By Stuart Costen, Founder at Love Derby
It’s not very often you get invited to Marriott’s oldest hotel in the world for a spot of Afternoon Tea, so when Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club got in touch to book us in for some tea, cake and sandwiches (three of my favourite things) you can imagine the smile on my face.
You’d expect a country club with 300 acres of lush, landscaped grounds to be out in the middle of nowhere, but Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club is surprisingly only a 10 minute drive from Derby city centre, and very easy to get to.
As we drove up the entrance road, you can’t help but feel you’re entering into some sort of Jane Austin novel, the house is beautiful and grounds go on as far as the eye can see. The house was originally a Priory dating back to 1320 and since the Dissolution of the Monasteries 1534 it has undergone many incarnations, most famously the home of Charles Darwin’s granddad Erasmus Darwin.
You can golf, swim, sleep, eat, drink and wander at this gem of a hotel. The corridors are as higgildly-piggildy as one would expect for a house that spans eight centuries with wonderful surprises at every turn.
We arrived 10 minutes earlier than our 12:30pm Afternoon Tea slot, but this was no hassle for Greg the Restaurant Manager who would be our waiter and tea guru.
As we walked into the restaurant and sat down, I must admit the room felt a little dated, and as it was empty – we were early – it felt a little lacking in atmosphere. However, our focus was quickly drawn to what drinks we would like, as well as teas (we’ll come back to these in a moment) you could – for a little bit extra – choose some fizz.
On offer was Freixenet Prosecco, Freixenet Sparkling Rose, Moet & Chandon Champagne or Gordon’s Pink Gin Spritz but as none of us were drinking, Greg being his amiable self brought us some Raspberry and Strawberry Mocktails that were excellently refreshing.
However, it wouldn’t be afternoon tea without tea, and as an enthusiast I was extremely excited when Greg brought out a fantastic case full of different Twinnings Teas.
With eight to choose from it was going to be an agonising few minutes deciding which one, but Greg assured us that we could have more later should we choose to. I went for the Mighty Assam, and my two dining partners went for Apple & Elderflower Green Tea and The Full English.
Obviously we tried each others.
The Assam was smooth and full-bodied. The Elderflower was light and refreshing, and the The Full English was pleasant. We were also given a handy device that contained three hourglasses, one for each type of tea; white, black and green so you can make sure your tea is brewed for the perfect amount of time.
Shortly after we’d taken our first sips of tea it was time for some lunch, and by this time the restaurant had filled up and there was a lovely busy atmosphere.
The three tier cake-stand came out and was beautifully presented.
There was Open Soft Egg & Watercress Finger Rolls; Mozarella, Slow Roast Tomato & Basil Pesto; Severn & Wye Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Mille-Feuille and Ham Hock, Barbers Cheddar Croquettes with Onion Chutney on the bottom tier, a neat assortment of Gateu Opera squares and Red Velvet Cupcakes on the middle tier and to top it off, of course, it was freshly baked fruit scones with Bonne Maman Strawberry Reserve & Dorset Clotted Cream and a Lemon Posset with Meringue.
All the sandwiches were fresh, soft and tasty. The Mozzarella was light and juicy, the Salmon was strong and succulent and the croquette was exceptionally moist and melted in the mouth.
The cakes were the perfect portion size. The chocolate squares were rich and creamy, and the red velvet cupcakes were soft and fluffy and balanced perfectly with the sweet butter cream.
Greg mentioned that the Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club was the only Marriott Hotel to have a pastry chef onsite, so the scones were made fresh at the hotel and you could certainly tell! Warm, tasty and just-about-right crumbly. The addition of thick clotted cream with strawberry jam made for an incredible scone experience, possibly the best I’ve had.
It’s worth noting that if you have any special dietary requirements to mention them to your server as they will be more than happy to accommodate.
After eating we were all suitably full and decided against more tea as we couldn’t fit anymore in our tummies. During our introduction we were asked if we would like a tour of the hotel – now I’m not 100% sure if this is something every person who eats at the Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club is offered but I’m pretty certain if you asked nicely and they weren’t too busy they would happily oblige.
Our tour guide for the afternoon was a very friendly chap called Tony who had worked at the hotel for 13 years no less. He took us for a 30 minute wander around the winding corridors, up and down the countless stairs and explained to us the history of the hotel with a few ghost rumours he had heard over the years. The past of the Priory is fascinating and there is a wall just off the main entrance that depicts it all on some nicely printed boards, so make sure to ask for a look before you leave.
We had a lovely time at the Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club and as someone who very rarely does afternoon tea (although I really should as I love all the components that make one) it made for a extremely pleasant afternoon.
The setting, the afternoon tea and the service was first class. We were treated how you would expect to be treated in Marriott Hotel and we would advise anyone who loves tea, sandwiches and cake to give the Afternoon Tea at Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel & Country Club a try, you won’t be disappointed.
To learn more about Afternoon Tea and to book your table visit https://www.tableresmarriott.com/breadsall-priory-afternoon-tea-restaurant-derby
Disclaimer: We were invited to Breadsall Priory by its marketing team to do this review, obviously they knew we were coming and may (or may not) have treated us differently than a normal afternoon tea goer. However, this review is an honest representation of our experience there, and had we had a bad experience we wouldn’t have printed the review.