Festive Afternoon Tea with Friends this Christmas
Afternoon Tea has been a tradition since Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedfordshire, ordered mid-afternoon bites, to be served in her private rooms, in order to stave off the hunger pangs till dinner.
It’s a jolly good job Anna got hungry in the afternoons, otherwise we’d all be missing out on what has become a social occasion as much as a foodie treat. Afternoon Tea is what the professionals call a ‘white glove service’ meal. That means discreet and elegant delivery, harking back to the era of the grand houses of the Duchess of Bedfordshire’s day.
Afternoon Tea has gathered pace, to become a bit of a girl’s thing for celebrations and sisterhood gatherings – probably because of its origins. Not surprising, since when Anna was ordering cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, the gentlemen of the household certainly did not take tea with the ladies. They were either off hunting, shooting and fishing or in the smoking room, swigging brandy and discussing bank deals and investments. That was the way things were back then.
But these are modern times we are in. At Christmas, Afternoon Tea to turns into a festive occasion for everyone to enjoy. A gathering round the table with your nearest and dearest, to indulge in a tiered presentation of savoury and sweet bites, accompanied with your favourite cuppa and even some bubbles if you fancy getting swish. Come one, come all.
City dwellers, visitors and shoppers can indulge in Festive Afternoon Tea in some of Ireland’s most famous hotels. Where will you go for a treat this festive season?
Cork is really rockin’ it when it comes to Festive Afternoon Tea. Three great hotels have gained a reputation for this social meal.
Getting Festive at Hayfield Manor
Orchids Restaurant at Hayfield Manor Hotel in Cork city is the venue for Festive Afternoon Tea during December. A beautiful room which looks out over the garden. If the weather forecasters are to be believed for the coming weeks, there might even be a dusting of snow to complete the festive picture when you visit!
Choose from sittings at 1pm or 3.30pm, with a menu of daintily presented sweet and savoury bites. A five star feast fit for a Duchess (or a Duke). Booking highly advised for December.
Christmas Afternoon Delights at The River Lee Hotel
At The River Lee Hotel, Afternoon Tea is served daily in The Weir Rooms, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm each week, and at other times for private bookings on request. Call out the classics here, with everything from mini cucumber and watercress sandwiches to teeny bite sized scones with whipped cream.
House teas and coffee, with the addition of a glass of fizz if you wish. It will all float gently to your table, under the expert eye of Afternoon Tea Hostess Serena Tesei. Read all about her in our Day in The Life blog.
Take Tea like a Duchess at The Maryborough Hotel
At The Maryborough Hotel in Douglas, not far from Cork City, they have a dedicated Afternoon Tea Lounge, especially for this gracious experience. The Drawing Room has all the trappings of a country manor house, since there’s 300 years of history here as the former home of one of Cork’s Merchant Princes.
The Georgian period is echoed in the well proportioned room with its large windows, wood panelling and comfortable lounge chairs of the era. Fine bone china place settings and graceful three tiered tea stands dress the tables in grand style. Sweet and savouries are contemporary, with an eclectic mix of little bites in each serving. Traditional and Speciality teas and coffees accompany. Add a glass of bubbles in the form of Prosecco or Champagne. Go on, it’s Christmas!
The capital has a select choice of hotspots to enjoy the treat of Festive Afternoon Tea.
Unadulterated Afternoon Tea Luxury at The Shelbourne
The ideal place to meet up with friends and family, The Shelbourne offers a superb Festive Afternoon Tea in The Lord Mayor’s Lounge this Christmas. From November 23rd to early January, Festive Afternoon Tea will be served daily between 11.45am - 6.30pm, accompanied by the engaging and tranquil music of their resident pianist.
This is the perfect treat to unwind and recuperate after Christmas shopping or to catch up with friends before the New Year.
The Shelbourne Festive Afternoon Tea includes a selection of dainty finger sandwiches and along with delicious warm buttermilk scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, there is also a variety of sweet treats including; The Christmas Tree, Rudolph, The Snowman and a Mini Shelbourne Mince Pie.
Contemporary Glamour at Dylan Dublin
The funky Dylan hotel in Dublin is where you go if you want a glamorous contemporary Festive Afternoon Tea experience. You can take tea from noon to 5pm each day in the modern surroundings of the Dylan Bar.
The Savoury course errs on the traditional side, with smoked salmon and crème fraiche on Irish soda bread one of the choices. The Sweet features handmade pastries from Dylan’s kitchen. Bite into a mini Chocolate Brownie or Lemon Tartlets with Ginger Crumble, just a couple of selections to get you going. The Essential tea includes a range of organic teas and infusions, plus barista coffees if you prefer. The Sparkly tea can be served with Prosecco, Champagne or freshly mixed cocktails. Sassy.
A Touch of Glitz at Conrad Dublin
Fancy a Cocktail Afternoon Tea anyone? A menu of little tea sandwiches and gorgeous dessert pastries and speciality teas and coffees is served in the swanky surroundings of Lemuel’s Bar at Conrad Dublin. Accompany your Burren Smoked Salmon, Cucumber, Egg and Truffle Oil or Glen of Aherlow Ham with any cocktail from Lemuel’s extensive list.
Champagne Afternoon Tea comes with a glass of Henriot Brut Champagne. Push the boat out! Afternoon Tea is served at 1.30pm and 4.30pm daily. Booking highly advised this festive season.
A Creative Streak at The Merrion Hotel
If you’re in anyway arty or just like to look at beautiful things, you won’t know whether to admire or eat the indulgent Art Tea at The Merrion Hotel. This lavish five star experience includes sweets and savouries that are quite literally works of art on tiered stand, inspired by the work of J.B Yeats, Louis Le Brocquy, William Scott and others.
East Meets West at Clontarf Castle
A mix of eastern and western tastes make up the Fusion Tea at Clontarf Castle. Served in an oriental wooden box tiered stand with each compartment holding a tasty mouthful. Little scones come in their own glass domes. The Atrium Lobby with its roaring open fire beckons these chilly afternoons.
Sparkling Fusion Tea includes a glass of Massotina Spumante Prosecco. Grab a chair by the fire and tuck right in. Afternoon Tea served Thursday to Sunday 12.30pm to 16.30pm. Booking essential 48 hours in advance.
The rich and historical surroundings of this city provide the perfect place to wander, browse and shop before taking Afternoon Tea.
Get in the Christmas Spirit at The Granville Hotel
Festive Finger Sandwiches, homemade scones and preserves and seasonal sweet things are all on the menu for the Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Granville Hotel in Waterford City. A traditional hotel, serving a traditional tea, they really know how to do it here!
Fantastic value too, as Afternoon Tea comes with a range of teas and coffees and a Bellini cocktail or glass of Prosecco. What better way to finish your Christmas shopping day?! Served Thurs/Fri/Saturday throughout December. Booking essential.
Fabulous Festive Afternoon Tea at Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Resort
At this time of year Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Resort becomes a magical Christmas wonderland with tall beautifully decorated Christmas trees, dazzling lights and warm open fires. The perfect atmosphere to welcome you and your friends for a delicious afternoon tea celebration over the festive period. Choose between the traditional afternoon tea with a glass of bubbly at €34 per person or the festive afternoon tea at €24 person or add a mulled wine option at €27 person.
Afternoon tea favourites such as sweet tasting scones, delicate finger sandwiches and rich pastries appear in this excellent menu, which is sure to wow you and your circle of friends.
You can also purchase an Afternoon Tea Experience Gift Card to give as a gift this Christmas, to someone who loves the clink of china and a sense of occasion.