If there is an opportunity on any of our trips away to have afternoon tea we will take it so when we saw the Russell-Coates gallery/museum perched high on the hill above Bournemouth Pier offered tea for two for £26 we were on for that. The museum was donated to the town by a local hotel owner and is stuffed full of high quality Victoriana he collected along with his beloved wife on their trips round the world and in galleries back home. It’s £6 (incl gift aid) if you want to get in to see the collection, but you can get into the airy and light café on the third floor for free. We introduced ourselves and sat down in a quiet alcove with a padded art deco bench and arial sculpture above us. The tea was brought over on the traditional three tiers. We are both veggies, which the team were aware of when we booked, and catered for. The sandwiches were on lovely soft bread but were a touch heavy on the margarine – which should have been substituted for butter. The four sandwiches were cheddar cheese, Mozzarella, basil and tomato, egg mayo and cream cheese and cucumber. With the next tier we tucked into a crumbly sultana scone, raspberry jam and Devon clotted cream which hit the spot. Finally it was time for the final tier of mini desserts – macaroons, a mini Victoria sandwich, lemon curd tart, white chocolate caramel slices and chocolate tiffin; all very rich and decadent. It all came with a very strong coffee for me and pot of tea across the table. You also get free refills which was a nice touch. Afterwards, a decent effort at afternoon tea inspired us to go round the house which is huge space and houses some really interesting pieces including a stunning fin de siècle moorish alcove, fine marbles and a Rossetti. The living quarters themselves are a peon to the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th century, with rich hand painted wallpapers, exquisite tile work and original electric light fixtures. Not a square inch of the house remains un-embellished and for the first time visitor, it is quite overwhelming to the senses. There is also a rolling exhibition space featuring the collection of crime writer Frances Fyfield. For six quid it was well worth the admission fee especially if you like high end Victoriana.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.