To celebrate Mum’s birthday last week, we planned a surprise trip to Cambridge for the day.
We had had giant croissants, crunchy bacon brioche rolls and strong coffee for breakfast at Café Foy, went on a punting tour on the River Cam and spent some time exploring the cobbled streets and old fashioned shops.
Our last planned surprise was afternoon tea at the Varsity Hotel in Cambridge. A luxury boutique hotel and spa on the edge of the picturesque River Cam, close to St John’s, Trinity, Jesus and Magdalene College. The hotel is an ideal location for punting, shopping and sight-seeing and has a lovely little spa that overlooks the River Cam (a reason to come back and visit again!).
Six Panoramic bar and restaurant
Afternoon tea is served on the 6th floor in the Six Panoramic bar and restaurant, with beautiful 360° views across the Cambridge skyline. The restaurant is open all day serving delicious dishes too from the traditional wood stone oven in the open kitchen, and there’s a wide range of cocktails on the menu too – another excuse to visit Cambridge again soon!
The centerpiece of this particular afternoon tea is the extensive tea selection; we were given a box of their tea selection with 12 mini smelling pots, so we could choose the tea we fancied to accompany our afternoon tea. Mum ordered the classic English breakfast tea, my sister ordered the Chai Tea – a spicy combination of ginger, cinnamon and star anise, my Dad ordered the Darjeeling Second Flush – a flowery tea with almonds and wildflowers and I ordered the Granny’s Garden tea – a delicious concoction of rhubarb and apple pieces, rose hip peel, sunflower petals and vanilla. We ordered traditional afternoon tea each, which consisted of a sandwich plate, scones and then a dessert plate.
It’s worth noting that Six Panoramic are able to cater for vegetarian and gluten free, but dairy free and vegan options are currently unavailable. They catered to my sisters request of as little dairy as possible, so she was given a tower of hummus & salad, tomato & mozzarella & salmon sandwiches, scones and mini desserts to pick and choose between.
The rest of us shared a selection of finger sandwiches, including smoked salmon, coronation chicken, ham & mustard and egg mayonnaise & black pepper. My favourite of the four was the coronation chicken sandwiches; the chicken was tender, bread soft and the filling lovely and creamy.
Next we dived into the warm scones, where we had a fruit one and a plain one each. I ate the fruit one first (cream then jam – the right way?!) and slathered it in cream and sweet strawberry jam. It was at this moment I hit an afternoon tea-style coma, and had to take a break! The towers don’t look very full but it’s certainly deceiving how filling it actually is.
We had a plate of homemade desserts to share, including a passion fruit cheesecake, white chocolate & strawberry mousse tart, mini chocolate bites and mini shot glasses of salted caramel and chocolate cheesecake. The passionfruit cheesecake was sweet and spongy with a lovely tang, and the shot glass of salted caramel and chocolate cheesecake was insane – incredibly sickly but so, so good!
The afternoon tea was reasonably priced too for £19.50 each Monday – Thursday and £26.50 on weekends, but I would’ve enjoyed another tea refill as I got through mine pretty quickly! They also do a champagne afternoon tea too if you fancy a glass of Joseph Perrier Champagne!
The views around Cambridge from the table were beautiful too, despite the slightly overcast and dull weather we had. There’s a rooftop garden and bar here too, serving cocktails and food so that’s a THIRD reason why I need to visit Cambridge and The Varsity Hotel again soon!
Have you been to Cambridge before?