‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland…at the magical magical Winter Gardens’….
There have been some real pinch me moments during my year of blogging so far when an email pops into my inbox that excites me so much, I can’t help but do a little squeal out loud.
Okay, you got me. I mean a loud, high pitched, ridiculous, over the top squeal.
So when I received an invitation from my favourites over at Bookatable to review one of their iconic Afternoon Teas I knew I was in for the biggest treat, and I’m not just talking about their cake selection.
WHAT AFTERNOON TEA TO CHOOSE ON BOOKATABLE’S WEBSITE?
My first and extremely tricky task was to choose which location to dine at, out of the many fantastic options on the Bookatable website. (I say task like it was a hard thing to do, I mean, does it get any better than this?)
The truth is I absolutely ADORE afternoon tea, but sometimes the choice in London can be ridiculously overwhelming, seeing as though there are literally thousands of options to choose from, with new teas popping up daily. If I’m being totally honest, I have only been to a handful of Afternoon Teas over the last few years because I do think London has a tendency to ridiculously over charge for them. In my opinion, there are times I would rather spend sixty pounds on a big slap up three course meal with plates of delicious food, which is why if I am going to go to Afternoon Tea it needs to be truly WONDERFUL and memorable. Infact, I always make sure that the tea must tick off the following three points on the Summers Holiyay mantra to ensure I am getting the best value for my money and experience.
- A stunning breath-taking location.
- A buzzy ambience/lively atmosphere. (I don’t like stuffy or ‘too posh’ places)
- And of course the main event.. the food. It has to look and taste top notch, and even better if there is a theme.
So even though Bookatable were extremely kind by inviting me to Afternoon Tea in return for an honest review (and just in time for my favourite time of year) I really really wanted to make sure I chose somewhere that was going to be ridiculously special and unique so my lovely followers would believe my every word as honesty is always my best policy. I always want to make sure that I would choose to visit somewhere that I would actually pay for myself, and not just go somewhere because I’ve been kindly gifted the experience.
So with that in mind the selection process begun. And it took me all of………… three minutes to decide the location. (Honestly all that build up… I am SO dramatic).
I did do lots of research and a lot of scrolling on The Bookatable website (with hundreds of wonderful choices) but from the minute I laid eyes on The Landmark I knew it was screaming out for me to choose it.
HISTORY OF THE LANDMARK HOTEL
So for those of you that live under a rock and have not heard of the iconic five star luxurious hotel in the heart of Maryleborne let me give you a brief rundown of what’s what.
The first thing to mention here is that this hotel is FULL of history. From the day it opened in July 1899 it has been one of the most glamorous and breath-taking hotels in the city, with its opulent and elegant architecture and detailed interior totally reflecting on the hotels history and heritage. (It’s as if those architects in the 19th century had a time machine and knew that they were designing one of the most ‘grammable’ spots in London- those little clever clogs).
I absolutely love spending time in a building that is filled with history, and have always said that I wish I was born back in the olden days where ladies had to be dressed to the nines and glamorous every day, wearing ball gowns to dinner. So it felt really magical to know that I was dining in a room that had been buzzing and alive with memories since the Edwardian times.
Fun fact- this luxurious hotel was created by Sir Edward Watkins who founded the Great Central Railway and built The Landmark to service all of the passengers coming to and from Marylebone station. Its famous opening ceremony was attended by members of the Royal Family, and the hotel has since had a huge wealth of famous guests stay in its divine rooms. Ohhhh la la!
The Landmark is renowned for its breath-taking grand atrium, which sits at the centre of the hotel. Named ‘The Winter Gardens’ it is truly the heart and soul of the hotel and is genuinely one of the most impressive and stunning settings I have ever had the privilege of dining in.
THE WINTER GARDENS- THE LANDMARK HOTEL
I will let the photos do the talking, but please can you just picture yourself here having afternoon tea whilst sweeping, tall palm trees surround you, and cascade all the way up to the eight story high clear glass ceiling. The atrium has the most light, airy and fresh feeling in the day, whilst still maintaining the cosiest feel, as a pianist and harpist play soft jazz music in the background. It is so special, and so relaxing, and I could feel myself getting swept up in the magic of the place and getting emotional. (I mean it doesn’t take much for me to get emotional these days does it?)
