Afternoon tea in Britain is more than just scones and sandwiches. It’s a way of life, part of the natural order, it lays deep within our bones and is as old as time itself. Or, at least we’d like to believe. Vincenzo Ferrara has been on the search for the best Afternoon Tea
Choosing the perfect place for a business meeting involving afternoon tea can be difficult seeing as how nearly everywhere seems to offer it now. Tea has become cool again.
We have scoured the UK in search of the top afternoon tea. From the grand and exquisite to the modest and peaceful.
We hope that you find this list of eight delightful places satisfying enough to quench your thirst and fill your curiosity more than the standard finger sandwich.
The Colonnades – Edinburgh
Served on a neo-classic bespoke silver tea stand, The Colonnades is an afternoon tea experience to rival anywhere in the UK. Using only the freshest seasonal ingredients, the sandwiches and cakes are sculpted into miniature picturesque pieces of art, a treat for your eyes before any of it arrives at the table.
The menu has an extensive list of teas and fizzy beverages. To enjoy the full experience, we would recommend having the signature blend or, for those looking for a more exciting offering, The Colonnades has created its own signature gin alongside the legendary Edinburgh Gin.
Located in the Signet Library, one of the finest Georgian buildings in the historical city, it’s a spectacular venue for an exquisite afternoon tea.
Served: Monday to Friday 1:00pm to 5:00pm and Sundays 11:00am to 5:00pm
Price from: £34 per person
The Ritz – London
The most iconic venue for afternoon tea in the UK. Serving a celebration of afternoon tea menus from the traditional to the champagne celebration.
With 18 different types of loose-leaf tea, finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones and an assortment of pastries, the Ritz does afternoon tea properly. It covers the basics incredibly well and then some. If you were ever in search of the perfect afternoon tea, then this is your place.
The Ritz is one of the UK’s flagship hotels and the afternoon tea is one of its finest showcases.
Served: Daily at 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm, and 7.30pm.
Price from: £57 per person
Manchester House – Manchester
Among the most visually pleasing afternoon teas we have ever come across, the colours are second only to the taste. In our opinion, Manchester House offers the best afternoon tea the city has to offer. It’s sophisticated and creative, and allows guests to relax and enjoy the experience.
A more modern afternoon tea can be expected when you come to Manchester House. It combines traditional teas and flavours with modern cocktails. The cocktail menu has something to please even the pickiest of people.
The afternoon tea menu consists of the classics, scones and strawberry jam, assorted sandwiches and a selection of pastries and cakes.
A delightfully refreshing take on afternoon tea without going away from the original concept.
Served: Tuesday to Saturday 12noon to 6:00pm
Price from: £13 per person
George Hotel – Stamford
The George of Stamford was – and still is – one of England’s greatest coaching inns. It has distinctive style and ambience that make it truly unique. It’s middle England at its finest. Close to Burghley House, home of the Burghley horse trials, The George’s afternoon tea is that to rival any restaurant or hotel outside a major city.
Offering a collection of traditional sandwiches, cakes and scones, the true peak in this hotel’s service comes from its delightful staff and beautiful meadow location. Based in the centre of a bustling market town, the classic afternoon tea is backed by a classic British landscape.
When you escape to the country you lose a lot of things: convenience, phone signal, but not the chance of having a rather brilliant afternoon tea.
Served: Daily 3:30pm to 5:30pm
Prices from: £25 per person
Oblix West – The Shard, London
The Oblix West is certainly the best afternoon tea with a view on our list. Located on level 32 of The Shard, you can enjoy sipping on your brew while watching out across London. It’s both relaxing and ever so slightly invigorating.
The gastronomic afternoon tea menu has been designed using ingredients sourced from local London purveyors, incorporating ingredients from all over the city, including chai spices from the famous Brick Lane market and honeycomb from the bees in Harrow.
If you enjoy your tea with a view, you will not find a greater vista than from Oblix West.
Served: Monday to Sunday 2:45pm to 4:30pm
Price from £38 per person
Clayton Hotel – Birmingham
The celebratory ‘Best of British’ afternoon tea in a modern hotel in the heart of the newly-refurbished Birmingham city centre, really does give you something to celebrate.
Clayton Hotel has been reviewed as the top establishment for afternoon tea on Trip Advisor and we understand why. It has a brilliant atmosphere for those of all tastes. It’s welcoming and homely with the sophistication expected of such a venue.
The ideal place to enjoy tea while in the city, only a few minutes from the main shopping centre and train station. Once you enter the doors, you’ll forget about the outside world as you enjoy a spectacular and affordable experience.
Served: Daily 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Prices from £19.95 per person
Rosewood – London
The Rosewood is another of London’s top hotels. It also boasts the ‘Best Contemporary Afternoon Tea 2018’ – the second year running that it has won the title. Executive pastry chef, Mark Perkins, has created a new colourful collection of bites, inspired by the artistic movements of Cubism and Pop Art.
Served in the elegant Mirror Room, the pop art-inspired afternoon tea includes a selection of mouth-watering finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and loose leaf teas accompanied by the creative pastries. Prepare to discover the likes of Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein, with an optional Dom Pérignon twist.
Served: Monday to Friday 2:00pm to 5:30pm, Saturday & Sunday 12noon to 5:30pm
Prices from: £58 per person
Luton Hoo – Luton
Heavy silver cutlery, crisp white linen and the ‘clink’ of a fine bone china tea cup being returned to its saucer, all help to make Afternoon Tea at Luton Hoo very special.
So too is the menu, which includes tiers of plates piled with sandwiches, cakes and scones, with side dishes of strawberry jam and clotted cream.
Afternoon tea can be enjoyed in a regal setting from either of the beautiful lounges, the pillared hall or drawing room, under gleaming chandeliers and in the comfort of period sofas and armchairs.
Just a quick trip outside of London, you will find an afternoon tea than will make you feel like you live within the set of Downton Abbey. Perfect for those that enjoy the more historical British establishments.
Served: Daily 2:30pm to 5:30pm
Prices from: £32 per person (Mon-Fri), £40 per person (Sat & Sun)
Don’t see your favourite afternoon tea venue on the list? Or do you know a venue that’s a true gem we might have missed? Get in touch at v.ferrara@Forumevents.co.uk.