Sunday, 8 May 2016

Out & About - Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea at Holdsworth House was such a treat, being set in a beautiful historic building which retains a wealth of period features.  We certainly couldn't fault the service and the selection of vegetarian finger sandwiches and baked goodies were inviting, delicious and generous.  It was certainly well worth the visit.    

The Afternoon Tea Selection

Our wedding anniversary rolled by earlier last week and to celebrate Mr E had arranged, some weeks previous, a mystery treat.  With a twinkle in his eyes he teased me most days prompting me to guess what that surprise would be.  A trip to the Yorkshire coast.  A journey on a steam train.  A little family party.  A holiday.   No.  No.  No and no were the answers.   Wondering what I should wear for the occasion (well, us girls do like to dress appropriately) Mr E eventually shared his well kept secret and told me that we were going to be enjoying afternoon tea at Holdsworth House, a historic local hotel.  I was elated and having browsed their website I couldn't wait for the afternoon to arrive.  He clearly knows me better than I know myself,  it's such a perfect gift to me given my clear fondness of cakes and pastries.

Holdsworth House is a Jacobean property having been built in 1633.   It's a stunning period house which has retained many of its period features of mullioned windows, wood panelling and open fires.  Their gardens really inspire too.   The hotel is situated near a busy town, Halifax in West Yorkshire, and yet is secluded enough to feel as though you're away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.  In fact, if you're a fan of the drama Last Tango in Halifax you will have no-doubt seen Holdsworth House as some of the scenes were filmed there!  

Holdsworth House, near Halifax

Upon arriving at the hotel, we were greeted by the reception staff and taken through to the oak pannelled restaurant where a member of staff was starting to light the open fire.  Given that we'd experienced a chilly snap with snow just a few days earlier the heat from the fire was welcomed.  Period paintings were hung around the room and beautiful pottery filled the cupboards.   The table was laid simply yet classically with a white linen tablecloth cloth and an eclectic mixture of vintage teacups and saucers and side plates.  It really was a beautiful ambience with the period setting, roaring log fire and 1930's type jazz music playing in the background.

The panelled resteraunt, Holdsworth House near Halifax.

Holdsworth house offers 4 different afternoon tea packages.  A simple cream tea; classic afternoon tea; prosecco afternoon tea; and champagne afternoon tea.  Given that we were driving Mr E had arranged for us to enjoy the classic afternoon tea, costing £17.95 each, and enjoy it we did.

Having been seated we were invited to select which drink we wanted with our afternoon tea.  Being huge tea drinkers we ignored the coffee option and selected from English Breakfast, Ceylon, Darjeeling and a couple of others.  Neither of us had had a Ceylon for a while and so we requested Ceylon for two.  The teapots, tea strainer, milk and extra hot water arrived swiftly allowing Mr E to be 'mum' and pour the loose leafed golden tea into our vintage teacups.

Afternooon tea alongside a roaring log fire

Our vegetarian sandwiches and cakes arrived soon afterwards on a three tied glass cake stand.  The food was beautifully presented with a range of different shapes and colours.   It looked so inviting.  The waiter took pride in explaining what each item was.  We had a selection of four crust-less finger sandwiches in a variety of white and wholemeal breads: cheese and mango chutney, cream cheese and tomato, cucumber and dill and avocado humus.   Both Mr E and I agreed that the first sandwich, cheese and mango chutney, was our favourite, somehow it reminded us of a Wensleydale cheese and sweet caramelised carrot chutney sandwich which we both enjoy from Marks and Spencer.  We overheard  (tut-tut Angela!) neighbouring meat eaters being served beef and horseradish and ham and tomato alongside two vegetarian sandwiches in their selection.

The afternoon tea classic selection at Holdsworth House

Moving onto the exciting part; the cakes!  We had a wide and varied range of cakes and treats to choose from alongside three different mini scones each.  The fruit, mixed peel and plain scones were served alongside dinky kilner jars filled with raspberry jam and Chantilly cream!  Finally we had 4 different mini cakes and desserts:  Pear sponge finished with a frosting, chocolate brownie, chocolate eclair filled with Chantilly cream and a lemon posset topped with freeze dried raspberry pieces.

