To celebrate my daughter Kerri’s wonderful GCSE results, we headed over to a favourite venue of ours to celebrate – Poppins at Smithills, Bolton. This charming Mary Poppins themed tea room provides a fabulous afternoon tea in a Manor house setting.
Firstly, as a historian, I simply cannot omit to mention a little something about the beautiful Smithills Hall.
Much of Smithills Hall was built in the 15th Century and 600 years of history speaks to you as you walk through the building. I mean this quite literally; we have attended a number of ghost hunting evenings at Smithills throughout the years and have always experienced paranormal activity. Walking through the well lit corridors through the day is certainly a different experience to when the lights are extinguished in the dead of night!
The hall can be hired for various functions, most notably as a wedding venue. It is free to enter the hall and walk around the building and the beautiful grounds four days per week. See their website for more details.
There are ample tables, however the tea room can get quite busy – bookings can be made in advance. We didn’t book our table, yet were seated within 5 minutes of our arrival (we spent a few minutes walking through the hall while we waited).
An extensive menu was brought to the table and a variety of choices are on offer, from simple sandwiches, cakes and an array of beverages. After browsing through the mouth watering menu, Brian, Kerri and I decided upon the ‘Poppins Indulgence Afternoon Tea’.
This consisted of a selection of finger sandwiches, mini savoury snacks, scones (with jam and cream), a selection of mini cakes and a slice of cake of our own choosing, (Kerri and I had carrot cake and Brian had lemon cake) as well as a pot of tea or a cup of coffee.
Our 4 year old Aurelia enjoyed a ‘Jane and Michael’s Afternoon Tea’. This was adorable! We have been to numerous establishments for afternoon tea, yet this was the first time Aurelia had the opportunity to have her own, miniature sized portion. Consequently, this made her feel especially grown-up! Aurelia’s ‘big girl’ afternoon tea consisted of ham sandwiches, grapes, a cupcake, a macaroon and a cordial drink (she did have the option of a babyccino!)
The Poppins Theme
The Mary Poppins theme works really well. The menu includes references to characters from the film, such as ‘Mr Bank’s Afternoon Tea’ or ‘Uncle Albert’s Splendid Tea’. Aurelia enjoyed trying on some of the hats reminiscent of the film, as well as trying out Mary Poppins’ iconic umbrella.
The Poppins Tea room Facebook page contains some photos of functions that have been held in the tea room, such as baby showers and wedding anniversaries. I think this would make the perfect venue for such special occasions. The Poppins Tea rooms are located on two sites in the Bolton area; Smithills Hall and Horwich. The staff are friendly and welcoming, the prices are extremely reasonable and the food is delicious. If you’re passing, pop in for a Poppins tea.3