High Tea comes with a whole new meaning at The Devonshire Arms in the Yorkshire Dales...
If, that is, you’ve got the cash to splash out on their ‘High Flyers’ Afternoon tea experience, which kicks off with a tour of the area from above aboard ‘The Dev’s’ very own chopper.
Sadly, the nearest I got to this fabulous experience was a decent view of the heli pad from the brassiere terrace whilst I sipped on an ice cold glass of rose. I hate heights anyway.
Still, I did get to take champagne afternoon tea in the bright and airy conservatory overlooking the beautifully manicured Italian Gardens on a perfect summer’s day (that black cloud didn’t hang around for long!) – a proper posh treat.
The Devonshire Arms at picture-perfect Bolton Abbey on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales is one of Yorkshire’s most salubrious watering holes. The joint also boasts a fine-dining restaurant, recently refurbished spa, brassiere and a cocktail bar.
Its location draws parallels with the scenes in the classic hit musical; Mary Poppins, where Dick-Van-Dyke chalks a perfect picture of the English countryside and they all dive in for a day out in the country.
It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Mary herself appeared on the back of a merry-go-round horse and skipped across the perfectly manicured lawn with her parasol, followed by a gaggle of penguins.
The location of the Devonshire Arms must have been Dick’s inspiration in that oh so famous whimsical chalk drawing scene.
The little humpback bridge over the river Wharfe. Sheep grazing on the grass in the fields that make up the landscape like a patchwork quilt of various shades of green. Winding country roads, babbling brooks and birds tweeting in the perfectly formed trees.
“When Mary hold your ‘and, it feels so grand, your ‘art starts beating like a big brass band…”
Back in the conservatory the charming French waiter who was just the right level of ‘French’ poured my friend Adele and I a glass of chilled Laurent Perrier whilst we perused the extensive tea menu.
It was a toss up between the White Bellini infused tea inspired by the Peach Bellini cocktail, and the Green Tea with Lemon and Ginger for me. I opted for the latter. Served perfectly from a silver teapot for one into white china.
It wasn’t long before our tower of treats arrived served wonderfully on square plates, which added a touch of modern sophistication to the very traditional affair.
The middle tier featured dainty finger sandwiches filled with a selection of fillings to include egg mayo, cucumber and cream cheese, cheddar cheese, smoked salmon, Coronation Chicken and ham and mustard. All of which were delightfully fresh, although a savoury tart or two wouldn’t have gone a miss.
Two fruit scones and two plain scones sat proudly on the bottom tier, alongside miniature pots of strawberry jam and clotted cream. I love a fruit scone and I wasn’t disappointed by the fluffy little fruity beauties, topped with a dollop of jam and cream.
The top tier featured an array of sweet treats to include raspberry macaroons, honey, lemon and thyme Madeleines, Devonshire Teacakes and my favourite by a Yorkshire country mile – dark chocolate tarts with blackcurrant and hazelnut.
Adele didn’t get a look in – I gobbled them both down probably much quicker than a lady enjoying afternoon tea should have.
Champagne afternoon tea at the Devonshire Arms (£40 per person) in an all-round winner, not least because of ‘The Dev’s’ picture-postcard location. Make some time to mooch around the cosy public areas, enjoy a glass on plonk on the outdoor terrace, or a cup of coffee by a roaring fire in colder months.