We bought our Afternoon Tea experience using Virgin Experience Days vouchers and were really looking forward to it. I wasn't sure if it represented the best value, as I paid £39 for what turned out to be about an hour, whereas I spent the rest of the £100 voucher on a spa day for two, with a manicure and pedicure thrown in, but we are all big fans of tea parties in general and it's even better when you don't have to make it yourself! The voucher was originally for two, but I phoned and asked if I could bring Luke along as well, and if it would be possible for them to include some plain cheese sandwiches for him, as he can be a little suspicious of unknown sarnies, and I wanted there to be at least one he would eat. Otherwise he would soon be full of nothing but cake and I felt this could be a recipe for disaster in a confined space and polite company!
The first thing you cannot help but notice about The Grange is the stunning location. The picturesque 19th Century Bath stone manor house, sits in its own sprawling grounds, totalling 18 acres, and beyond those, the South Gloucestershire countryside rolls away into the distance. A huge, ancient tree greets you as you approach the entrance and it makes a wonderful spot for photos. The Grange is a wedding venue, and I am sure many bridal parties have taken advantage of this gem amongst many fabulous back drops here.
Inside, the setting is rather homely. The lounge area is comfortable, and offers amazing views of the surroundings. It's hard not to feel the calming influence of the sun streaming through the windows and the vibrant greens of the landscape outside as you settle on the large sofas. When our tea was ready, we were escorted to a small area, with about four tables of various sizes. I'm not sure what you would call it, it wasn't large enough to be a main dining room, but was set out as a small dining area. It felt a little strange, like a bit of a corridor, but, I think when you are visiting such an interesting, historical property, you have to be prepared for slightly strange layouts and design. You are, after all, making use of a property that was originally someone's, albeit large, family home.
When the food arrived, it looked lovely. Beautifully presented and perfectly fresh. There was a good selection of sandwiches and cakes and the quality was superb. I was disappointed to note that they had not provided cheese sandwiches for Luke, as requested, but it turned out that he actually quite liked the cucumber sandwiches, so all was not lost. I was impressed with the standard and quality of the food, it was evident someone had taken great care with it and I think that's important when you are eating out somewhere like this. The cheesecake was particularly delicious and there was evidence of real vanilla in the topping, which was lovely to see.
Overall, we had a lovely time at The Grange. The staff were friendly and professional, and the setting was superb. My only small criticism would be a lack of attention to detail, when it came to cleaning. Some of the light switches and door handles had black fingermarks on, and it just felt that all the efforts were being concentrated on the main areas, which were lovely, but the corners were being missed. Which was a shame, as it distracted attention from how beautiful the place was. This is probably years of working as a professional cleaner coming out though, perhaps other people don't notice these things! It wouldn't take long to put right anyway, and it was a small detail, compared to the many plus points to the venue. It's certainly worth considering, if you are planning a function in the area. We would love to go back to visit again one day.