Tempting as it is to hide under the duvet to avoid unsettling news updates, we’d recommend doing something joyful instead. When we were invited along to try out festive afternoon tea at The Grand, York – the city’s only five star hotel – it sounded like the perfect escape from reality. We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy afternoon tea at The Grand with our children in the past, but this was our first experience of their Christmas offering. It was also the first time that we’ve visited child-free (sorry kids!), which felt almost like a holiday after spending most of the year in each other’s pockets.
The Grand is just that – grand, but with a hefty dose of Yorkshire charm. We were impressed by the stunning wreath and twinkling lights at the entrance, but the real welcome came from the friendly doormen who greeted us warmly and pointed us in the right direction. Although it’s a smart hotel, the atmosphere is remarkably warm and relaxed rather than stuffy and formal, which we were particularly grateful for when we visited with our children.
Afternoon tea is served in the hotel’s restaurant, The Rise, a stunning open plan dining space. We were seated next to the twinkling Christmas tree with views directly out onto the city walls – a great spot for people-watching if the walls hadn’t been closed due to the ice. With Christmas songs playing softly in the background and the tinkle of spoons in teacups, it felt instantly relaxing and delightfully festive. Add in a gorgeous Christmas cocktail and it was easy to forget that we were a short walk from home on a dreary November day.
Speaking of festive, the menu itself was high on Christmas cheer, too. Each of us had our own tier of treats to tuck into – one vegetarian, one very much not – with a selection of delicate sandwiches, pretty patisserie and warm scones to enjoy. The Rudolph milk chocolate mousse made us laugh, and the Snowball pineapple coconut and lime choux bun was delicious, as was the White Christmas amaretto poached apricot tart (my favourite) and the Silent Night chestnut, rum and cream sponge.
Mr Viking is a traditionalist when it comes to scones, preferring the standard version, but I loved the cinnamon twist. We slowly worked through the tiers – and our pots of tea – while working out our Christmas plans and festive to-do list, but were ultimately defeated. Although each individual element is dainty, we ended up bringing a few cakes home in a box with us to share with the children. Next time they’ve made us promise to take them again – it’s one for the Christmas list.
Good to know
– Festive afternoon tea is available daily from 12.30pm until 31st December 2021
– Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are available
– Children’s afternoon tea is available too
– Pre-booking is required
The Grand, Station Rise, York YO1 6GD
Thank you to The Grand, York for inviting us to try their festive afternoon tea. As always, we will only ever recommend something that we’ve enjoyed.