Edinburgh travel: Spoil yourself with LNER’s 125mph luxury afternoon cream tea

A luxury Afternoon Tea at speeds of up to 125mph as the craggy Scottish coastline flashes by outside, what better way to pass the time as your LNER Azuma speeds down the east coast from Edinburgh to York.

By Liam Rudden
Friday, 17th June 2022, 4:45 pm

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It's a journey I've made often as it's on the way to London, which is almost a second home to me at times, and one that thousands upon thousands of travellers make every year.

And now, taking an average time of two hours and 29 minutes to link the two great cities that sit 161 miles apart together, the stretch of dramatic mainline that has been voted one of the Top 10 most beautiful rail journeys in the world has just got better.

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Pam Aldred prepares to enjoy LNER's luxury afternoon tea as the country whizzes by at 125mph

Yes, as if the views weren't spectacular enough, you can now also indulge in good food, fine drinks and a chance to put the world to rights in the company of your choice, today I'm joined by long-time friend Pam Aldred, Head of Marketing and Communication at the Edinburgh Playhouse, to experience LNER’s Luxury Afternoon Tea, now available to book on their website and app.

There are individual bottles of Prosecco waiting for us on the table between seats 8 and 9 of coach K, ideal for toasting the start of the journey and our friendship, as the Azuma pulls out of the Waverley Station.

A short time into the journey, our host Neil appears with a traditional three tier cake stand carrying a selection of sandwiches, scones and cakes.

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Starting with the savouries, you can't go wrong with a double egg and slow roasted tomato sandwich, the supreme combination of tastes and textures when served on soft, freshly sliced bread. The tuna crunch, served in mini rolls, buns or baps depending on from where in the country you hail, were also nicely tasty.

For me, the scone always comes next and unlike many afternoon tea services, LNER's is served with not just delicious clotted cream and strawberry jam but with fresh butter too, one element of the perfect afternoon tea scone that is often overlooked these days.

Beautifully baked, the slightly salty nature of the scone and butter contrasts perfectly with the sweetness of the other of the toppings.

Finally, the sweets proved too much for me, so much food! Although after a quick sample of each, I can tell you that the gluten free Chocolate Brownie was the ultimate chocolatey treat, the Lemon Posset Pot refreshingly light on the palette and the Victoria Sandwich Cake "my favourite", according to Pam, who may or may not have also had mine.

All washed down with Yorkshire Tea and a bottle of Harrogate spring water - Broadie's coffee is also available - all the snacks are freshly prepared onboard, in our case by Chef Scott who made regular appearances to ensure everyone was smiling - a nice touch.

The carriages may be modern, the journey smooth and the engines electric now, but there's still something blissfully timeless about taking afternoon tea on a train, it evokes memories of the golden age of steam and is undoubtedly the civilised way to pass the time as you power south. A true guilty pleasure, go on, spoil yourself.

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