It’s easy to forget just how near Hopetoun House is to the centre of Edinburgh and yet so far. Driving along the shore of the Firth of Forth, past the footings of the new bridge, you can feel your spirits rise. Up through the gates and across expanses of lawns and there it is, in all its spendour.
A glorious afternoon tea
I am here for afternoon tea. Whilst a visit to the house is highly recommended, you do not need to buy tickets or indeed car parking to experience this indulgence. Walk over to the right wing and you’ll find yourself in the stables, once home to the Lord’s horses, now a splendid tea room.
Hopetoun is a rather foodie place these days, nearby Hopetoun Farm Shop prides itself on sourcing 85% of its products from within a very tight radius and boasts its own butchers. And in the tearooms, two creative chefs Aisha and Ali bake a mouthwatering range of cakes and scones, macaroons
The tea stand is a thing of beauty. I can’t wait to try everything. Sandwich fillings feature Hopetoun produce wherever possible such as the chutney served with mature cheddar cheese. The cucumber sandwiches have a lovely touch of sea salt. Star billing goes to a savoury scone with homemade pesto and brie.
Scones next for me, perfectly sized for a couple of bites and you can add and much or as little cream as you like.
On the middle tier, pineapple macaroons, meringues with cream, a small glass full of mousse, and my favourite a white chocolate and raspberry confection. I’d suggest going along with a good appetite, but of course you can take home anything you do not finish.
Afternoon tea is not just for grown ups. Can you imagine the joy your young acquaintance would have getting their own tier of cakes? Yes, their very own cake stand of cakes. There’s a cube of jelly, biscuits that look like Jammie Dodgers, a stack of mini pancakes and more.
Afternoon tea is £19 per person, £8 per child. Of course, you can just pop in for a cup of tea and a slice of cake if you prefer.
Hopetoun Town and Country Fair
27 and 28 July 2013
Are you tempted by the wonderful tea mentioned above? You can enjoy afternoon tea (adult version only) and get entry to Hopetoun’s Town and Country Fair; priority parking close to the house; have the opportunity to try outdoor activities including quad biking, clay shooting, archery and falconry and VIP access to the Water Jump Bar for just £35. Tickets are limited and are available for either 1:30 pm or 3:30 pm on both days. Afternoon teas in the stables are served both days and should be pre-booked.
Visiting the Gillespie Macandrew Town and Country Fair
This year’s fair is promised to be bigger and better than ever. The lawn behind the house will have the cross country arena and also a huge area of shopping, food and drink and family activities. Tickets are £16.50 including booking fee and can be booked online. Children under 12 are free.
AGA are one of the jump sponsors and will have a large display tent and demonstration area in the Lifestyle Shopping Village on the West Lawn. Each day there are three demonstrations which are free to attend and non ticketed:
11am Breakfast cookery demonstration on the Aga
1pm Hopetoun Farm Shop butchery cooking demo on the Aga
3pm Baking demonstration on the Aga
Food producers on the West Lawn include:
- Hopetoun Farm Shop selling a range of Scotland’s finest cheeses and chutneys including a take away service for picnics
- Hopetoun Farm Shop BBQ serving the Hopetoun butcher’s award winning steak burgers and venison burgers using estate reared produce
- Acanthus Pies, hand-crafted award-winning Scottish artisan pie maker
- Chrystals Shortbread – Luxury Scottish shortbread from the West coast served with fresh cream and strawberries
- The Buffalo Farm – Buffalo burgers!
- Puddledub – serving hog roast
The Hopetoun Arms will be a large open plan bar area on the West Lawn serving a range of soft drinks, wines, spirits, ales, champagne and cocktails during the weekend. There will also be a public bar area at the VIP water jump at the top of the Deer Park.
Personally, I am looking forward to going to watch the cross country course as well as trying all the food. You can go up and watch some very well-known riders (including some Olympians) who will be taking part.
Tickets for the Town & Country Fair only are £12 per person. Children under 12 go free