A Traditional Afternoon Tea at Luton Hoo, with some Spa time

It's Afternoon Tea Week! I love a good afternoon tea, and popped along to Luton Hoo last week to enjoy tea and some spa time with a friend.

Every couple of months or so my friend Rhea and I indulge in some relaxation therapy and a leisurely lunch as we catch up on what has been going on in our daily lives, ask each other's advice and generally recharge our minds and bodies. After a little bit of looking around locally, and on the search to try something different, we found ourselves at Luton Hoo. This had everything we wanted in one place - relaxing spa, delicious food and beautiful grounds to explore if they took our fancy.

We arrived early in the morning and checked into the spa. As we didn't have coins for the lockers we had pre-made tokens thoughtfully provided for us. Once our day bags were neatly stored away we headed straight to The 19th Hole bar to get our catch up started with coffee and a muffin. The muffin was a tasty surprise, seeming to be an ordinary blueberry muffin to start with. However, after we both began making a serious dent we discovered a lemon filling in the centre that had a sherbet edge. It went really well with the blueberry cake and has mainly left me wondering how on earth they managed to get it in there (no hole for aftercooking piping)....

Eager to get ourselves firmly established in the vitality pool we headed over the courtyard to the spa. Although on our spa passes we wouldn't normally need robes and slippers the assistant dug some out for us anyway. I know that being as we weren't really moving around the spa a lot we didn't really need them, but they do make you feel like you are in for a day of luxury and relaxation, so we hastily changed into ours and headed to the pool area.

The pool room is amazing. With two entirely glass walls that look out onto lush greenery and flowers, designer loungers and (tasteful) classical music in the background I immediately felt like I was in a distant hideaway - a Swiss spa in the mountains rather than just off the M1. Cool pitchers of water were on hand for after the muscle unwinding heat of the sauna, saunarium and steam room, there were towels a plenty, and the vitality pool controls were easy to use. Everything is so inviting.

We loved the vitality pool  - a bubbly playground with benches, bubble beds and fountains all in the same space. Obviously we headed straight for the imposing water cannon in the middle. This strong jet was as good as any neck and shoulder massage (but difficult for tiny 5ft me to stay under for long). I shoved myself up on one of the bubble beds and sat there for a good while, letting the jets do their work whilst Rhea and I chatted over the bubbles.

Even getting ready was a treat as the showers were stocked with lovely Espa hair and body products which did their job beautifully, and smelled so good!!

Moving over to the main house we took advantage of the weather and established ourselves on the patio to soak up the rays. Exploration of the grounds ended up in the 'next time' category as it was just so nice sitting where we were. Refreshing raspberry mojitos and bar snacks helped too.

When it was time for our afternoon tea we were seated in a luxuriously furnished room - gilded chairs and crimson cushions everywhere. As our table was next to the window we could continue to enjoy our wonderful view as we sipped champagne and studied the menu ahead. Teas arrived in separate silver teapots that added to the ornate atmosphere in the room.

The finger sandwiches were distinctly classic - salmon, egg mayonnaise, roast beef.... cucumber. The breads that the sandwiches were made with were all slightly different and flavoured to complement the fillings. If you are looking for a traditional afternoon tea then this really fits the bill. The variety of cakes were also exactly what you would expect - maccarons, carrot cake and fruit tarts. Scones finished off our tea, and also by then we had just about finished our teapots too. Throughout the afternoon the waiters had been quietly refilling our teacups and made us feel very much taken care of.

We felt relaxed and recharged after our entirely civilised and ladylike day. The rooms and gardens at this stately home are positively breathtaking, and every detail (including service) is carefully thought out and of the highest quality. I will certainly be returning to the luxurious spa, and would recommend the afternoon tea to anyone looking for a reliably traditional experience.

Where is your favourite afternoon tea?

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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