Afternoon Tea Week: Best traditional, champagne and gourmet teas around the UK

National Afternoon Tea Week kicks off today, which means it’s time for your annual excuse to stuff yourself with all the cakes and tiny sandwiches you can dream of.

No matter if you prefer your tea in a posh hotel with starched white tablecloths and lots of bubbly, or something altogether quirkier (Mad Hatter’s Tea Party anyone?) there are plenty of different options available.

Whether you’re in to champagne, or cream cakes, modern cool, or traditional luxury – there is truly something for everyone.

Now that we have more than 18 months of missed birthdays, anniversaries and get-togethers to catch up on, there has never been a better time to treat yourself and your loved ones to a decadent afternoon.

We round up 15 of the best places to get your cucumber sandwich fix, and more…

The floral one

The Great Scotland Yard Hotel’s new ‘Bouquet De La Reine’ afternoon tea, in collaboration with perfumer Floris London, offers a multi-sensory afternoon tea served in the beautiful setting of hotel’s Victorian Parlour.

The menu, inspired by the Queen’s fragrance, includes an assortment of pastries and cakes including rose and pistachio drizzle cake and delicate violet leaf madeleines.

There will also be a selection of decadent sandwiches including cheddar, gougere and Exmoor caviar or classic chicken breast with tarragon mayonnaise.

From £50pp, Monday 9 – Sunday 15 August.Click here to book

The delivery one

French bakery PAUL has prepared an exciting Afternoon Tea Selection which can be delivered to your door.

The sweet and savoury creations include freshly prepared artisan brioche sandwiches such as tomato, mozzarella and pesto, and chicken salad.

Follow with delicate French pâtisserie, including strawberry, caramel and frangipane tartelettes, alongside an assortment of mini macarons and scones with clotted cream and jam. You’ll also receive Fairtrade and organic English breakfast tea for a premium at-home experience.   

£29.95, serves two; delivery across select London and Oxford postcodes, with free delivery from 9 – 15 August with the code FREEDELIVERY.

Click here to book

The kids’ one

We all know how much littl’uns love cakes, and London’s Dorchester Hotel has created a Children’s Afternoon Tea in partnership with the Year Four pupils of Tower Hamlets’ Manorfield Primary School.

They’ve come up with an exciting selection of sweet and savoury elements, including a ham and cheese ‘doughnut’, cucumber and cream cheese sushi rolls, and a rainbow vanilla milkshake.

£10 per child (all proceeds go the school), until end August.

Click here to book

The Parisian one

Of course, every afternoon tea, by its very nature, includes that delicious brew, but for French heritage company Mariages Frères, tea is their raison d’etre.

In their stunning Salon de Thé in Covent Garden, select from over 1,000 aromatic varieties and dive into a Parisian Afternoon Tea, complete with scones, smoked salmon sandwiches infused with Paris Marais tea and perfect pastries; or the Covent Garden Afternoon Tea with a delicate black olive soufflé, and ginger and lemongrass chicken ballotine with polenta.  

From £39pp, mariagefreres.com

Click here to book

The musical one

The Pump Room in Bath, an iconic Georgian building that inspired the likes of Jane Austin and Mary Shelley, is serving a new Champagne afternoon tea, complete with live classical music by England’s oldest professional trio.

Tuck into savouries such as crayfish rolls, salt beef and gruyere cheese toasties, and a dainty Chicken and tarragon pie alongside homemade buttermilk scones and a selection of pastries, including signature Bath buns (naturally).

From £36.50pp.

Click here to see the menu

The heritage one  

To celebrate the British Bulldog himself, The Orangery at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire (where he was born) has a dedicated Churchill afternoon tea to accompany its Winston Churchill exhibition.

Beginning with his favourite champagne, Pol Roger Brut Réserve, the tea features savouries of Swiss rarebit and pickled onion, smoked salmon and caviar muffin, and homemade Buttermilk plain and fruit scones.

Cakes and pastries include one inspired by Churchill’s personal cook, Georgina Landemare, made from local fruit.

From £29.75pp, until the end of September.

Click here to book

The al fresco one

A stunning Grade II listed country house hotel, Horwood House in Buckhamshire is offering an al fresco picnic afternoon tea.

