Life is hectic. We know. Everyone is 'busy'. Even your holidays can sometimes feel rushed. I wanted to take some take time for tea, so my daughter and I headed to the Kentish coast. I hadn’t ventured to Sandwich before but was so pleased that we had. It wasn’t long before I realised that Sandwich and its surrounding areas were great fun for children.
Since Anna the Duchess of Bedford held the first afternoon tea sometime around 1840 – as a light meal to fill the gap between lunch and dinner – it’s been a statement of fashionable relaxation and fine socialization. Tea time has remained en vogue ever since. Shouldn’t the hallmark of a good vacation be taking time to stop in the middle of the afternoon, enjoy a spectacular view and drink some fine tea?
We spent the afternoon at The Salutation, set 200ft back from the River Stour, four minutes' walk from the heart of picturesque Sandwich. The Grade I-listed house is a luxury, family friendly boutique hotel with fine-dining and award-winning gardens you’ll want to visit. Set in the medieval town of Sandwich rich with history, The Salutation is at once a country retreat and a gateway to the vibrant and storied towns of the Kentish coast.
Outside the gates of The Salutation, on the quayside, shops and a play-park. A river-boat tour can be booked in advance, and offers seal spotting trips and if that’s not enough, then Wingham Wildlife Park is just a 5-minute drive away.
On arrival, it was clear to see the hotel was full of character and charm. It’s no wonder so many people choose to stay here. The staff were very professional and friendly, keen to help from the moment we arrived. Sadly, we hadn't booked to stay overnight, as we had just come to enjoy both the gardens and have afternoon tea.
To build up our appetites and make room for scones and pastries, we took a stroll around the 3.7 acres of beautiful gardens. It was a beautiful, dry day and it really is a plant lover’s paradise. Behind every corner of the garden was an unexpected surprise which we loved. My daughter was constantly saying ‘Mummy, quick, come and look over here!"
After our leisurely walk around the gardens, we made our way back into the house to the Drawing Room where afternoon tea, designed by Head Chef Shane Hughes was being served. Head Chef Shane Hughes since summer 2017 and is poised for culinary greatness. Having worked at The Connaught, Lanesborough and Whatley Manor, the former Michelin-starred Hughes embraces local Kentish produce and the herbs, vegetables and edible plants grown in the Salutation gardens.
As part of our culinary delights, we enjoyed cakes, sandwiches, scones, biscuits and fancies which were all made from scratch. I can honestly tell you that my daughter said the scone was the best she had ever eaten. It was still slightly warm when we smothered it in delicious, homemade jam. We also relished in cucumber sandwiches, Ham Hock on Brioche, Coronation Chicken on Rye and a scrumptious Cheese & Mushroom Pastry.
There is a real family run feel to this hotel and some of their rooms are particularly set up for families visiting with young children. Some of the cottages are completely private, with multiple bedrooms and living rooms. They have all the usual equipment, such as high chairs & travel cots, stair gates, and even a baby monitor too.
I can’t wait to come back here again soon and when we do, I’m going to book us in to stay overnight. I heard a rumour that when Brad Pitt filmed World War Z, in stayed in Sandwich. Well, I mean if it’s good enough for Brad....need I say more?
This article is brought to you in collaboration with The Salutation but all opinions are my own. For more information, visit their website, The Salutation. Spotty blue dress and yellow coat gifted from Boden Clothing.