Day Out – Young Diner’s Afternoon Tea at Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House

 

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Cake!  More pictures of treats below

Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House hotel, a beautiful country pile in rural Aberdeenshire, now offers a startling wonderful but simple idea – a Young Diner’s Afternoon Tea.  Why isn’t every hotel doing this?

What makes this genius – apart from the cake – is that any hotel can claim to be ‘child friendly’, but by putting a ‘Young Diner’s Afternoon Tea’ on the menu, in black and white, you are going beyond the ‘child friendly’ platitude where they nibble from your plate.  Ardoe is actively catering for the little terrors and this is terribly important to families because, as a parent, I am now confident in bringing my cherub with me and feeling welcome.

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Mr Toddler approaches the Four Star Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House

So I sat Mr Toddler down at home, stared him in the eye then explained to him that we were attempting our first mother and son date- little brother wasn’t coming, daddy wasn’t coming and nanny wasn’t coming- and this grand event was in training for when he’s older and it’s his turn to take his old mum out for mother’s day, the odd birthday, or maybe just because it’s Sunday and he loves her.  Mr Toddler looked particularly disinterested in my pep talk but rallied at the promise of lunch.

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I’ll just read a book about lions while I wait…

And so we were off.  Ardoe House could be a backdrop for a costume drama – the perfect setting to take tea (even with a rugrat).  We were led through to the drawing room with its log fire, historical portraits and unblemished sofas and I had a slight panic – perhaps a toddler was too young for tea, what would he do to the furniture etc.?  But to encourage other parents to just go forth and try things Mr Toddler somehow sensed this was special, check him out reading his book waiting for his order to arrive.  I was blown away, though I did remove his shoes as a precaution.

20160203_121736_resizedThen he decided to take in the grounds with a jolly good look out of the window.  To be fair in a building like this there’s a lot to look at, the fine art of distraction was relatively straightforward.

The service at Ardoe was quick enough for a child’s extremely limited window of patience, which as any parent knows means a great deal.  Mr Toddler was offered a choice of ham or cheese sandwiches and a soft drink as part of his afternoon tea.  Before long he had food in front of him.

But let’s cut to the chase cos I know you really just want to see photos of cake.  Mr Toddler’s afternoon tea looked totally different to mine yet just as appealing.  Yes, his was the child’s version but not in that naff chicken-nugget-second-class-citizen kind of way but in a yummy-celebrate-being-a-kid way.

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He hoofed down the ham sandwiches.  He sampled the hundreds and thousands bread pieces but was a little unsure, the ham were the favourites.

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He loved the Chocolate Crackle Cake, and also the Strawberry Jelly with Ice-cream.  I kindly helped him with the Ardoe Chocolate Shake (unexpected bonus for me) and the Strawberry Marshmallow Skewer, and we took the Smartie Cookie home with us for later.

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Meanwhile I’d selected smoked salmon sandwiches and a plain scone with clotted cream and jam.  I made short work of the Chocolate Brownie and Caramelised Passion Fruit Tart and took the other cakes home.  Overall the pastries and sandwiches were fresh and light with a mix of flavours to tempt varied palates.  Admittedly there was a lot of cake and sugar in front of us but that’s what I expect and wish from an afternoon tea  – it’s a treat – but it was nice to see a little bit of fruit and milk incorporated into the child’s version.  I also appreciated that the Young Diner’s Afternoon Tea was as beautifully presented on a cake stand as any adult version.

With Mother’s Day approaching an outing like this is a bit of a no-brainer.  This experience was open to all ages, I can picture three or four generations sitting down together just sharing some time and cake together – never forget the cake.

Lastly, on a separate note, my pal passes on her older children’s toys to me when they’re finished with them- what she cynically refers to as the ‘never-ending plastic river of toys’.  My point is that with so many toys in circulation having an experience with your child, or buying a voucher as a gift rather than another toy is a novel option.

