It’s National Afternoon Tea Week so let’s get supping and tucking into scrumptious sandwiches, scones and fancy cakes. We’ve just marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of the second Earl Grey, Charles Grey of the tea fame. In his honour and to celebrate this week, Your-Hols picked 10 of the best afternoon teas in Britain, outside of London.
Howick Hall Gardens, Northumberland
If you want tea fit for the Earl’s mouth, then you need to head to Howick Hall in Northumberland – home of the 2nd Earl Grey for whom the tea was created to suit the water on the estate. Visitors can take tea at the Earl Grey tea house, as well as find out more about the man himself.
Wed to Sun 10.30am to 4pm until March and 10.30am to 6pm in summer
Afternoon tea £13
See Howick Hall Gardens
Devonshire Arms, Yorkshire
Adam Smith, the new chef at this gorgeous country house hotel on the borders of the Yorkshire Dales national park gained his stripes at The Ritz in London, so it’s little wonder this is a great afternoon tea. Served in the conservatory, it includes crustless sandwiches with various fillings and bread from local bakeries, two scones per person (one fruit and one plain) and deserts including mini apple crumbles, chocolate brownies and orange and cardamom macaroons.
Daily 1.30pm to 4.30pm
Afternoon tea £28, champagne tea £38
See Devonshire Arms
Brimstone at Langdale, Lake District
Forget tucking into tea in posh restaurants, this Lake District hotel lets you chow and char in the privacy of your room, terrace or even bed! The Informali-tea contains sandwiches filled with free-range egg with cress and caviar and oak smoked salmon with watercress, as well as battenberg, carrot cake, chocolate log and scones – all delivered in a box with a choice of tea and champagne.
Daily 2pm to 5pm
Champagne afternoon tea £65 for two
See Brimstone Hotel
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire
You’ll be in good company at this brand new tea served in the magnificent state dining room at 1,100-year-old Warwick Castle from March 2014 – the room has host seven monarchs through the years. The tea consists of an amuse bouche, sandwiches and patisseries – all made on site and served on Royal Crown Derby fine bone china, on an ivory linen tablecloth.
Daily sittings at 1.30pm and 3.30pm
Afternoon tea £49, champagne tea from £59
See Warwick Castle
The Swan at Lavenham, Suffolk
There’s a delicious afternoon tea served at this 15th century hotel in Lavenham. Devised by 2AA rosette head chef Justin Kett, it consists of freshly prepared sandwiches on home-made speciality breads cut including flavours such as venison with cranberry jelly on rye bread plus home-baked fruit and apple and walnut scones and three pastries and cakes.
Daily 2.30pm to 5pm
Afternoon tea £21.50, champagne afternoon tea £33.50
See The Swan at Lavenham
Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol
There are great views over Brunel’s Grade-I listed Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Somerset Hills beyond from the Bridge Café at the Avon Gorge Hotel. Afternoon tea here includes a selection of finger sandwiches, homemade scones with jam and clotted cream, Bristol fruit cake, madeleine’s & seasonal fruit tartlets.
Afternoon tea £14.95, champagne afternoon tea £19.95
See Avon Gorge
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth
When you talk about High Tea, there are few places that serve it at 105m above sea level – but that’s what you get at this landmark tower in Portsmouth. The views from Café in the Clouds’s floor-to-ceiling windows are amazing and the tea isn’t bad either.
Daily sittings at noon, 1.30pm and 3pm
Afternoon tea £50 for two people, including admission to the tower.
See Spinnaker Tower
Turnberry, South Ayrshire, Scotland
There are more great views from the Grand Tea Lounge at the iconic Turnberry Resort in South Ayrshire. The room looks over the Irish Sea towards the Ailsa Craig and the Isle of Arran as well as a tea prepared by executive chef Munur Kara – and the tea has been given the Award of Excellence 2013 for the fourth year running in the Tea Guild’s Top City and Country Hotel Awards.
Daily noon to 5pm
Afternoon tea £28, champagne afternoon tea £39
See Turnberry Hotel
Llangoed Hall, Brecon, Wales
There’s a Welsh flavour to this afternoon tea in the Brecon Beacons. Head Chef Brodie’s spread includes Bara Brith and Welsh Cakes, while dishes are served on specially designed Gold Rose and Butterfly bone china.
Daily from 2.30pm to 5pm
Afternoon tea £22.50, champagne afternoon tea £29.50
See Llangoed Hall
Culloden Estate & Spa, Belfast, Ireland
Forget champagne, flavour your afternoon tea with a spot of Hendrick’s gin at this country house hotel outside Belfast. Served in the new Crozier Lounge, a rare Hendricks tea set is used to serve a Hendrick’s Gin Cocktail alongside a selection of finger sandwiches, pastries and buttermilk scones with cream and County Armagh preserves.
Daily noon to 5pm
Hendricks Afternoon tea £30
See Culloden Estate and Spa
Missed your favourite? Leave a comment below
See our selection of the best afternoon teas in London here