10 Places For Afternoon Tea Across The UK
Henry James opened his most prominent novel, A Portrait of a Lady saying, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” And we have to admit that we do quite agree!
A custom dating back to the early nineteenth century - a time where two meals a day sufficed, the 7th Duchess of Bedford complained of "having a sinking feeling" during the long afternoons. This was quickly put right by a pot of tea and a refreshing snack, thus establishing the delightful ritual of afternoon tea.
From classic cream-smothered scones to moreish macaroons, we’ve selected the very best places for afternoon tea across the UK, fit for a duchess and guaranteed to tempt your taste buds.
Traditional afternoon tea
Renowned for its Art Deco interior echoing the elegant luxury of the Queen Mary liner, Bettys opened its doors in 1936 and has been a popular destination for afternoon tea ever since. Taking tea at Bettys’ renowned Belmont Room will not disappoint: think silver cake stands stacked with neatly cut sandwiches, tempting treats, porcelain teapots steaming with fresh tea, and a delightful glass or two of the finest champagne.
Serving afternoon tea from the brilliance of architect Thierry Despont’s majestic Foyer for over a century, an afternoon spent indulging at Claridge's in the heart of London is a magnificent experience. Patrons can relax and dine in style, spoilt with a fine assortment of 24 loose leaf teas and herbal infusions from around the globe, a selection of the finest finger sandwiches, and freshly-baked scones with Cornish Clotted cream and Marco Polo jelly.
The beautifully restored Tea Room of the Royal Pavilion is located on the upper floor of John Nash's extraordinarily colourful building, and never fails to attract tea lovers from far and wide to sample their renowned afternoon tea menu. Originally built for George IV, the sunny Tea Room balcony overlooks the spectacular Royal Pavilion gardens where customers can enjoy soothing house blends, traditional sandwiches, and an exquisite selection of confectionaries.
Located in the heart of Manchester's vibrant northern quarter, RosyLee’s Tea Rooms are cosy and welcoming, and truly honour great British tastes and traditions. Customers can relax in the quaint mix of Georgian and Edwardian décor, and partake in a little nostalgic afternoon dining with a scrumptious menu of miniature cakes, fresh chocolate-dipped strawberries, and a refreshing pot of Darjeeling or chamomile.
Home to an impressive range of teas from India to Taiwan, Waterloo Tea is Cardiff's premier teahouse and a true haven for tea lovers. Committed to promoting the world's finest brews, Waterloo Tea offers an exquisite selection of Rooibos, Oolong, and fruit and herbal infusions to warm the soul, along with a tantalising choice of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan confectionaries. In addition to afternoon tea, the teahouse also doubles as an art gallery, exhibiting a collection of works created by local artists.
Eteaket is an experimental and innovative tea company which has been visiting tea plantations across the globe, bringing the best blends to their Edinburgh-based shop since 2005. As well as traditional afternoon tea and mouth-watering cakes from local producers, Eteaket have a range of speciality beverages on offer including tea lattes, mint tea mojitos, and Earl Grey gin and tonics. As if that wasn’t enough, Eteaket also raise money for charity through their Cuppas for Causes initiative which fundraises for numerous charities each year.
Liverpool’s Leaf is dedicated to bringing quality loose leaf teas to the city, and is an independent hub for tea lovers and creatives alike. From fiery chai to delicate herbal infusions, afternoon tea at Leaf is a wonder to behold: a beautiful selection of Parisian- style mini cakes and fancies, homemade scones and clotted cream, and all the tea you can drink.
Tea with a twist
Located in one of London’s trendier districts, Drink, Shop, Do is a cafe, bar and craft venue under one roof. A quirky cafe where traditional afternoon dining meets do-it-yourself crafting, Drink, Shop, Do promises a whole host of heavenly cake served with lashings of hot tea and a good dollop of fun. In addition to the cafe’s wacky events programme which includes musical bingo, discos, and swing dance classes, the venue caters for arts and crafts parties, vintage hen dos, and baby shower celebrations - all served with afternoon tea!
There’s no denying that cupcakes are back in fashion, and no one knows this better than Hey Little Cupcake. Treating customers to a magnificent menu of fresh finger sandwiches, sensational scones and melt-in-the-mouth mini cupcakes, Hey Little Cupcake is furnished in pinks and is a superb location for a girl's afternoon tea outing. Hey Little Cupcake also offers cupcake-making classes where you can learn to bake your own for a more hands-on experience.
A working family dairy farm, Low Sizegh Barn’s award-winning tea room is like no other. Situated directly above the milking shed, customers can not only relish in home-baked breads and treats washed down with pots of fresh tea, but also enjoy a bird’s eye view of the milking in late afternoon. A favourite with children and adults alike, this ivy-covered farmhouse is stocked with local produce and makes for a perfect family outing.
Bonus: Denby Afternoon Tea at Denby Pottery Visitor Centre
For those touring the breath-taking Derbyshire countryside and exploring our Visitor Centre, call in at Bourne’s Restaurant and sample our very own Denby Afternoon Tea. Here you can dine on our selection of finger sandwiches deliciously filled with Denby ham, smoked salmon, free range egg and cress, and smoked Applewood cheese, followed by a heavenly range of mini desserts - all beautifully presented on our legendary Denby pottery!