Culloden House stands on the outskirts of Inverness, near to the Culloden Battlefield. Bonnie Prince Charlie even stayed there during the Jacobite Rising. It is close to my childhood home & was the setting for afternoon tea with some of my closest & longest friends for one of my birthday celebrations.
The hotel stands on manicured grounds with highland cattle at the back. You could have a pre eating walk if you wanted to work up an appetite. It is now in a fairly residential area but it doesn’t feel like it.
You book afternoon tea so that the pastry chef has time to whip up the goods. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it’s quite grand but when we went inside we got the warmest welcome from the manager, Murray. He took us into a lounge and asked us whether we wanted the fire on. There were no other people in when we were, but I know other people who have visited when others have been in so we must have got a quiet day. It was off season so probably down to that but we loved having the place to ourselves.
He obviously knew his audience when he started talking about prosecco and we were only too happy to oblige.
The sandwiches were a crust off, traditional affair. Soft bread and tasty fillings so they got nods all round.
Ahh, and the tea. Loose leaf complete with tea strainer and served in gorgeous wares. Murray also gave us a pot of boiling water in case it was too strong for us – little things make all the difference.
It was time for something sweet to go with the tea. We all had our eye on something different, and I’m sure we all sampled everything else too. Mini scones with little pots of jam were warmly received. After a few of these afternoon teas, I realised that I can’t managed sandwiches then a whole scone then all of the cakes so the minis were designed for me.
There were meringues filled with fresh cream and served with white chocolate cigarettes next to traditional shortbread rounds dusted in sugar.
Gooey thin flapjack type delights were small enough to curtail the richness.
My favourites were the chocolatey, caramel bites. So soft that they were like a rich mousse and I’m sure I could detect a saltiness. They were so good that Murray packed up the last one for me to take back for mum to sample.
We were so relaxed in there that we asked to see some of the other rooms they use for dining and weddings. They were all so grand and beautiful.
I always wondered what the bedrooms were like and we were allowed to wander freely around some. They are currently refurbishing some of the rooms but what we saw can only be described as romantic.
It was unintentionally fitting to visit Culloden House for a 30th birthday visit – we grew up around it but always thought it was so adult as youngsters. When we became adults I couldn’t tell you but surely by 30 we are there!
Afternoon tea at Culloden House is currently priced at £14.95 per person.
Many thanks to my good friend Iona for taking the food photographs. You can check out her photography here