The Bowes Museum is celebrating it's 125th anniversary this year, and what better way to celebrate a birthday than with cake! Yes, last Wednesday I decided to visit the museum to try out afternoon tea at Café Bowes; my Mam and I love afternoon tea and it's a perfect way to spend a day off! I love visiting the museum when I have some spare time, and I couldn't wait to see what afternoon tea there (my other favourite pastime!) had to offer!
It must've been wonderful to dine with the Bowes family just over 125 years ago. John and Josephine were avid collectors, hence the building of the museum in the first place, and if you get chance to visit the museum now, it's worth visiting the 'Dining with the Bowes' display; for a glimpse into the finery of dining with the Bowes family.
Lady Josephine Bowes, pictured with her dog, loved to collect
Some of the pottery, porcelain and silverware displayed, gives the viewer a glimpse of the crockery that the family would have used in their everyday lives as well as those pieces reserved for finer dining.
I was really impressed with the silverware on display, (some bearing the Bowes' family coat of arms) and was interested to learn that a lot of it was bought by John Bowes' great grandfather, who spent a whopping £1090 on silverware before his second marriage. It's clear to see John's love of collecting certainly ran in the family!
Exploring the museum certainly helped to work up an appetite, and after drooling over all of the sweets and treats on offer in the museum shop, we were certainly more than ready for our afternoon tea. I love Café Bowes; you always get the warmest welcome, the atmosphere is great and the food is absolutely delicious! I was so glad I booked a table in advance and was given a window seat; my favourite place to sit is one where I can admire the beautiful gardens below. We were a little early so ordered coffee when we arrived but thankfully, the chef had been informed that we'd arrived so we didn't have to wait long for our food...
...and it looked so beautiful, we couldn't wait to delve into the goodies (my Bertie Burberry bear wanted a piece of the action too!!).
Choice of sandwiches was cheese savoury, ham and pease pudding and salmon and cream cheese on brown granary bread. The sandwiches were delicious and there were more than enough; there certainly wasn't any skimping on the portion size! The small fruit scone was perfect (and still warm!); sometimes a larger scone is too filling with an afternoon tea, so this one was just right.
Last, but by no means least, the cake layer was absolutely outstanding. The mini Victoria sponge with fresh strawberries was so moist, the chocolate straw melted in my mouth and the mini macaron was absolutely delicious! The layered Tiramisu cake was tasty too, but a little too rich for my palette (nevertheless I managed to demolish it!!).
On the whole, the afternoon tea was up there with one of the best I've ever had. With our coffees and pot of tea included in the price, it was £25 for two people; a real bargain as most afternoon teas of this calibre start at around £15 per person. I also got a ten percent discount for being a Friend of the museum! I'd certainly recommend it-it was outstanding and my Mam and I had a wonderful afternoon!
With full tummies, it was time for us to make our way home, but I'm sure we'll be back again soon for another adventure!
Until next time,
Afternoon tea at The Bowes Museum is £25 for two people. To reserve your table you can contact Café Bowes by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01833 694605. For more information on visiting the museum, check out their website here.