There can be no finer place to enjoy afternoon tea than The Orangery at Blenheim Palace.

Light and airy, with sweeping views over the grand house’s private gardens it offers a taste of Gallic elegance in a classic English stately home setting.

Every summer, Searcys, who run The Orangery, introduce a new theme for their popular afternoon teas – and this year proves to be a treat for the sweet-toothed featuring classically-inspired cakes created exclusively by world-renowned chocolatier and patissier William Curley.

The indulgent afternoon tea menu will be paired by Laurent-Perrier Champagne, specifically chosen by William to match his creations. And, to make the experience even sweeter, customers with a reservation for The Orangery can tour Blenheim park for free meaning you can walk off your indulgence while taking in the charms of one of the world’s finest stately homes – a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site.

Oxford Mail:

So what can you expect on your cake stand? Savouries include classic finger sandwiches such as smoked salmon, dill and lemon, cream cheese and cucumber, and coronation chicken, as well as a courgette and ricotta tart, followed by traditional buttermilk scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

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Guests will then be invited to indulge in a selection of individual afternoon teacakes including pistachio and raspberry financiers, Amedei chocolate Sacher torte, lemon and Earl Grey macarons and Black Forest tart.

They will also be able to take their pick from the cake table, where chocolate and cherry, lemon drizzle and chestnut and rum are among the delights on offer.

Oxford Mail:

To make the occasion that bit more special, the William Curley afternoon tea can be enjoyed with a glass of chilled Laurent-Perrier Harmony champagne. Vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives are all available on request.

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William Curley trained with some of the country’s finest chefs, including Pierre Koffmann, Marco Pierre White and our very own Raymond Blanc, before joining The Savoy Hotel, where he became the youngest Chef Patissier in its history.

He opened his own business over a decade ago, selling fine chocolate creations and achieved the Master of Culinary Arts by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts – the highest accolade awarded to chefs in the UK, with only seven patissiers achieving the award.

He said: “I worked at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons for a number of years, so coming back to Oxfordshire has been particularly special for me. The most rewarding part of my work is creating new chocolates and patisserie. Experimenting with new flavours and ideas is always great fun. Everything we have created for the afternoon tea in The Orangery is handmade so I have spent time with the talented Searcys team at Blenheim Palace to ensure perfection.”

  • William Curley’s special Afternoon Tea menu will run throughout the summer at The Orangery. Bookings for lunch or afternoon tea at the restaurant also allows guests access to the stunning parkland of Blenheim Palace. Tickets to the palace and the formal gardens can be purchased online or at the gates.
  • The William Curley Afternoon Tea costs £34 (£46 with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Harmony champagne. Book at