My elderly mother remarked on her birthday that she had never been out for a 'proper' afternoon tea. So I decided to surprise her as a special treat. I searched the Internet and asked friends for recommendations and came up with Tylney Hall.
Firstly, there was no disabled parking but I was at least able to stop by the entrance and help her inside. To be fair, the reception area was very busy at that time but I approached the concierge and asked him if there was somewhere she could sit while I parked the car and he said she was welcome to stand where she was by the stairs and wait!!! I told him we were there for tea and that she needed a seat so he grudgingly called someone to help her and she was taken through and seated at our table.
When I joined her, no-one was there to greet me at the door to the tea room and so we sat and waited for service. We watched people being brought in and seated with menus and I eventually caught the eye of a waitress who apologised for the delay and promised to return with a menu shortly. So we waited. The menus came and we then waited for our order to be taken. More apologies and another wait for the tea to arrive. We watched other tables being served (including people that arrived after us) and finally, after an hour and a quarter, our food platter arrived. Our tea was cold and it was just after a group who had arrived after us finished theirs and left.
We hadn't ordered anything out of the ordinary. Just the afternoon tea men which was mediocre at best. 4 finger sandwiches each, a brioche, a slice of warm sausage roll with two scones with jam and cream. Looking around at other tables our cakes were very unimaginative by comparison -a couple of chocolate brownie squares, lemon tart and a nutty pastry.
When I asked the waitress whether the service was normal she said that they had had three members of staff call in sick so they were very busy. All the waiting staff were very pleasant and apologetic but these things happen and the management should have made sure things were better organised or even explained the problem when we arrived. It really was a great disappointment and a waste of £54.
Just to top it all, I subsequently overheard my mum telling her friend on the phone what a lovely surprise it was but we were completely let down by Tylney Hall. I could have cried.
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