Are you a fan of the popular Netflix series Bridgerton?
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If so, you’ll notice that many of the scenes revolve around afternoon tea, a staple of high society that was popular in England from the mid-1800s onwards, otherwise known as the Victorian Era.
Afternoon tea in the Regency Era (1811-1820), which is the period that the series is set in, was more common in the evening and did not become a popular pastime among the high society until around 1840.
In modern-day Ireland, tea is still a common refreshment, and it goes without saying that tea is offered in pretty much every restaurant and café in the country.
Enjoying a cup of tea is also a social ritual in houses and businesses across the country.
If you’re looking for a more formal, Bridgerton-style experience, here are 7 that you should try when you’re enjoying your budget vacation in Ireland.
Titanic Hotel, Belfast
If you’re visiting Titanic Belfast you can’t miss the Titanic Hotel, a 3-minute walk from the city’s most popular destination.
It’s the ideal historic location to experience afternoon tea like the Bridgertons.
The building itself was once the headquarters of the Harland & Wolff shipbuilding company and its interior reflects that history.
In fact, the hotel lobby space, with its three-story-high barrel-vaulted ceilings was once the site of the company’s Drawing Rooms where plans were drawn for the Titanic.
Afternoon tea is served in the upstairs Presentation Room, where plans for the company’s new ships were presented to investors and executives.
Enjoy tiny soft sandwiches filled with a variety of delicacies, as well as freshly baked scones and pastries with cream, all of course on the best china, similar to what might have been used on the ill-fated ocean liner.
The price of the Regular Afternoon Tea is £29 per person. You can also avail of a Prosecco Afternoon Tea and a Veuve Clicquot Champagne Afternoon Tea, at an additional cost.
Even if you’re not staying at the Titanic Hotel, you can take a public tour of its drawing offices and heritage rooms.
Highlights of the tour include access to Lord Pirrie’s Office (chairman of Harland & Wolff) and “The Corridor of Power,” which includes meetings rooms and the office of Thomas Andrews, the Titanic’s chief designer, who went down with the sinking ship.
The wardrobe, fireplace, and window frames of Andrews’ office are exactly the way they were when he walked out of it for the last time in April 1912.
If you’re staying at the hotel, you could take its art and heritage trail at your leisure.
The building houses over 500 artworks, artifacts, and photographs that will take you back to the golden age of ocean travel.
Culloden Estate and Spa, Belfast
Sightseeing can be exhausting, which is why a spa treatment topped with a delicious afternoon tea is the perfect antidote.
At the Culloden Estate and Spa, a 10-minute drive from Belfast City, you can choose from a 55-minute full-body massage, facial, manicure, or pedicure and later enjoy an afternoon tea, all for £115 per person.
A Bridgerton-Inspired Afternoon Tea is also available for £40 per person. It includes Lady Whistledown’s Starter followed by Queen Charlotte’s delectable sandwiches, Lady Bridgerton’s finest scones, and Lady Danbury’s desserts and dainty cakes.
Compliment it all with tea or coffee, a Lady Whistledown Gossipy Gimlet cocktail, or a glass or two of champagne.
The tea is served in Vesper’s Restaurant overlooking the estate’s fine gardens.
The Culloden Estate and Spa is a 5-star property and may be too expensive for budget travelers.
However, either the spa package or the afternoon tea is the ideal opportunity to experience this beautiful Gothic building, once the official home of the Church of Ireland Bishop of Down, known back then as the “Bishop’s Palace.”
Derry Girls Afternoon Tea – Everglades Hotel, Derry/Londonderry
Are you a fan of the Derry Girls, the popular Channel 4/Netflix series?
If so, and you’re visiting Derry/Londonderry, where the series was shot, you won’t want to miss the Derry Girls Afternoon Tea experience at The Everglades Hotel in the heart of the city.
The menu is not unlike the kind of food you’d find on the Granda Joe’s kitchen table, including sausage roll baps, fresh cream horns, a classic Tayto Cheese & Onion crisp sarnie (sandwich), as well as a tray of freshly baked scones, bread, and pastries that Ma Mary would love too!
The cost of the Derry Girls Afternoon Tea is £30 per person, which must be booked 24 hours in advance by calling +44 (0) 28 7132 1066.