Classic scone with cream and jam

The hardest decision was knowing what to try first!  It really was a feast for the eyes, as well as the stomach.  Although we were a little disappointed with the brownie which we both felt had been over baked resulting in more of a cake than a soft brownie, we were more than pleased with the other goodies.  The pear sponge was beautifully tasty and light.  The lemon posset was not only delicious but seemed really fitting in the period surroundings.  The scones were also really flavoursome, particularly those incorporating mixed peel.

Uneaten afternoon tea cakes packed up

Despite having healthy appetites and having had a small light lunch over three hours earlier both Mr E and I were unable to finish the delicacies provided and were therefore delighted that our uneaten cakes were packaged-up 'doggy bag' style.  Needing to loosen our waist belts already, we decided to give the packaged cakes to my parents who live near to ourselves.  Their faces really lit up when they saw the goodies the box contained; two mini eclairs, a pear sponge and a plain scone. Needless to say the cakes were soon divided between them and devoured!   

Our afternoon tea at Holdsworth House was such a treat, being set in a beautiful historic building retaining a wealth of period features.  We certainly couldn't fault the service and despite the overcooked brownie, the sandwiches and baked goods were inviting, delicious and generous.  It's certainly well worth a visit if every you're in this neck of the woods.             

Do you enjoy going for afternoon tea? Where would you recommend visiting for afternoon tea?  

Please note, this is NOT a sponsored post.  It was shared because of our fondness for afternoon tea.
If I didn't like it, I wouldn't blog it!



  1. Sounds like a lovely afternoon! I really love a good afternoon tea, the scones are always my fave. Plus in a historic building is ideal!

    Jasmin Charlotte

    1. It really was lovely Jasmin, great setting and lovely bakes :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

  2. Oh this sounds like my idea of fun! And isn't Mr E a sweetie for planning such a fab trip!! I would love a treat like this. Might have to accidentally leave this page open when Mr G is wandering by...And congratulations on your anniversary!! How many years have you been married? Eb x

    1. Isn't he just :-) I just love afternoon tea! Ooh yes if you love afternoon tea Eb, you must drop a few subtle hints ;-)
      Thank you Eb, it was our 10th anniversary...he could have taken me down a tin mine had any still been operational ;-) We took the week off and had a number of trips out and about. I now need be 'wonder woman' and catch up with everything now :-)
      Thanks for popping by Eb,
      Angela x

    2. Haha - I seem to remember giving Mr G a 'tin' of Roses (his favourite chocs - not the flowers!) for our 10th...we're getting a bit lazy with the themes these days!! I remember back to our first when there was a veritable bonanza of paper themed presents and treats...I even took him out to dinner to a restaurant called "Le Monde" (It's a French newspaper...I thought that was quite cute!) My favourite, though, was for our 3rd when he took me to see The Sound of Music...3rd is leather = lederhosen = Austria = The Sound of Music - it was a tenuous link but I loved it!! Good luck with being 'wonder woman' - I have those weeks all too often - usually after half term or other school hols! Lovely spending time with the kids but a nightmare to catch up afterwards!! Eb x

    3. P.S. Will certainly drop hints, though Mr G works best with the very unsubtle kind!!! x

    4. Hahaha, by jove that is a wee bit tenuous, but it certainly sounds like it was a great treat :-) It sounds like you have fun bringing the anniversary elements into your gift(s) for each other.
      Slowly catching up with things, though Chester usually starts being a 'nuisance' (= wants to play or have a fuss etc) when I'm half way through a job.
      Now you've intrigued me with your phrase about Mr G's work colleagues being 'very unsuitable'!
      Angela x

  3. This looks so idyllic. I always feel so special when I've been for afternoon tea, it's always a treat. Glad you had such a lovely time with Mr E :)
    Betty x
    The Betty Stamp


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