Last week I went with a friend to The Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate for an indulgent afternoon tea, since the spring has officially sprung.
Our booking was for Sunday afternoon, so we took the train to the cloudy Harrogate early, as we needed some time to explore the town as well. It’s a beautiful little town, full of small vintage shops, artisan coffee places and posh tea bistros and since my friend and I are obsessed with photos, we stopped every now and then for a snap or two. Even if it was gloomy, you could still appreciate the stunning gardens and flowers that were around the city, especially since it was spring already.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw the hotel. It is located on a hill, distant from the other places but still easy to locate, surrounded by a blossomed garden. As we walked in, the staff helped us with our coats and led us to the Swan Lounge for our Afternoon Tea. And it was magnificent. The place, the chandelier, the classical music playing in the background, the baroque decoration... I was amazed. I felt as if I had gone to the Afternoon Tea heaven, so I spent at least ten minutes just appreciating the place.
You can decide the sandwiches that you like the most and whether you want tea, coffee or hot chocolate and your Afternoon Tea arrives on a 3-storey tray along with fruit scones served with strawberry preserve, clotted cream and butter and a selection of chef’s homemade cakes. As for the sandwiches, I and my friend had the Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese, the Roast Beef Red Onion with Horseradish, the Coronation Chicken and the Cheddar and Sweet Pickle ones. My favourite was the Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese one but I couldn’t even finish the one with the Roast Beef, even though they all looked delicious. But of course, as much as I enjoyed the sandwiches and the freshly roasted coffee, I have to admit that I was mostly excited for the fruit scones and the homemade cakes. If you’re following the blog for a while now, you must have noticed my weakness for sweets, so when I saw them I couldn’t wait to take a bite! There were many cakes to choose from, whether you prefer chocolate, creamy cakes or macaroons. The scones were also fantastic, as they were steamy and served with a thick fresh cream that I couldn’t get enough from.
It was hard to say goodbye, and to make it easier we wandered around the hotel rooms. We found the most beautiful venue for weddings. It was a small pavilion in the middle of a charming garden and even if I’m not a big fan of weddings, I told my friend that that’s the place I want to get married! The hotel also has a ballroom which reminded me of Anastasia’s “Once upon a December” song.
But after a while, we had to go back to Leeds, so after another walk around Harrogate, we went to the train station to get our train back home. It was a great experience, especially because neither of us has ever been to a traditional English afternoon tea. I would definitely love to go back, but maybe when the weather is warmer and sunnier.