Destination Dorset

Destination Dorset for the Perfect Family Holiday

Autumn might be just around the corner but there’s still time for a last minute getaway – and a traditional family holiday sampling the best of Britain is a recipe for success. Head for the south coast with its charming seaside villages and lively towns, endless stretches of cliffs and beaches, and history hidden around every corner. Staying in the UK is a great way to maximise your money and your time, meaning you can splash out a little on a luxurious hotel to make your break extra special – we’ve got several for you to chose from.

Spotlight on Dorset

While there’s plenty to love all along the south coast, Dorset is a particularly good county to pick. Whether you’re after a relaxing week’s walking along the coast and playing on the beach, or amusements and adrenaline-pumping watersports, Dorset is the place to choose. There’s so much going on and in a relatively compact area, meaning you have plenty to entertain the whole family for days.

Multi Generation Family Having Fun On Beach Holiday

Steeped in History

The Jurassic Coast isn’t a UNESCO World Heritage Site for nothing; the towering cliffs are home to some of the most important geology in the world, with early fossil discoveries from the region giving birth to geology as a science. There’s plenty of opportunities to sign up for guided fossil hunting trips so that you can bring home a unique souvenir, or you can grab a guide book and head out yourself. Try a walk starting at the famous natural arch of Durdle Door, along the coast to Lulworth Cove. Heading out on the water here is also a great choice, giving you a different perspective of the power of the sea and how it’s shaped this special coastline. Corfe Castle is another one for the list, as picturesque a ruin as anyone could ask for, and the chance to ride on a steam train from the nearby village.

Go to Town

If you’re in need of a touch of civilisation, there’s plenty on offer in Bournemouth – including some of our beautiful hotels overlooking the beach like the East Cliff Court Hotel. A classic seaside pier and attractions, miles of golden sands, a visit to the Oceanarium, or even Monkey World – and with a great range of shopping and eating options too, you can make a day of it. For a quieter and more historic feel, try a visit to Lyme Regis or Weymouth. Both have beautiful beaches, opportunities to try several different water sports, and fantastic museums with hands-on experiences for the whole family which help to bring to life the rich history of the area.

Bespoke Hotels Appointed to Manage Manchester’s Townhouse Hotel

We are delighted to announce that we have been appointed to oversee management of Manchester’s Townhouse Hotel. Set beside the city’s renowned Portland Street, the 85-bedroom property, itself a former cotton warehouse with a history dating back to the Industrial Revolution, has been acquired this month by Fragrance Group Ltd.

Set to feature within our portfolio alongside the award-winning Hotel Gotham, itself just a stone’s throw away in Central Manchester, The Townhouse Hotel forms part of a significantly expansion into the UK market by the Singaporean Fragrance Group. Purchased alongside a number of properties across the country, including The Palace Hotel in Torquay and Blackpool’s Imperial Hotel, the Townhouse is seen as a central pillar of their strategy, particularly given Manchester’s robust trading performance in recent years.

“We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement to take The Townhouse under our wing”, commented Haydn Fentum, CEO of Bespoke Hotels. “Following on the heels of Hotel Gotham’s notable success, we have long been investigating means to further our commitment to Manchester and increase our presence within the city, with a historic property such as this providing the ideal vehicle through which to do so.”

The History of Afternoon Tea

With dainty finger sandwiches, delicate little cakes and delicious scones with lashings of jam and cream, there’s nothing quite so quintessentially British as afternoon tea. As a nation, afternoon tea has been one of our favourite pastimes since the early 19th century.

But the popularity of TV shows like The Great British Bake Off in recent years has given this great British culinary tradition a whole new lease of life. The British aristocracy is said to have introduced the tradition of afternoon tea. In 1840 Anna Russell, the 7th Duchess of Bedford started to dine on bread, butter and tea in the afternoon, as a bridge between breakfast and supper. The Duchess began to invite her friends to join her, and before long afternoon tea was established as a private social function across fashionable society.

Today, afternoon tea is enjoyed throughout the world. From traditional afternoon tea to champagne afternoon tea and cream tea, this treasured tradition has never been more popular. Read on to discover some interesting facts about our favourite pastime…

6 interesting facts about afternoon tea

Scones didn’t feature in afternoon tea until the 20 th century. The correct order in which jam and cream should be spread onto a scone varies according to where you come from. According to tradition, if you’re from Devon, it’s cream first and then jam, whilst people in Cornwall prefer to add jam first followed by cream.

Afternoon tea was introduced as a social event for the upper classes. Unlike afternoon tea, high tea was a much more substantial meal comprising of tea, bread, cakes, meat and pies. Traditionally enjoyed by the working classes, it became popular in Britain during the 19 th century Industrial Revolution. High tea still exists in some parts of Northern England and Scotland. Tasty savory dishes, followed by tea, cakes and scones are traditionally served from late afternoon to early evening.

Britain is known as a nation of tea lovers. In fact, we’re said to consume over 62 billion cups of tea a year. Assam, Ceylon and Darjeeling are major types of black tea and ideal for pairing with afternoon tea. Earl Grey and English Breakfast are two of the most popular black tea blends and firm favourites.

The record for the biggest scone ever baked is held by New Zealander Shaun McCarthy in August 2010. It weighed in at 119.45 kg and measured 117 cm in diameter!

The Victoria Sponge cake, or Victoria Sandwich, was very popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. Known for having a very sweet tooth, Queen Victoria enjoyed many tea parties during her reign, and this delicious sponge cake was said to be one of her favourites.

At one time it was customary to pour milk into a tea cup first, mainly to cool the tea in order to prevent poor quality cups from cracking when adding hot water. Nowadays milk first or last is down to personal preference and taste.

Afternoon tea: a social event for all occasions

A social event for all occasions, afternoon tea is an enjoyable way to celebrate a birthday, a christening or an anniversary. Although why wait for a special occasion when you can get together with friends and family to indulge in a delightful afternoon treat anytime.

With its splendid and ornate period features, the 16th century Billesley Manor Hotel near Stratford-upon- Avon is the perfect setting to savour a delicious traditional afternoon tea.

At the Billesley Manor Hotel, enjoy great company and conversation over a decadent three-tiered serving of delicate finger sandwiches with traditional fillings, mouthwatering cakes and scrumptious homemade scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, together with the finest tea. Afterwards, take a walk around the hotel’s pretty 100-year- old topiary garden.

Bespoke Employees Sweep 2017 Brit List

Two Bespoke Hotels employees have been named on the 2017 Hotel Designs Brit List, which shortlists the 25 most inspirational and influential hoteliers for the year.

Both company Chairman, Robin Sheppard, as well as Mario Ovsenjak, General Manager of the fabulous Hotel Gotham were selected amongst the most influential and inspirational individuals in the hotel industry for the past year.

Brit List 2017: Winners honoured at party in London

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