The Tea Room at Rufford Old Hall, Ormskirk
I love a day trip to a National Trust house, which usually means I visit the cafe/tea rooms. They all have their individual names depending on the location and history. Today it was a trip to the Tea Room at Rufford Old Hall, Ormskirk.
It was the first open Sunday of the season and the beginning of Half Term, so when arriving at 1pm I expected it to be busy, and it was. We were in a short queue, comprising of 2 groups of people in front of us, so it wasn't long before we were told that there was a table free and to follow the waitress to the table. We followed the waitress, only to be told we were in the way and that staff were carrying hot drinks and needed to get by - not an attitude I expected to encounter from a more senior member of staff. Upon telling this staff member that we were asked to wait here, she promptly walked off. Not a great start!
We moved back to the till area, where the queue started, only then to be told that we could go to the table, at this point I wanted to say "make your mind up" but obviously didn't.
The tables were very close together and it was not that easy to get seated because of this. We were placed on a table of four, although 2 seats were unavailable due to other people being seated on adjacent tables. It was all rather cramped - I felt like a sardine!
The waitress, Georgia, came to take our order. We both ordered Afternoon Tea (£12.50pp) and were asked for our choice of sandwich. It wasn't a selection of mixed flavoured sandwiches but instead you chose one filling and that was all you got, which was disappointing. Then we were asked to chose a cake. We both chose Victoria sponge, however the waitress returned to say sorry, but they only had 1 piece left. Another cake selection was made but the waitress then returned to say that the 1 remaining piece of Victoria sponge had since been taken and could 1 also choose a replacement - I'm not a happy bunny by this point.
The tea arrived next and this was very disappointing both in appearance and taste. A very small stainless steel teapot between us and not a china cup in sight, plus teabags and not loose tea.
The Afternoon Tea arrived and the accompanying salad was limp and lifeless. The sandwiches were nothing special. The Lemon and Lime cake I ordered was nice and the scone was also tasty however the jam and clotted cream were mass produced containers, which was again disappointing. There was also no choice of jam, just what was served.
All in all the food was barely passable and certainly nothing special. I've been to numerous National Trust cafes and so far this was the poorest quality. The room was cramped and cold and the staff were not particularly approachable. I'd love to return to the Hall but certainly wouldn't bother with the Tea Room again - I'll take my own picnic if I go back. I will not be recommending The Tea Room.