Martha’s account of a very memorable meal
If there is one thing that us Germans are good at, it’s celebrating life’s milestones. For me, there was no milestone more meaningful than becoming a mother. That’s why I have always been somewhat disappointed that baby showers are not part of our German celebration inventory. So when the time finally came that I was about to give birth to baby Jonas last December, I was grateful when my good friend and fellow German Wiebke threw me an unforgettable baby bash at her home. What most guests didn’t know is that she was expecting herself at the time.
Fast forward six months and it was now about time we set a date and got things moving for her own baby shower. I was in charge and looking for a memorable activity for a handful of people, I decided that afternoon tea at a posh hotel would probably do the trick. Nigel, however, travel god that he is, reminded me of a world famous attraction right on our doorstep: the Titanic Museum in Belfast. Now, you might think that a tea party at a museum does not sound the most idyllic. That’s where you’re wrong, because their Titanic Suite, where Sunday Afternoon Tea is held, does feel very exclusive. What really sells it though is its stunning replica of the Titanic’s dining room staircase and clock. If, like me, you are a child of the 90’s: This is where Leo was waiting for Kate to join him in the afterlife in the movie’s final scene. So I am talking serious business here.
I trust I’ve got you on the edge of your seat now wondering if you can indulge in an afternoon here, too. Fear not, you can! And here’s how:
#1 Book your slot and show up
Yup, it’s as easy as this! Go to the Titanic Belfast website to book your tickets. The experience is actually surprisingly affordable at 25£ per adult. Kids are also welcome and pay 10£. You can choose from eight slots between 12.30 and 3.30pm.
For us, the moment had finally come on 2 July at 3.30pm, when the six of us arrived at the museum like giddy school children, bearing boxes containing presents for baby and table decorations. A smartly dressed gentleman awaited us at the elevators, crossed us off the guest list and told us to go all the way up to the top floor of this impressive building. What awaited us up there were spectacular views over Belfast and the docks where the Titanic was built. More about that later. We were taken to a separate function room to wait for just a couple of minutes. Another smartly dressed man appeared to show us to our table. The ooooohs and aaaaaahs kept coming because this place was quite special and surprisingly quiet, apart from the live music.
Fancy fancy: Our table decorated for the baby shower, White Star Line china, and our opulent meal
#2 Choose your tea
Once you have been seated, more smartly dressed people will show up to explain proceedings to you. One of six teas is included in the price. We decided to go with the aptly named Titanic Tea. Now all you have to do is wait, unless you’re like us and decide to make the crew’s lives difficult by filling up your table with presents, baby pictures (ranging from cute to disturbing. One of the staff members, in an attempt to make conversation, commented ‘These are clearly here to embarrass somebody’), candy and miniature lanterns. Once we had placed about five “baby boy” gift bags on the table, our friend from the crew asked us whether this was a bridal shower. I’m gonna give him the benefit of a doubt and say the two men in our party threw him …
With our guest of honour due to arrive any minute now, we were poised ready to go …
Our group munching and playing baby shower games while being served by one of the lovely staff, the grand staircase and Wiebke opening her presents
#3 Be as hungry as possible
The food being brought out is a bit of a production and we had various staff members fussing over us whilst we were still in the middle of playing ‘Which guest is in the baby picture’. On White Star Line china (how cool is this?), we were served three sandwiches, a slice of cake, a fish cake, a vol au vent, gazpacho, a scone, fruit bread and various other sweet delicacies, which were a sight to behold. The most impressive, without a doubt, was the lavender short bread, which was decorated with a picture of a Titanic boarding pass. The menu changes every once in a while according to season, so make sure you check out the current food selection here .
#4 Get THAT picture taken.
Our group consisted of six quite impressive eaters and the food was gone faster than you might think. Once Wiebke had opened her presents, it was time for a final baby shower quiz. If the staff were annoyed by our slightly extended stay, they certainly didn’t show it. Charley, a Hungarian gentleman impressed us with his German skills while clearing our table. We were then approached by Terry, who invited us to get our picture taken at the legendary staircase once we were ready. This seems to be part of the Afternoon Tea experience, so you can leave your selfie stick at home.
Photographs at the Grand Staircase are taken at the top, in the middle and at the bottom of the stairs. The clock is set to 2:20 am, the time the Titanic sank
#5 Ask for a tour of the top floor
Terry was great. Not only did he take photos of us in three different locations around the staircase, he also invited us to see the top floor of the Titanic building. You can oversee the entire shipyard from here. And not only that, you will learn a lot about Titanic Quarter, too. That there are markers on the ground where the Titanic was built (and the Olympia, its sister ship), outlining its width and length, while the height of the museum matches that of the ship. Another ship docked here is the Nomadic, which has a story of its own to tell. It was used as a tender ship to the Titanic and countless other Trans-Atlantic liners in Cherbourg. A Titanic hotel is currently under construction, incorporating the original drawing offices. Barely noticeable from ground level, but obvious from up here is the map on the ground, marking the Titanic’s journey. Even the smallest detail seems to have a hidden meaning here, even the landscaping. The benches around the museum’s grounds are designed to look like dots and dashes and represent the Titanic’s distress signal in morse code. The grass has a purpose, too: The size of the different lawn areas represents the fatalities, while the paving in between them is proportioned to represent the survivors. Thank you, Terry, for such an insightful little tour! It made us very excited to be in the birth place of the Titanic.
Main picture: The new Titanic hotel being built. Titanic Studios in the background, where Game of Thrones is filmed. Small pictures top to bottom: 1 the exact place the Titanic was built, its position outlined on the ground, 2 the museum’s external wall, looking down at the cast iron Titanic sign. Photographed from the same height the Titanic was. 3 The map on the ground showing the Titanic’s journey, benches representing the morse code. 4 architectural detail looking out onto one of the museum’s four ‘prows’
#6 Make your friends jealous
One final chance to be super touristy: Get a photo of your group taken in the big TITANIC letters outside the front entrance. These are so fun to take and make for a real eye catcher on your social media.
Phew … You can now rest assured that you have had the full Titanic Tea experience. You might have to work your way through Nigel’s Belfast Insider Tips to work off these cultural calories …
We would be grateful for some Pinterest Love 🙂