Time for Elevenses

Time for Elevenses




Elevenses is set to make a comeback as the fashionable new excuse to meet, drink tea and eat a delicious collection of canapé-sized savouries and confections.

Hand Picked Hotels is capturing the current mood for nostalgia and launching elevenses and savoury afternoon tea at its 17 country house hotels across the UK.

Immortalised by John Betjeman, Anthony Burgess, the Rev W V Awdry in his engine stories and Paddington Bear,* It is believed that elevenses was first identified around 1849 and known as elevens, a break during the morning. During the early 20th century, it became a popular ritual at country house parties and is still served during country pursuits.

Hand Picked Hotels is offering elevenses from mid-morning onwards, as an alternative to lunch and also as a savoury option alongside the traditional afternoon tea. It is available to guests staying at the hotels but also to visitors who may want to meet friends or business contacts or call in for elevenses after a walk or drive in the countryside.

Julia Hands, Chairman and Chief Executive of Hand Picked Hotels, said: “Elevenses is an excellent excuse to meet and enjoy a selection of savoury and sweet treats. It is a great tradition and our hotels offer the perfect atmosphere and setting for elevenses, following the great revival of afternoon tea.” Chefs at the collection of award-winning hotels have researched traditional elevenses recipes and are offering a tantalising mix of miniature sweet and savoury canapés, served in the traditional afternoon tea format from £15.50 per person. At Audleys Wood Hotel, a former hunting lodge in the Hampshire countryside near Basingstoke, the elevenses menu includes quails eggs florentine, smoked ham rillettes, cheese scones and home-made crumpets, served with a selection of Twinings teas or a glass of Champagne.

Guests at Chilston Park Hotel, an historic Grade I listed manor house in 23 acres in Lenham, Kent, can enjoy elevenses in front of roaring log fires, with a glass of Champagne or tea, toasted teacakes, flapjacks and bagels with smoked salmon and dill crème fraiche. Fans of Winnie the Pooh will be delighted to hear that elevenses is now on offer at Buxted Park Hotel, Ashdown Forest, East Sussex. The author A. A. Milne set the Pooh stories in Ashdown Forest and Winnie the Pooh’s favourite meal was elevenses with condensed milk and honey on bread. Enjoy a scrumptious combination of savoury and sweet elevenses including warm Croque Monsieur, savoury lattice parcels, lemon polenta cake and fruit brochettes, served in one of the stylish reception rooms in the historic mansion where Royalty, Prime Ministers and film stars were regular guests when it was a private country house.

Local produce is on the elevenses menu at Wood Hall Hotel & Spa, near Wetherby, West Yorkshire, including Lowna Farm Goats Cheese Rarebit, and home made port and apricot sausage rolls and apple Normandy tart. For more menus and information, visit www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/elevenses. To book, please call 0845 458 0905.

Notes to editors: For further press information or images please contact the Hand Picked press office at Four Communications hph@fourcommunications.com or telephone +44 (0)870 626 3141.

About Hand Picked Hotels: The award-winning Hand Picked Hotels collection, created by former City lawyer Julia Hands, are luxurious country house hotels renowned for exquisite food, fine wines and excellent service in stylish, relaxing surroundings. There are 17 hotels across the UK, with locations ranging from the New Forest and Jersey to Yorkshire and Edinburgh. Hand Picked Hotels has focused on the quality of its service and cuisine and in the last three years 16 hotels have achieved two AA rosette status with Norton House in Edinburgh winning three AA rosettes. Eight hotels have achieved red star status, being recognised as amongst the AA's Top 200 hotels in the UK & Ireland. Rookery Hall Hotel & Spa has been awarded and retains 5 bubbles from the Good Spa Guide.

Literary references to elevenses

  • Winnie the Pooh preferred honey on break with condensed milk for elevenses.
  • John Betjeman wrote, in London’s Historic Railway Stations, said: “I know no greater pleasure for elevenses in London than to sit in this teaplace and watch the trains arrive and depart.”
  • In Enderby’s End, the novel by Anthony Burgess, Enderby, the poet and professor, offers one of his students: “Would you like what we British call 'elevenses'? Cakes and tea and things?"
  • The Rev W V Awdry, in Percy the Small Engine, the guard spilled his tea he had brought “for elevenses.”
  • In Michael Bond’s Paddington books, Paddington Bear often dropped in at Mr Gruber’s antique shop in the Portobello Road for elevenses “cocoa and treats”.



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