The Chic Guide to Afternoon Tea

What is Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon Tea is a British tea-related tradition or ritual which was introduced in Britain in the mid-1800s. As we know it today Afternoon Tea is a meal (originally it was a snack to stave off hunger between lunch and supper) of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries and cakes. Though scones only became a feature of Afternoon Tea in the 20th-century.

We’ve rounded up some of the best British Afternoon Teas around at some of the best boutique hotels in the UK so sit back and enjoy the delight that is the English Afternoon Tea experience….there’s no better way to spend an afternoon.

The Lygon Arms

The Lygon Arms is a boutique hotel in the Cotswolds steeped in history and still has carvings and etchings dating back to the 1600s.

If you’re looking for a traditional Afternoon Tea while exploring the Cotswolds, boutique hotel The Lygon Arms is the place to go. You can enjoy the Afternoon Tea ritual on the stunning terrace restaurant or outside in the courtyard of this historic hotel in the Cotswolds. Help yourself to a fruit scone (or two) with clotted cream and jam (we think the cream goes on first), classic finger sandwiches, we’re talking cream cheese and cucumber, smoked salmon and lemon mayonnaise and roast ham and Tewkesbury mustard. To finish off, take your pick from the delightful selection of cakes and pastries freshly baked by the team each day. If you want to add a little fizz to your Afternoon Tea there’s the option to do so and if you follow a gluten-free or vegan diet, you’re covered too. Celebrate throughout the year at The Lygon Arms with their seasonally themed Afternoon Teas and during the summer holidays, the children can get involved too, with their very own specially crafted children’s Afternoon Tea.

Book the Lygon Arms here 

The Capital Hotel

Famous for its Afternoon Tea, The Capital Hotel has a collaboration with renowned Pastry Chef, Claire Clark.

Afternoon Tea in London is a hot commodity and the luxury hotels take it extremely seriously, almost to a competitive level. Cafés, restaurants and luxury hotels are all in the market for the Afternoon Tea customers and there are plenty of them, due to the popularity of this English tradition. One of the best Afternoon Teas in London is at The Capital Hotel which is located in none other than the luxurious Knightsbridge area. Sloane Street, Harrods and the designer shops of Kensington and Chelsea are right on your doorstep with the Piccadilly underground station just a stone’s throw away.

Honour the tradition of this quintessentially English past time in the hotel’s cosy and intimate sitting room. Sit back and enjoy the selection of freshly-made scones with clotted cream and homemade jams, sandwiches crafted with bread from their in-house bakery and sweet treats from their acclaimed Pastry Chef, Claire Clark. Afternoon Tea during Christmas time is a real treat with Christmas-themed cakes and sandwiches.

Book the Capital Hotel here

The Roseate Villa Bath

The perfect example of townhouse elegance spread across two Victorian houses.

If you find yourself spending a day or two in the iconic city of Bath, Afternoon Tea at The Roseate Villa Bath Hotel is a must. Located just a hop and a skip away from the historic and cultural city centre, you’ll find some tranquillity in this converted Victorian building. You’ll receive a warm welcome from the friendly staff and you’ll begin your Afternoon Tea experience by picking from the huge selection of loose-leaf teas (or prosecco if you want a more indulgent treat). Next up is the food. From sandwiches made on home-bread, warm scones (both plain and fruity), French pastries and sumptuous tarts, you’ll find yourself going back for more each time.

Book the Roseate Villa Bath Hotel here

Ellenborough Park

Expect comfy armchairs, panelling and a contemporary take on traditional British style at Ellenborough Park.

Hailed as one of the finest Afternoon Teas in Cheltenham, Ellenborough Park is a boutique hotel in the Cotswolds is where you can relax and enjoy a luxurious afternoon celebrating the much loved English tradition of Afternoon Tea. Their dedication, passion and eye for detail when it comes to serving Afternoon Tea is evident in the preparation and execution. You’ll be seated in this 15th-century country estate’s spectacular Great Hall, as you help yourself to pistachio and sour cherry opera cake, raspberry or mint macaroons, Devonshire clotted cream with scones and jam.

Book the Ellenborough Park here

Linthwaite House

It’s not only the views that impress at Linthwaite House; the interiors at this boutique hotel in the Lake District are a seamless blend of old and new, with the building’s original features standing aside more modern décor.

Set in the heart of the Lake District is boutique hotel Linthwaite House. This country house hotel is perched on the hilltops with far reaching views over Lake Windermere. Making the most of its breathtaking surroundings, Linthwaite House serves its Afternoon Tea in the bar and conservatory. If you want to enjoy a cosy atmosphere during the colder months you can head inside and sit by the crackling fire. Or if you want to enjoy the stunning views that Linthwaite House has to offer, choose a table by the window which overlooks the adjacent fells of Windermere. Linthwaite House caters for those wanting both a sweet fix or a savoury delight. We’re talking oven-roasted turkey, avocado mousse, orange essence on sourdough bread, hot Italian savoury snacks, Cumbrian free-range eggs, potatoes and walnuts on brown bread, profiteroles with lemon custard and pannacotta cake. This Afternoon Tea is what dreams are made of.

Book the Linthwaite House here 

Cary Arms

 This lovely beachside chic retreat is set on ensuring a memorable seaside trip from the off.
This lovely beachside chic retreat is set on ensuring a memorable seaside trip from the off.

The Cary Arms is one of the finest boutique hotels you can find in Devon. Set back in the sheltered Babbacombe Bay on the South Devon Coast, you’ll be wowed before you even sit down for your afternoon treat. Food is a big deal at the Cary Arms, and it has been recommended in The Good Food Guide and the Michelin Eating out Guide. Dishes are created with the utmost care and attention, using some of the best locally sourced ingredients. The tea here is a traditional Devon Cream Tea, not to be confused with Afternoon Tea. A cream tea from the south-west (Devon and Cornwall) consists of freshly baked scones (plain or fruity), strawberry jam, clotted cream, and a lovely pot of freshly made tea.

Book the Cary Arms here 

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Andrew is a firm believer that travelling like a local inevitably leads to the best off-the-beaten-path finds which truly make a destination remarkably more memorable. From traditional Indian festivals in humid Hyderabad to fresh seafood pasta by the Sorrentine Peninsula, he appreciates variety when travelling. He hasn't been everywhere, but it’s on the list.