THIS WEEK: The Parkside Hotel in Cleator Moor

On Saturday I set off to what I thought was afternoon tea with my friend Michaela at the Parkside Hotel in Cleator Moor.

I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard of the venue and was looking forward to trying somewhere new.

However, when I got there, I had a lovely (and very unexpected) surprise – my friends and family were waiting to throw me a baby shower!

It was such a brilliant day and I have to thank the Parkside for helping to make it so special.

We had our own room, just across from the bar, which was really nice because it felt more personal and also meant we weren’t disturbing the other diners when playing baby shower games!

We had the afternoon tea which was absolutely gorgeous. Everyone said how nice the food was afterwards.

It included a variety of sandwiches – tuna, ham, cheese savoury and coronation chicken, as well as mini quiches and scotch eggs.

There were also little teacups with vegetable soup in which were really quirky and something I had not seen done at afternoon tea before. Of course this means the portions are small but our waitress kindly brought out extra for us.

It also included a good selection of cakes – fairy cakes with jam, cream and strawberries, chocolate brownies and scones served with jam and cream.

There were mini trifles as well, which I am not a fan of, but everyone who does like trifle said they were delicious. My friend, Natalie said they were simple but really tasty. The chocolate brownies were my favourite – they just melted in the mouth. The mini quiches were also really tasty and my sister said the coronation chicken was beautiful.

My friend Danielle, who is gluten free, was given her own separate plate of food and it was good to see them taking food intolerances seriously. However, there wasn’t a great selection of food for her, so this might be something to look at developing further in the future.

The staff were all really friendly throughout our visit and you could tell they were really eager to please, which was great to see. Our waitress came through from the main bar area to check we had everything we needed and also happily came to take some photos.

Staff also boxed up all the food that we had left over to take home at the end.

We were all really impressed with the whole experience – the food was delicious and really filling and the venue is great. I can’t believe I’ve never come across it before. The room we were in is ideal for anyone looking to host a small party or function.

I would definitely like to go again. My friend Chelsea said it was a ‘hidden gem’ and she was thinking of taking her husband for dinner. I’m going to give the Parkside Hotel four-and-a-half stars out of a possible five.