Traditional sandwiches, delightfully buttery scones and decadent seasonal cakes are packaged up to enjoy within the hotel’s picturesque grounds, available seven days a week for bookings only.

£24.95pp.

Click here to book

The rosé one

Award-winning rosé specialist, Maison Mirabeau, has partnered with luxury Cotswold hotel, The Fish, to launch the Mirabeau Tipsy Tea, served in The Lodge restaurant.

Bringing a taste of the French Riviera to the back-to-nature bolt-hole, this limited-edition afternoon tea features four delicious cocktails – including the Beau Selecta or White Tea Fizz – and a host of sweet and savoury treats such as a truffle and cheese toastie, Bailey’s choux pastry, and, of course, a pineapple and rum tipsy cake.

£32.50pp.

Click here to book

The savoury one

Believe it or not, some people favour savoury snacks over sweet treats, and if that’s you, The Athenaeum Hotel and Residences in Mayfair have created your perfect afternoon tea.

Tuck into homemade sandwiches, Lincolnshire Poacher Cheddar scones and a selection of savoury pastries and cakes including pork & apple sausage roll, Welsh rarebit English muffin and quail egg and mushroom tartlet.

£39pp.

Click here to see the menu

The Japanese one

If you’ve been feeling Olympics fever, this Japanese-inspired aftenoon tea at the Karma Sanctum Soho is one for you.

More Wagyu sliders than cucumber sandwiches, it also includes salmon tartare with wasabi, coriander and mint; mini yuza and red fruit tart, or matcha panna cotta. Sip Hojicha, a roasted Japanese green tea, or even a glass of sake.  

From £28pp, available on Saturday.

Click here to book

The Royal One

Once home to Queen Elizabeth – when the address was simply 145 Piccadilly – The InterContinental London Park Lane is launching a Royal Afternoon Tea, taking inspiration from its regal heritage.

The savoury selection features a Scottish lobster and saffron aioli open sandwich, alongside an array of classic finger sandwiches.

Plain and raisin buttermilk scones are served with Devonshire clotted cream and a regularly changing homemade British fruit preserve.

From £48pp, Thursdays to Sundays.

Click here to book

The surreal one

Get ready to journey down the rabbit hole for a Hatter’s Tea Party at the Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge.

Inspired by the V&A’s new Alice in Wonderland exhibition, ‘Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser’, you’ll indulge in an exceptional tier of inspired treats, including a ‘Queen of Hearts’ raspberry jam tart with apple crumble; a ‘Pearl of Oysters’ white chocolate Lanson Champagne truffle based upon the Oysters in ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’, and ‘Eat Me’ chocolate cake with a rich buttercream icing.

From £52pp.

Click here to book

The fairytale one

Scotland’s iconic hotel and country estate, Gleneagles, brings guests afternoon tea inspired by the life and stories of the much-loved children’s author, Beatrix Potter, who spent most of her summers in Perthshire.

The menu pays homage to Potter’s story books and characters, with themed highlights including Johnny Town Mouse’s pea and potato croquettes, Little Pig Robinson’s Crumpet and Crab, and Herdwick lamb sausage roll with Mr McGregor’s cabbage followed by delicious sweets like Squirrel Nutkin’s fruit and nut slice.

From £25 per child, £50 per adult, Fridays to Mondays.

Click here to see the menu

The Italian one

The beautiful Dalloway Terrace at London’s Bloombury Hotel has been transformed into a stylish escape reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast, created by master florists McQueens in partnership with Malfy Gin.

Its new gin-inspired afternoon tea includes sweet treats such as a pink grapefruit tart with star anise meringue, a lemon velvet parfait, and an orange profiterole.

Savoury treats include tonic-marinated cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches.

From £35pp.

Click here to see the menu

The one with the view

The Gherkin, in the City of London, certainly puts the ‘high’ into high tea, and from its Helix restaurant on the 39th floor you’ll get the best views in town.

Enjoy a selection of mini savouries, including a smoked salmon, fennel, and dill roll, Welsh rarebit, and salt beef Reuben brioche buns. 

Sweet treats include homemade Jersey fruit and plain scones, served with Cornish clotted cream and fruit preserve, followed by three pretty-as-a-picture indulgent pastries.

From £49pp, Mondays to Saturdays.

Click here to book

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