Afternoon tea in the UK is an unforgettable experience that everyone should have at least once. Whether it’s a small tea shop in Cornwall or an upscale hotel in London, afternoon tea provides you with a unique opportunity to experience British culture, hospitality and history all at once. It’s a time to sit, relax and be in the moment with a friend or two over a piping hot pot of tea, a warm scone slathered with clotted cream and jam and little finger sandwiches.
This unique British tradition provides an escape from reality, transporting you to another time and place, through an array of intricately prepared desserts, savories and a myriad of teas from all over the world, all served in a beautiful setting. Imagine walking into a room full of freshly cut flowers, tables set with fine bone china, silver tea pots, white linens and friendly servers eager to welcome you in. Who wouldn’t want to have that experience?
This refined British pastime can be found at hundreds of tearooms throughout the UK, each one offering something unique to the region. It’s my goal in this blog to explore as many of these tearooms as possible, writing about my experiences here and bringing you along on the journey with me as your tour guide of Britain’s best tearooms.
I invite you to read more below to find out why the tradition of afternoon tea is such an integral part of British culture and why it’s one of the best experiences you can have in the UK. I’m sure you’ll find one or two places that will be perfect for your next afternoon tea outing. You can also check out my reviews of some of the best tea rooms I’ve visited as well as detailed city guides and itineraries. Have fun planning your next trip, over a nice hot cup of tea!
Learn more about afternoon tea in the UK:
Cornish Cream Tea Vs. Devon Cream Tea
How to Brew the Perfect Pot of Tea
by Kat Phipps
Read Kat’s afternoon tea reviews
The Goring Hotel has remained a family run hotel for over 100 years. Located just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, this Edwardian era hotel has an incredibly friendly staff who welcome you in and make you feel like a treasured guest.View more
Afternoon tea at Brown’s Hotel in London was one of the teas I was most looking forward to having on my tea room tour of the U.K. The historical importance of Brown’s Hotel was a big draw for me. The hotel is considered to be the oldest hotel in London….View more
Located just a short walk from Hyde Park, the Lanesborough Hotel is one of the most luxurious places to have afternoon tea in London. This high end hotel in Knightsbridge is part of the German owned Oetker Collection, one of the best luxury hotel chains in the world. The hotel was once St. Georges Hospital, built in the palatial style during the 1820’s. The giant Greek columns that flank the entrance of the hotel reflect its Neoclassical features.View more
Harrods is a great place to stop for afternoon tea while shopping in Knightsbridge. One of London’s oldest and most venerable department stores, Harrods has been in operation since 1849. I arrived at the department store in the late afternoon, promptly heading up to the fourth floor to the store’s…View more
Mhor Bread and Tearoom is located in the small town of Callander, just inside the Trossachs National Park. Known as the “Gateway to the Highlands,” the town is as pretty as a postcard, with a Main St. lined with old brick buildings. It’s here that you will find Mhor Bread…View more
For a unique place to have afternoon tea in Edinburgh that’s steeped in history, head to the Colonnades at the Signet Library. Located just off the Royal Mile behind St. Giles Cathedral, afternoon tea is served in the two hundred year old Signet library building during the 19th century.View more
Afternoon tea at the Balmoral is served in the Palm Court, the hotel’s gorgeous tearoom, named for the live palm trees growing in large pots through out the room. Beautiful scenes of Edinburgh adorn the walls, depictions of the city during the Georgian era of the early 1800’s. I was seated at a table situated in the center of the room, right underneath the grand chandelier hanging down from the atrium ceiling above, which let in plenty of natural light.View more
Afternoon tea in the Belmont Room at Betty’s of York is a must-have experience when visiting this wonderful historical city in northern England. Built in 1919, the room was named after the cafe’s founder, the Swiss baker and merchant Fredrick Belmont. Fat Rascals at Betty’s of York This is the…View more
Fortnum and Mason’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon serves an afternoon tea fit for a queen. Founded in 1707, Fortnum and Mason is one of London’s oldest department stores, well known for their wide variety of luxury goods. In 2012 the St. James restaurant, located on the fourth floor, was transformed into the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, dedicated to HRH Queen Elizabeth II.View more
A visit to Bath wouldn’t be complete without a stop for afternoon tea at one of the city’s many charming tea shops. A standout amongst the options is the Hands Georgian Tearooms, offering a lovely afternoon tea in a Georgian-style tearoom located right in the center of the old town,…View more
Afternoon tea at the Dorchester is an elegant affair. Located by London’s Hyde Park, it is a must have experience while in London.View more