Afternoon tea is a time-honoured tradition within English culture and is viewed by the rest of the world as a quintessential ceremony across the UK. Dating back to the mid 1800’s, afternoon tea was introduced by the upper class to satisfy their aching stomachs during the lengthy hours that separated lunch and dinner. Typically, patrons would be subject to fine service and a host of dainty sandwiches and cakes, while sipping on the finest teas on offer. Since its inception, the concept has been reinvented to appeal to all. So, as it’s National Afternoon Tea Week, we give you the lowdown on the best spots to have a spot of afternoon tea!
1. The Ritz, London
Weighing in at No.1 on our list, is the prestigious Ritz hotel that rests in the heart of Piccadilly. Here guests are treated to an authentic afternoon tea experience, with seamless service and an eloquent dress code (jeans, trainers etc. are forbidden). One can enjoy a selection of marvellously cut sandwiches, fresh baked scones and a vast array of pastries and cakes. To top it off they offer 18 types of loose-leaf tea and the Palm court is lit by spectacular chandelier light. All this while their resident pianist/harpist play soothing ambient pieces. The Ritz offers the pomp and splendour of a truly traditional afternoon tea!
2. Fortnum & mason, London
This fine establishment, also situated in Piccadilly, has a strong heritage when it comes to tea. Having sold tea since 1707, you know they’ll make a good brew. Guests are treated to their afternoon refreshments in the Diamond Jubilee hall, splashed in pale mint décor and accompanied by a talented pianist. Beyond the class, visitors can indulge in an extensive menu of 82 types of tea while being guided by knowledgeable staff members. The scones and sandwiches are regularly replenished too, so you won’t even have to leave your seat!
3. Rosylee, Manchester
This stylish spot in the Northern Quarter of Manchester offers guests the choice of standard and royal package to treat themselves to. Including finger sandwich selections, miniature cakes, Rosylee’s very own scones, dipped strawberries and a glass of bubble. When it comes to tea, there are 10 options to choose from enabling you to further diversify your experience. This place started out as a tearoom before transitioning to serve food all day, so it’s good to see the art of a fine afternoon tea hasn’t been lost.
4. Le Chalet, Leeds
This little tea room puts a French twist on the English tradition of afternoon tea. Residing on Park Row, the little café has a striking range of tea to choose from and an impressive spread, with a variety of sandwich fillings (it will take you a while to pick) and 3 types of jam for you to smear all over your scones! With its quirky décor and tranquil atmosphere it’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the day.
5. Rosemergy Farmhouse, Cornwall
Perched upon the Cornish coastline lies a 300 year old farmhouse that serves up fresh scones, warm from the oven with clotted Cornish cream and strawberry preserve to passing customers. This family run teashop has a completely homemade menu and offers a peaceful, secluded getaway for dog walkers and hikers alike, combined with breath-taking views of the Cornish moors and seashore. The perfect stop off point for anyone exploring the Cornish countryside!