Another day, another post from my Cream Tea Review blog.
Cream Tea Review – Hardwick Hall
Thursday 21 April 2009
So I thought it was about time I covered my Number One cream tea, the one that all others seek to emulate – Hardwick Hall.
To begin with I should say that Hardwick Hall is my favourite National Trust property. A beautiful Elizabethan house built for Bess of Hardwick, Hardwick Hall is fascinating, impressive and boasts superb gardens. Plus as a National Trust member you get free entry to the neighbouring ruins of Hardwick Old Hall (despite being operated by English Heritage) which are simply amazing.
Standing enough to run around in and ruined enough to offer a sense of mystery the ruins of Hardwick are my favourite place to be in Britain. So I obviously enter into a review of a cream tea at Hardwick with a bit of a bias, but believe me it does not need it. With or without my bias, Hardwick is undoubtably home to the best cream tea i’ve sampled so far. So onto the ratings…
Setting: The Hardwick Hall National Trust operated restaurant is located within the building adjacent to the Gift Shop and in the old kitchen. There is one large room and a smaller cosier room (which I prefer) and you sit on long benches often having to share tables with other parties. The restaurant offers waiter service which is often a rarity in National Trust properties but it can get really busy and noisy. This often leads to queues to be seated but it is worth the wait. 8/10
Atmosphere: The usual National Trust atmosphere but predominantly an elderly crowd rather than families.
Quantity: 2 scones. The way it should be! 10/10
Accessories: A generous sized pot of National Trust blend tea. The scones come with butter and the usual pot of Strawberry jam & thick Clotted Cream. On a recent visit the Strawberry jam was replaced by Raspberry but I believe this to be a temporary replacement due to a Strawberry jam shortage. 9/10
Choice: Hardwick Hall is fruit scone-hater friendly. Much to my housemate’s delight the menu offers you the choice of plain or fruit. My friend has two plain scones whereas I opt for one plain and one fruit. Diversity is the key! 10/10
Quality: This is where the Hardwick cream tea really excels. The scones are absolutely delicious – not too heavy, not too light, warm and freshly baked. Simply delightful. Sometimes they can be quite crumbly but it’s a small price to pay. 10/10
Verdict: 10/10 Offering choice, delightful surroundings and a quality product and service Hardwick Hall is the gold standard of cream teas.