Afternoon tea is a tradition that has delighted the nation since it was created in the 19th Century. The story of which makes me smile, as I can see myself doing exactly the same:
Fed up of just having two meals a day with hours between them (breakfast and then dinner at 8pm), the 7th Duchess of Bedford decided to have a sneaky afternoon snack in her boudoir. Obviously after a few revelations, she invited her friends to join her. The practice became so popular invitations were flying out all over the place and before long people were snacking openly in the dining room up and down the country.
Apart from the tea and cake, what is lovely about this tradition is its variety, from crafting classics to playful creativity, it seems to be something most establishments are trying. There is a time and place for all kinds of afternoon tea, from the traditional to the unusual, and the thrifty to the swanky. The question is which one to try?
We’ve put together a quiz to help you decide just that, with 20 recommendations of where you can go to sample your chosen variety. Check the quiz out here, and read a bit more about the delicious delights below.
6 Yorkshire locations, including Harrogate and York
£18.95-£26.85 per person
Enjoy a classic afternoon tea in delightful surroundings at any one of Bettys’ six Yorkshire locations – or even better, try them all. The staff are all dressed in traditional clothes so you really feel like you’re embracing the tradition.
Cuthbert’s Classic afternoon tea
£18-£21 per person
This cosy Merseyside spot is the perfect setting for you classic afternoon tea – the lemon drizzle cake is apparently the best around! Their classic menu also caters for vegen, vegetarian and gluten free diners.
Rothay Manor, Ambleside
Classic afternoon tea
£18-£24 per person
Enjoy a brew inspired by tea expert Angela Pryce to accompany your exquisite afternoon feast at the hands of chef Brandon Shepherd. This is the perfect pit stop for any Lakes adventure.
Delimann UK-wide (deliveries to your door)
Traditional Devonshire afternoon tea
£23.50 per person
There’s always a time for afternoon tea, but sometimes you just don’t want to go outside to get one! What better way than to have one delivered, or if you’re feeling generous, send one as a gift to brighten someone’s day.
The Balmoral, Edinburgh
£35 per person
When an afternoon tea menu begins with the words, ‘Chef Jeff Bland’s Amuse Bouche’ you know it’s going to be a good one. The deserts are a delightful display, against the quite sensational backdrop of the Palm Court.
Tea with a twist
Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea
£48-£65 per person
Wow! In celebration of 150 years of Alice in Wonderful, Sanderson has brought the Lewis Carroll classic to life in the shape of delicious treats and beverages, like red velvet ladybird cakes and little ‘drink me’ bottles.
Gentleman Jack Afternoon Tea
Great John Street, Manchester
£25-£30 per person
Not just for men, this afternoon tea is great for anyone who wants something a bit more substantial. The board is full of canapé-style bites, from a burger and chips to a fish and chip skewer.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea
One Aldwyh, London
£39-£52 per person
This is another quite spectacular sight, and an absolutely scrumptious one. The beauty is you never know what taste sensation you are going get from the delightful golden egg to the candy floss sticks. It’s every bit as surprising as the Roald Dahl classic itself.
Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
BB Bus, London
£45-£48 per person
This is my favourite kind of bus tour. See the city sights on a London Routemaster bus, ticking off sights like Big Ben, St. Jame’s Park and Nelson’s Column, whilst eating cake and drinking tea. All aboard!
Hotel Chocolat afternoon tea. Need I say more? The menu is quite an inspiration, including cacao gin cured salmon & avocado and rare beef with white chocolate horseradish.
British Museum, London
£19.50-£25.00 per person
The British Museum is brimming with activities, exhibitions and delighted faces, even more so when they are eating afternoon tea under the amazing roof of the Green Court. Plus for the London setting, the price is not to be sniffed at.
And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon
£14.50 per person
This gorgeous little tea room in West Didsbury serves up quite a feast. The best part is choosing the cakes as there’s a whole array of freshly baked treats to choose from – and they’re not stingy, if you want two cupcakes, you get two cupcakes!
Coombe Abbey Hotel, Warwickshire
Abbot’s Traditional Afternoon Tea
£19.95 per person
Set within beautiful surroundings, everything about this hotel feels like a real treat, especially when your afternoon tea comes out with six different varieties of sweet treats giving you an abundance of sugary delights for your buck.
Patisserie Valerie, nationwide
£12.50-£15 per person
The cakes at Patisserie Valerie can only be described as mesmerising little pieces of art. The fact that a selection of them will now sit on a cake stand in front of you is quite exciting, and at that price it’s a real steal.
Julien Plumart Cafe et Patisserie, Brighton
£14.50 per person
Julien Plumart is the the master of the macaron – he has 18 signature flavours in fact. Whilst it may be the star of the show, the afternoon tea is also filled with delectable cakes, ice cream and brownies.
Ice Cream Champagne Afternoon Tea
The Dorchester, London
£65 (only available throughout August)
To help you cool down in the the glorious August heat, The Dorchester has created a spectacular afternoon tea where you get to eat homemade ice cream cones whilst sipping Laurent-Perrier champagne.
The Epicurean Tea
The Ritz London
£95 per person
The Epicurean Afternoon Tea presents guests with six rare teas, each paired by experts to the tasty morsels on offer. This sensational ‘Tea Tasting’ is accompanied by a Tea Master who talks you through each step of your three-hour tea journey.
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse
£29.99 per person
If you prefer to feel at ease in the clothes you turn up in, this may be a more appropriate setting, whilst still feeling fancy. Enjoy panoramic views of Birmingham whilst eating fancies and macaroons from the 25th floor of The Cube.
The Royal Afternoon Tea
The Rubens at the Palace, London
£32-£49 per person
Take in the sights of the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace whilst eating your diamond chocolate biscuit and coronation tart. Hey, just pretend your sitting in your back garden.
£24-£34 per person
A lovely way to complete your Titantic experience and discovery tour by sitting in the elegant surroundings of the Titanitc Suite enjoying a tasty afternoon tea by the replica staircase.