Cream tea at the Mercure Southgate Hotel, Exeter

The stark reality of moving far away to a place where you know no one is that you have no family or friends to help with the childcare. A lot of the time that means that we can’t go out alone as a couple without paying for a babysitter or sweet talking a friend who is probably knackered from juggling their own family / work life.

This week my brother is visiting and after living abroad for a while, he’s been very keen to spend some time with the kids, so we – of course -took full advantage on Saturday and popped out for afternoon cream tea at the Mercure Southgate Hotel.

The Mercure Southgate is Situated in central Exeter, it’s a stones throw from the Cathedral and the shops. From the street the hotel doesn’t command attention but the interior is welcoming and decorated in the way you might expect a hotel in a Cathedral city to be decorated; with gargoyle printed lampshades, old world calligraphy, gothic influenced crushed velvet sofas and a grand piano.

I first visited the Mercure for a networking event when I first moved to Exeter and made a mental note to pop back sometime.

On arrival we were seated and offered tea or coffee, I opted for a cappuccino and Mr EE had a cup of tea, there wasn’t a glass of Prosecco in sight (which was probably a good thing given that it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon).

With freelance work and study, we often work in the evenings and when you’re wrapped up in day to day life it’s really easy to fall into a routine where you spend all your time looking after the kids and the house and forgetting to take time just to hang out and enjoy each others company. It was a bit of a luxury to relax child free and we made the most of it.

We had been invited by the hotel for afternoon tea and having not been before I thought that we were going along for tea and a scone. When the food came out we were pleasantly surprised.

On the modern three tiered presentation stand were a variety of sandwiches, some eclairs, scones with clotted cream and jam, mini Victoria sponge cakes and chocolate coated strawberries.

We tucked in, joking about how we’d manage to eat it all and we offered some cake to the couple opposite who politely declined (their loss).

Seated in the quiet area away from the bar, we could take in the comings and goings of the hotel from a distance, enjoying the ambience.

We did manage to eat almost all of it while we chatted.

We would have quite happily stayed for the afternoon (and overnight) but we both agreed that the thought of our brother attempting to manage our threenager for more than a couple of hours was slightly scary. So we went back to make sure that he was still alive and intact.

I’d definitely recommend cream tea at the Mercure Southgate, but if I were to do it again I would take the girls and drink Prosecco!

The Mercure Southgate Hotel is located at Southernhay East, Exeter, EX1 1QF  – Tel : 01392 412812, Mail :


6 Comments Add yours

  1. lynseyward78 says:

    That looks just divine. I do like afternoon tea.


    1. Stephanie Darkes says:

      It’s definitely worth a visit.


  2. Yum! I go to monthly Mumazing Meetings here and really love the relaxed, swanky atmosphere. I love working there afterwards. But never had afternoon tea – looks delish. Loved your Instagram vid with chocolate 🍓


    1. Stephanie Darkes says:

      I’ve been to one of those Clio, I keep meaning to go back – I really enjoyed it. Do you get a lot out of it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do – it gives me focus and I love the networking side of it too. Feel like I’ve gained lots of new colleagues. Now that I am essentially a publisher (Mumsnet Exeter), I need to be more business-minded and not just creative. Feel like the exercises we do and issues we discuss help me with this. So nice to have a mentor in Lucy as well – she is such a positive influence!


      2. Stephanie Darkes says:

        I really enjoyed the session and I’m thinking of coming back, I could really use some positive people to bounce ideas off 😀


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