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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 16 December, 2019

Craving a moment of calm? 8 luxurious spots for a Christmas afternoon tea

It’s the indulgent self-treat we all need.

Image: Ireland's Blue Book

BETWEEN THE LAST-MINUTE panic-shopping, present-wrapping and loading up on all the food you could possibly need (sure the shops will be closed all Christmas day), this time of year can be overwhelming.

So sometimes it’s nice to tear away from the madness, leave your phone in your pocket and get a few hours of quiet time with you and your nearest and dearest, especially if it’s over delicious teas and freshly baked festive treats.

If you’d like to nail down some relaxation time before things get busy, here are some brilliant festive afternoon teas on offer around the country to treat yourself or someone special to (they’ll have to bring you, don’t worry).

1. Bushmills Inn, Co Antrim

Bushmills Inn Festive Afternoon Tea Source: Ireland's Blue Book

Served up in Bushmills Inn‘s cosy loft, you’ll be treated to the likes of pork, apricot and pistachio sausage roll, turkey, cranberry and stuffing, ‘wee gingerbread men’ and mulled wine red velvet cake with vanilla cream. Starts from £28 per person, or you can opt for a ‘G and Tea’ for £35.50 per person, Pink Sparkling for £36.50 or add champagne for £38.

Finer details: It’s available from Wednesday to Saturday, 12pm – 4pm, from November 20 to December 28. To book, call Bushmills Inn on +44(0)2820733000.

2. The Merrion Hotel, Dublin 2

The Merrion Hotel - Festive Afternoon Tea Source: Denis Mortell

Set within the Merrion Hotel‘s beautiful Georgian Drawing Rooms and accompanied by traditional Christmas carols, this festive afternoon tea will be served in front of a glowing fire and among twinkling Christmas lights. Expect dainty sandwiches, gingerbread and mince pies. Prices begin at €59 per person or €65 for the dates with carollers. 

Finer details: Available from December 1 – 31 (with carolling on December 1, 7, 8 and 23). To book, contact the Merrion Hotel on 01 6030608.

3. Mount Juliet Estate, Co Kilkenny

Mount Juliet - Festive Afternoon Tea Source: Ireland's Blue Book

Served in the luxurious space of Mount Juliet‘s Manor House, you’ll be surrounded by fine paintings, antiques and china. Enjoy a festive menu packed full of gingerbread men, mince pies, gateau opera, cinnamon and orange madeleines, apple and raspberry tarts and delicious finger sandwiches. From €40 per person.

Finer details: Available from November 29 to January 5. To book, contact Mount Juliet Estate on 0567773000.

4. Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Co Galway

anita-murphy Source: Anita Murphy

Savour your afternoon tea in the elegant Kentfield Suite (Monday – Friday) or the River Room Restaurant (weekends) of Glenlo Abbey Hotel. Expect all the classics including freshly baked scones and seasonal sandwiches, served with a seasonal twist. Prices from €30 per person, or €35 with a glass of mulled wine.

Finer details: It starts on December 1 and continues each day throughout the festive season between 1.30pm and 4.30pm. To book, call Glenlo Abbey Hotel on 091519600.

5. Wineport Lodge, Co Westmeath

The Wineport Lodge - Festive Afternoon Tea Source: Colm Kerr

Enjoy this festive tea with the beautiful backdrop of the Wineport Lodge which looks out over the Lough Ree. The menu is a three-tiered feast of both sweet and savoury  festive treats, with the option to add prosecco, gin or mulled wine. Starting at €30 per person.

Finer details: You can sample the festive menu from November 30 – December 22, served everyday from 1pm to 4pm. To book, call the Wineport Lodge on 0906439010.

6. Butler House, Kilkenny

Butler House - Festive Afternoon Tea Source: Ireland's Blue Book

Overlooking the gardens at Butler House, you’ll get to gaze out the large bay windows of the tea rooms and enjoy a decadent menu of sweet and savoury delights, with seasonal favourites such as mince pies and even a traditional yule log. Starting at €29 per person or €35 for a glass of bubbles or pink gin.

Finer details: Runs from November 23 to December 6, 12pm to 4pm on weekdays or 12pm to 5pm on weekends. To reserve a spot, call Butler House on 0567722828.

7. Hayfield Manor, Cork

Hayfield Manor - Christmas Source: Ireland's Blue Book

Nestled in Orchids Restaurant within the five star Hayfield Manor, this festive tea includes sandwiches with honey-glazed ham and mustard, turkey and cranberry, mini mince pies, gingerbread cake and cranberry and orange scones. Prices are €38 per person.

Finer details: Runs throughout the month of December with two sittings each day (1pm and 3.30pm). To book, contact Hayfield Manor on 0214845900.

8. Killarney Royal, Co Kerry

Killarney Royal - Festive Afternoon tea Source: Ireland's Blue Book

At the Killarney Royal, festive afternoon tea is best enjoyed in front of a crackling fire and in the relaxing space of the Lobby Lounge, which has been decorated for Christmas. Sample sandwiches of spiced beef and turkey, cranberry and sage stuffing, homemade cranberry scones, homemade ginger biscuits, chocolate yule and mince pies along with tea, coffee and a glass of mulled wine. Cost €19 per person.

Finer details: Served daily from 12.30pm until 5pm throughout the festive period, call the Killarney Royal to book on 0646631853.

Like the sound of these? Ireland’s Blue Book vouchers make for the perfect Christmas gift, and they can be used for afternoon tea, overnight stays or even just decadent dinners – your loved one can pick exactly what they’d like best. Give a gift (or self-treat) with a difference by checking out their gift vouchers here.

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