Best afternoon teas for Mother’s Day
It’s not too late to get it right on Mother’s Day! (next Sunday 6 March – it should be tattooed on your forehead). Choose from the best afternoon teas in Berkshire with my curated guide (yes, seriously, I’ve drunk a lot of tea and eaten many many scones) and say ‘I love you mum’ through the medium of cake (and contemporary dance if you’re that way inclined and have the energy). Personally, I need to lie down in a darkened room breathing pure oxygen and listening to Pan Pipes. I’m not sure I’ll ever eat again. Ooh, you’re not leaving that last scone are you, shame to waste it…
Beaton Tea Rooms & Bookshop, Crowthorne
Afternoon high tea is one of the Beaton Tea Rooms’ specialities. This bright and airy tea room has just opened in Crowthorne and having visited last week, I can confirm it’s a winner. The service in particular is brilliant – really warm and friendly, and there’s a good selection on the menu. Traditional afternoon tea is served from 3pm, beautifully presented with a selection of cakes, delicate finger sandwiches, scones, jam and clotted cream. They’ll even box up what you can’t quite manage so you can take it home. The bookshelves in the corner are stocked with great ‘present’ type books, so that’s mum’s gift sorted too.
Beatons Tea Rooms & Bookshop, 241 High Street, Crowthorne, RG45 7AH. Tel: 01344 771700. www.beatonstearooms.co.uk
Madame Posh, Windsor
When I got in touch with Madame Posh (oh if only she really did exist) they were slightly reticent about being mentioned for afternoon tea as they have literally just opened. But how could Madame Muddy not include Madame Posh on its afternoon tea list? Two great dames right there. And such is the power of the Muddy superblog (come on, let me take some credit) the chef has confirmed he will be doing afternoon tea in time for Mother’s Day – hurrah! With a menu including salted caramel pecan eclairs (oh my!) raspberry chocolate slice, honey cake, tropical coconut mango passion slice, and pretty pastel macaroons in every flavour (and colour) from pistachio to praline. I think you’ll find enough to satisfy your appetite!
Madame Posh, 107 Peascod Street, Windsor SL4 1DN. Tel: 01753 376 102. www.madame-posh.com
Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Reading
If our mighty National Trust properties can’t get a cream tea right then it’s time to leave the country. I can confirm (having eaten my fair share of cream teas at Basildon Park) that they do a cracking one. They have some special additions to the menu for Mother’s Day including floral shortbread, lavender scones and rose flavoured sponge cake. Y.U.M. There’s also a surprise giveaway for all the mums and origami flower craft activity for the kids.
Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Reading, Berkshire, RG8 9NR. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/basildon-park
Cliveden, Taplow, nr Maidenhead
Mums visiting Cliveden with their children go free on Mother’s Day. Head over to the Orangery for classic cream teas and cake, and a free chocolate or two (did I really just say ‘free chocolate’?!) and enjoy chocolate tasting from L’Auberge Du Chocolat in the shop. End the day with a free wine tasting supplied by Chiltern Valley Winery based near Henley (free wine too? Is this a dream?). Wine tasting from 12pm; chocolate tasting from 2pm.
Cliveden House, Taplow, Berkshire SL6 0JF. Tel: 01628 668561. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden
Whittington’s Tea Barge, Reading
This totally fab, quirky little barge run by the charismatic Andy and Lesley, has been pulling in the crowds since it moored up opposite Christchurch Meadows in 2012. Andy warned me that they are getting booked up quickly for Mother’s Day, and only have availability in the morning. But I couldn’t not include them, so get on the phone now if you want to bag a place. The popular cream teas start from £5.50 for scones with jam and clotted cream and a pot of tea, and you can add sandwiches and/or a slice of cake. Plus, a glass of bubbly for £6, just mind you don’t fall overboard on your way out *hic!*
The barge is situated on the North bank of the river, alongside Christchurch Meadows, Reading, RG4 8BY. Tel: 07986 733 638. www.whittingtons-teabarge.co.uk
Coworth Park, Ascot
Served in the Drawing Room with beautiful views across the hotel’s stunning wild meadow, this grand afternoon tea spot oozes glamour. The Meadow Afternoon Tea (nicely done) incorporates hand picked ingredients on its meadow-inspired menu, including apricot and Coworth estate lavender macaroons, a meadow blend tea and Queen Victoria sandwich with sweet cicely. Amazing selection of teas to choose from. £29 per person for the traditional; £42.50 for the Verve Clicquot afternoon tea.
Coworth Park, Blacknest Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7SE. Tel: 01344 876 600. www.dorchestercollection.com.
The Forbury, Reading
I’ve stayed at this hotel a few times and it really is on a par with the best boutique hotels in London in my humble opinion. I wish it would get more credit. Perhaps because it’s in Reading people are a bit sniffy, but I tell you, The Mighty ‘Ding is on the crest of a wave at the moment so watch out all you doubters. The food steers very much along the classic line, with a selection of finger sandwiches including smoked chicken with tarragon mayonnaise, salmon and cream cheese and Wiltshire ham with wholegrain mustard. These are served with cakes, warm raisin and plain scones, pastries and a large selection of teas. Full afternoon tea £20.50 per person. Champagne afternoon tea £26.50.
The Forbury Hotel, 26 The Forbury, Reading, Berkshire RG1 3EJ. Tel: 01189 527770. www.theforburyhotel.co.uk
Donnington Valley, Newbury
Afternoon tea is an enduring classic of this hotel, where guests can tuck into freshly baked scones and jam made with local fruit. Choose from a range of teas served with finger sandwiches, and seasonal cakes and pastries all served in the hotel bar (pictured above). When I checked, they only had availability for the late afternoon, so if you want to book better make it snappy!
Donnington Valley, Old Oxford Road, Donnington, Newbury RG14 3AG. Tel: 01635 551199. www.donningtonvalley.co.uk
Muddy Note: Some of you might be shaking your fist at the computer screen at this point thinking I’ve missed out some obvious choices. Just to say that a few places I contacted are already fully booked for Mother’s Day, including The Vineyard in Newbury, The Cantley House Hotel in Wokingham and the gorgeous Riseley Village Tea Room. Or venues that are known for their fab cream teas aren’t serving them on Mother’s Day such as The Red House in Marsh Benham which is focusing on its Mother’s Day lunch instead. Bookmark them for another day when you’re in the mood for afternoon tea (uh, that would be EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. in Muddy world).