Well, it is one of the finest English traditions
It’s National Afternoon Tea Week, so there’s no better time to indulge in a dozen finger sandwiches, buttery scones laden with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and cakes that almost look too good to eat. Wait, we said almost …
These are the best places in the UK to get your afternoon tea fix …
The home of the fat rascal, Bettys in York have been serving tea and cakes since they opened in 1937. Served on a traditional silver cake stand by waitresses in period dress, the art deco interior of the Belmont Room and café pianists are the perfect setting to spend an afternoon, while the selection of teas and quantity of cakes, including battenberg, chocolate and praline slices and fresh berry meringues, are pretty staggering.
The cost (for the Lady Betty Afternoon Tea): £32.95 per person without bubbles, £39.95 with
The Modern Pantry, London
This Clerkenwell foodie destination is also a good spot for afternoon tea. As you would expect from Chef Anna Hansen’s The Modern Pantry, flavours here are anything but traditional: think honey roast ham with pineapple ketchup and jerk spiced mayonnaise sandwiches, lemon and ajowan seed scones with clotted cream and lemon curd, and tonka bean, berry and liquorice jam Swiss roll.
The cost: £22.50 per person without bubbles, £27.50 with
The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh
With a Venetian chandelier, glass dome ceiling and harpist, this is one of the grandest afternoon teas served in Edinburgh. The Balmoral Hotel offers a wide selection of loose leaf teas and sandwiches, which range from classic smoked salmon with lemon to Isle of mull cheddar with onion chutney, as well as scones served warm from the oven and seasonal cakes made by their pastry chef. You’ll also leave with a tin containing the Balmoral blend of loose leaf tea and afternoon tea’s are available as early as noon – which earns them extra brownie points.
The cost: £35 per person
The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny
This has a reputation for serving the best afternoon tea in Wales, and has a host of awards to prove it. Choose from 40 different teas or three sparkling wines and champagne to sip alongside finger sandwiches, savoury pastries, warm scones and freshly-baked cakes. The Angel Hotel also serves gluten-free afternoon teas.
The cost: from £21.80 per person
Set in their splendid Art Deco inspired-foyer, this is an afternoon tea for a special occasion. With an impressive selection of 24 teas, sourced from across the world, the raisin and apple scones with Marco Polo jelly and clotted cream are a highlight, while staff don’t rush you with the finger sandwiches and sweet pastries. For mini gourmands, there is also a children’s menu.
The cost: £55 per person without bubbles, £65 with
Holbeck Ghyll, Lake District
For an afternoon tea with a view, Holbeck Ghyll is hard to beat. Looking out onto the Windermere and the Lake District Fells, indulge in platefuls of finger sandwiches and dainty cakes, all washed down with Taylors of Harrogate teas. In winter, go for afternoon tea in the Arts and Crafts lounge and snuggle up by the inglenook fire, while summer is all about the terrace and their magnificent views.
The cost: £20 per person without bubbles, £30 with
Stoke park, Buckinghamshire
Set in the grand rural estate of Stoke Park and overlooking the beautiful lakes and gardens, you could happily lose an afternoon here. Choose from the traditional afternoon tea of homemade sandwiches, cakes and scones, or, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, go for the indulgent chocolate afternoon tea (complete with hot chocolate and raisin and chocolate chip scones). They also serve a Little Stars afternoon tea for children up to 12-years-old, which will keep little ones happy.
The cost: £31 per person without bubbles, £42 with, £36 per person for the chocolate afternoon tea, £12.50 per child for the Little Stars afternoon tea
The Lowry Hotel, Manchester
The five-star Lowry Hotel on the banks of the River Irwell is one of Manchester’s most fashionable. Menus change seasonally with summer sandwiches including cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and lemon mayonnaise and ham and tomato chutney, while fruit and plain scones are served with clotted cream and preserves, and sweet treats include Battenberg, strawberry and lime posset and chocolate and mint macaroons.
The cost: £22.50 per person without bubbles, £33 with