Best Places to Indulge in the Beloved Afternoon Tea Ritual in the UK

In celebration of National Afternoon Tea Week (8th – 14th August) which celebrates the British tradition of having afternoon tea.

Its purpose is to add a touch of elegance and pomp to an otherwise ordinary time of day in the late afternoon. The ritual adds much to life in its opportunity to slow down for a moment, to enjoy some of the simple pleasures of living with a bit of delicious food, beautifully presented, in a moment designed to stimulate the senses, repose the spirit and renew the body. Afternoon Tea Week was created to help preserve a tradition that has been a part of British afternoons since the 1840s. Read more about the origins of Afternoon Tea here and their connection to Queen Victoria.

Even though it’s called “tea,” there is much more than just a beverage served at this typically light meal that traditionally includes tiny finger sandwiches as well as scones with jam and clotted cream. Furthermore, includes sweet treats like cakes and pastries, and in some cases includes champagne, all meant to help lift spirits, boost energy, and get people through the rest of the day. It is also a wonderful opportunity to reconenct wiht yourself and people in your company sharing in the experience. This tradition is one of great delight that invariably lifts up the entire day and creates wonderful memories each time the ritual is engaged.

Explore this collection of some of the beat places in the UK in which to indulge in this fine and delicious tradition.

Traditional Afternoon Tea

Drawing Room at DUKES London

Duke’s Hotel London, Drawing Room

There’s something opulent about going to DUKES London for afternoon tea.
DUKES London’s elegant Drawing Room, located in the heart of historic St. James’s Mayfair, is the perfect traditional way to commemorate this national institution. Enjoy a delicate selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and home-made patisserie, as well as a selection of teas and infusions carefully crafted by The East India Company.

Alternatively, a MarTEAni Afternoon tea, inspired by the hotel’s world-renowned bar, includes three beautifully-paired mini martinis. For children, the hotel also offers Little Dukes and Duchesses Afternoon Tea, or for a slice of Summer luxury, enjoy afternoon tea al fresco in either Green Park or St. James’s Park, both of which are just a gentle stroll from the hotel.

Afternoon Tea at DUKES London starts from £17.50 per person

Cotswold History

Great Hall tradition at Ellenborough Park Hotel, Cheltenham

Ellenborough Park has perfected the traditional afternoon tea and set it against the magical backdrop of this fifteenth-century manor house’s splendour. So take a seat by the open fire and select from the hotel’s selection of hand-picked teas, which includes classic Earl Grey, Strawberry & Mango, and Tiramisu, as well as homemade infusions of hot ginger or fresh mint.

Choose an espresso, macchiato, or hot chocolate instead, or upgrade to a chilled glass of Taittinger champagne or a luxury Ellenborough cocktail. Tea includes smoked salmon and crème fraiche sandwiches, ham and red onion marmalade, free range egg and cress, and cucumber with cream cheese. Freshly baked scones with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserves, as well as a selection of delicate handcrafted cakes and pastries, are available. Ellenborough Afternoon Tea is available daily from 14:00 to 16:30.

Full Afternoon Tea £30.00, Cream Tea £15.00. Upgrade to a Glass of Taittinger, House Cocktail or House Spirit Mixer from £9 per person supplement. Pre-booking required.

Commonwealth Games

Champagne Afternoon Tea at The Runnymede on Thames

To commemorate Afternoon Tea Week, The Runnymede on Thames in Surrey has created a special Commonwealth Games-themed Champagne Afternoon Tea menu. Guests and residents can indulge in decadent finger sandwiches such as ‘Team England’ roast beef and ‘Scottish Thistles’ smoked salmon, as well as sumptuous sweet treats such as a ‘Going for Gold’ Canadian maple and pecan tart and a ‘Jamaican sprinters’ rum raisin and pineapple cake, as well as home baked sultana scones, from the 8th to the 14th of August. With the backdrop of the River Thames, family and friends can wash down their special Afternoon Tea with a refreshing glass of champagne or a warming cup of English breakfast tea.

Priced at £32 per person. Pre-booking required.

Game of Thrones

Ballygally Castle’s Exclusive Game of Thrones’ Afternoon Tea Experience

Ballygally Castle is a stunning 17th century castle that has been transformed into a luxurious hotel on the Antrim & Causeway Coastal Route. The one-of-a-kind property provides a one-of-a-kind experience for Game of Thrones® fans who want to walk in the footsteps of their favourite characters. With Ballygally Castle housing one of Northern Ireland’s ten most famous Game of Thrones doors, the hotel is offering a Game of Thrones inspired Afternoon Tea, sure to delight fans as well as those who enjoy the indulgence of a delicious afternoon of themed nibbles. Lannister egg rolls, Baratheon bread, Little Finger Chicken Caesar wraps, Jon Snow Cakes, and Dothraki Trifle with mini Dragon’s eggs are among the delectable treats inspired by the fantasy lands of Winterfell, Iron Islands, Kings Landing, or Stormlands.

Available daily from 2-5pm for only £24 per person at Ballygally Castle (24 hours’ notice required for bookings).


