You know how often times when you think of a country, you immediately have a mental image that pops into your mind? It can be a place, a dish, an architectural style, an activity. Well, for me 5 o’clock tea is definitely one of the most British things out there. The shiny silverware, the delicate porcelain cups, the delicious scones and cakes carefully displayed on the three-tier plate stand – it’s all so cliché in a way, yet so pleasing to the eye (and the stomach, if you go to the right place).
I mentioned this to a friend I made during my time in the UK and little did I know that I will not only see my wish come true, but that I will have a truly unforgettable experience. I’d like to take a minute here and say that one of the reasons I travel is finding kind-hearted, like-minded people that I can connect with. It’s my way of restoring faith in humanity, if you will. In a world in which kindness has become somewhat of a rare bird, finding someone who’d make the effort of organising a perfect afternoon for a person they’ve just met is truly a gift from the Universe. You see, I don’t make a lot of friends, but when I do, it feels like I won the lottery. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Right, so back to my perfect day. My friend wanted it to be a surprise, so I had no idea where we were going. After a short drive through the quaint countryside of New Forest, we arrived at the picture-perfect Chewton Glen hotel in New Milton. Exposed brick, arched windows, pale green window shutters, flowers everywhere – British country-side charm at its finest right there! In all fairness, it took me a while to be able to actually enjoy the moment, as all I could think of was ‘What the hell did I do to the deserve this?’.
Tea and scones
We were greeted and led to our table on the terrace of the hotel, with a beautiful view of the property. We were offered a variety of teas to choose from – I went with the Red Berries and it was delicious. Then followed my favourite part: the plate stand was brought, with little sandwiches (pear chutney and brie, egg and mayo, beef something), scones and sweets. The little cupcakes were absolutely to die for!
Stroll around the property
After our feast, we went for a walk around 130 acres property, that features a golf course, 4 tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, spa, restaurant and basically everything you need to never want to go back to the real world again. What I liked most is that they grow part of the produce used in the kitchen in their own garden and orchard. I even saw some bee hives, so I’m guessing they produce honey as well. The smell in the herb garden was absolutely divine, I just wanted to stay there forever and get high on the scent.
I feel like the photos don’t really do the place justice – it’s one of those things that you have to experience first-hand to fully comprehend the beauty of. I am truly humbled and deeply grateful for having had the chance to experience this – pure human connection, plus tea and cakes to go with it! Thank you, C.! Thank you, Universe!