I lived in East Lothian for nearly 12 years and often drove past the Carberry Tower sign but never knew what lay beyond the turn-off and up over the hill. I was about to find out when I was invited by Carberry Tower to go along and try out their Afternoon Tea.
Located amongst the golden fields in and around Wallyford/Dalkeith, and nestled amongst the trees lies this wonderful sprawling 35 acre 18th century castle. It has all the aspects of a picture perfect fairytale – a tree-lined driveway, sweeping lawns and gardens, a very impressive facade and all the little things that make this estate quintessentially Scottish – parkland deer, pheasants and the most beautiful old oak tree that is the most spectacular centre-piece for just about every wedding photo taken at Carberry Tower.
On entering the Mansion House you can either head into the bar, which is cosy and snug with low ceilings and a roaring fire – made for sipping whisky and relaxing in or head out into the gardens, bask in the autumn sunshine and enjoy lunch or tea outside; or do what I did, and take the sweeping staircase up one level to wander around the Music Room with its grand pipe organ and intricate fireplace, the Library Club Lounge with large comfortable leather sofas and hundreds of books and the luxurious Drawing Room in which Afternoon Tea was served.
Joined by Carberry Towers’ Food and Beverage Manager, Chris Campbell, we sat down near the window with views looking up the tree lined driveway. The sun was steaming in, warming the cushions whilst I had a quick look around this elegant space complete with piano and lots of tartan.
Afternoon Tea arrived. It looked so elegant and indulgent. On the top tier was Opera Cakes, Macaroons, Lemon Mousse and mini strawberry meringues. Second tier was Scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and the bottom tier we had a selection of finger sandwiches as well as a wee cup of curried parsnip soup. I opted for Carberry Tower House Blend Tea which is blended for Carberry Tower by Eteaket in Edinburgh. You can also opt for the Prosecco or Champagne afternoon tea.
I lost no time in tucking into these delights. The crustless sandwiches were nice and fresh and hot soup amuse bouche was warming with just a hint of curry spice; but I was here for the sweet treats! The lemon mousse was zingy and lemon-y and light as a feather, the macaroons were crunchy with a chewy centre and the meringues were light with silky whipped cream. I didn’t taste the Opera Cake as I really wanted to taste the scones. Really good scones, with tart homemade strawberry jam and sweet clotted cream that I piled high on each half of the scones. So so good. And the tea was excellent.
Afternoon Tea is a special occasion for most and I can think of no better place to treat someone or yourself! Afternoon Tea here costs £35 for two.
Besides Afternoon Tea this Mansion House and Estate also boasts 30 opulent rooms within the tower, The Rose Garden Restaurant and the Champagne Terrace. Whether you are popping in for tea, taking a walk around the gardens, dining, getting married or staying over, this is certainly one of the most beautiful places in East Lothian in which to do it.
Carberry Tower, Musselburgh. 0131 661 3135
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