Ad|PR The pop of a cork. Perfectly rectangle finger sandwiches. The smell of scones as you crack them open, still warm from the oven. Patisserie that looks like a piece of art. Savouring every bite. There’s just something about a really good afternoon tea that can’t be beaten.
And, there’s nothing quite like taking tea in a beautiful setting, with attentive, excellent service that lets all of the week’s stresses melt away.
Afternoon tea at Chewton Glen in the New Forest is just that, relaxed elegance in rural Dorset.
Find out more about this little slice of luxury, a quintessential part of British culture… timeless and classic.
📍 Christchurch Road, New Milton BH25 6QS
Chewton Glen is on the edge of the New Forest, on the border of New Milton. It’s the sort of location where you can see the seasons in full display. In Spring you’re blessed with bluebells, wisteria and daffodils and in Summer lush leafy greens. In Autumn behold the orange hues as the transition to winter begins. It’s the sort of place that would look magical in the snow.
It’s easy to find, but make sure you’ve set your Sat Nav before heading into the forest as it’s a bit of a Bermuda Triangle for signal.
Afternoon tea at Chewton Glen is divided into five parts, starting with an amuse-bouche and followed by sandwiches, warm scones, patisserie and a pick from a selection of cakes on the trolley.
Cakes on the trolley is such a British thing, and it was nice to see this revived at Chewton Glen. I’ve fond memories of going for tea in the grand tea rooms at the top of Southampton’s John Lewis when I was little. My Nan would say the golden line ‘You can pick a cake of the trolley if you’re good’. When I saw this on the menu, it was instant nostalgia.
There are four variations of afternoon tea to pick from. In addition to traditional tea there’s the option to have either Nyetimber English Sparkling Wine, Nadar Gin and Tonic or Laurent-Perrier Rose Champagne.
I opted for the Nyetimber English Sparkling as I hadn’t tried it before. It’s made just down the road in West Sussex, in a fabulous spot overlooking the South Downs. Safe to say it is delicious and if I wasn’t driving, I would have happily indulged in another glass. There’s always next time!
Alongside this you can pick from a large range of different teas – black, green and herbal. The black teas are from the first tea gardens in the UK, Tregothnan Tea. Is tea made in the UK, the ultimate British brew? I think we can give it that label!
The Earl Grey was lemony and refreshing but quite strong. I am fond of super strong tea but it did need a little diluting. Hot water comes as standard to top up your pot. But, they’ll happily provide another so you can ensure your tea is to your liking.
Starters and Sandwiches
While I’m sure the five elements of afternoon tea will frequently change, I’ll let you know what I had during my visit so you can get an idea of what might be in store for you.
The amuse-bouche was a small choux pastry bun filled with melted Old Winchester cheese and topped with truffle. Presented a bit like a boiled egg, this savoury starter really was surprisingly moreish and an excellent start.
The sandwiches were a classic assortment and included smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise, ham and mustard and coronation chicken. More sandwiches are regularly offered or available on request. The salmon and egg were particular favourites and I did sneak in a second round because they were totally delish.
Scones, patisserie and cake
Following this warm scones were presented with traditional clotted cream and jam, we’ll bypass the debate over the order they go in. They also supplied lemon curd as a topping for the scones and this was a delightful discovery. I have definitely been inspired to try this at home. It cuts through the scone really well and is a nice twist on the classic. The pots of jam, cream and curd are fairly small, but I am quite particular. I’m sure that if I’d have asked more would have been provided to satisfy my greed when it comes to lovely West Country clotted cream.
Next up was a dainty selection of patisserie – a matcha green tea and apricot cup cake, a mascarpone, praline, espresso eclair and an Amalfi lemon meringue tart. The eclair was the winner of this trio for me. It was a wonderful combination and the pastry chef had put thought into the layers and added a satisfying crunch, a nice contrast to the softer layers.
And yes, finally it was time to pick a cake from the trolley. Hello golden nostalgia moment. By this stage I was quite full so the helpful team packaged it up so I could enjoy it later that day. I picked a slice of Victoria sponge but, there was also a big chocolate salted caramel number too. I savoured it later that day with a cup of tea at home, thinking about just what a good afternoon it had been.
Luxury Country House Hotel & Spa
Afterwards I was taken on a tour of the hotel and spa and you bet I asked to look at the famous tree houses. The latter I genuinely didn’t think would be possible and I couldn’t believe my luck when they managed to accommodate my request.
Very quickly in-between bookings (understandably so) I was given a quick tour of the Willow, a family friendly luxury treehouse. While the pictures of these on the website are excellent, I cannot begin to tell you how incredible in real life they are.
Both the living room, bedroom and bath look out across the tree canopy which when I visited in Spring was a leafy green haven, with stunning dappled sunlight. The balcony is spectacular and has a large hot tub – it’s not hard to see why they are so popular.
The country house has 72 rooms, including the tree houses, a gym and a spa including an indoor pool, hydrotherapy and outdoor heated pool. There’s also tennis and golf if your interests run in that direction too.
For those of you with children, there’s a lot to make it family friendly too. Close to the main bar terrace is the most impressive tree house, complete with cosy corners to read, tables and resources for activities or somewhere to chill out and watch a film. It offers a beautiful play experience and retreat for younger visitors and is perfect for any kind of weather.
If a little bit of luxury is on the agenda, then afternoon tea at Chawton Glen in the New Forest is high on the list of perfect treats.
The bustle of The Dining Room made for a friendly atmosphere, and it was nice to hear friends catching up, families spending time together and moments of celebration.
The extension of the room thanks to the large doors into the terraced area and the large windows makes the room feel light and gives you the chance to take in the beautiful grounds.
The team taking care of me were a very high standard too, from the gentleman who offered me the warmest of welcomes to the sommelier who went out of her way to ensure I had a great non-alcoholic option too.
On that note, if you’re not drinking, or don’t drink, she bought me two different no-alcohol wine options – Astoria and Steinbock. The most authentic, and my personal preference, was the Steinbock but if you’re looking for something sweet reach for the Astoria.
Excellent service really does go a long way and really helps make the experience one you can completely relax at. After a very long week I returned home from afternoon tea at Chewton Glen feeling like a little piece of me had been restored.
A huge thank you to the team at Chewton Glen for the invitation and for making me feel so welcome.
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