Yes, of course I worried we would bother the other hotel residents if Mr Toddler kicked off but the staff were very welcoming and the only other guests who joined us in the drawing room were some renowned Scottish football players so I was relatively comfortable that they’d heard worse from the terraces than anything Mr Toddler could throw at them.  He did shout ‘bye guys’ to them as we left and they graciously said goodbye back to him.  So cake and sporting celebrities, that was one hell of an afternoon.

LOWDOWN

Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe Hotel is situated in thirty acres on grounds on the South Deeside Road, a short taxi ride from Aberdeen city centre and its train station.

Afternoon Tea is available from 12 noon till 6pm.  The Classic Afternoon Tea is  £19, the Chocolate Afternoon Tea is £21, the Gluten Free Afternoon Tea is £19 (and requires 24 hours notice) and it’s £12 for a Young Diner’s Afternoon Tea.  If it’s a special occasion, or if you’re just in the mood for some bubbles, upgrade to a Champagne Afternoon Tea for an additional £9.50.

I opted for the Classic Afternoon Tea whereby you select between roast beef, smoked salmon and dill or egg sandwiches/a plain scone or a whisky soaked sultana scone/tea or coffee.

Often you have to order afternoon tea as a couple, but it’s no problem to order one adult afternoon tea and one young diner’s version.

[Tots2Travel were guests at Ardoe Hotel.  Mr Toddler’s opinions are his own as, trust me, you can’t feed a toddler anything he doesn’t want to eat.]

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44 Comments

  1. Reply

    Joanne MacAngus

    February 21, 2016

    Folloe

  2. Reply

    cristinaburcus

    February 21, 2016

    Wow! This sounds like an awesome adventure for you and ‘Mr Toddler’. 😁😁 Lobe it!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 21, 2016

      It was pretty cute. And yummy too.

  3. Reply

    joylovestravel

    February 21, 2016

    The food looks so good and what a great idea!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 21, 2016

      I know. The best ideas are so simple. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

  4. Reply

    joannavictoria

    February 22, 2016

    I love afternoon tea we went to a local cafe for one recently this looks so delicious

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 22, 2016

      It’s such a girly treat, but I like introducing my wee lad to a range of experiences.

  5. Reply

    VaiChin @RamblingThroughParenthood

    February 23, 2016

    That afternoon tea looks amazing and what a wonderful setting to enjoy it in!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 23, 2016

      It was lush. It was quality time with my son doing something I actually enjoy. What a wonderful idea.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 23, 2016

      The north east of Scotland is full of castles and restored/converted country houses. We’re definitely spoiled in that respect.

  6. Reply

    Georgina Prince (@xxgeexx44)

    February 23, 2016

    This looks fab and really luxurious! It tickled me about your disclaimer you can’t feed a toddle anything they don’t want to eat! too true lol x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 23, 2016

      Thanks. It was a truly lovely afternoon.

  7. Reply

    Emma White (@TheRealSupermum)

    February 23, 2016

    oh my that looks absolutely incredible what a fantastic day out and the afternoon tea looks so lovely and what amazing pictures

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 23, 2016

      Thank you. It was a treat. Scrumptious.

  8. Reply

    dearmummyblog

    February 23, 2016

    What an impressive frontage! We’d love to stay somewhere gothic like this! It looks amazing! Nice review x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 23, 2016

      Thank you. The architecture and atmosphere at Ardoe is pretty special.

  9. Reply

    Rachel

    February 23, 2016

    Oh my gosh, those desserts looks just absolutely divine, I love how they are presented x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 23, 2016

      Yes, I really appreciated how the Young Diner’s tea was as beautifully presented as the adult version.

  10. Reply

    Anosa

    February 23, 2016

    Omg what a hotel and I bet Mr toddler will be remembering this for years to come, what an amazing adventure you both had.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 23, 2016

      And if he can’t remember (cos he’s so small) he can hopefully read the blog. It is a beautiful hotel and such a treat.

