A Wander Around Pontefract Abbey And Unusual Afternoon Tea

I’m being buried under a pile of boxes and my house now looks like a delivery depot, which can only mean one thing – the move is imminent *insert scary music of your choice here*. Yet, despite the buyers’ insistence that they wanted to move quickly, we still haven’t had a final moving date. Sigh!

There are only so many times a girl can navigate the obstacle course that is now our home before having to escape for a few hours. So last week found us closing the door on the mess and paying a visit to Pontefract Abbey followed by a spot of unusual afternoon tea.
Pontefract Abbey showing the clock tower. Close up of the bricks of Pontefract Abbey. Archways of Pontefract Abbey. The arched windows of Pontefract Abbey. An unusual angle of Pontefract Abbey showing the missing roof.Most of the abbey is more or less a ruin now, but there is a breathtaking beauty in its tumbledown structure, a calmness within its crumbled cloisters. The abbey has been on our Yorkshire bucket list for a while now, and I’m glad I got to wander around its walls – despite the notices everywhere to “Beware Of Falling Debris!”Pontefract Abbey in the sunshine. Pontefract Abby arches. Pontefract Abbey arches in the sunlight. Pontefract Abbey showing the clock tower in the sunshine. The view through on of the arched windows of Pontefract Abbey Pontefract Abbey in the sunshine.
To celebrate the fact that we emerged unscathed from our abbey adventure we decided to go for a spot of afternoon tea. But not an ordinary afternoon tea, for we had heard on the grapevine that a local bistro style pub had started serving a highly unusual afternoon tea.

Being massive fans of this ever so British pastime, we couldn’t resist giving it a try.
A highly unusual afternoon tea platter for two people.

Unusual afternoon tea served on platters.

Close up of the tarts on an unusual afternoon tea platter

Homemade scones on an unusual afternoon tea.

Showing the homemade scones on a platter afternoon tea.
To say that our eyes popped out of our heads when it arrived would be an understatement – it was humongous! I originally thought that one platter was to be shared between two, then another arrived.

Everything served was handmade by the chef, everything was utterly delicious and it certainly was an unusual afternoon tea. Would I recommend it? If you have a huge appetite and know that you’re not going to have the usual dainty sandwiches and miniatures cakes served in the usual way, then yes. If you are after something more traditional then you may be slightly disappointed and overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of food.

I loved it, and would not hesitate to have it again, or recommend it – but here lies a problem. The pub in question has been taken over by new owners who do not seem to care that they have an enormously talented chef on their staff. They are not giving him the freedom to express his creativity and stretch his talent. He is being stifled by owners who do not value him enough to furnish him with even basic equipment. For instance; they refuse to buy him a mixer which means everything has to be beaten by hand – seriously! Not surprisingly he is leaving, and I can’t say I blame him.

They are also letting their establishment fall far below the standard I would expect. The air conditioning has been broken for over a year; the staff and customers are sometimes dripping with perspiration. There is nothing in place to eradicate their fly problem (at least in the dining area, I cannot say for a fact whether they have anything in the kitchen, but I can’t tell you how much I hope they do!!). When we dined on our unusual afternoon tea of much awesomeness we moved tables three times to try and dodge the flies – not the experience you want when you are indulging in a ‘treat’.

If things don’t change, and quickly, I can see the Fox And Hounds becoming a ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ establishment. All thoughts of fine cuisine will disappear as the owners cut quality in order to up their profit. My thoughts; why not buy a McDonald’s franchise and be done with it. Rant over.

Champagne glasses clinking.

What are your thoughts on afternoon tea? Are you a fan?




  1. July 29, 2016 / 6:52 pm

    I love the idea of afternoon tea – this was one of the things we Canadians gave up when we decided to be all independent from the UK and stuff. 🙂 And that tea looks delicious.
    But I totally feel you on the pain of a favourite restaurant going to crap after they’ve lured you in. We found a great little burger place, affordable, good burgers and went there all the time. Then things slowly started to change… the burgers got smaller, then they didn’t use beef that was quite as good as it used to be. Then, the prices rose. and rose. And, we just stopped going all together. They went from always being full, to having only one or two people in at a time. So, are they really saving money with these changes?

    • October 5, 2016 / 8:05 am

      Things like this make me so mad Laurie! Owners don’t seem to be able to see further than a till full of money. Sure they’ll tempt in some people with offers, etc but their regulars will surely find somewhere else to spend their cash. Sigh!!

      Michelle xx

  2. Gill
    July 31, 2016 / 1:15 pm

    That is my kind of afternoon tea, I would wipe out a plate of crustless paper thin sandwiches in seconds. It’s such a shame that independent restaurants, cafes and teashops are being replaced with corporate chains and their conveyor belt eating experience. Love the photo’s of the Abbey.

    • October 5, 2016 / 8:06 am

      It certainly went down a treat with me and my husband, I can tell you!! It really is a beautiful Abbey Gill.

      Michelle xxx

  3. August 3, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    Geez I wish I was a millionaire so I could buy this place & give it to the awesome chef!
    That food looks amazing, seriously this guy is a major talent. Obviously someone will see that eventually & give him the kitchen he deserves. I truly hope it’s sooner rather than later so he doesn’t become despondent.
    Love the ruins, this is my kind of Cathedral 😉

  4. October 5, 2016 / 8:07 am

    I’ve heard on the grapevine that he’s thinking of starting his own restaurant, so fingers crossed he’ll keep his enthusiasm.

    Michelle xx

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