Ever since the seventh Duchess of Bedford began serving a meal between lunch and dinner, afternoon tea has been a British favourite. But where to go? Take your pick from our three of the best afternoon teas in the UK…
No visit to Cheltenham is complete without afternoon tea. So, stop by our elegant Georgian townhouse No. 131 and sink into one of our sleek velvet sofas (or lap up the sun on the terrace) before savouring our scrumptious fare. We have traditional cream tea but plump for our High Tea – all made with locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. Start with traditional sandwiches: ‘Wiltshire Ham & Mustard’, ‘Egg & Cress’, ‘Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese’ and ‘Coronation Chicken’. In between, pop in a Quail egg or two. Then hit the sweet treats – tuck into a Salted Caramel Éclair, Custard Tart and Victorian Sponge Roulade plus delicious scones. And if the mood takes you, splash out with a glass of bubbles. Indulge further and stay the night in one of our beautiful bedrooms, which feature unique furniture, statement prints and fabulous art.
No. 131, 131 The Promenade, Cheltenham GL50 1NW. 01242 822 939; no131.com
It’s afternoon tea with a twist here at this effortlessly elegant London hotel. The angle is art – so gear up for a colourful collection of pastries inspired by Van Gogh (a nod to the Tate’s current exhibition). Served in the stylish surrounds of the Mirror Room, enjoy a selection of mouth-watering finger sandwiches, freshly-baked scones and loose-leaf tea. Followed by three show-stopping desserts based on some of the artist’s most famous masterpieces including Sunflowers, The Starry Night and Almond Blossoms. Even better, little ones are not forgotten – and will be equipped with a painter’s palette, paint tubes filled with jam and lemon curd and palette knives to spread the sweet toppings. Proving themselves on trend, look out for further themed afternoon teas during the Chelsea Flower Show and Wimbledon.
Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 7EN. 020 7781 8888; rosewoodhotels.com/en/london
Come to Gleneagles for life at its most grand: quietly classy bedrooms, masses of country pursuits, championship golf courses, a fabulous spa, the only restaurant in Scotland with two Michelin stars, and a luxury shopping arcade. And then there’s the suitably glamorous afternoon tea. The savoury selection provides a good mix of veggie options (Broad bean and pea tart, crisp corn, mint oil) and meat (Haggis bon bon and whisky mayonnaise). The finger sandwiches sport local produce, including the ‘George Campbell & Sons smoked salmon dill mayonnaise’. This is followed by the delicious likes of ‘Dalwhinnie soaked apple and sultana Treacle’, ‘Jivara milk chocolate crémeux, Earl Grey tea mousseline, orange blossom and honey’ and ‘Edinburgh gin and grapefruit cake’. Veuve Cliquot on the menu, too.
The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland PH3 1NF. 01764 662231; gleneagles.com