Recently we went for afternoon tea at the Copthorne Hotel Newcastle. This hotel is found on Newcastle’s quayside overlooking the famous bridges.
Afternoon tea is a delightfully British institution. It is more of a formal occasion than the serving of a hot drink. Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford in the 1830’s, can take the credit for the creation of the afternoon tea tradition. As it became possible to light houses late into the evening the evening meal became later. Anna would get hungry mid-afternoon in the break between lunch and dinner. She began inviting her friends to take light refreshment and tea mid-afternoon. The tradition caught on in high society leading to the afternoon tea we know today.
I recently went to the launch of NovelTea in Fenwicks, This is alcoholic beverage perfect for the afternoon tea occasion. This made me realise I should take my son for afternoon tea as he had never been. I found a deal on Living Social for Prosecco afternoon tea at the Copthorne Hotel Newcastle. It was £19 for tea for two instead of the standard £38. I made a booking to go along.
Come along inside… We’ll see if tea and buns can make the world a better place. – Kenneth Graeme, The Wind in the Willows
Our booking for afternoon tea at the Copthorne was on a Sunday afternoon. Coincidently the same afternoon that Newcastle were playing to see if they got promotion to the Premier league. Anyone who knows Newcastle knows that the toon is home to passionate football fans. The outcome was dependant on Brighton losing their match and Newcastle winning. There was a buzz and excitement in the air and the town was full of Toon fans making their way to the match. My son had his phone close at hand to find out the score was from my husband.
The Copthorne Hotel can be found on Newcastle’s quayside and is a short walk from the city centre and the train station. Newcastle’s quayside is one of my favourite areas to walk around. It is a lovely stroll along the quayside with a great view of the river Tyne and Newcastle’s famous bridges. You can walk across to Gateshead over the Millennium Bridge to visit the Baltic, a centre for contemporary art. The quayside has plenty of shops, restuarants and nightlife as well as history. If you ever get the chance to tour the Swing Bridge it is fascinating.
Every Sunday Newcastle Quayside Market takes place between 9am and 4pm. The market has been part of the quayside as long as I can remember. Like the quayside it has undergone changes over the years. When I first came to Newcastle it was a fabulous place to buy cheap towels and sheets as well as fresh produce. Market traders would shout about their bargains and it was a bustling hive of activity. These days it features independent traders selling handcrafted goods. It is also a great place to pick up local produce. You will find a great mix of artists, jewellers and food producers and street food. The market is still vibrant and bustling and a great place to wander around.
We had seen many of the food producers recently when visiting the Proper Food & Drink Festival in North Shields. I took advantage of the chance to stock up on some more Geordie Bangers, delicious sausages and some Pete’s Pudding. This delicious flavoured pease pudding is great with sandwiches. Resisting the street food as we were looking forward to afternoon tea, we went over the bridge to the Baltic and took some photos of the river from their viewing platform.
Soon it was time for our afternoon tea and we made our way to the Copthorne Hotel. As we went back over the Millennium Bridge we could hear cheers ringing from St James Park. From the noise we knew that Newcastle had won the league and were going up as champions. My son soon got a call to confirm this which made his day. Afternoon tea would be the perfect celebration of the occasion.
I have been to the Copthorne Hotel before when I took part in some cupcake decorating classes. As well as decorating some cupcakes we got a tour of the hotel and a peep in the bedrooms. I knew that it is an impressive place. My son has never been inside. After walking into the foyer and seeing the grand piano he was really looking forward to his tea. He was expecting something special.
We made our way to the tearoom and were shown to our seat which had a lovely view of the river. We were able to watch the world going by as we ate. Whilst busy the room was not crowded and service was swift. The staff were courteous and attentive without being in your face. Shortly after sitting down a glass of prosecco was brought for me to enjoy. This was crisp and refreshing, a lovely accompaniment to the afternoon tea. . My son had to make do with a glass of pop. I was given the option of having tea or coffee. After choosing tea a cake stand was brought to the table, to my son’s delight. Never having been for afternoon tea before he was not sure what to expect.
The cake stand hid three layers of deliciousness. On the bottom plate were delicately cut finger sandwiches. Scones with jam and cream took centre place and pretty cakes took pride of place on the top. A small pot of tea came with the cake stand, containing enough for two cups of tea. Some more hot water would have been nice, but to be fair I never asked for any.
As its traditional we began with the sandwiches. It is always difficult to choose which to have first. With a selection cheese and pickle, ham and tomato, egg mayonaise and tuna and cucumber it took a while to decide. The sandwiches were lovely and delicate with the crusts cut off. The cheese and pickle was our favourite with a great savoury flavour and the tang of pickle. The scones had a lovely home made look and were obviously freshly made. I had the endless debate with my son about goes on the scone first, jam or the cream. To me it is obvious that the jam must be first with cream as the topping. He was not sure but did agree that the jam and cream was a delicious combination. The jam was particularly tasty adding a lovely fruity tang to each bite.
The top layer of the cake stand had three dainty cakes each. A Victoria sponge, a chocolate brownie and a slice of carrot cake. These were dainty and delicate portions but I could easily have eaten a slightly bigger slice. Maybe I am just greedy! The chocolate brownie oozed chocolate flavour and the layer of chocolate icing on the top made it feel decadent. The carrot cake was was lovely but the overall winner was the Victoria sponge which was light and airy with flavourful jam and cream in the centre.
Overall our experience of afternoon tea at the Copthorne Hotel was a good one. The service was great, the food was good and we enjoyed the view over the river. Even though it was busy due to it being a match day our food came quickly and we did not have to wait. It would have been nice to have some extra water to top up the teapot. This was a minor niggle and I am sure it would have been bought if I asked. I would definitely recommend afternoon tea at the Copthorne and it is worth keeping an eye out on discount sites for a bargain.
Now I have tried afternoon tea at the Copthorne hotel I am on the lookout for other great places in Newcastle to try. I know my son is looking forward to trying out other place. Do you have any recommendations? Let me know below.