I love nothing more than going out for Afternoon Tea, and if you read the food and lifestyle sections on What Emma Did from time to time, you’ll probably have witnessed a lot of Afternoon Tea content. However, I’m not stopping there!
I recently tried out a new place to experience all the nicest teas, cakes, scones and sandwiches in Cheshire which I’m here to share with you today. Let the Queen of Afternoon Tea tell you a bit more about this hidden gem: The Vicarage, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire.
I call it a hidden gem because I actually drive past this place most days on my way through Cheshire to Manchester, and as its so close to Cranage Hall, I assumed it was another boutique hotel for weddings, occasions and fine dining.
However, its actually got a great reputation for its farmhouse style venue offering lunches, afternoon tea and drinks, attracting locals in the area, and people willing to travel for a quaint place to dine, relax and catch up with friends.
It has a beautiful exterior, but is even more charming once inside. The Vicarage resembles a refurbished 17th Century Grade II listed country pub, restaurant and hotel in the heart of Cheshire. It is part of the umbrella brand Flat Cap Hotels, a family run group with local roots. As soon as I stepped inside (which was on a rainy, miserable, grey Sunday), I was greeted by a cosy ambiance, quirky décor, touches of country comforts, a warming fire and that real independent British public house feel.
As well as calling in for dinner or drinks, this cosy and cute Cheshire haunt is home to 26 en-suite bedrooms, snug areas, a games room and a welcoming restaurant, bar and library. The ever-changing menus emphasize excellent regional food and drink which is seasonal and, wherever possible, sourced from local suppliers.
The Hotel is available for exclusive private hire or can be sectioned for private parties, events, corporate meetings, birthday celebrations and weddings, and it has a gorgeous conservatory which would be more than suitable on those Spring days.
So – the afternoon tea. We opted for the classier affair (of course!) which was the Sparkling Afternoon Tea, which included Prosecco. What more could you want on a dull, rainy Sunday in January?
We were taken to the conservatory area and given a pretty little window seat, before being asked what teas and coffees we would like, and our Prosecco would then follow. It costs £19 per person for the Sparkling option, which I feel is in line with competitors, and is possibly on the very reasonable mark to say that its a Cheshire location.
The first thing that impressed me when the three tier plates came out was that the finger sandwiches were a little different than usual. Instead of just the finger cut rows, there were also open top sandwiches pilled with smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese, and also a tomato, pepper and rocket version.
The scones were just the right size – not too over facing, leaving me with room to tuck into the plate of cakes (which were fairly chocolate heavy, which is a good thing for me as I have a real weakness for chocolate). There was a nutty chocolate tart which was absolutely divine, along with a rich, chunky brownie and a chocolate sponge roll infused with fresh minty cream.
Its safe to say I was literally in a dessert food coma!
I couldn’t fault the food offerings at all – everything was delicious and the portions were just what I would have expected, if anything, maybe on the generous side. The service was friendly, attentive and helpful, and overall, the ambiance and atmosphere of the whole place was so relaxed, cosy, and super cute.
I’d love to venture to this venue for a wedding or party, because I feel its such a beautiful place which has so much more it offers. From the website, the bedrooms look stunning too – real unique and rustic with a premium feel.