My close friend Jacqui, freelance journalist and founder of Mummy’s Little Monkey first introduced me to Cliveden National Trust almost 3 years ago at a critical time for the family as Peter and I were considering a move to Windsor from Yorkshire. It’s no exaggeration that a carefree cold but fun day in the historic grounds of Cliveden, and the important reminder of the many friends we had down South, proved to be a catalyst in us making the move.
I didn’t imagine that upon moving, PR and now good pal, James Rogers, would reach out to invite me to make Cliveden House, the privately owned 5 star, Grade 1 Listed hotel, a second home (I know, how lucky I am-so grateful?!) but that’s what happened!
We’ve luckily experienced many a milestone there from several nourishing spa trips in their state-of-the-art spa and gym (with a listed pool no less) to a private dining Christmas festive feast, a champagne launch party lunch at the Astor Grill and most recently, the divine Ruinart Champagne Afternoon Tea that Jacqui and I enjoyed, overlooking the famous Maze (comprised of 500 metres of paths winding amongst two-metre high hedge) from the expansive parlour windows.
On what would have been an otherwise mundane Monday, we shed our usual responsibilities (along with our mum uniform of gym kits) and morphed into ladies of the manor (ha!) and it was glorious!!!
…I’ve written about the history of Cliveden House several times before but if you’re not aware of its background (and how could you not with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex staying there the night before her wedding), it has also been home to many a secret, and party too. Over 350 years, it has played host to almost every British Monarch since George 1 and saw three dukes, an Earl and Frederick Prince of Wales also live there.
It was of course the setting of the scandalous Profumo affair of 61 which saw John Profumo, an up-and-coming Conservative Secretary of State for War and husband of well-known actress, Valerie Hobson, embark on an elicit affair with 19 year old model and suspected Russian spy Christine Keeler after a chance meeting at Cliveden House.
The affair forced his resignation after an initial denial and damaged the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan’s reputation and confidence leading to the Conservatives’ defeat by the Labour Party in 64.
Steamy scandals aside, let’s refocus on Ruinart champagne and pretty views and the only scandal being, who would eat both scones or settle for one!
With perfectly prepared finger sandwiches (cucumber are always my faves) and savoury treats; freshly baked scones with home-made strawberry jam and clotted cream; chocolate pastries, the full-bodied and aromatic Cliveden blend tea (house blend for me followed by Rooibos) and not forgetting the pièce de résistance, a glass of the delectable Ruinart Rosé Champagne each, this was no ordinary afternoon tea but a feast for both the eyes and tastebuds too, a joyful curation of sweet and savoury morsels served on a signed Ron Arad tea tray.
Each tray is a piece of art, signed and numbered by the artist, with only 300 ever having been produced…
“The shape of the Ruinart bottle is very distinctive. It is part of the DNA of Ruinart. [In the creation] The outline is a ghost. The spiral is embracing the ghost. It is the ghost of a [Ruinart] bottle holding the cakes for the tea party.” ~ Ron Arad.
A statement centrepiece, it does make the afternoon tea rather spectacular indeed. And look at the surroundings!
The menu is as follows, with vegetarian and vegan options available (I enjoyed a vegetarian afternoon tea, Jacqui a standard version):
Ruinart Champagne Afternoon Tea
Smoked salmon and cucumber finger sandwich
crème fraîche, granary bread [G, F, D]
Free range egg mayonnaise finger sandwich
onion bread [G, E, D, SD]
Coronation chicken brioche roll [G, E, D, SD]
Barbecued beef soft shell taco [G, E, SD]
Chorizo sausage roll [G, E, D, Ce, SD]
Tomato and basil quiche [G, D, E]
Freshly baked raisin and plain scones [G, D, SD]
Devonshire clotted cream [D]
Homemade strawberry jam
Mint chocolate and cherry tartlet [G, D, E, S, SD]
Strawberry and vanilla religieuse [G, D, E]
Red velvet cake with raspberry buttercream [G, D, E, SD]
ALLERGEN KEY: [C] CRUSTACEANS, [Ce] CELERY, [D] DAIRY, [E] EGG,
[F] FISH, [G] GLUTEN, [L] LUPIN, [Mo] MOLLUSCS, [Mu] MUSTARD, [N] NUTS,
[P] PEANUTS, [S] SOYA, [SD] SULPHUR DIOXIDE, [Se] SESAME SEEDS
£65.00 per person
Available 26th October and 16th November 2019 only. Subject to availability. Must be booked in advance.
A trip to Cliveden would not be complete without a leisurely stroll around the beautiful 376 acre estate. An additional charge of £10 is levied by the National Trust for all guests visiting Cliveden House although if you are already a National Trust member there is no extra charge.
For more information, please see: https://www.clivedenhouse.co.uk/whats-on/ruinart-champagne-afternoon-tea/
You can be feel like a princess for a day too!
Enter to win afternoon tea (not the limited edition Ruinart one) for two worth £100.
Ends Nov 24th 2019
No cash alternative
Winner must respond within 7 days of the email notification being sent otherwise a new winner will be randomly selected.
UK only or must be in the UK when visiting. Travel and accommodation will not be covered.
Watch the video:
Disclosure: Jacqui and I received a complimentary afternoon tea.