Restaurant reviews

Afternoon Tea in the Lake District: A fine dining treat at The Samling

For my birthday this year, Kyle was kind enough to treat me to an overnight stay in the Lake District. As if this wasn’t enough, he planned a surprise afternoon tea for me at The Samling, a small luxury hotel overlooking Lake Windermere.

My parents had stayed before at The Samling, so I had heard all about the luxurious setting and amazing views, but I hadn’t heard much about the afternoon tea.

Now, I love my afternoon tea, and wish that it wasn’t quite so calorific so I could eat it more often without worrying about what the scones, clotted cream, cakes, and sandwiches might be doing to my arteries!

Without a doubt my favourite afternoon tea location is Browns Hotel in London and to be honest no other afternoon tea can ever or will ever compete (in my humble opinion)!

However, that doesn’t mean I’m not open-minded to other afternoon tea experiences and so it was with some excitement that we were sat down in front of the gorgeous roaring log fire at The Samling.

We were half an hour early for tea, which starts at 3pm each day, and so, after picking the type of tea we wanted for the afternoon tea from two big wooden boxes full of tubes of tea, we settled back with a pot of hot chocolate and took in the surroundings whilst relaxing on plush, comfy sofas.

Afternoon tea at The Samling

Time for tea

The sandwiches arrived first, along with our tea (I chose an aromatic Assam, Kyle chose a smoky Lapsang Souchong). I’d never seen open sandwiches before as part of an afternoon tea so I was curious as to how they would differ from the delicate finger sandwiches I’m more accustomed to. I was actually really impressed; the ratio of filling to bread was spot on, whereas sometimes you can just get a mouthful of bread and not much actual filling.

Afternoon tea at The Samling

Open sandwiches

The egg mayo was a real stand-out, and the smoked salmon was exactly how you’d want it. The ham and mustard was packed with flavour and the cucumber very demure and delicate. Another thing I liked about the open sandwich format was the focus on seasoning, something you don’t often think about with a sandwich. Here, you could taste the fresh salt and pepper that adorned not only the filling, but the actual bread as well.

Before we had time to sit back and dwell on the delicious taste of the sandwiches, our scones and cakes turned up!

I tried to restrain myself from tucking into the scones for as long as possible but managed only about four minutes. The scones were still warm from the oven and we smothered them with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The texture of the scones was spot on; fluffy and crumbly, they were incredibly moreish and my one slight criticism is that I would have liked another couple to scoff!

Afternoon tea at The Samling

Scone time!

We had a bit of a break to let the sandwiches and scones settle before moving on to the pretty little cakes.

There was a carrot cake, a chocolate muffin, a flapjack, a berry meringue, and a chocolate cake, and we took our time savouring each.

Afternoon tea at The Samling

Berry meringue

The carrot cake was spicy and offset by a cream cheese topping, the chocolate muffin had a light texture that you don’t often see with a muffin, and the chocolate cake was literally melt in the mouth. Kyle loved the berry meringue (I prefer the chocolate options!) and we were both left utterly stuffed full of the amazing afternoon treats.

Afternoon tea at The Samling

Afternoon tea in all its glory

After relaxing for a while in front of the fire and finishing our tea, we set off to head to our hotel, in a bid to work up an appetite before our dinner a mere few hours later!

Afternoon tea, when done properly, is a decadent treat of an experience. Indulgent and naughty, it was the perfect way to start my birthday weekend in the Lake District. The setting of The Samling makes it even more of a treat; the views are spectacular and the lounge where the tea was served cosy and lavish without being pretentious.

If you’re looking to treat someone with an afternoon tea experience in the Lake District, in my opinion, you should look no further than The Samling!

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