I can well appreciate why people opt to hit the slopes or seek out some sun during February half term, entertaining the kids for a week when the weather is against you and the Christmas credit card bill is still smarting is a tough gig! But, for that very reason, neither slopes or sun were calling us so instead we opted for den building, biscuit baking, playdates, visits to friends and some outdoor exploring which, on Wednesday meant Manchester.
Though I don’t know Manchester very well, every time I go I really enjoy it. It is easy to get to with 3 train stations as well as a great tram network and there is a great range of shops, restaurants and family friendly places to visit for FREE such as MOSI and the Museum of Manchester which is a big plus. The day we visited; the weather was dire so we spent much of our time dodging the raindrops before heading into Manchester Central Library which is located directly opposite The Tea Rooms of the Midland Hotel where we had been invited to review their Childrens Afternoon Tea.
The Midland Hotel is a stunning red brick building with a grand entrance featuring flags ands lights so going feels like an occasion. The hotel is currently undergoing some renovation and upgrading which is due for completion in Spring- from what we saw, it will be beautiful but in keeping with the hotels age and character.
We were greeted and shown to our seats and introduced to our waiter Josh. As with all things, I think it is the people that make or break an experience and I am pleased to say that Josh was really fantastic- he spoke to the girls, asked them, not me for their orders and was happy to chat and answer their questions but always at just the correct level.
We were asked at reception and again on ordering if there were any allergies or dietary requirements and I noticed that there were gluten free options and alternatives listed. We ordered the vegetarian option as, having watched so many programmes on climate change and deforestation, we are trying to be meat free Monday to Friday, the sandwich selection was really good and included feta cheese and pepper which was particularly tasty. The girls were thrilled with their milkshakes and I was very happy with my champagne and we all enjoyed the Hotel blend of tea, 1903.
Our food and drinks arrived quickly and staff were on hand as and when we wanted our tea or water topping up. The lemon drizzle cake was delicious as were the scones- in fact, all of the food was beautiful. Bethan and Hannah particularly enjoyed decorating their own gingerbread men with the icing, popcorn and chocolate drops which kept them busy without being a messy activity and, there was even enough left over to warrant a very smart ‘doggy bag’ which we shared during a playdate the following day!!
Table manners are important to me and I am forever nagging the girls to take their elbows off the table, eat with their mouths closed and all that jazz so taking them somewhere special for a really grown up treat was a good chance to see if I am just shouting into the ether or if any of it actually sinks in. It seems it is working; they behaved beautifully and were on great form- we all really enjoyed the occasion but, given the weather hadn’t really dressed to impress which I definitely would have preferred to do and, I think in some places I might have been made to feel under dressed but, not at The Midland.
The atmosphere and staff were warm and inviting so, had there been any outfit issues, random spillages, manners mishaps or general etiquette hitches I wouldn’t have felt embarrassed. Time flew by, we were there for a good couple of hours-it was a real treat to be able to sit down with the girls and really have the time to chat to them properly without the usual pressures of chores, homework, after school clubs and so on. It was a little glimpse into the future and we all really liked it!
The Midland offers Afternoon Tea daily and also has various special events for occasions such as Valentines, Mothers Day etc