Afternoon Tea has made huge gains in popularity in recent years. No longer the sport of Sloanes, Afternoon Tea has become something of a regular affair amongst Girl Squads and it’s no longer enough for hotels and restaurants to simply offer it as a menu option. These days competition is rife and there are some real doozie offerings out there, from themed Afternoon Teas to Tipsy Teas, it’s now about who can offer the best, and most Instagrammable spread. After all, did it even happen if you didn’t put it on your Instagram Story?
You’ll have read my post about the recent launch of alcoholic tea NovelTea so you’ll be familiar with the concept: Two blends of alcoholic tea, one made with rum, the other with gin, both of which can be served hot or over ice. It was only a matter of time before they tapped up the thriving Afternoon tea market in the North East and their chosen partnership is one that might leave you a little surprised. It’s not The Malmaison, or The Vermont, or any other stylish hotel that doubles as a trendy hangout, the guys behind NovelTea have teamed up with Lumley Castle to bring you a Tipsy Afternoon tea with a twist.
I was invited along to the launch event to find out what you can expect from the latest Afternoon Tea offering to hit the North East. First up, it’s so refreshing to be out of Newcastle for an event like this; the market is overcrowded with restaurants, cafes, hotels and tea houses offering Afternoon tea packages. Flooding the market in a small area means that quality doesn’t have to be as sharp and so it’s hard to find somewhere in town that does a really amazing Afternoon Tea offering. Secondly, Lumley Castle is a pretty amazing setting. Yes, it’s a real castle and with the strapline “No Ordinary Castle” I was keen to find out just what set it apart.
There’s free parking onsite which already puts it in the top half of my table, although it can be tricky to find a space if there’s an event on (I won’t even tell you about the tantrum I had in the carpark). the castle doubles as a hotel and golf course and once you’re inside it’s easy to see why it’s different to other similar venues up and down the country. Unmodernised, Lumley Castle celebrates the old. Staff wear full medieval regalia including headwear and the corridors and staircases are the original stone and iron work, complimented by swathes of burgundy velvet and gold. As you might imagine from a castle, the place is huge, there are secret corridors and halls that give off Hogwarts vibes but as I was running late due to the tantrum I’m not talking about, I headed straight to the suite reserved for Afternoon Tea.
We were treated to an assortment of finger sandwiches, freshly baked fruit scones (still warm) with clotted cream and jam, and a selection of mini cakes. All served with NovelTea’s signature blends, The Tale of Tangier, and The Tale of Earl Grey, as well as traditional tea and coffee.
“Afternoon tea has always been very popular here at the castle and as soon as we tried the NovelTea products we knew our customers would love them. As a unique and historic 600 year old venue, we pride ourselves on being no ordinary hotel. Customers love a tipple with their afternoon tea and NovelTea provides the ideal opportunity to enjoy a brand-new experience. With the option to serve the beverages both hot or cold, they are also a versatile product that can be enjoyed all year round. The only difficult decision is deciding which is your favourite!” Claire Mitchell, Sales Director, Lumley Castle
As far as the quality of the Afternoon Tea goes, it’s a pretty standard offering and has everything you would expect to see including those miniature cakes that everyone goes gaga for. Served on a three tier plate cage, with vintage flatware, it’s perfectly Instagrammable and the addition of NovelTea only serves to enhance this as it’s served from the bottle – which is included in the price. I’m no Afternoon Tea connoisseur but in my opinion it’s the NovelTea that you buy this package for. The freshly baked scones were amazing, I knocked back three slathered in jam and cream, everything else was fine – not amazing and not awful.
In terms of appeal, it’s sure to inspire envy on your Instagram Story, from the regal surroundings to the NovelTea factor (see what I did there?), this “No Ordinary Tea at No Ordinary Hotel” package is pure escapism and makes a nice change to some of the more run of the mill offerings that have become standard Sunday fare in Newcastle. Plus, who doesn’t want to go exploring in a castle right?!
Images by Marion Botella
Afternoon NovelTea is priced at £23.95 per person, based on 2 people sharing and will be served with a small bottle of either the Tale of Earl Grey or Tale of Tangier.
To celebrate the launch of their new package, Lumley Castle will be offering the first 20 customers a special 20% discount off a NovelTea Afternoon Tea. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 389 1111
Lumley Castle Afternoon Tea Menu
Assorted Finger Sandwiches:
Ham & Dijon Mustard
Poached Salmon, Cream Cheese & Cucumber
Cheese Savoury with Vine Tomato
Roast Beef & Rocket with Red Onion Marmalade
Fruit Scone served with Butter, Fruit Jam and local Clotted Cream
Nutmeg Egg Custard Tart
Chocolate Caramel Cupcake
Blueberry & Lemon Cake with Lemon Icing
Rhubarb, Raspberry & White Chocolate Fool
Strawberry Macaroon with White Chocolate Ganache