Before making our trip I had a quick look at the package online, which has all the information you will need, including how to find them, the dress code and how long your experience is likely to last. Within a couple of days, a beautiful gift certificate arrived, complete with an information pack about afternoon tea at the Marriott. It certainly beats printing off a voucher!
We indulged ourselves and booked an afternoon off work, in favour of sitting by the river Irwell, sipping tea and nibbling on sweet treats. We were ridiculously early, but were seated with no issues and asked whether we preferred a booth by the window or a seat on the patio outside. Not a fan of wasps who are keen on jam, we opted for the comfortable inside booth.
We were offered drinks (tea of course) and our platter arrived almost immediately. There was a good selection, including macarons, brownies, fruit, Victoria sponges, custard tartlets, scones with clotted cream and jam, and finger sandwiches. The presentation wasn't as pretty as we would have liked, and I did wonder whether they had borrowed some of Alan's big plates for the stand. It would have been nice to see a bit of something with a vintage edge, or even a hint of a doily.
We both enjoyed all the petit four style cakes, with particular attention being paid to the chocolate macaron: chewy and slightly nutty with a subtle cocoa flavour. The sandwiches were a bit of a let down I'm afraid. They must have been pre-made and popped in the fridge a couple of hours before we arrived, because they were cold and hard around the edges - easily avoided by not chilling them. We had the choice of egg mayonnaise, beef and horseradish and salmon and cream cheese.
This gift experience would be nice if you were either staying at the hotel, or for a post shopping trip pit stop. It costs £56 from the Experience Days website, which includes everything pictured above. It would be ideal for those who are not keen on the Northern Quarter tea room scene, or if you fancy sitting by the river and watching the world go by.
Thank you to the folks at Experience Days for valuing my humble opinion, and to my buddy Emma for accompanying me in fleeing from work and testing cake. We had a lovely afternoon at the Marriott, followed by a little shopping before trotting home.
Disclaimer: Really. I was asked to go and test cake!? Me! With my 'pig of the week' reputation. Experience Days gave me a free voucher for an experience of my choice. I chose Afternoon Tea in Manchester, because it is something I would have done anyway. Zorbing down a hill really wasn't my thing.