Afternoon Tea at Chill At The Cowshed

Horwich, a tiny town just outside of Bolton, is home to lots of charity shops, beauty salons, and cafes, with Chill at The Cowshed being the most beautiful of the latter in my opinion. Shabby chic Cath Kidston-esque decor meets sleek beachy vibes to make a really lovely spot for lunching and chatting.

My mum had kindly gifted me a voucher for their afternoon tea for my birthday, so I booked in to celebrate my new job in style. Straight away I was impressed with the customer service on the phone- the lady was so polite and advised me the best time to visit for a calm afternoon where we wouldn't feel rushed.

a 3 tiered stand with sandwiches and crisps, scones and meringues, and carrot cake buns and mini jars of trifle

Arriving at Chill At The Cowshed, my boyfriend and I were shown to a table for four, which I always prefer to being squashed on a table for two. Our drinks order was taken quickly, and our afternoon tea had been prepared for our booking, so that followed shortly after.

We chose a pot of Yorkshire Tea out of the options of that, PG Tips, or americano coffees, although I do wish that cold drinks were available instead, like the pink lemonade I enjoyed at Dearden Tearooms. The mini strawberry milkshakes that came alongside the afternoon tea did make up for it a little.

When the afternoon tea arrived, it had been laid out beautifully, and both the stand, teapot, and teacups fitted in with the decor really nicely.

an old fashioned floral teacup, cups, and saucers, and two small glass milk bottles filled with pink milkshake and sauce

The sandwich layer did not float my boat. We were given cucumber and cream cheese, plain ham, plain chicken,and egg mayonnaise, and I just found the meat slices to have lumps of fat, especially the chicken one which was a processed slice rather than pieces of roast chicken, so I should have chosen the vegetarian option I was offered on booking.

Surprisingly, the scone tier was my favourite. Ordinarily I'm not keen on scones, especially fruited ones, but The Cowshed got them spot on.

Already generously sandwiched with jam, cream, and strawberries, we had no choice but to eat them like burgers rather than in halves. The scones themselves were soft and tasted really fresh, with plenty of plump raisins throughout, and the juicy strawberries on them were a really nice addition.

scones filled with strawberries and cream on a red poppy print plate beside a pale pink meringue

Alongside the scones were almond meringues sandwiched with chocolate ganache. Personally I prefer a chewy macaron with buttercream or fruit in the centre, but my boyfriend favoured the crisp meringue. They were just the right size for after the scone and before the top tier.

The top tier held a tiny jar of trifle, which was nice to see. I always appreciate something novel, and the cold jelly studded with pineapple pieces was nicely refreshing after the scones, though after all the cream in the scones I didn't need custard and cream on the trifle, too.

Carrot cake buns were also on the top tier, complete with lots of buttercream and little sugar carrots. Really I should have taken mine home as I was already stuffed, but I soldiered on and found the cake to be nice and moist with a good spice.

Overall, not the most glowing review! Perhaps I've been spoilt by the likes of The Garden Kitchen's afternoon picnic with its variety of mini dishes served on a bench, but I wouldn't go back the the Cowshed for afternoon tea. 

I would, however, call in for lunch, cream tea, cake, or ice cream at their onsite parlour- providing I'm not barred if they see my review! I looked over the menu while we waited and spotted quite a few dishes I'd like to try, and the decor and atmosphere are definitely worth a second chance.

Have you got a favourite spot for afternoon tea?

a 3 tiered afternoon tea stand with sandwiches, scones, and sweets, and a cup of tea in a vintage floral cup



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