The hotel also offers a Traditional Afternoon Tea menu for £25 per person, which is served daily from 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. and includes finger sandwiches, savory treats, pastries, and cakes, all with tea or coffee to wash it down. Call the above number to make a reservation.
Vintage Tea Trips – Dublin and Cork
Would you like to enjoy afternoon tea the Irish way?
If so, hop on board a vintage double-decker bus in either Dublin or Cork with Vintage Tea Trips.
The front-engine buses, which were at one time used by the London Transport system, are affectionately called Pauline and Kitty.
Both are named after founder Karen Nixon’s grandmother, who she says liked to welcome everyone for tea, whether it was the postman or the pope!
On the Dublin Afternoon Tea trip, you can enjoy a variety of afternoon tea delicacies, including freshly made sandwiches, desserts, cakes, and pastries, with 1950s jazz playing in the background.
Organizers of the tours say the 70 to 80-minute tea experience is a sightseeing tour, without formal commentary.
Hear some classic Dublin stories instead while passing St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College, St. Stephen’s Green, Woodquay, O’Connell Street, the Phoenix Park, a well as Dublin’s beautiful Georgian buildings.
The Cork Afternoon Tea is an equally enjoyable experience, with all the offerings that are available on the Dublin bus.
The menu in Cork is provided by the Pastry Fork.
Like the Dublin tour, the Cork afternoon tea trip is intended to give visitors a different view of the city while sipping Ireland’s favorite beverage.
Vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options are available on both tours.
The price is as follows: adults, €49.50; children, €27; VIP Top Deck Seats, €54; and VIP Top Deck Seats for Children, €27 (children must be accompanied by at least 1 adult).
The Cake Café, Dublin
Another great afternoon tea spot in Dublin is the Cake Café on Dublin’s Camden Street.
For €40 per person, you’ll get a glass of Prosecco followed by a selection of mini sandwiches, together with mini cakes and other pastries. Choose from tea or coffee.
The afternoon tea delight is available from Tuesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. There’s no need to book. Just drop in!
Slane Castle, Co. Meath
If you’re visiting the Boyne Valley in Counties Meath and Louth and you’re thirsty for a cup of tea, why not pop into Slane Castle for a delightful afternoon tea experience?
Slane Castle has an interesting history. Not only has it been the home of the Conyngham family since 1703, it has also been a popular rock concert venue.
Be prepared to enjoy an afternoon tea in true Bridgerton-style in the beautiful Gandon Room restaurant, which is named after James Gandon, one of the principal architects of the castle and indeed the architect of many other fine buildings in Ireland, including The Custom House and the Four Courts in Dublin, among other buildings.
Afternoon tea is present on elegant three-tiered cake stands and includes a combination of savory and sweet treats, including cool cucumber and coronation chicken sandwiches, smoked salmon canapes, duck pancakes, macaroons, bitesize desserts, and more.
The cost of the afternoon tea/guided tour at Slane Castle is €45 per person.
Ocean Sands Hotel, Co. Sligo
If you’re touring County Sligo on the Wild Atlantic Way and you happen to stop in the beautiful seaside resort of Enniscrone, why not stay a night at the lovely Ocean Sands Hotel, which offers its own special afternoon tea experience called Afternoon Tea by the Sea.
Prepared by the award-winning Chef Marcin Szczodrowski, the tea is set up in rooms overlooking the beautiful 3-mile Enniscrone beach.
The menu tends to change with the season, but you’ll be assured of a delicious feast, all presented on a traditional three-tiered stand for each guest.
On one tier, you’ll find hand-cut sandwiches and bagels, cheese, smoked salmon, and a baby prawn cocktail.
On another, you can try his fresh scones and homemade preserves, with softly whipped cream, and on the third tier, you’ll find an artistic display of sweet treats, including petits fours and a selection of cakes.
The afternoon tea experience is available on weekdays between 1 and 3 p.m.
Reservations should be made 48 hours in advance by calling 096-26700. The cost of afternoon tea at the Ocean Sands Hotel is €24.95 per person or €29.95 if you choose a bubbly alcoholic drink. Gluten-free options are available.
Have you experienced a Bridgerton-style afternoon tea in Ireland? If so, let me know in the comments below.