  11. Reply

    Ana De Jesus

    February 23, 2016

    Well hello delicious cake, care to get in my belly? Lol they look delicious especially the milkshake, I am obsessed with milkshakes!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 24, 2016

      Yes, such a shame he decided to ‘share’ it.

  12. Reply

    Grant R

    February 24, 2016

    Jenny (4) was reading this over my shoulder and was pointing at the cakes telling me how nice they looked. Says it all! And what a beautiful building.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 24, 2016

      I think that’s what’s known as a female subtle hint [even at 4 years old :-)]

  13. Reply

    Steph

    February 24, 2016

    I love afternoon tea… It’s probably one of my favourite things to enjoy! I love that there are now children’s versions available x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 24, 2016

      I know. It’s such an obvious idea, and it was so enjoyable.

  14. Reply

    Kara

    February 24, 2016

    What a fabulous idea. I would love to take mine for afternoon tea but always worry the kids would kick off. Shame it’s not closer

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 24, 2016

      I feared the same but I was surprised that he kind of sensed this was special. I also figured that you don’t have much to lose so go for it, if it doesn’t work wait a while and try again!

  15. Reply

    Kaz & Ickle Pickle (@IcklePicklex)

    February 24, 2016

    This looks such a treat – absolutely delicious! I have never had afternoon tea! Kaz x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 24, 2016

      Ok change that as soon as you can 🙂

  16. Reply

    Zena's Suitcase

    February 25, 2016

    What a lovely Mother and Son date. I think it’s really important to start children enjoying experiences like this from a young age. The hotel and afternoon tea look amazing

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      February 25, 2016

      It is a lovely place – set the bar high for a first mummy/son date.
      [Maybe when he’s 18 I’ll take him to New York 🙂 ]

  17. Reply

    MummyTravels

    March 29, 2016

    What a fantastic idea! I love afternoon tea, but I wouldn’t normally dream of taking my daughter until she’s older – there’s something so civilised about afternoon tea, and my three-year-old isn’t always quite so civilised… But this is perfect, properly thought out for small diners, just as beautifully presented and lovely fun touches like the drink. Genius. Thanks for linking up to #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      March 29, 2016

      Thank you. I mentioned on Twitter that my little Toddler became a little gentleman (I was shocked) and I had a lovely time with him. Your daughter would love it! I spend so much time with him at soft play, playgrounds etc. that it was nice to do something more geared in my direction yet still very child friendly.

  18. Reply

    Alice Langley (@ImAliceLangley)

    March 29, 2016

    Oh what a lovely place to spend some quality time together

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      March 30, 2016

      Heading into the mountains, with a chilled out hotel, did feel a million miles away from work and everyday life.

  19. Reply

    beatravelling

    March 29, 2016

    Haven’t done an afternoon tea yet, and I love tea! And the cakes look nice 🙂

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      March 30, 2016

      I’d change that – soon 🙂

  20. Reply

    Wander Mum

    March 31, 2016

    What a great idea! Fab for them to have their own afternoon tea to themselves – and good value too – for all parties (or am I just used to London prices?). From my point of view it would have been nice to see a fruit salad or something on the kid’s version – that would go down well with my daughter. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      April 1, 2016

      Yes I believe London prices are pretty eye-watering! There was a fruit jelly and fruit skewers so I thought the Vitamin C was incorporated in amongst the treats pretty well but I have no doubt they would have made you up a fruit salad no bother if you asked. It was such a nice afternoon. Mr Toddler even met some famous football players which was a pretty unlikely ending to the day. #citytripping

      • Reply

        Wander Mum

        April 1, 2016

        Perfect! Oh, that’s good to hear they’d do that x

  21. Reply

    swapna

    April 4, 2016

    Yummy yummy! Afternoon tea is my fave time. even if it’s just bread and butter!

    Would love to see your posts in the Practical Mondays Link Up:)

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      April 4, 2016

      I think we can do better than the ol bread and butter but I take your point. Will look up the Practical Mondays. Thanks for the invite.

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