Afternoon Tea at Luton Hoo
Beautiful, lavish and elegant are not words traditionally used to describe Luton. In truth, my birth town has a pretty bad rep, having won some less than pride making awards including ‘Worst Town Award 2004’. WICKED. But also, it birthed ME so it can’t be all bad eh?!
Additionally, just a mere hop, skip and a jump away from London, on the outskirts of Luton, lies the gorgeous Luton Hoo.
Once owned by diamond magnate Sir Julius Wernher it’s now a stunning hotel, spa and golf course. That’s all greaaaaat obviously (I mean if my GSCE French speaking exam was anything to go by, I am tres keen on golf, confidently declaring ‘JE JOUE AU GOLF’ at every opportunity. Golf is an easy French word to remember kids.) (p.s I have never picked up a golf club in my life) but the thing that REALLY drew my attention is the rumours of the cracking afternoon tea.
Guys, I am a bloody bugger for afternoon tea.
We skedaddled up there last week to take our pal Joan for a TREAT to celebrate her 88th birthday, and a top treat it was too. All beautifully housed in the opulent drawing room, tea is a traditional affair. We chose steaming pots of loose leaf Earl Grey (clearly the King of Tea) and Darjeeling, and a slug of champagne each (88 is definitely something to celebrate after all, and daytime drinking is my favourite kind of drinking) and gazed in AWE at the kaleidoscope of cakes that was popped down in front of us.
Look at those fine speciemens! Lemon and raspberry macarons, mini battenburg shrouded in gooey marzipan, banana and raspberry mouse and mini-lemon meringue pie. Each one was a little bite of HEAVEN. And I definitely didn’t eat the cake before I ate my sandwiches (I did).
BUT SPEAKING OF THE SANDWICHES- WHAT HO! I fucking love a finger sandwich. It feels so unnecessarily fiddly and silly. So British.
As well as the traditional cucumber sandwiches (on basil bread thank youuuuu), we tucked into egg mayonaise on a purple hued beetroot bread, smoked salmon on granary, beautifully pink roast beef on white, and the BRILLIANTLY named ‘Wobbly Bottom’ goats cheese on a sultana and walnut bread. I never knew a wobbly bottom could taste so gosh darn good.
Tea topped up and champagne going down a treat, it was time to hoe into the pillowy scones, still warm from the oven and wrapped in pressed, white linen. Slatherings of Devonshire clotted cream THEN strawberry jam because the other way is wrong you weirdos. YEAH.
Rounded off by another glass of champagne, this afternoon was a proper old school delight. Lots of afternoon teas are trendy and themed these days, which is all well and good, but for a bit of old-fashioned high tea, this is one of the best I’ve ever had. My Dad says that £37.50 is a lot to pay for (in his eloquent words) “a brew and a butty”, but we all know it’s FAR MORE SOPHISTICATED THAN THAT.
Waddling out afterwards, we were just in time to see the sun setting over the estate. And jolly Autumnal it was too. SCONES AND SUNSETS. What a dream of a day.
Afternoon tea is hosted at Luton Hoo every day between 2.30-5.30.
Prices range between £27.50-£38.50 (depending on champagne quaffage).
For more information and bookings, visit the website here.