The streets of Manchester are decked out with bunting and flags that line the route to one of Manchester’s most iconic buildings, the Hilton.
There is certainly a sense of anticipation in the air for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this weekend, and in Cloud 23 the atmosphere is no different.
For two weeks only the restaurant, run by award-winning head chef David Gale, is hosting a luxurious Jubilee-themed afternoon 'high' tea.
Upon arrival the head waiter Said greeted us with an enormous smile and a glass of Gin Champagne Fizz, a delicious gin infused cocktail with lashings of lemon.
REFRESHING: Gin Champagne Fizz
After a brief tour of the bar and its breath-taking views of the urban and country landscape, we were shown to our table which was decorated with a delightfully-kitsch Corgi-print tablecloth.
CORGI: Cath Kidston's retro-style cloth
A triple-tiered stand boasted a feast for all the senses. The bottom layer comprised of a selection of traditional handmade sandwiches including smoked salmon and egg and cress fillings.
DELICIOUS: Three-tiers of sandwiches and cakes
The bread was light and fluffy and the fillings were plentiful and delicious.
The next level consisted of a thick slice of royal iced fruit cake which was crammed with juicy sultanas and cherries.
Having worked our way through the last two layers, the top tier consisted of the quintessentially English image of afternoon tea, freshly-baked scones, jam and heaps of clotted cream. Heavenly.
QUINTESSENTIALLY ENGLISH: Scones, jam and clotted cream
The next platter hosted the Best of British desserts, including Victoria sponge cake, Jubilee trifle and strawberry tartlets.
This elegant trio of desserts looked almost too good to eat, but I dutifully picked up my fork and enjoyed the rich yet light Victoria sponge.
JUBILEE DELIGHTS: A feast for the eyes and the taste buds
Up next was the trifle, quirkily served in a shot glass and decorated with a stylish dark chocolate spiral.
The vanilla-infused panna cotta and custard layers sandwiched the strawberry jelly centre delightfully.
The strawberry tartlet, although small, packed a mighty punch in terms of flavour and texture.
The soft juicy fruit, juxtaposed beautifully against the crunchy pastry and smooth texture of the panna cotta and clotted cream.
STRAWBERRY TARTLET: Small but perfectly formed
In-keeping with the patriotic theme I opted for Twinings English Breakfast Tea, a refreshing loose-leaf tea that cleansed the palette after the indulgence of all that cake.
To ensure the correct brewing times, Said brought our tea to the table and provided us with a Twinings tea timer.
This not only ensured the perfect cup of tea but also added something of a novelty element to our visit.
And as I drained away the last dregs of my tea, we were presented with tall glasses of a fruity and refreshing Pimms cocktail with which to toast the Queen’s good health.
TOAST: Pimms cocktail
Treating yourself to afternoon tea in this sumptuous setting with sweeping views and excellent service will not be a decision you regret.
In short, you will have a spiffing time.
The Jubilee afternoon 'high' tea is available up until June 8. To view the menu click here
To reserve your place call 0161 870 1670 or email email@example.com