourite "stompy" boots and doing the up hill hike to earn my afternoon tea.

Saltwell Park


I think the promise of cake made us walk extra fast as we reached our destination in record speed and ended up having a lovely slow stroll through the park in the rain towards the Towers.  We stopped off at the lake and I attempted to impress Simon with my ability to name all of the water birds (the benefit of having grown up on the Norfolk Broads).    As we approached the Towers I actually quite appreciated how dark the skies looked as it made the lights beaming out from the windows of the Towers look really warm and inviting.

The Afternoon Tea was served upstairs in the gallery and the stairs to access it were roped off for a "private function" which made it all feel rather special. 

The Gallery is a great area at the best of times, it's very light and has beautiful big windows overlooking the Park, but it looked even better set up for afternoon tea.    There were a few tables dotted around covered in white tablecloths, each one already set up for afternoon tea complete with gorgeous menus.   

Afternoon Tea Saltwell Park


The staff running the afternoon were amazing, they went the extra mile to make every guest feel welcome.  I'd actually say there are some afternoon teas I've had at grand hotels that haven't been as welcoming and accommodating as the people at Saltwell Towers.  We were very well looked after - our coats were hung up, we were offered endless pots of tea and there were plenty of people around to make sure we were happy.



I'd actually been a little bit of an idiot and had forgotten to mention my nut allergy when I booked.   I felt a little silly admitting it once they'd brought out the afternoon tea (bit late really!) but the staff didn't bat an eyelid and immediately brought me out some freshly made sandwiches on a separate plate and pointed out which cakes to avoid.   I was so impressed at how kind they were considering I'd made such a silly mistake.

Afternoon Tea Saltwell Park

I really wasn't sure what to expect of the afternoon tea, in all honesty I'd gone not expecting a lot and I was proved very wrong.   It was very professional, the servings were really generous and the delicious food was homemade on the premises.

The sandwiches were really lovely non-fussy fillings (our favourite) and were served on the tier with a beautiful little flower made out of a tomato and a cucumber fan.

Afternoon Tea Saltwell Park
The layer of scones was very generous, we got three each - cheese, plain and fruit served with strawberries and huge pots of butter, jam and cream.   My only real issue was that the plain scone was very crumbly as when I went to cut my scone in half, it unfortunately broke into a big mess of crumbs and a lot of it fell on my lap.   The cheese scone was amazing though, I slathered it in butter and would have happily had an entire plate full.

Afternoon Tea Saltwell Park

Of course, you all know that our favourite tier is always the cakes and Tea at the Towers did not disappoint.   We had a little square chocolate cake (I didn't touch it because of my nut allergy but it was clearly very good as Simon ate both bits!), a strawberry and cream tart and a lemon mousse.   Each cake was the perfect size and absolutely beautiful.
 
I'm very pleased to let you know that Simon has finally given me an afternoon tea name, and has chosen Margery.  I think he was hoping I'd hate it but in all honesty I am fully embracing it.   Maybe I should start up a new blog - Cecil and Margery do afternoon tea?!

Feeling rather full after the cakes it was lovely to be able to have a nice amble around the park before returning home.  We plodded amongst the bluebells and watched the squirrels. 

Saltwell Park


Saltwell Park


We had a really enjoyable afternoon and I really recommend that anyone reading this who is in the North East book up immediately!   The Tea costs £12.50 each and the next date will be Sunday 25 May.   You can book by telephone 0191 433 3267 or by e-mailing civiccateringbookings@gateshead.gov.uk

26 comments:

  1. This is going to sound outrageous, but I've never actually been for afternoon tea! However, after reading this post (and seeing those pictures!) I think I just might have to!! It looks absolutely gorgeous, from the setting to the food - what a lovely way to spend an otherwise dreary day!

    Steph xx
    Lay It Bare

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    1. WHAT?!! You've never .. WHAT?!! OMG! Get yourself somewhere immediately! Afternoon Tea is AMAZING! If you go back through this blog it's more or less afternoon tea, afternoon tea, afternoon tea .. it's my favourite thing to do! You must book yourself one! x

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  2. A triple helping of scones? That's amazing!

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    1. I'll let you into a secret ... I may have had four in the end! Simon ate two lots of sandwiches due to me needing extra cos of my nut allergy so he let me have his cheese scone :o

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  3. I just dribble whenever I see a scone! Triple would just make my year! :D

    Caroline x
    www.cocktailsandcaroline.com

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  4. Looks amazing, I am a big fan of afternoon tea! Now wishing the month of May away so I can go on the last Sunday.

    x

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    1. Yay so glad you're going to go along, hope you love it :)

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  5. that tea looks increddddddible! well done to them for fixing you up something spesh for your allergy! x

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    1. I was so impressed, it was completely my own fault but they never made me feel bad ... they just smiled and rushed to get me different food - amazing!

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  6. I was like, 'Oh no!' when you said you'd forgotten to mention your allergy, but I love how the staff dealt with it so well.
    Can't skip over the fact of how cool that squirrel photo is!

    x

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    1. We love the squirrels in Saltwell Park, Simon quite often wrestles my camera off me to go and take photos of them

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  7. I love that picture of the squirrel! Awesome!! Looks like an amazing day, I love a good afternoon tea, and good staff can really improve your experience, so I'm really glad these are nice!

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    1. I love good afternoon teas that completely surprise you and that not many people know about ... although I'm spreading the word now :D

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  8. How cute it that last picture! Dropping by your blog makes me want to head back to Newcastle for a little more exploring.

    http://www.itsallbee.com

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  9. Wow everything looks so tasty and that tomato flower is certainly some craftsmanship!

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    1. I know! I couldn't have even begun to create that, I can barely chop one up for a salad :s

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  10. I love afternoon teas they are so yummy. This looks brilliant Margery, I will have to think of a name for myself. Scones are you a cream or jam first woman? I am going to the Dorchester at the end of this month for afternoon team really can't wait Lucy x

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    1. HA :D Everyone should have an afternoon tea name! I'm very much jam first, that way you can cram on as much cream as possible. Oooooooooh I've done the Dorchester - really really nice!!

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  11. I love Saltwell Park - I definitely need to visit it more seeing as it's so close! I think I'll be booking the afternoon tea soon! x

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    1. I'd definitely recommend it, a bargain at £12.50 too! x

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  12. This has made me miss Saltwell Park, definitely going there as soon as I'm back in summer! I basically grew up in that park!

    http://thegirlwhowearsabowtie.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. It is definitely one of my most visited places since moving up here, it's such a gorgeous park - well worth the hike to get there x

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  13. look at that tower of scones! looks like a serious feast, and a lovely experience. I haven't had afternoon tea in so long - it's time to get on it i think x

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  14. Yum yum! Even though I've generally always eaten before i do my blog catch up, reading you's always makes me hungry! :p
    This looks lovely.. I haven't been for afternoon tea in ages.. Park looks lovely too, even on a cloudy day. :)

    Caroline.x
    notesfromcaroline.com

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