THANKS to Mary Berry and programmes like the Great British Bake Off, afternoon tea is now very much in vogue.

And even if you don’t have a particularly sweet tooth, it is still a delightful, quintessentially English tradition.

To celebrate Afternoon Tea Week last month, we were invited to The Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth in West Cliff.

You can choose between Prohibition Afternoon Tea which includes a glass of Champagne or a cocktail for £19 per person or Traditional Afternoon Tea for £15 per person.

As we were planning to check out the hotel’s spa afterwards, we decided to stick with the traditional option.

Although the hotel was busy with a large wedding party, we managed to find a table for two decorated with fresh flowers in a quiet corner of the large conservatory style restaurant which overlooks the swimming pool and sun terrace.

The staff were friendly and service was efficient – even though they were clearly inundated with guests.

After checking if we had any food allergies, we were presented with an elegant three tiered cake stand with a mouth-watering array of goodies.

Perched on the top tier there was a selection of delicate finger sandwiches in a mixture of brown seeded and white bread including cheese and pickle, egg and watercress and ham and mustard. On the lower level there were a couple of large fruit scones which were served warm with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and nestling in the middle was an assortment of cakes, including what’s called a Dorset bun, which looked like a mini Victoria sponge, a slice of carrot cake and a mini blueberry cheese cake.

Everything was well presented, tasted fresh and homemade and was a good mix of savoury and sweet. There was also more than enough for two, plus unlimited hot drinks, everything from traditional teas and herbal infusions to the full coffee menu, so for £15 per person we thought this was very good value.

To book, call 0330 028 3413.