 The Culloden Estate & Spa

The magnificent Culloden Estate and Spa, the most prestigious luxury five-star hotel in Northern Ireland, stands high on the slopes of the Holywood Hills, overlooking Belfast Lough and the County Antrim Coastline. The magical estate combines sweet treats, cakes, and beauty with a one-of-a-kind Spa-Tisserie package deal that includes a personalised 50-minute treatment followed by afternoon tea. Aromatherapy massage, personalised facial, essential manicure/pedicure, or the ESPA body wrap are all available to guests. This package is ideal for unwinding, feeling good, and enjoying a nice cup of tea, which includes delectable finger sandwiches and a selection of tasty cakes and scones.

This offer is available from The Culloden Estate & Spa for £105 p/person Mon-Thur / £115 Fri-Sun.

Indulge at a Country Manor

Delightful Afternoon Tea at Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa

This Afternoon Tea Week, Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa, a newly refurbished country manor hotel in the heart of rural Warwickshire nestled in 11 acres of countryside, is delighted to offer its guests a mouthwatering afternoon tea. In the grandeur of the Great Hall Bar or newly furnished Stuart Restaurant, sink into the hotel’s luxurious soft chairs to the sounds of silverware on china and clinking champagne flutes to partake in the finest traditional serves of Afternoon Tea. Enjoy a variety of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and lashings of jam, and decadent desserts such as eclairs and mini tarts. There is also an alfresco option for dining on the patio while admiring the beautiful garden views. Guests can round out the weekend by staying in Billesley Manor’s newly refurbished bedrooms, which feature rich, warm designs and original 16th century oak panelling, followed by a relaxing day in the spa and stunning restaurant.

Afternoon Teas options: The Manor is £25, and The Royal (served with a refreshing glass of Prosecco) is £32 – subject to availability. Nightly rates at Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa start from £160 per night B&B based on two people sharing, subject to availability.

Scottish Delights

The Glasshouse Hotel, Edinburgh

The Glasshouse by YTL Hotels is a five-star city sanctuary in the heart of Edinburgh, famous for its 2-acre rooftop garden with stunning views of Calton Hill and award-winning whisky snug. This snug provides a one-of-a-kind setting for unwinding in style and enjoying a delicious home-made Scottish afternoon tea in the heart of Edinburgh. The Glasshouse’s Head Chef has created a menu that puts a Scottish spin on traditional British fare, combining traditional Scottish staples with the delicate flavours of afternoon tea.

Nightly rates at The Glasshouse start from £200 per night. To book, contact YTL UK Reservations Centre at or call +44 (0) 207 657 8200

Unique Afternoon Tea

Shepherd’s Hut at Monkey Island Estate

The handcrafted Shepherd’s Hut at Monkey Island Estate welcomes the changing seasons. The cosy winter cabin is the ideal spot to enjoy the Berkshire countryside, and it is ready to welcome groups for belated birthday celebrations or celebratory picnics with loved ones. The Shepherd’s Hideaway has contemporary countryside interiors that are stylishly furnished. Gourmet picnic hampers filled with local treats and chilled bottles of Harrow & Hope English Sparkling Wine are paired with expert hospitality services; the ideal afternoon tea. Guests can look forward to a delicious menu that includes coronation chicken, curried drumsticks, poached salmon and potato salad, and a selection of quintessentially British finger sandwiches in between adventures in the hotel grounds.

The Shepherd’s Hideaway Experience caters for up to 6 guests at £100 per person and includes a gourmet picnic hamper and half a bottle of Harrow & Hope Brut Reserve per person with access to the Shepherd’s Hideaway for three hours. Minimum spend £600. To book, contact YTL UK Reservations Centre at or call +44 (0) 207 657 8200.

Champagne Afternoon Tea

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Gainsborough Bath Spa is a modern icon of luxury wellness and the only hotel in the country to offer guests the opportunity to experience Bath’s natural thermal waters. Look no further for the ideal retreat for those in need of some zen. The hotel and its award-winning spa, located in the heart of charming Bath, provide the ideal sanctuary to rest and restore body and mind while indulging in some delicious food. Afternoon tea is served in The Canvas Room at The Gainsborough, which is the ideal setting for unwinding in style and enjoying a sumptuous home-made traditional afternoon tea of finger sandwiches, fruit and plain scones with clotted cream, seasonal preserves, and a selection of delectable cakes and pastries. Guests looking for a little something extra can enjoy a glass of bubbly while indulging in their delectable treats. Afternoon Tea for one is £30 per person.

Nightly rates at The Gainsborough Bath Spa start from £290 on a room-only basis. 

An Historic Afternoon

Heart of Marylebone, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill

Guests can relax into the cosy atmosphere of The Montagu Kitchen in the heart of Marylebone for a quintessentially British afternoon and expect to sample three delightful tiers of treats within surroundings replete with history of wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. Starting with smoked Balik salmon and progressing through a variety of delicious sandwiches with regional fillings, classic buttery scones, and a peach and vanilla tart to satisfy that all-important sweet tooth, The Churchill’s afternoon tea is accompanied by The Montagu Kitchen’s signature floral blend, ‘Roses in bloom.’ Guests who want to go the extra mile can order a glass of Champagne Telmont Brut Rosé.

Afternoon Tea at The Montagu Kitchen starts at £46 per person.


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