Festive Afternoon Tea is one of life's greatest pleasures. Combining all the glamour of Afternoon Tea with the merriment of silly season (I promise to use that phrase sparingly), it's a surefire way to leave yourself feeling Christmassy. The novelty of bite-sized sambos is a bonus.
A regular offering in hotels across Ireland, several places step up their game when it comes to Festive Afternoon Tea and I've rounded up eight of the best below.
Treat yoself, you deserve it.
Lough Rynn Castle, Leitrim
Home to the best Afternoon Tea in all of Leitrim, Lough Rynn Castle puts on a festive spread for the ages. Set on 300 acres of breathtaking scenery, its beauty is matched only by its food and you can enjoy Festive Afternoon Tea in the castle's drawing rooms from 12pm to 6pm daily.
Bonus points for the adorable edible snowman pictured below.
Afternoon Tea for two starts at €48.
Dromoland Castle, Clare
Knowing that not everyone will be able to make it in for their Festive Afternoon Tea offering this year, Dromoland Castle is giving customers the chance to experience the magic at home.
Aptly named Mrs White's Christmas Afternoon Tea, it includes all the flavours of the festive season wrapped up in one neat, little container.
Available until December 23rd, prices start at €60 based on two people.
The Imperial, Cork
Recently launching their new Christmas Carol Afternoon Tea, Cork's Imperial Hotel is paying tribute to legendary author Charles Dickens with their festive offering this year. A former guest at the hotel, he even treated the precious few to a private reading of his masterpiece A Christmas Carol while there.
Taking its structure from the famous Christmas tale, the Imperial's Festive Afternoon Tea comprises three tiers - past, present, future - each laden with an array of sweet and savoury treats.
On the menu right up until January 6th, it would also make for a lovely way to celebrate Nollaig na mBan. A Christmas Carol festive afternoon tea at The Imperial costs €29 per person, or €36 with a glass of bubbles.
The Shelbourne, Dublin
Afternoon Tea at The Shelbourne is somewhat of a tradition for many - one of the highlights of the run-up to December 25th no doubt.
Giving this year's offering a very festive upgrade, new additions to the menu include a red velvet trifle, an edible Christmas tree, Christmas pudding and even a Christmas yule log.
Call in anytime before January 10th to enjoy. The Classic Festive Afternoon Tea is €62 per person and Champagne Festive Afternoon Tea is €79. The children’s Festive Afternoon Tea is also available for €30 per child.
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin
Christmas outings are likely to be few and far between this year, so if you're going to treat yourself ya may as well go all out, and Festive Afternoon Tea at the Radisson Blu definitely qualifies. From Christmas fruitcake to freshly baked scones, roast turkey sandwiches and gingerbread men - their menu has all bases covered and though the food may look mini, it's more than enough to fill you so make sure you're good and hungry.
Prices start at €30 per person.
The Heritage, Laois
Festive Afternoon Tea by a roaring fire? Count me in. The Heritage knows how to put on a spread and their Christmas Afternoon Tea offering is no different. Set in the cosy surrounds of The Galleria, their festive feast includes dainty finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream and a caramelised mince pie crumble that would even Santa Clause himself would find hard to resist.
Available from €32 per person.
The Cliff House Hotel, Waterford
Usually only available on the last Sunday of every month, The Cliff House Hotel has decided to extend their Afternoon Tea offering and it will run on the three Sundays before Christmas this year.
Overlooking Ardmore Bay, this is arguably one of the most picturesque Afternoon Tea setups around... a must for sea lovers.
Priced at €45 per person.
Kilronan Castle, Roscommon
The definition of fabulously festive, Afternoon Tea at Kilronan Castle oozes glamour and sophistication and their winter menu is every bit as decadent as you'd hope. Think gingerbread crème brûlée, cherry scones and fresh mince pies.
Prices start at €27.50 per person - throw in another €2.50 if you fancy a glass of mulled wine.
Now, go forth and be merry.