We stayed for hours on end, eating and drinking the day away, and watched the hotel transform from day to night. And met me tell you, this is where the magic really happens. Twinkling fairy lights sparkle from the palm tree tops and the atmosphere totally changes. There really is a magnificent electric feeling as the dramatic atrium goes dark and I was so happy and grateful we got to witness the transformation.
It really is clear to see why this is one of London’s must sought after afternoon teas!
AFTERNOON TEA AT THE LANDMARK HOTEL.
Speaking of tea…oh my goodness, I’ve just realised this whole time I’ve not even mentioned the food oops!! I’ve been so swept up in the magical location and setting as it is so genuinely beautiful and stunning (and a reason alone to come to The Landmark) that I haven’t discussed the main event.
But the food, oh the food. It is the cherry on top of the very delicious cake.
Let’s start with the sandwiches, those delicious, light and delightful sandwiches. Now first let me just explain that I’m not reallllly a sandwich girl. I’m a little fuss pot when it comes to fillings so I’m not the best judge when it comes to afternoon tea as I only stick to what I like and know.
So ladies and gentleman let me introduce you to my piglet of a hubby (who likes to pose on luxury hotels staircases, and who managed to devour over twelve sandwiches that day).
Yes my friends, you heard correctly TWELVE. You could see his little eyes light up inside each time the lovely staff brought over a new platter for him. So if that is not an indication of how divine they were then I don’t know what is?
The sandwiches on offer were a mixture of smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise and cress, coronation chicken on walnut bread, vegetable and pesto and classic cucumber. All such perfectly British choices!
In all seriousness, we were both shocked and amazed at how often the staff would come over to replenish your plates and offer you more food. I have been to many an afternoon tea where you practically have to beg the staff to top you up despite the Menu saying ‘unlimited’, so this was an absolute treat and they were honestly so generous with the food portions.
Another thing to mention is that as well as being a fusspot, I am also now 23 weeks preggers and there was a few things on the menu I couldn’t eat. I spoke to the hotel in advance and asked if I could swap around a few of the sandwiches and they were so attentive to my needs and made me my own special platter, which I was honestly so grateful for!
Lets move on to the scones, which were the fluffiest and warmest of treats, and just the transition from savoury to sweet that we needed.
We were given the option of which flavoured Jams we wanted to compliment the scone and clotted cream and decided to go for the classic Strawberry and the more unique Rhubarb and Vanilla, both of which were divine.
And now for everyone’s favourite part.. the sweet treats. Oh wow this was heaven on a plate!
By this point we were so full up, but it’s true what they say, no matter how full up you get there is always a separate tummy for dessert. Whose with me?
Our sweet platter of cakes consisted of a dark chocolate tartlet with banana cream, Apple and salted caramel tart, pumpkin and lemon cake, a raspberry and pistachio choux, and a divine macaroon. Oh and lets not forget a belated birthday vanilla cupcake for the hubby.
It was only fair that we devoured every single thing on our plate for a fair review, and yes I am 5000 stone heavier and no I am not okay.
On top of all these magnificent treats we also had cups and cups of steaming hot tea to compliment the beautiful food, and the lovely and caring staff made sure our china kettles were steaming hot the whole duration of the afternoon. Its little touches like this that really made our experience so special and unique.
THE FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… an afternoon t-t-tea….
Before I go, I just HAVE to mention that The Landmark are soon bringing out their very special festive afternoon tea, which will be put on over the magical Christmas period. It looks absolutely delicious and is definitely not one to be missed. I for one, will be first in the queue!
(Photo Credit: The Landmark Hotel)
A FINAL LITTLE ROUND UP
This was actually my first experience of an afternoon tea that wasn’t themed and was just a good old classic British spread.
And do you know what……I absolutely eat my words from earlier.
This tea didn’t need to have a theme. There were no silly or over the top gimmicks. It was classy, it was timeless and it was absolutely perfect as it was.
I will forever feel like the luckiest girl for having the opportunity to experience such a memorable and quintessentially British day out.
Thank you so much to Bookatable and The Landmark for such a unique and special afternoon, I am the happiest little piglet in this world.
Love Sammy xxxxx
The Landmark Festive Afternoon Tea will be served until January 2020 at £58 per person. To get a slice of the action you can book via Bookatable right here.
Disclaimer- I was kindly invited to review this afternoon tea via Bookatable. They kindly paid for this experience however all views and opinions are my own.
Please click below to read more of my London foodie experiences: