Have you ever had a day where everything seemed to go wrong? Melissa and I had one of those days recently when we met up in Richmond for a walk and a session of afternoon tea.
Our day started with me missing my train. I like to think I'm not often late and I rarely miss trains but on this particular day, my tardiness meant that I was going to be a full 30 minutes late. It turns out I don't actually live 4 minutes from the station after all.
We met up at Richmond Station and caught a bus to Richmond Park. Perhaps I should mention that this was a relatively mishap-free experience and we managed to get off the bus at the right stop! I am not very good with buses at all.
We took a stroll through Richmond Park as we made our way to Pembroke Lodge. I must say, I had expected the park to look slightly less barren by this time of year. Nevertheless, we did find some photo opportunities but didn't find the famous Richmond deer.
Pembroke Lodge was very busy when we arrived and when we finally found someone to talk to, we discovered that we were in the wrong place for afternoon tea. We needed to go to Pembrokes at Richmond Hill Hotel, a good 15 minutes walk away, and we were going to be late.
We hurried as much as we could but we were indeed late for our sitting. When we arrived at the hotel, we couldn't find anyone to point us to the restaurant and landed up walking right to the wrong side of the hotel.
Eventually we found our way and were given a seat but then we waited ages to be served and even longer for our afternoon tea stands. Was it worth all the grief? Yes and no.
My gluten-free option was very good and featured moist, springy bread, a lovely panacotta and a delicious creme brûlée. But the scones? The scones were superb. Served warm, the scones were fresh out the oven and had the perfect taste and consistency. They are probably the best scones I've ever had, gluten-free or not. To complement our food, we shared a mint and rose tea, followed by a lemon ginger tea.
Unfortunately, the standard afternoon tea was not as good as the gluten-free option, which is a pity because mine was quite good. I would definitely have liked the service to be a little more attentive and for £29 each for the champagne afternoon tea, I would expect a much better quality and consistency to the whole experience.
Would we return? We'd definitely like to return to Richmond later in the summer and we said as much on the day. As we walked from the hotel back to Richmond, we saw some gorgeous views of the park and river.
All in all, it was a strange afternoon indeed but one that reminded me of the importance of girlfriends and the opportunity to get together and confide in each other. They definitely couldn't take that away from us!