With Afternoon Tea Week approaching on 8-14th August, Pride of Britain Hotels rounds up the very best spots to enjoy a leisurely afternoon treat across the country.
The expertly-curated collection of the very finest hotels across the British Isles, many with their own kitchen gardens, offers an array of the most decadent afternoon tea dining experiences to tickle the taste buds this summer.
Bedford Lodge, Suffolk
It was in 1840 that the Duchess of Bedford – who resided at Bedford Lodge – shared her guilty secret of enjoying tea and snacks a few hours before dinner, setting a trend that would evolve to become a national tradition. And it doesn’t get much better than Afternoon Tea at Bedford Lodge, which can be taken in Squires restaurant, Roxana Bar, or on the sun terrace overlooking the stunning lawns and rose gardens at the hotel.
The menu includes a delicious selection of finger sandwiches served with buttermilk scones and jam and clotted cream and a variety of cakes and pastries. All food is freshly prepared and served with a pot of tea/coffee.
Price: From £34.50 with champagne.
The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa, Suffolk
The Swan’s black and white timber-framed exterior makes the hotel look like it’s straight out of the pages of a quaint story book. This fairytale hotel, located in lovely Lavenham (one of Britain’s best preserved medieval villages) is one of Pride of Britain Hotels’ prettiest and most historic properties, and has notably been a favourite spot for people across the county to relax and enjoy an Afternoon Tea for decades.
Whether a Traditional, Savoury or a decadent High Tea, guests will enjoy a range of classic pastries, finger sandwiches and cakes, all within the splendour of the Gallery Restaurant. This summer the hotel is also livening up Wednesdays with a series of Musical Afternoon Teas.
Price: From £25 and £39.50 with champagne.
The Goring, London
For a Royal Tea like no other, look no further than The Goring. It’s where the Duchess of Cambridge spent the night before her wedding; where the Queen holds her annual staff Christmas lunch, and the only hotel in the world to hold a Royal Warrant. Its private garden out back also makes the hotel incredibly special.
A rarity in London, guests can enjoy their tea in good weather before working it off with a game of croquet. Also unique to The Goring is the hotel’s in-house master of tea, who personally selects and tastes each blend on the menu. The range includes The Goring’s own blend which features a refreshing and subtle mix of Assam and Darjeeling, complementing the dainty amuse-bouche of butternut squash and savory granola, crustless finger sandwiches filled with smoked salmon, pastrami or cheese and pickle. The scones come with the hotel’s own homemade jam, filled with strawberries and raspberries foraged from their farm in Suffolk.
Price: From £50 per person; from £62 with a glass of champagne.
The Vineyard, Berkshire
There is nothing quite like sitting down for warming tea blends and sweet and savoury treats at The Vineyard.
The hotel’s Afternoon Tea, which is so quintessentially British, features delicate finger sandwiches, tempting tarts and patisserie, and a selection of freshly baked scones, clotted cream and jam.
Price: From £34 per person.
Sopwell House, Hertfordshire
One of Pride of Britain Hotels’ most historic hotels, the earliest reference to Sopwell House was by Richard Sadlier way back in 1603. It is also believed to be where Anne Boleyn took refuge after returning from France and where her secret marriage to Henry VIII took place.
Set in 12 acres of beautiful countryside, Afternoon Tea is served in the 2 AA rosette restaurant or the delightful cocktail lounge with a selection of homemade scones, Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam, seasonal cakes and finger sandwiches served with a choice of Twining’s luxury teas.
Price: From £29.95 per person.
Talbooth House & Spa, Essex
Renowned for being Colchester’s most charming hotel, Talbooth House & Spa is a 4 AA Red Star hotel looking out across Constable’s Countryside and the Dedham Vale. A literary inspired property, all rooms are named after English poets from Shakespeare and Keats to Newbolt and Betjeman.
And its British charm doesn’t stop there. At Talbooth House, an exquisite Afternoon Tea is served. The Head Chef prepares daily freshly-baked scones with clotted cream and jam, delicate sandwiches and a delicious selection of cakes coupled with an interesting selection of tea or coffee to make it a treat to remember.
Price: From £39.95 per person.
Hartwell House & Spa, Buckinghamshire
Within easy reach of London, Hartwell House is a listed manor with 90 acres of gardens and parkland of its own.
With a history dating back to the 1600s, Hartwell was built as a family home and then became a regal residence in 1809 when it was leased to the exiled King Louis XVIII of France…and to this day it still feels like a royal retreat.
Adding to their quintessential British affair is the Afternoon Tea. Available to book in the historic surroundings of the Morning Room, Drawing Room or Library at Hartwell House a beautifully prepared selection of finger sandwiches, selection of home-made patisserie, freshly baked plain and fruit scones are served with an extensive choice of teas and coffee.
Price: From £37 per person.
The Priory Hotel, Dorset
With summer here, there is nothing that beats an afternoon tea on the banks of the Frome, with views of the Purbeck Hills and beyond.
The Priory is a former monastery turned luxury independent hotel that serves some of Wareham’s most ‘Ritzy’ teas. The Head Chef brings together European and English styles in a choice of tea menus that range from a Dorset apple cake and clotted cream jobby, to a ritzy ‘Ritzy’ and a savoury tea that include lobster brioche, crab wraps and chicken liver parfait macaroons.
Prices: From £24.50 for the Priory ‘Ritzy’ Tea.
Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, Llandudno
600 years of history form this incredible hotel. Located in Llandudno, Wales with sublime views over landscaped gardens to the mountains and sea beyond, this hotel is a true romantic retreat.
So much more than a country manor, the hotel’s decor takes guests back to a more graceful era, with its grand oak-panelled hall, library and dark-wood drawing room that’s suited to afternoon tea.
Bodysgallen’s Traditional Afternoon Tea includes a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, cakes and pastries and a choice of freshly brewed teas.
Price: From £30 per person.
Dunstane Houses, Edinburgh
Dunstane House is a painstakingly refurbished high-Victorian mini-mansion and a small hotel with an intimate, club-like feel. For a touch of old-school glamour, guests should book their Afternoon Tea, mixing the old and new as the hotel does so well.
Served in the Ba’ Bar every day, their Afternoon Tea spread includes prepared sandwiches, cakes baked in the Dunstane kitchen and fluffy scones slathered with locally made jam and Scottish cream. Guests can also enjoy a Gin & Tonic Afternoon Tea, complete with a glass of the hotel’s very own DunGin and Tonic.
Price: From £35 per person.