There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding a newly opened hotel here in the heart of the Lake District. Nestled in amongst the rolling hills and beatiful countryside of the little town of Grasmere stands The Forest Side, a recently refurbished hotel under new ownership and with a kitchen which has been the focal point of many rave reviews over the last few months. When I heard they were doing Afternoon Tea, and after a number of recommendations from friends which just couldn’t be ignored, I decided I was going to have to try it out for myself.
I booked through Twitter, which couldn’t have been simpler, and before we knew it my sister and I were driving up the gorgeously understated driveway, sheep quietly grazing in a field on one side and on the other, the hotel’s well kept kitchen garden (which provides ingredients for the restaurant’s menu). We were welcomed and shown to our table in the lounge, which overlooked fields below and hills in the distance. Relaxing into some seriously comfy chairs, bubbles in hand, we were ready for the magic to begin.
And magic it was. First things first, tea. The choice is extensive, and I went for Rosebud whilst K had the White Peony. Both with subtle yet distinctive flavours, served in beautiful glass teapots. You’re given an hourglass, and when the sand has run through, your tea is perfectly brewed and ready to drink. We were advised that the flowers could be topped up with water 3 times before losing their flavour, and took full advantage of this.
Next up: a lovely wooden stand full of deliciousness. So much care and attention has clearly gone into each and every piece and the result is an array of treats which offers something a little different, and quite special too. Perfectly made sandwiches; fresh cheese scones; sourdough crumpets with the most delicious jam; and those cakes. This is afternoon tea on another level.
We sat and relaxed, feeling totally at home and looked after, before heading off for a little nosey around the grounds, peeking into the kitchen garden and admiring the gorgeous views. I can’t recommend afternoon tea at The Forest Side enough – and everyone else I’ve spoken to since has agreed. In such a luxurious setting, the whole experience is totally chilled and down to earth whilst also being unique, wonderful and memorable. Now I’m just wondering whether it’s too soon to go back for round two…