The approach and look of the Pickerings promises a lot. On entering no one was around, you have to summon 'attention' by ringing a little bell. I had booked for afternoon tea earlier in the morning after reading a review on Tripadvisor which promised "homemade sandwiches" and an exceptional cake selection etc.
My party of four was shown into an empty dining room in which a table was quickly cleared of its dinner setting as we were seated, the plastic flowers though remained.
A pot of tea arrived closely followed by a selection of cakes on a very stained and singed silverish tray which I would have binned many weeks before. The cakes on it should have gone the same way! Very badly made brownies, tiny scones (one each), and a slice of date cake which was really a sticky toffee pudding base without the butterscotch sauce! Meringue nests filled with cream and a raspberry were homemade and were very nice to eat. Jam, of course, was in a small glass jar a la motorway service station.
The sandwiches were made with sliced bread not homemade. Grated cheese, egg mayonnaise (passable) and some gristly ham which could barely be chewed.
The essence of 'afternoon tea' as delicate sandwiches et al served finely seems to have entirely escaped this creation. Extra water for the teapot was brought in a plastic jug straight out of the kitchen utensil cupboard.
The staff, whilst pleasant, haven't got a clue how things should be done.
We had visited to decide whether to make a restaurant booking - we won't be!
There was no need to ask where the toilets were as you could smell the direction from the reception area.
A great let down. Fawlty Towers is alive and well at the Pickerings.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.