I should start this post with a disclaimer. This post will not contain useful tips about how to spend 24 hours in Manchester. However, this post may be of some use if you want to know the best place to get afternoon tea in Manchester!
The other weekend I met up with some old friends. Sadly, one friend was missing. When we originally booked this weekend there was meant to be four of us. It was meant to be an opportunity for us to all come together as a group, a chance to really spoil our brave friend, Sarah. However, life is so very cruel, and beautiful Sarah lost her battle with cancer at the end of July. Her absence was very noticeable and there were many reminders of her throughout the weekend. The champagne lunch that she was so looking forward to had an empty chair at the table; a chair where she should have been sat laughing and raising her glass with us. We had debated cancelling the weekend, but Sarah would have insisted that the party went on. Sarah would have wanted us to raise a glass to her. There were many glasses raised in her memory, laughs and, of course, tears.
The weekend was bound to be an emotional one and therefore we took the best approach: roll with it with a drink in hand. We had booked to stay at the King Street Townhouse (there will be a review coming soon), a luxury hotel set right in the centre of Manchester. I arrived at our agreed time and the concierge very kindly relieved me of my bags. I sat and I waited and I waited and I…..you get the picture. 30 minutes passed and I should have been feeling a bit panicky as the girls were now half-an-hour late. I was very happy to sit though. I never get to just sit. I’m not sure the hotel staff were so pleased that I was just hanging around in their hotel foyer, making use of the free Wi-Fi. Finally, Louise and Lisa arrived and the hotel reception staff were relieved to see that I did actually have some friends 😉 Louise had insisted that they walked from the train station and I think that they may have got a little bit lost. Getting lost became a bit of a running theme for our weekend, more on that in my next post.
Champagne afternoon tea
We had booked afternoon tea at the hotel and it did not disappoint. The surroundings were elegant and I almost felt like a lady, almost. I don’t think I will ever be an elegant lady, my Essex roots let me down. No matter how hard I try I always sound Essex, it’s the twang. Anyway, I was on my best behaviour and despite the afternoon tea being a proper luxurious treat for ladies, I felt very at home . Sometimes an afternoon tea can feel a little pretentious but not this one. We felt very at home in the cosy lounge and comfortable chairs. This might have been helped by the very delicious Perriet Jouet champagne that we were sipping on. Yes, sipping not guzzling.
We had the most amazing finger sandwiches that were all divine. Finger sandwiches require you to nibble and we had a lovely time nibbling and catching up on each other’s news. All of the sandwiches tasted delicious but I think my personal favourite was the cucumber, mint and crème fraiche. The girls were very enamoured with the coronation chicken sandwich. After we were stuffed to the gills with sandwiches, out came the delicious cakes. At this point I had to admit defeat. I rolled away from the table and escaped to the toilets. In the safety of the cubicle I wrestled myself out of my spanx. Yes, I was wearing spanx to have afternoon tea, worst idea ever! With the spanx removed and my internal organs back in their place, I was able to tackle part 2 of the afternoon tea. I know, I am making it sound like eating afternoon tea was a hardship. Tough world forcing a mountain of sandwiches, cake and the finest champagne down you. 😉
The desserts and cakes were amazing. I didn’t know where to start. So much to choose from, to quote their website –
“Served with the pièce de resistance three-tier stand with light, crusty scones and rich clotted cream accompanied by a variety of homemade cakes and pastries including, blood orange and vanilla cheesecake, rhubarb trifle, chocolate & pistachio tartlet and lemon macaroon.”
We had been enthusing over the sandwiches with loud “oooh this gorgeous” but now we were practically ecstatic over the desserts. We very sensibly resisted the urge to dive straight in. Instead, we carefully planned our attack. Leaving the scone to last was the way forward we decided. We didn’t want to fill up on the scrummy scone and then have no room for the delectable desserts. I can say that they were all delicious. I say all but I couldn’t actually manage it all, despite the girls demands that I just
We might have mooted asking for a doggy bag and taking the left-overs back to our room. We were very tempted until I pointed out this was something my Granny used to be very fond of doing. We then debated smuggling the cakes into our bags. However, we had to accept that our student days are long behind us and we no longer need to smuggle food or tomato ketchup sachets out of restaurants. So with great reluctance we had to leave some of the cakes behind. Our eyes are very much bigger than our bellies.
As well as sipping champagne we were able to choose tea to go with our sandwiches and cake. I chose my favourite Assam tea and it really was delicious. The afternoon tea was fantastic, the service was amazing and it really was a brilliant experience.
If you are looking for afternoon tea in Manchester then you really should check out the King Street Townhouse
So that was our first couple of hours in Manchester, what did we do with the other 20 hours. All will be revealed tomorrow but big hint – there were cocktails, lots of cocktails!