If you know me well you’ll know that I love a bit of party planning (seriously think I missed a calling in life somewhere, especially thanks to the invention of Pinterest)! So when my brother-in-law got engaged, I had been planning for a while to throw a bridal shower for my sister-in-law-to-be (just ask my husband, I mentioned it ages ago. What a geek). And with my husband being the eldest of five boys, getting an official sister on his side of the family has been a long time coming.
The wedding is going to be in Portugal in May, as that is where the bride-to-be is from, and with all of her family over in Portugal, I knew they would be doing something over there in the weeks running up the wedding. So something with the British contingent was needed, right? And what is more British than an afternoon tea? So off we went to Chilston Park Hotel in Lenham, Kent (part of the Hand Picked Hotel group).
The Afternoon Tea
When we arrived I was surprised at just how big the hotel itself really is; the land it is set on is huge, with a lake and large gardens (22 acres, don’t ya know). It would be a lovely setting for a wedding as it is out in the country, but has some great facilities. We went through to the restaurant where we all chose from the menu. Chloe, my daughter, was there, so she had the children’s afternoon tea, proved at £10. I thought it was really nice to have a child’s option, and she was so pleased with her very own cup and saucer for hot chocolate, and not to mention the marshmallows, of course. The portion size of the sandwiches and cakes was just right for a little one.
The rest of us, bar one, had the traditional afternoon tea, with a range of finger sandwiches, and afternoon tea classics like scones, jam, and clotted cream. The other cakes were:
- Apple & Cider Jelly, Spiced Mascarpone Cream, Ginger Cake Trifle
- Chocolate and Orange Mousse
- Cinnamon and Cranberry Macaroon
- Passion Fruit & Winter Berry Pavlova
- Banoffee Cream Choux Buns
One of the guests in our party is vegan, and I was so impressed at what they were still able to come out and offer her. There were sandwiches, and still plenty of cakes for her to have. So I was really impressed with that; they didn’t make a big deal of it. I noticed that they do cater for gluten allergies too.
The cakes and sandwiches were so good, and we were getting pretty full. I think that you certainly get your money’s worth with what there is on offer (£25 for traditional afternoon tea, including tea or hot drink of your choice). The staff were attentive and friendly, no complaints about the service at all. We all had such a lovely time, talking about the wedding, outfits, and all of that fun stuff.
The Hotel and Rooms
After the afternoon tea, we were taken on a tour of the hotel, to see the other function rooms that they have on offer, as well as some of the bedrooms. I was so impressed at the amount of function rooms that they have on offer, there really is something for every occasion. The grounds made me instantly think how good of a wedding venue it would be, but even better when we saw the function spaces that they have; there is even a separate building that can be used for a service, as well as reception.
They styles of the rooms are all different, so it caters for a variety of needs. I also like that some original features that were kept, such as one of the bars was converted from the stables, with the original stables features and flooring still in tact. Really cool. I like how the hotel mixes the modern and the traditional.
I had no idea that the bedrooms were so unique too; there are rooms that are all themed in a different way, from Ascot racing to a Camelot jousting style room. I though this was a great feature and makes the hotel really stand out from the crowd.
Bog-standard hotel rooms are all much of a muchness, but these were funky, quirky, and fun – I would definitely want to stay in one of them!
The attention to detail in the rooms is amazing, and all of them different and unique. A definite selling point.
We had such a lovely afternoon at Chilston Park. If you’re ever visiting in Kent, I think it would make a great place to stay, or if you’re local, it would make a lovely place to eat – I would recommend the afternoon tea completely. The whole experience was wonderful! I know Ana and Rob are getting married Portugal, but it would make a lovely wedding venue too!
Have you ever been to one of the Hand Picked Hotels? When did you last have an afternoon tea? It would be great to hear what you think!
*thank you to Chilston Park and Hand Picked Hotels for collaborating with us on this post. All words and opinions are my own.