I hadn’t been to Lumley Castle before. It is visible from a distance standing atop a hill.The grounds of the castle are stunning with gorgeous views over the countryside. To get to reception we made our way though the courtyard where you can sit outside in the summer. Signs told us how to get to the event.
Inside the castle is full of unique rooms and quirky features. Long hallways with statues along the length, tapestries hanging on staircases, old books nestling in a corner. No two rooms are the same and there is a surprise around each corner. It exudes a welcoming atmosphere and you feel as if you are on an adventure as you walk around.
If you want to stay overnight Lumley Castle has many rooms to choose from. All have en-suite, flat screen TV and wireless internet. Take your pick from courtyard singles and doubles, four poster bed rooms and executive rooms. There is also the King James suite for the ultimate luxury experience. This has a four poster Queen Anne bed, reception room and en-suite with jacuzzi. As well as staying at Lumley Castle they also host a number of event though the year. These include murder mystery dinners where you help find out whodunnit as well as Elizabethan banquets and heritage breaks. You can also pop in for afternoon tea or an evening meal.
Lumley Castle was built in the 14th Century by Ralph Lumley. Ralph was an English peer and solider. Known for his bravery in battles he led the attack at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388. Lumley Castle began as a manor house. After Ralph’s return from the wars in Scotland, where he was a prisoner of the Scots, he converted it into a castle. The Earl of Somerset took over ownership of the castle when Ralph was put to death after taking part in a plot to overthrow Henry IV.
Ownership of the castle came back to the Lumley’s when the Earl of Somerset died. Ralph’s grandson Thomas took ownership under Elizabethan law. Thomas was also a brave solider and after playing a prominent role in the War of the Roses became Lord Scarborough. Today Lord Scarborough still owns the castle but No Ordinary Hotel’s manage and run it. One of the bedrooms in the castle is the “Sir Ralph” which features a four poster bed and a Narnia style wardrobe.
The launch took place in a lovely room with a marble fireplace and an impressive decorative ceiling. Jessica Avison was providing the live music which created a mellow atmosphere. Before taking tea we learnt a little more about the history of Lumley Castle and the inspiration behind NovelTea.
Lumley Castle offers an extensive range of afternoon teas which are popular with the customers. When they learnt about NovelTea they thought it would be a great addition to their afternoon tea range. NovelTea is a unique drink which blends specially selected tea directly with a spirit. It comes in two unique flavours or tales.
Both flavours go perfectly with afternoon tea. The Tale of Tangier is a lighter drink perfect for a hot day and for serving with savoury sandwiches or cheese scones. The Tale of Earl Grey is more moody and complements rich chocolate flavours. NovelTea is the brainchild of two Germans, Lukas Passia and Vincent Efferoth who came up with the idea when taking afternoon tea whilst at university in Newcastle. Observing prosecco was often part of afternoon tea they experimented with different tea and spirit blends until NovelTea was born. NovelTea can be bought in the food hall in Fenwick Newcastle. Lumley Castle is one of the first venues in the North East to offer it alongside afternoon tea.
After hearing about the concept we got a chance to sample the afternoon tea for ourselves. Tea was set out on the table with plates so we could help ourselves to the selection of food available. It was hard to choose what to have as it all looked amazing. There was an assortment of finger sandwiches with various fillings including ham & dijon mustard, poached salmon, cream cheese & cucumber, cheese savoury with vine tomato and roast beef & rocket with red onion marmalade. For me the poached salmon was a winner, it was really delicious.
Next up were the fruit scones with butter, jam and local clotted cream. The scones were lovely and light with a great fresh taste. Finally there was the cake selection. It was hard just to pick a couple from the beautiful cakes available. The selection includes nutmeg egg custard tart, chocolate caramel cupcakes, blueberry & lemon cake with lemon icing, rhubarb, raspberry and white chocolate fool and strawberry macaroon with white chocolate ganache. The fool got top marks from me, light and fluffy and full of flavour. The chocolate cupcakes were nice as well, but maybe a little too sweet for me.
I chose to wash down my food with a glass of Tale of Tangier. As it was a hot day this was the perfect accompaniment. The addition of a sprig of mint to the glass with the ice brought out the flavour more. Sadly my husband had to have ordinary tea as he was driving. Afternoon tea at Lumley Castle is priced at £23.95 per person, based on 2 people sharing and comes with a small bottle of either the Tale of Earl Grey or Tale of Tangier.
Recently I have made it my mission to try out different afternoon teas in and around Newcastle. It is not something I have tried much before after the launch of NovelTea we tried afternoon tea at the Copthorne Hotel. This was my second afternoon tea in a number of weeks. If you are looking for afternoon tea in fabulous surroundings Lumley Castle ticks all the boxes. From entering the driveway to going into the castle you know you are going to experience something special. Inside the castle is a quirky ambience that makes you feel at home. As you walk around the building there is plenty to catch your eye and keep your interest.
The afternoon tea itself is delicious and at £23.95 for two, served with NovelTea, it is great value. The NovelTea really works well with the afternoon tea concept and if you are looking for something a little different this is it. The only problem could be choosing which blend of NovelTea to try. I would definitely go back and try the No Ordinary Tea at Lumley Castle again.
Have you ever been to Lumley Castle? Let me know below.